Trenton is the capital of New Jersey and is located in Mercer County on the Delaware River.
The city was once the capital of the United States, and today it is a historic city proud of its past, with a thriving present and a bright future.
You can reach Trenton from New York and Philadelphia via the New Jersey Turnpike, Interstate 295, and US Route 1.
Trenton-Mercer Airport also serves the city, which offers flights to Philadelphia and other major cities.
Thanks to its historical background and modern attractions, Trenton offers an exciting mixture of things to do for visitors.
In addition, the city boasts a thriving culture and an array of hidden gems you must explore on your trip.
If you're looking for things to do in Trenton, NJ, here are 17 of the best options:
Visit the New Jersey State House
Built in 1792, the New Jersey State House is one of the oldest state capitol buildings in the country.
The building has been home to the state legislature since its inception and is a National Historic Landmark.
Visitors can tour around and inside the State House and see the Assembly Chambers, Senate Chambers, Supreme Court Chamber, and Governor's Office.
The painted ceiling room is an artistic and elegant interpretation of the state's history, with intricate illustrations highlighting the city's timeline.
Take a Walk through the Old Barracks Museum
The Old Barracks Museum is another one of Trenton's historical sites worth visiting.
Built in 1758, the Barracks was a military garrison during the Franco-Indian War, the American Revolution, and the War of 1812.
The museum offers guided tours that tell the stories of the soldiers who once occupied the Barracks.
Visitors can also explore the museum on their own and learn about the history of Trenton through the interactive exhibits.
Learn about Art at the New Jersey State Museum
The New Jersey State Museum is one of the largest museums in the state and is home to an impressive collection of art, history, and science exhibits.
The museum is located in downtown Trenton and is a great place to learn about the state's rich history.
The museum offers a variety of permanent and temporary exhibitions, as well as educational programs and events.
Visitors can also explore the museum's planetarium or walk through the beautiful sculpture garden.
Visit the Trenton Battle Monument
The Trenton Battle Monument is a towering obelisk commemorating the Battle of Trenton, fought on December 26, 1776.
The monument is located in downtown Trenton and is one of the city's most popular tourist attractions.
Visitors can join a free guided tour of the monument and learn about the battle that helped turn the tide of the American Revolution.
The Trenton Battle Monument is also a great place to get a bird's-eye view of the city.
Check Out the Trent House Museum
Trenton has a rich history that the city is proud of.
The Trent House Museum is a great way to learn about the city's past while admiring the beautiful colonial architecture.
Located in downtown Trenton, the Trent House Museum was once the lovely residence of fur trader and merchant William Trent.
While they used it for different purposes over the years, the site has been restored to look as it did during the Trent family's ownership.
The United States Congress recently recognized the museum as a national landmark.
It offers tours, educational programs, and special events throughout the year.
See a Show at the Patriots Theater at the War Memorial
The Patriots Theater at the War Memorial is one of Trenton's most popular cultural destinations.
The theater is home to various performing arts organizations, including the Trenton Symphony Orchestra, the Opera Festival of New Jersey, and the Trenton Ballet.
The theater also hosts a variety of concerts, shows, and events throughout the year.
Visitors can purchase tickets for performances or join a guided tour of the historic theater.
Stroll through the Mill Hill Historic District
The Mill Hill Historic District is one of Trenton's most popular tourist attractions.
This historic neighborhood is home to various shops, restaurants, and businesses.
Visitors can stroll through the district and enjoy the sights and sounds of this vibrant community.
One of the most popular attractions in the Mill Hill Historic District is the Old Barracks Museum.
The museum is located in an 18th-century building and chronicles the history of the Trenton area.
Visitors can purchase tickets to the museum or join a free self-guided tour.
Go for a Walk at Cadwalader Park
Cadwalader Park is one of Trenton's most popular parks.
It's home to various recreational facilities, including a walking trail, tennis courts, and a playground.
The park is located on the banks of the Delaware River and offers stunning views of the city.
There are tons of other things that you can do at Cadwalader Park.
You can stroll around the park, grill some meat at the picnic pavilion, or relax on the riverfront.
