What's there to do in Somerset, NJ?

I’m getting to visit the fine city of Somerset, NJ March 10-12. I’ll have a few hours Weds. and Thurs. night to look around so I’m looking for things to do. As much as I’d love to run into Manhattan for a while, I’m limited to about 4 hours each night. So any ideas on fun things to pass the time? Where’s cool places to eat dinner or grab a drink?

In Somerset, there’s a pretty nice Walgreens. Oh, and a Burger King, if I’m not mistaken. Luckily, it’s about 15 minutes south of New Brunswick, and about 20 minutes north of Princeton. College towns, both. New Brunswick is urban and has options from student dives to hyper-expensive places catering to executives. Princeton tends more towards the stuffed-shirt townies and the equally stuffed-shirt students. It is awfully quaint though, with nice shops and some good restaurants.

Since I know N.B. better, I’d recommend Harvest Moon on George St., or if you want to blow a serious wad of cash, head over to the frog and the peach on Hiram Square or Nova Terra on Albany St. Head up Easton Ave for the college dives, or find Clydez on Paterson for some excellent Martinis.

Hopefully, someone will come with more specific suggestions for Princeton, but just walking around Nassau St. and Palmer Square is a good way to kill a few hours.

I wouldn’t really recommend Princeton for dining. It’s expensive, and very overrated. Some exceptions are: the Blue Point Grill (seafood) on Nassau Street. You will have to wait for a table, though, and it’s a bit noisy. The chef there is Brian. He’s a good guy, and a great chef. There is also the Masala Grill (Indian) on Chambers Street. Some of the other more popular (but I feel overrated) are L’Haires (french) on Witherspoon. The Ferry House (French/American) on Witherspoon is good, but not all that special.

Princeton does have some beautiful architecture on the campus, so maybe you would like to take a gargoyle tour. http://www.princeton.edu/Mapfiles/gargoyles/default.html

I can tell you more about the campus if you want to hear about it.

I like New Brunswick. I went to Rutgers as an undergraduate, and I still like to hang out in the grungy basement bars when I go out with friends. I usually go to the Court Tavern on Paterson. It has a great CD collection. It is around the corner from upscale (and always crowded) Clydez martini bar. For dinner, and if you like Ethiopian food, try Makeda on George street.

Also in that neck of the woods is my alma mater, The College of New Jersey. There is absolutely nothing to do or see there, but, you know, it might be a thrill for you to say you were at jeevwoman’s old school. (Of course, it had a different name then, but I am sure I am still famous . . .) :smiley:

Princeton is nice if the weather cooperates; it’s a pretty walk around campus.

If all I had were a couple of hours, I’d dine in New Brunswick. If I had 3-4 hours, I’d head over to Princeton and check out the Princeton Record Exchange, which is one of those wonderfully independent music outlets – the kind that’s been getting scarcer over the past decade. Wear comfy shoes.

Thanks for all the suggestions so far. Coming from North Texas, I’m looking forward to some really good seafood so maybe the Blue Point Grill is the place to go. Would a quick trip to the coast be worth it for dinner? Depending on weather, walking around would be interesting but I’m afraid it’s going to be dark by the time I can get out.

Somerset, NJ is a portion of the much larger township of Franklin. There is really no particular town center. The New Brunswick and Princeton suggestions are good ones. I personally find Princeton nicer to just walk around in; it’s a beautiful classic campus.

For dining, if you can find your way to Bridgewater Mall (west on Rte 22) there is a relatively newly-opened McCormick & Schmick’s seafood restaurant there. They have fantastic food (very fresh fish), and a friendly bar. Don’t be put off by its being attached to a shopping center. Your hotel should be able to tell you how to get there. Of course, if you don’t have a car you will be SOL. Regardless of where you’re staying there will be virtually nothing to do within walking distance.

masafer, I read that and cracked up - you are so right…that’s about all there is to it. OTOH, there’s Bridgewater Commons not to far away for that “Jersey Mall” experience.

Also, what about Tumulty’s in New Brunswick? I used to love that place.

Due to your time constraints, I wouldn’t bother going to down the shore. (By the way: There is no “coast” in NJ. There is only “down the shore”. really!) As far as I’m concered, the nicest beach towns are down by Cape May and that’s a hike. Unless… you wanted to take a 40 minute ride to Asbury Park. The musical home of Bruce Springsteen. However, over the past 10 years or so it’s become a kind of creepy haunted beach town.
Click on “Abandoned”

For dinner, I think the the Blue Pont Grill is a good choice. Try the New Zealand Baramundi if they have it. YUM! Or, if you go the NB way, maybe check out the Old Bay. Cajun/Creole. Some nice seafood there, too. See http://www.newbrunswick.com/

Yep, Tumulty’s is still there. Good pub food, cheap-ish beer and still as dark and dingy as ever. Plus, if you ask, they’ll turn on the trains for you. One of my faves.

Don’t forget about that heart of iceberg lettuce salad!
(i like the trains, too.)