Princeton, NJ

What We Love About Princeton

  • Ivy League University town known as “The Orange Bubble”
  • Beautiful Princeton University campus
  • Strong sense of community and festive atmosphere
  • Both quirky and traditional arts and culture offerings
  • Fine dining options and reliable grab-and-go eats
  • Varied housing stock
  • Nearby massive Mercer County Park with many recreational options
  • Shuttle train to Princeton Junction, where you can connect to trains to New York Penn Station and Philadelphia

Princeton is located in Mercer County, New Jersey.

Princeton is located in the Delaware River Region, which is between a one and two hour commute to NYC, but at the same time is only an hour or so from Philadelphia. This region is home to the scenic Delaware River, centuries old canals, rolling hills, cute towns and farms, but also Princeton University, Many world-class companies and award winning wineries, such as Coda Rossa Winery in Franklinville.

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Quick Facts

Princeton is located in Mercer County, New Jersey – Delaware River Region

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Quick facts about Princeton:

COMMUTE TIME (Hour:Minutes) ⓘ

These times are based on info from New Jersey Transit and Google Maps. Shortest times are given. Use our map above to calculate more accurate commute times to any address.

1:30+

Car ride to NYC.

1:20+

Train service to NYC.

n/a

Bus service to NYC.

SIZE ⓘ

People per square mile gives you an idea of how much breathing room a town has. NYC has around 27,000 while a well equipped walkable town might have around 5,000. Smaller towns with more single family homes and large yards usually have under 1,000. Click on more info below to see where we get our data. 

31,187

Population estimate, July 1, 2019

1.84

Square miles

6,678

People per square mile

HOUSING ⓘ

Median cost to rent or own is basically the average cost of renting or owning per month in any given town. It’s not exact. Median values include the most expensive dwellings and the cheapest dwellings all averaged together, but with some weight added to higher concentrations in the data set. Just gives you some basic basis of comparison between towns. Click on more info below to see where we get our data.

$1,532

Median gross rent, 2014-2018

$4,000

Median selected monthly owner costs – with a mortgage, 2014-2018

$866,200

Median value of owner-occupied housing units, 2014-2018

PROPERTY TAX ⓘ

Approximate tax on $100K of home value. Ex: If you pay $500K for a house, multiply the number in the left column by 5 to get an idea of what you will have to pay each year in property taxes.

$2,420

Property taxes per $100,000 in home value.

EDUCATION ⓘ

Gives you the ability to quickly see how much of a town has graduated from high school or higher ed. Click on more info below to see where we get our data.

96.30%

High school graduate or higher, percent of persons age 25 years+, 2014-2018

81.00%

Bachelor’s degree or higher, percent of persons age 25 years+, 2014-2018

INCOME ⓘ

Gives you an idea of how much people make in this town compared to other towns you look at. Click on more info below to see where we get our data.

$137,672

Median household income (in 2018 dollars), 2014-2018

AGE DISTRIBUTION ⓘ

Gives you an idea of how old your neighbors might be. Click on more info below to see where we get our data.

18.30%

Persons under 18 years

16.80%

Persons 65 years and over

CLICK HERE TO SEE MORE STATS & INFO ON RACE, INCOME AND HOUSING

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School Scores – click on schools please

Walking and Biking Score – any score over 50 is good​

The Full Story of Princeton, NJ

What is it like living in Princeton, NJ?

Upscale Princeton is a diverse and active university town with a top-ranked public school system, historic homes, and several attractive, tranquil neighborhoods that are walkable from the downtown. At its center, the stately Ivy League Princeton University campus is fronted by the bustling downtown of Nassau Street with plenty of dining and shopping options (including one of the best used record and cd stores around, Princeton Record Exchange). Indeed, University students and residents living near Nassau Street often find themselves not straying beyond the many shops, restaurants, and services packed into that one small  area—hence the nickname “The Orange Bubble” for the downtown and campus area. Princeton is known for its strong sense of community and the interplay between the town and the college. A center for the fine arts, Princeton has its own regional theater, an arthouse cinema, and an art museum. The annual Communiversity festival brings live music and great food to the town. At the same time, Princeton has plenty of commuters who use both the Dinky shuttle and parking at Princeton Junction station for convenient transportation to NYC or Philadelphia.  

