The Trenton Blog

12 Things to Do in Downtown Trenton

July 19, 2022
Downtown Trenton

As the heart of New Jersey’s state capital, downtown Trenton is full of cultural, recreational and historical attractions as well as government buildings. You’ll find art galleries, state and local libraries and museums, plus a wonderful planetarium, theaters, public spaces, shops and restaurants — all the things you would expect to find in a capital city. If you dig a little deeper, you will quickly discover downtown Trenton’s unique attractions and hidden gems as well.

A great place to start is by taking a stroll around our very walkable downtown district, where you’ll see charming brownstones, beautiful houses of worship, stately buildings with classical architectural details, the winding Assunpink Creek and the historical iron Jackson Street pedestrian bridge connecting Mill Hill Park to one of the city’s most coveted neighborhoods.

Brownstones in Downtown Trenton, NJ

Our Place in History

If you are a history buff, you probably already know that Trenton is home to a number of significant Revolutionary War sites. It was here on the morning of December 26, 1776, that General George Washington’s army surprised and defeated mercenary Hessian troops after crossing the icy Delaware River. The Battle of Trenton proved to be a pivotal event that restored the morale of Washington’s army. A few days later, his troops prevailed once again at the Battle of Princeton. For a brief time after the war, in 1784, Trenton served as the U.S. capital.

Today, New Jersey’s capital welcomes visitors year-round to such historic attractions as the Old Barracks Museum, the Douglass House, the Trenton Battle Monument, the William Trent House Museum, and the “Winds of Change.” They can all be found right in the downtown district, along with so many more fascinating things to see and do.

Old Barracks Museum - Trenton NJ

Our Vibrant Community 

There are events popping up all around town, from concerts and museum exhibitions, to walking tours and live theater. And there is always something amazing to eat. No visit to downtown Trenton is complete without a stop at one of our many restaurants, featuring diverse cuisines to appeal to every taste. 

Here are some of the top attractions and things to do in downtown Trenton:

  1. Grab a Bite — From barbecue to soul, vegetarian to tex-mex, Italian to Jamaican, you’ll find a restaurant ready to meet your next craving. See the restaurant directory.
  2. Take a Walk — Downtown Trenton is easy to navigate with new sites around every corner.
  3. Visit Historic Sites — Discover what history enthusiasts and architecture buffs already know. Downtown Trenton is full of treasures.
  4. Gaze at the Stars — The planetarium at the New Jersey State Museum boasts an ultra-high-resolution 8K projection system, reclining seats and fascinating programming.
  5. Volunteer Your Time — Giving back is one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself as well as your community. With so many nonprofit organizations in downtown Trenton, you’re sure to find one whose mission matches your passion.
  6. Take a Class Mercer County Community College offers a number of continuing education classes at its James Kerney Campus on North Broad and West Hanover streets.
  7. Discover a Classic Classics Used Books store is a rare find, a cozy haven for book lovers with shelves and shelves of literary treasures.
  8. Make Some Art Artworks Trenton offers workshops for adults and youth in addition to hosting art exhibits. Open to professional and amateur artists, at any level of experience.
  9. See a Show — The Passage Theatre at the Mill Hill Playhouse was founded in 1985 to bring socially relevant plays and arts programming to the community.
  10. Take a Deep Dive — The Trentoniana Room at the Trenton Free Public Library contains a wealth of information on local history and genealogy. Open by appointment. 
  11. Tour the State House — Although portions of the State House, built in 1792, are currently being renovated, there is still much to see. Reservations are required. Call 609-847-3150. 
  12. Catch a train — But come back soon! The Trenton Transit Center is central New Jersey’s largest train station, serving NJ Transit, SEPTA and Amtrak rail lines.

What makes downtown Trenton so special is its active community. Local businesses and organizations are continually hosting new events and smaller-scale happenings. Sign up for our eblasts and follow TDA on Facebook and Instagram for updates and events listings.

NJ State Museum and Planetarium Trenton NJ


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