Rainy days can bring on cabin fever whether you’re in a hotel or living in town. If you’re in a hotel, you might be lucky enough to have an indoor pool or fitness center on the premises to keep you busy for a bit, but you’ll need more to do to combat boredom. If you live in town look out for some unexplored options below.
The first place that comes to mind is the Princeton Shopping Center. While it has an open courtyard that lets in lots of natural light and fresh air, the perimeter is covered, which is perfect for rainy days. There is a large selection of merchants, nice restaurants, and services to keep men, women, and children busy for a while, and there’s ample free parking.
A totally indoor shopping experience can be had at the Quaker Bridge Mall. The climate is controlled, so once inside, you won’t get wet or be too hot or cold. There are many more shops to choose from, and Macy’s, Sears, JC Penny’s, and Lord & Taylor are the anchor stores. Just be warned, there is no food court. However, there are a few casual dining and fast food restaurants with their own eating areas, and there’s also ample free parking here.
I have compiled a list of other things to do on a rainy day in Princeton, and broke it into categories. Of course, you could find something in another category that might interest you.
- A Little Taste of Cuba – There’s a cigar lounge to hang out in and enjoy your smoke
- Home Depot – The Home Improver Club will give you a chance to learn some DIY projects. They’re usually held on weekends
- Brookstone– Check out all of the cool gadgets
- Koi Spa, Metropolis Spa Salon, Vallerie European Spa and Holistic Health Spa, Gentle Healing Wellness Spa, This is a good day for a sports massage (GHWS even has a golfer’s massage)
- Car Shopping – Even if you’re not ready for a test drive, go in, take notes, and collect catalogs. Some dealerships have lounges with free wi-fi and snacks. Princeton North on Route 206 has Land Rover, Audi, Volkswagen, Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge, and Honda. Route 1 is home to Porsche, Mercedes, Lexus, BMW, Mini, Acura, Toyota, Volvo, and Lincoln-Mercury
- The Ivy Inn – Play pool, shoot darts, drink beer. FYI, a number of P.U. students hang out here
- Best Buy Magnolia Home Theater – Choose a room, sit down, experience the surround sound, and imagine the possibilities in your own man cave
- Le Chardon Tea Room – Grab some friends or family and head over for afternoon tea
- Spa Treatments – See this post for a listing of spas in the area
- Whole Earth Center – Check their calendar of events
- Whole Foods – Give them a call to sign up for a cooking class, roll up your sleeves, and fire up the skillet!
- Yoga or meditation – A perfect day to do this. There’s a listing in this post of places to go
- Princeton Garden Theatre – Catch an independent film
- Pins and Needles – Knit one, purl two… take a knitting class
- Salon – A good day to get a cut, color, or mani-pedi
- Shopping – If you don’t mind walking outside, the shops at Palmer Square, Hinds Plaza, Nassau Street, Witherspoon Street, Tulane Street, Spring Street, and Chambers Street await you
- Princeton Record Exchange – A great place for music lovers to hang out
- Laser Park – Grab some friends and play a game or two of laser tag
- Rockville Climbing Center – Relieve your boredom by climbing to new heights
- Old Barracks – A great living history museum
- Jazams/Learning Express – Toy stores that kids could be entertained in for an hour
- Roundtrip Dinky ride – It’s a quick 5 minute ride one way. You can stretch this out to about 20 minutes with wait times. Great for toddlers and pre-schoolers
- Chuck E. Cheese’s – You can spend hours here
- Home Depot, Lowe’s and Michael’s – Home Depot has a Kids Workshop the first Saturday of the month, Lowe’s has one every Saturday, and Michael’s has one almost daily
- Cotsen Children’s Library – This is a magical setting. They have a children’s program. Great for toddlers and pre-schoolers, plus programs for older kids
- Princeton Family YMCA – Go for a swim in the indoor pool if you’re a member
- Bounce U – MUCH better than jumping on the beds
- Giggleberry Fair – An indoor amusement park. Need I say more? (see video below)
- PJ’s Pancake House – Start the day with comfort food
- Arts Council of Princeton – There are exhibits, and if you’re lucky it’ll rain on a day they have a workshop, concert, or community event
- Princeton Public Library – Free wi-fi, books, computers, magazines, domestic and international newspapers, CDs, DVDs and more at your finger tips. The first and second levels have nice lounge ares for adults, and in winter the gas fireplaces are on. The third floor offers, clubs, classes, kid and teen hang-outs. There’s even Friday game afternoons in the Community Room. You can easily have hours of free entertainment here!
- Princeton University Art Muesum – Free admission to see works by Kadinsky, Manet, Monet, O’Keeffe, Picaso, Rembrandt, Stieglitz, and so many more fine artists
- AMC at Market Fair 10 – Rainy days are perfect for a movie
- Brunswick Zone – Get those bumpers ready for the younger kids, and dim the lights for cosmic bowling. Game on!
- McCarter Theater – Live concerts, family entertainment, dance, and theater for all ages
- Small World Coffee/Starbucks – You can sit here for hours people watching, chatting, working, etc. Free wi-fi in both coffee houses
- Sushi Palace – BYO all-you-can-eat, made to order sushi and cooked Japanese food. This could take a couple of hours to enjoy
- Historical Society of Princeton – Walk around inside and get some great info on Einstein and other important historical Princeton residents
- Image Arts – A portrait session is a fun way to spend a rainy day
- The Nassau Tennis Club – Indoor tennis will give you the opportunity to release the excess energy you have on a dreary day
- Princeton Fitness & Wellness Center – If you’re not a member, ask for a trial membership and swim a few laps, or just lounge pool side reading a good book. Check out the sauna and hot tub too. It’s also a great day to get in a good workout!
- Kendall Park Roller/Inline Skating Rink – Skate with family or friends
- Ice Land – Year round public skating
- Halo Pub, The Bent Spoon, Thomas Sweet– Sit down and enjoy a frozen treat no matter what time of year
- Drumthwacket – If you know the forecast, sign up in advance for a Wednesday tour of the governor’s mansion (closed in August).
- Morven – Stroll through this historical colonial home (closed Mondays and Tuesdays)
- Rockingham – Make a reservation for a tour (closed Mondays and Tuesdays)
- Community Park South – Have a picnic at the pavilion near the platform tennis courts. As long as it’s not windy or cool, you can pack treats from McCaffrey’s, Bon Appetit, Olives, Olsson’s Fine Foods, D’Angelo’s or take-out from any of the many restaurants in town, and dine al fresco