That’s Princeton in a nutshell!

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Princeton is a municipality with a borough form of government consisting of the now-defunct Borough of Princeton and what was formerly Princeton Township. In 2011, Princeton Borough voted to consolidate with the surrounding Princeton Township. The current municipality was established as one united Princeton in 2013.

 

Schools

Princeton has an excellent school system. Elementary schools are Little Brook School (370 students, K-5), Johnson Park School (365 students, Pre-K-5), and Community Park School (383 students, K-5). Princeton Unified Middle School has 756 students in grades 6-8; Princeton High School has 1,590 students in grades 9-12. An alternate K-8 offering is Princeton Charter School (400 students). Admission is by lottery, it is available to all Princeton residents, and it is free of charge. Also, all Mercer County 8th-grade students can apply for the Health Science Academy, STEM Academy, and Academy of Culinary Arts at Mercer County Technical Schools, which is also tuition-free.

Notable private schools in the area are Princeton Day School, Stuart Country Day School, The Lawrenceville School, The Hun School of Princeton, Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart, and The Wilberforce School.

In addition to Princeton University, nearby are the highly regarded The College of New Jersey and Rutgers University, Rider University, Westminster Choir College, and Mercer County Community College.

 

Parks and Recreation

Princeton has beautiful hiking trails in Institute Woods (behind the Princeton campus), Witherspoon Woods and Mountain Lakes Open Space Area, and along the D&R Canal State Park towpath. The 2,500-acre Mercer County Park, encompassing much of southern West Windsor and parts of Hamilton and Lawrence, is just 15-minutes away. Facilities within the park include campgrounds, an ice-skating center, and 28 tennis courts. Notable events are held here throughout the year, including the Indo-American Festival, the Renaissance Faire, the Trenton Kennel Club Dog Show, and a Summer Concert Series featuring tributes to music acts such as the Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen.

The Princeton University campus is beautiful and always a lovely place for a stroll or picnic, with buildings in a variety of classical architectural styles along with lush campus greens on Poe Field or in front of the iconic Nassau Hall. 

Golf enthusiasts will be happy to know that there are three nearby courses: Princeton Country Club, Mercer Oaks Golf Course, and Mountain View Golf Course.

 

Dining and Nightlife

Plenty of restaurants line Nassau Street and Palmer Square, ranging from a quick and inexpensive grab-and-go to a lavish multiple-course dine-in. Higher-end options in town include Mistral, with Modern-Global cuisine, and Elements, which emphasizes fresh, local ingredients and a five-course offering that changes daily. Both are ranked on NJ Monthly’s statewide top 30. For a more moderately priced sit-down meal, try the Italian and Spanish tastes of Mediterra or the American cuisine of the pub-style Winberie’s. PJ’s Pancake House is a popular breakfast option for students and residents, especially on weekends. On the cheaper end, Tacoria is a zesty grab-and-go Mexican Street Kitchen option.

Triumph Brewery and Ivy Inn are two great bars, with live bands at the former and a weekly karaoke night at the latter. Finally, check out Conte’s down Witherspoon Street if you are in the mood for a beer and a slice.

 

Arts and Culture

The town and university often interact. Always free and open to the public on the University campus, Princeton University Art Museum hosts an impressive range of exhibitions, including Ancient, Byzantine, and Islamic art, European art, Modern and Contemporary art, and Photography collections. Also on campus is the McCarter Theatre Center, a wonderful nonprofit theater mounting drama, dance, and musical performances and offering educational programs. Also notable is the free-form and peculiar college radio station WPRB 103.3FM, which broadcasts everything from jazz to classical to metal music and is run mostly by University students and alumni. Princeton University Reunions brings upwards of 25,000 university alumni to town every spring for a four-day bash that includes bands, fireworks, sporting events, parades, and plenty of camaraderie. Also in the spring, Communiversity, presented by the Arts Council of Princeton, brings over 225 booths showcasing arts and crafts, merchandise, live entertainment, and great food to the town’s center roads of Nassau and Witherspoon Streets.