Visitors can also explore the park's nature trails, picnic areas, and basketball courts.
Cadwalader Park is the prime destination to spend a day with family or friends.
Cadwalader Park has several historical points of interest, including the Ellarslie Museum and the Civil War Memorial.
You can also find various restaurants and shops near the park if you feel hungry.
Watch a Trenton Thunder Baseball Game
The Trenton Thunder are the city's minor league baseball team affiliated with the New York Yankees.
The Thunder plays their home games at the Trenton Thunder Ballpark, located on the banks of the Delaware River.
The Trenton Thunder is a great way to experience America's pastime while enjoying the city's riverfront setting.
It has a great outdoor sports atmosphere that will make you feel like you're at a major league game.
The Thunder Ballpark is a state-of-the-art facility that offers a variety of amenities, including concessions, souvenir shops, and a playground.
Visitors can also tour the ballpark or participate in a baseball clinic during the off-season.
The Trenton Thunder offers a fun and affordable experience for families and fans of all ages.
Visitors can purchase tickets for a Thunder game or stroll around the ballpark.
Visit the Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie Mansion
The Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie Mansion is a gorgeous historic house museum that chronicles the history of Trenton.
The Italian-inspired mansion is located in Cadwalader Park and features a variety of exhibits, including a collection of art pieces and several galleries.
Most of the Trenton City Museum collections are located in the Ellarslie Mansion, but there is also an outdoor sculpture garden.
You can take a stroll outside or an unguided tour inside the mansion.
If you want to learn more about each piece or the place, you can ask the friendly staff.
Check Out Trenton’s World War II Memorial
Trenton’s World War II Memorial is one of the more underrated spots in the city that not many people go to.
This makes it a great place to spend some quiet time, but you’d be hard-pressed to not do some learning and immersion as you see the sprawling art and architecture here.
With murals, statues, and beautiful concrete architecture that features a fountain, this is a fantastic place for photos and learning.
There’s even a large section here where you can read about the timeline of events that transpired in World War II, focusing on the European-African campaigns.
The World War II Memorial in Trenton can be located on West State Street, which is extremely close to the Old Barracks Museum.
Take a Breather Mill Hill Park
Mill Hill Park is another great open space in Trenton where you can do some relaxation, found along East Front Street.
It’s famous for having a lot of greenery, making it great for strolling or picnics—there are also highly anticipated events here such as music concerts.
The city’s farmers market also happens here during certain times of the month, so be sure to check the schedule if you want to do some shopping.
Besides that, Mill Hill Park is great for walking your dogs as well or letting your kids run around and wick off their pent up energy.
If you have some downtime during your trip, this park is easily accessible and close to a lot of major attractions in Trenton.
Try Guatemalan Food at Guatepan Bakery
It’s not everyday that you’ll get a chance to buy Guatemalan food, but thankfully, New Jersey is famous for being the home of Guatepan Bakery.
A renowned local chain that offers a ton of pastries plus breakfast, this is a great way to kickstart your morning in Trenton.
Their Guatemalan breakfasts are hearty, filling, and a great change of pace from the usual ones you’ve been used to in the country.
They have an abundance of pastries that you may not have ever heard of before, so be sure to consult with their staff on what works for your palate.
Located along Hamilton Avenue, Guatepan Bakery is a perfect place for cultural immersion while treating yourself to good food.
Do Some Tricks at Freedom Park Skate Park
If you’re an avid skateboard fan, Trenton’s Freedom Park Skate Park is a great way to spice up your itinerary.
Featuring large ramps, rails and a neat flow bowl section, Freedom Park Skate Park is a must-try if you're already traveling with your skateboard.
Lots of locals go here, making it a great place to meet new people and gain friends who love the sport as well.
Because it’s located within the much larger Freedom Park, there are plenty of other things for non-skate enthusiasts here as well.
You can access Freedom Park Skate Park along South Clinton Avenue.
Taste Costa Rican Cuisine at Pura Vida Lounge
Another underrated cultural icon in Trenton is Pura Vida Lounge, a restaurant specializing in authentic Costa Rican food.
