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Campus Attractions

Princeton welcomes visitors to its historic campus. Each year, the University hosts close to 790,000 visitors for major events and thousands more who are interested in the many educational, scholarly, cultural, recreational and athletic activities that enrich the campus and its community.

Princeton does not approve campus use that interferes with its educational mission, and some activities are limited or restricted. Several University offices manage public use of the campus, including those listed below.

Community Services

Office of Conference and Event Services. The Office of Conference and Event Services coordinates visits to campus by outside organizations for meetings, workshops and educational institutes, as well as sports camps and other athletic activities, each year hosting more than 43,000 people on campus.

Princeton University Services. Princeton University Services is a grouping of service units designed to provide and manage facilities, services and programs that support the University’s educational mission and enhance the quality of life on campus. Among the service units, those that interact with the public most often are: Transportation and Parking Services, Conference and Event Services, and Campus Venue Services.

Office of Community and Regional Affairs. In conjunction with the Office of Conference and Event Services, the Office of Community and Regional Affairs coordinates the use of University facilities by community, charitable and governmental organizations. It also administers the Community Auditing Program and the Program in Continuing Education, both of which are academic programs available to the greater community, Princeton University staff and area teachers.

Community Auditing Program (CAP). Under the auspices of Community and Regional Affairs, CAP enables members of the community to register to audit, or sit in on, lecture classes at the University for $175 per class. On average, 190 undergraduate classes are available each semester for auditing. Approximately 700 area residents participate in the CAP program each semester. No credit or certification is given for CAP classes. However, certified teachers currently working in New Jersey may obtain written certification for classes they have audited.

Program in Continuing Education. Within the Program in Continuing Education, administered by Community and Regional Affairs, individuals become officially registered students, pay full tuition for each course they take, and receive a transcript and credit that may be used toward a degree at another institution of higher learning. Teachers who are certified to teach in New Jersey may participate in this program at a greatly reduced fee.

Media Relations. Members of the media are permitted on campus through coordination with the media relations staff in the Office of Communications. Still and broadcast photographers — for projects including commercial use, documentaries, films and news — must seek and gain permission before working on campus. Photography for personal use is permitted on campus, as long as photographers gain permission from all people who appear identifiably in the photograph.

Tours. Student representatives from the Orange Key Guide Service offer tours of the historic main campus seven days a week throughout the year. Tours of the Engineering Quadrangle, or EQuad, are conducted by the School of Engineering and Applied Science weekdays during the academic year when classes are in session and in the summer during July and August. Tours of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory are offered by special arrangement.

Information. The Daily Princetonian, an independent student newspaper published weekdays when the University is in session, is a good source of events information. Also, calendars, employment opportunities and a wide range of up-to-date information about the University are available on the Web at www.princeton.edu. The Princeton Weekly Bulletin, a weekly email newsletter produced by the Office of Communications, highlights recent news and coming events.

Open Facilities

The Princeton University Art Museum presents highlights of its global collections, 12 to 15 exhibitions annually, and public lectures, symposia and family programs, without charge.

The Lewis Center for the Arts at 185 Nassau St. houses the programs in creative writing, dance, theater and visual arts, which host art exhibits, theatrical productions, dance performances, and poetry and fiction readings.

Princeton athletic events are open to the public, some at no charge, with season tickets available for basketball, football and ice hockey. Athletic recreational facilities are often available to residents of the community for modest fees.

Lake Carnegie, which is owned by the University and serves as its intercollegiate rowing facility, is a popular community recreation area, providing a site for rowing, fishing, canoeing and ice skating.

The Princeton University Chapel, which seats nearly 2,000 people, offers religious services, musical performances and other special events.

Firestone Library offers access privileges (which do not include borrowing) to the public for a fee. The public is welcome, without charge, to visit the Cotsen Children’s Library, at the main entrance to the library. Also open to the public is the exhibition gallery on the first floor. Researchers are welcome in Dulles Reading Room at Firestone and at the Forrestal Reading Room at the Mudd Library after registering with a photo identification. 

The Peyton Hall 12-inch telescope offers viewing of the night sky monthly, depending on conditions.

The Frist Campus Center is a world-class facility that offers opportunities for social and academic interactions, events and programs. The general public uses the center’s Welcome Desk, the Ticket Office, the Food Gallery, Café Vivian, convenience store and Witherspoon’s ice cream/coffee shop.

The McCarter Theatre Center — home of the Matthews Theatre and the Berlind Theatre — offers drama, music, dance, film and other events ranging from acrobatics to mime. It also hosts the major productions of the programs in theater and dance and the annual show presented by student members of the Triangle Club.

Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall hosts musical, dramatic and other performances, most of them open to the public and most for a fee.

Taplin Auditorium in Fine Hall hosts campus musical groups throughout the year, which are sponsored by the Department of Music.

Theatre Intime, a student-run facility, schedules dramatic productions, dance performances and comedy shows throughout the academic year at Hamilton-Murray Theater. This theater is used in the summer by Princeton Summer Theater for highly acclaimed productions, as well as special shows for children.

Landmarks

  • Nassau Hall and Maclean House were completed in 1756 and are the oldest and only original buildings on campus.
  • FitzRandolph Gate, the ornate entrance to Prince-ton’s campus from Nassau Street, was erected in 1905 and restored for its 100th birthday in 2005.
  • The Class of 1879 Tigers have guarded the entrance to Nassau Hall since 1911, when they replaced the Class of 1879 Lions (which are now on display in Wilson College).
  • Alexander Hall, completed in 1894, houses Richardson Auditorium, the premier performance venue on campus.
  • Maclean House, constructed in 1756, was originally the residence of the president of the University. In 1968, when it became the home of the Alumni Council, it was renamed in honor of John Maclean Jr., founder of the Alumni Association.
  • The Stamp Act Sycamores in front of MacLean House, the oldest trees on campus, were planted (according to legend) in commemoration of the Stamp Act’s repeal in March 1766.
  • Prospect House, which for 90 years served as the home of the University president, now serves as the faculty and staff dining facility.
  • Prospect Garden, which lies behind Prospect House, was designed by Ellen Wilson, who lived there with her husband, Woodrow Wilson 1879, while he served as University president.
  • Cleveland Tower, which flanks the main entrance of the Graduate College, was erected as a memorial to President Grover Cleveland, who was a trustee of the University and served as chair of the trustees’ graduate school committee.
  • Lake Carnegie, a gift of Andrew Carnegie to create an intercollegiate rowing facility, was created in 1906 by the construction of a dam at Kingston that impounded the confluence of the Stony Brook and the Millstone rivers.