The small nonprofit arthouse Princeton Garden Theatre often shows foreign and independent films. Showings in past years have included Academy Award winners like director Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite and director Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water.

Princeton has many historic homes, including the Albert Einstein House on Mercer Street, where Albert Einstein lived from 1935 until his death in 1955, and Drumthwacket, the official residence of the Governor of New Jersey, on Stockton Street.

 

Housing Stock

Princeton has a range of housing stock, everything from apartments, to modest to expensive single-family homes, to large 5-bedroom houses and mansions. Mansions and other luxury homes can be found along Lawrenceville Road, Cherry Valley Road, and Parkside Drive.

Copperwood in Princeton on Bunn Drive has luxurious and sleek 1- and 2-bedroom apartments. Also noteworthy are the Avalon Communities Princeton on Albert Way and Merwick Stanworth on Stanworth Lane. Other options include Windsor Woods on Old Meadow Road, which also offers affordable housing. Finally, The Mews at Princeton Junction on Wessex Place has a swimming pool, theater, fitness center, and clubhouse.

Hageman Homes on Clay Street is a 50-unit garden apartment complex. Other affordable housing options include Princeton Community Housing, which manages Elm Court, Griggs Farm, Harriet Bryan House, and Princeton Community Village, and Princeton Housing Authority, with 236 apartments throughout Princeton for families, seniors, and the disabled.

 

The Commute

The famous Princeton Dinky train runs from the NJ Transit Princeton Station next to the Wawa on Alexander Street, its sole purpose to shuttle you to and from Princeton Junction Station (5 minutes; one-way $3, monthly pass $82), where you can connect to the Northeast Corridor line to Trenton, New York City, Newark, and New Brunswick. The trip to NY Penn ($16 one-way; $451 monthly pass) takes as little as 52 minutes. For train service on both weekdays and weekends direct to Penn Station NYC, Amtrak takes about 50 minutes. Amtrak rates vary, so try to book in advance. 

For Amtrak travel to Philadelphia direct from Princeton Junction, expect the trip to take about 45 minutes. NJ Transit is less expensive to Philly ($5 one way; $145 monthly pass) but it is more complicated and time-consuming (you have to take one train from Princeton Junction to Trenton Transit Center and then transfer to a second SEPTA train into Philly). Sometimes the timing is so tight that you miss the transfer to the second train and have to wait for another one in Trenton, so make sure you leave extra travel time.

The NJ Transit 605 bus (about $2 each way) can take you to Montgomery Township shopping center, Mercer Mall, Quakerbridge Mall, Princeton Dinky Station (not Princeton Junction), and Market Fair (great AMC Movie Theater and nice dining there). There is also the 100 bus, which goes daily from Palmer Square and Princeton Shopping Center to New York City, and the NJ Transit 606 bus, which will take you to Trenton.

Tiger Transit is Princeton University’s transit system around the campus and parts of town, and it is free and open to the public. The “Weekend Shopper,” route runs Saturdays 9AM-5PM and Sundays 11AM-5PM and will take you to a nearby Trader Joe’s.

Drive time to NYC is somewhere between an hour and an hour and a half, depending upon traffic; to Newark Airport generally just under an hour.

Neighborhoods

Princeton Center and the Western Section extend behind Nassau Street and include many older homes a short walk from the central downtown area. Littlebrook (a large neighborhood in the town’s northeastern corner) and Riverside (next to Carnegie Lake) are quiet, tranquil, and nice for young families. The Princeton Ridge neighborhood has some 3-story homes and many 3-car garages and is close to the private Stuart Country Day School. Finally, the Pretty Brook neighborhood contains some of the most notable and secluded mansions. Close to Princeton Day School, it’s a great option for anyone who wants distance from the hustle and bustle of downtown.