Things to do in: Princeton

Princeton, a vibrant and eclectic town, offers a variety of ways to spend a day, or a weekend, off. A 20-minute drive from campus, it’s easy to get to with on-street parking available.

There are better places for all-day breakfast than IHOP. One of them, PJ’s Pancake House, is on Nassau Street in Princeton.

With a big menu, you can choose from burgers, pancakes, eggs or sandwiches, among other choices.

Jon Borst, senior English major, said friends told him about PJ’s before he went there. “I wanted to check it out for myself and it lived up to the hype,” he said.

Borst said the first time he went, he ordered the chocolate chip and peanut butter pancakes, which he highly recommended.

“The atmosphere was cool . and even though it was busy, we were served very quickly. It was nice to go somewhere in Princeton that wasn’t too expensive but was still very good.”

After a meal, save room for dessert at The Bent Spoon, where you can get ice cream, sorbet, cookies, cupcakes and other seasonal goodies.

With flavors like coconut sorbet and roasted hazelnut ice cream among a constantly changing rotation, there is enough for anyone looking for something a little different.

But for the traditionalists there are still the standard vanillas and chocolates.

Some flavors are organic, and all are made from scratch on the premises.

Once you have dessert in your hands, cross the street to sit in Palmer Square, a small park with benches.

Start a new hobby at one of the many specialty shops in Princeton.

You can pick up beading, a fun but potentially expensive hobby, and check out The Place to Bead on Witherspoon Street, off Nassau Street.

With a wide selection, you can pick up beads, clasps and other accessories from a few cents to over $15.

If you’re in the mood for a little culture, get dressed up and see a show at McCarter Theatre. “The Birthday Party” by Harold Pinter premieres Sept. 8.

Directed by Emily Mann, the play has Brits, boarding houses, butlers and mysterious strangers. The dark comedy runs until Oct. 14, and tickets start at $40.

A must-visit for any music fan is the Princeton Record Exchange (P-REX). It’s one of the largest independent music and DVD stores on the east coast. “I love the place,” Leo Mahaga, sophomore criminal justice major, said.

“They always have what I can’t find for a price that’s close to nothing.”

P-REX has over 150,000 new and used CDs, vinyl records and DVDs, some of those CDs priced under $5. Shoppers can also buy and sell used video games.

Micawber Books, an independent bookstore on Nassau Street, sells both new and second-hand books, with some as cheap as $1.

The store also has discount cards for those who want to make book-buying a habit.

Though the main part of the store is similar to that of any other bookstore, there are a few interesting literary tomes to leaf through.

Next door, however, is the used bookstore, with both rare editions and inexpensive novels, both contemporary and classic.

Princeton is a beautiful town to walk through and you can even take a stroll on the grounds at Princeton University when you get tired of our prefabricated Colonial-style buildings.

Besides the grounds, visitors can walk through academic buildings and the libraries on Princeton’s campus.

There are also a number of events on Princeton’s campus that are open to the public.

Running until Sept. 24 is a free exhibition on photographers in the American West, perfect for those who are interested in photography, history or cowboys.

The exhibition, “Framing the Frontier: Photographers and the American West 1850-1920,” is being hosted at the Main Gallery in the Firestone Library.

For more information, go to and click on Public Campus Events in the bottom right-hand corner.

Make sure to bring plenty of quarters for the meters, unless you’re willing to fork over a little more money for the municipal parking garages.