Local Atmosphere

Princeton, NJ
Admission Difficulty
Very Hard
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4 Recent Alumnus

Local Atmosphere: It was a lovely college town, with great restaurants and shopping. Very safe and walkable.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: Close to NYC, but not much going on off campus at night

5 Recent Alumnus

Local Atmosphere: Princeton is the ideal college town. Large enough that you aren't assumed to be a student, and with a wide array of restaurants and stores to satisfy every taste, but small enough that it is easy to get around and feels safe.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: There are very nice, unique boutique shops and restaurants in the local square, which makes for some great conversations and outings with friends. The town is quite small, however, and the square contains a good number of expensive, high-end stores, which does not always fit each "starving college student's" budget. There are some amazing historical sites on and around the campus, which is great for times when friends and family visit. Princeton's area is extremely safe. Being a small town that is quite secluded from the rest of New Jersey, there is very little crime in the area. There are world-famous restaurants and eateries here and there, so it's not as if you have few good options when taking out friends. Despite the fact that there may not be the lively vibe of a big city, Princeton's location is perfectly ideal because it sits right in between New York City and Philadelphia, 55 miles in both directions. Say you wanted to go shopping in Manhattan or attend a broadway show, you can hop on a train and be in the city in less than 1.5 hours. It's amazing!

2 people found this useful Report
4 College Junior

Local Atmosphere: Upper Middle Class Suburb – I like Princeton, its quiet, safe and clean. I don't worry about anything and feel perfectly fine walking to my dorm alone at 2am. The shopping is all high price (Ralph Lauren, J Crew, boutiques) but we also have some good food (Chipotle, lots of ice cream places, Triumph Brewery). You have everything you need in town but its pricy. A 10 minute bus ride will get you to a complex with a mall or with a Target/Walmart/Bestbuy/Dicks Sporting Goods

1 person found this useful Report

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Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Kristen McCarthy
Mahwah, N.J.
View all previous student authors

Princeton is a small town with a rich history. Originally the College of New Jersey, Princeton started as a small colonial town centered around a university whose primary focus was to produce well-trained young men, mostly as Presbyterian ministers. Nassau Hall, which now serves as an administrative building, originally housed all of the students, professors, and academic space. With the coming of the American Revolution, it became home to the First Continental Congress. Many legends exist regarding how Nassau Hall received its cannonball blow, a scar that exists even today, reminding students of their importance of their institution in the development of the nation. A walk through the Trustees' Room, which brags a famous Peale portrait of George Washington, also serves as a reminder of Princeton's strong ties with the past, as portraits of every University president hang on the wall. Many students complain that Princeton is trapped in time because of its older buildings and small town atmosphere. Students looking for an urban campus are sorely mistaken when they arrive on campus by way of the "Dinky," the two-car train that connects Princeton to the main New Jersey Transit rail connection. Princeton undergraduates are generally well received by "townies;" each year, to help mend any bruised relations, town and gown come together for "Communiversity," a day-long street fair that invites both students and townies to enjoy the closed-off Nassau Street and participate in activities such as a 5K run and sidewalk drawing. Despite its rich history, the University leaves much to be desired by way of a varied social life, so students are forced to look elsewhere to other places, such as New York and Atlantic City, for a little excitement.

Facts & Statistics

Points of Interest
  • Albert Einstein's House
  • Art Museum
  • Bainbridge House
  • Drumthwacket
  • Firestone Library
  • Grounds for Sculpture
  • Morven
  • Nassau Hall
  • Paul Robeson's House
  • Princeton Cemetery
  • Rockingham, General Washington's Headquarters
  • University Chapel
  • Westland, Grover Cleveland's House
Shopping Centers
  • Marketfair
  • Princeton Forrestal Village
  • Princeton Shopping Center
  • Quakerbridge Mall
Movie Theaters
3535 US Hwy. 1
(609) 452-7777
Movie Theaters
Princeton Forrestal Village
W. College Rd.
Movie Theaters
Princeton Shopping Center
301 N. Harrison St.
(609) 921-6234
Movie Theaters
Quakerbridge Mall
113 Quakerbridge Mall
(609) 275-8822
Major Sports Teams
  • New Jersey Devils: hockey
  • New Jersey Nets: basketball
  • New York Knicks: basketball
  • New York Mets: baseball
  • New York Rangers: hockey
  • New York Yankees: baseball
  • Philadelphia Flyers: hockey
  • Philadelphia Phillies: baseball
Distances to Nearest Major Cities
  • New York City: NY: 1 hour
  • Philadelphia: PA: 1 hour

Student Polls

Rate the local atmosphere on the following topics    Based on 19 responses

Very poor
  • Cost of living
  • Dining
  • Friendliness of locals toward students
  • Museums/cultural attractions
  • Nightlife
  • Parking
  • Parks and recreation
  • Professional sports
  • Safety
  • Scenery
  • Shopping
  • Transportation

What is the local atmosphere like at your school?    Based on 27 responses

  • 0% Painfully remote.
  • 19% In or near a big city, but there's not much to do off campus.
  • 67% Small town with plenty of charm.
  • 15% Vibrant college town. There's no big city, but there are plenty of things to do off campus.
  • 0% City living at its finest. There's always something fun and interesting going on.

What is the proximity to other universities? Is there much interaction?    Based on 25 responses

  • 28% There aren't any nearby schools.
  • 68% There are nearby schools, but students do NOT interact much.
  • 4% There are nearby schools that students often interact with.

Can you see yourself living here after graduation?    Based on 25 responses

  • 52% No way.
  • 32% Maybe, if I could find a good job.
  • 16% Totally.



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