Navigating around Princeton—both on campus and in the surrounding communities—is an important part of the Princeton student experience.
First, some caveats: I spend almost all of my time here on campus and in neighborhoods within walking distance. This isn’t the case for some students, especially student athletes who travel frequently for competition. When I leave campus, I usually do so by car or train — I usually only leave campus by plane during the breaks, but it’s an extremely common experience for students to fly during the normal year.
Like on most college campuses, people walk here. A lot. Bring your best walking shoes — you won’t be wearing high heels on your hike to class! Campus isn’t that big, so most students get around solely on foot. A substantial number of students do have bikes and scooters (both the traditional kind and the electric ones— I don’t quite understand these). There are bike racks near most dorm buildings, and scooters have to be stored in your room in order to keep the campus as accessible as possible. Don’t think you need these things, though — unless you’re a resident of Forbes College or a student-athlete frequently traveling south on campus to Jadwin Gym, you’ll easily be able to make it everywhere on foot, on time. If you ever don’t feel like walking, Tiger Transit (the campus shuttle system) can take you to different hot spots on campus.
Tiger Transit also runs shuttles off campus for students. The most commonly utilized service they offer is the Weekend Shopper, which loops students from campus to a variety of different shopping centers in the larger Princeton area. Highlights include Trader Joe’s and Target, two of my favorite suburban spots. Something important to note is that students aren’t allowed to keep cars on campus, meaning that you’ll have to find another way to get around. In addition to University services like Tiger Transit, students frequently use the Enterprise Car-Share service offered on campus (easy to use, and pretty cheap!) or use a ride-share app.
If you’re looking to get out further into the world, your ticket is the ‘Dinky.’ The ‘Dinky’ is a train station on campus that provides shuttle service to the larger Princeton Junction station. From Princeton Junction Station, you can mainly catch NJ Transit trains and Amtrak trains. Trains branching off from these can take you to New York City, Philadelphia or even Newark or Philadelphia airports, which is a passport to anywhere in the world!
Princeton’s unique residential culture means getting around can seem daunting for incoming students. The reality is that it’s pretty easy — you’ll find your way around in no time at all!