Gear Up: Downtown Palmer Square (across from the university) is a square block full of brand names for fashionistas. Bag it up at Coach (73 Palmer Sq, 609-924-2777) or Kate Spade (10 Hulfish St, 609-279-0061). Splurge on comfort and class at Banana Republic (17 Palmer Sq, 609-921-8111), J. Crew (1 Palmer Sq, 609-924-0011), and Ann Taylor (17 Palmer Sq, 609-924-8335), or mix it up with Kitchen Kapers (23 Hulfish St, 609-924-9190).
Tune In: Buy or sell music on CD or good old LP at Princeton Record Exchange (20 S. Tulane St, 609-924-3472). This ramshackle record shop tops the charts for vinyl lovers (no matter which generation gap you spin into).
Perfect Score: Princeton’s style landmark, Zoe (11 Hulfish St., 609-497-0704), offers a unique collection of designers, from Lanvin to Rag & Bone and Stella McCartney to Marc by Marc Jacobs. Pick up the perfect accessory as a thoughtful gift (or for yourself) at Dandelion (47 Palmer Sq, 609-921-0345).
Beers and Cheers: Wrap your taste buds around a Snake Bite or Honey Wheat beer, freshly brewed on premises (for all to see) at Triumph Brewing Co. (138 Nassau St, 609-924-7855). Further uptown is the Ivy (248 Nassau St, 609-921-8555) a small dive bar known for cheap beer and karaoke (check-in for the next Ivy Idol to sign up, sing, and win cash prizes). At J.B. Winberies (1 Palmer Sq, 609-921-0700) the walls are covered with Princeton sports memorabilia and the menu features half-pound burgers loaded with delicious toppings. It is the sports bar to catch Princeton games – and post-game celebrations. Yankee Doodle Tap Room (10 Palmer Sq, 609-688-2600) is a quaint bar located on the first floor of the Nassau Inn in the heart of Palmer Square. It was named for a Norman Rockwell painting that still hangs behind the bar.
Smart Eating: Witherspoon Grill, (57 Witherspoon St, 609- 924-6011) is run by the JM group, which also owns nearby Blue Point Grill (258 Nassau St, 609-921-1211) and Nassau Street Seafood & Produce Co (256 Nassau St, 609-921-0620). Mediterra (29 Hulfish, 609-252-9680) and Theresa’s (21 Palmer Sq, 609-921-1974) offer earth, food, wine, and life as the central themes. Alchemist & Barrister (28 Witherspoon St, 609-924-5555) has two newly renovated dining rooms and a patio area (open year round).
Quick bite: PJ’s Pancake House (154 Nassau St, 609-924-1353), known for its buckwheat pancakes and “smashed brown” potatoes. Check out the names carved in the booths and walls here, including actor Daniel Stern and Spin Doctors’ rocker Chris Baron. Hoagie Haven (242 Nassau St, 609-921-7723) provides large, fresh, and cheap ($4.90-$9.95) sandwiches.
Instant Replay: At the corner of Nassau and Washington streets, sits Princeton Garden Theater (160 Nassau St, 609-683-7595) a charming, independent two-room movie theater. Prefer live stage performances? McCarter Theatre (91 University Place, 609-258-ARTS) offers over 200 performances of theater, dance, music, and special events each year.
Sweet Surrender: Exotic flavors such as chocolate habenero ice cream (infused with Chinese & Indonesian cinnamon and spiked with heirloom peppers picked, dried, and ground into a powder) hit the sweet spot at Bent Spoon (35 Palmer Sq, 609-924-2368). Halo Pub (9 Hulfish St, 609-921-1710) takes pride in its homemade ice cream.
Tiger-tailgating: Princeton’s 17th annual Jazzfeast runs noon to 6 pm on September 20 on the Palmer Square Green (rain or shine). Top jazz musicians will perform. Visit palmersquare.com/events.asp for complete schedule.
Roar Store: The campus store (Princeton University Store, 36 University Place, 609-921 -8500; ext 242) offers tiger apparel, gadgets, and supplies. Claw into a hooded orange and black sweatshirt or find the perfect Princeton school spirit souvenir.