Staying loyal to its roots, Pura Vida Lounge has an amazing, Costa Rica ambiance that features festive Spanish music that gives it a certain charm for customers.
Of course, it’s the food here that keeps people coming back, so be sure to plan ahead and go here with an empty stomach.
Some of their bestsellers here are their empanada and meaty soups that’ll surely stuff you for lunch or dinner.
There’s also alcohol available here, making it a great all-rounder for the adults.
Pura Vida Lounge is one of the most famous restaurants in Trenton, so give it a visit along Cummings Avenue.
Other Things to Do Nearby
Visit the Grounds for Sculpture
The Grounds for Sculpture is a 42-acre public park that features over 270 sculptures from renowned artists around the world.
The park is located in Hamilton, New Jersey, eight minutes from Trenton.
It's a great place to see some of the world's best art.
Visitors can explore the park's gardens, ponds, and woodlands or take a guided tour of the sculptures.
The Grounds for Sculpture lets you enjoy the outdoors and appreciate art.
Visitors can also enjoy unique moonlight tours around the grounds and take various sculpture classes on the grounds.
See an Event at CURE Insurance Arena
The CURE Insurance Arena is one of Trenton's premier event venues.
Formerly the Sun National Bank Center, the arena hosts various sporting events, concerts, and shows.
The CURE Insurance Arena is one of the best places in Trenton to see some of the world's best performers and athletes.
Visitors can purchase tickets to see an event or take a guided or unguided tour of the facility.
The Insurance Arena is the prime destination to experience some of the best entertainment Trenton offers.
Some iconic performers have played at the center, including Bruce Springsteen, Cher, Carrie Underwood, Bon Jovi, and the Rolling Stones.
Shop at Quakerbridge Mall
Quakerbridge Mall is one of New Jersey's largest shopping malls located just outside of Trenton.
It's in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, a 23-minute drive from downtown Trenton.
The mall features over 170 stores, including Macy's, Nordstrom, and Bloomingdale's.
Visitors can find everything they need at Quakerbridge Mall, from clothes to cosmetics.
The mall also features a food court and a variety of restaurants.
Quakerbridge Mall is a prime destination for shopping, dining, and relaxing.
You can also buy unique items from the several souvenir shops inside the mall.
Embrace Nature at the Mercer County Park
Mercer County Park is a 4,000-acre park with various recreational facilities, including hiking trails, picnic areas, and a golf course.
The park is located in Princeton Junction, New Jersey.
It's the perfect destination to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
Whether you're going with friends or family, Mercer County Park is a great place to enjoy the great outdoors.
You can also bring your dog to the park if you bring a leash and follow the park's rules and regulations.
Visitors can also enjoy the park's nature center, which offers a variety of educational programs.
Whether you're looking to go trekking, have a picnic with your family, or play a round or two of golf, there are tons of things you can do at Mercer County Park.
Browse the Trenton Farmers Market
The Trenton Farmers Market is one of the oldest farmers' markets in the country.
It has operated since 1792.
The market is located in Hamilton, New Jersey, six minutes from Trenton.
It's the perfect place to find unique gifts or try some delicious food.
Play a Round of Golf at Mercer County Park Golf Course
The Mercer County Park Golf Course is located in West Windsor, New Jersey, and is one of the best places to play golf in the Trenton area.
The Mercer County Park Golf Course is an 18-hole golf course open to the public.
The Mercer County Park Golf Course is well-maintained and challenging.
The golf course features a beautiful view of Mercer County Park.
Visitors can also take lessons, rent clubs, and buy golf balls at the pro shop.
Visitors can also enjoy the course's clubhouse, which offers a variety of amenities.
The Mercer County Park Golf Course is the best place to spend a day enjoying the outdoors.
Whether a pro or a novice golfer, you'll have fun at Mercer County Park Golf Course.
Cross the Pennsylvania Bridge
Finally, one of the best things to do when in Trenton is walk or drive across the Pennsylvania Bridge.
The bridge connects New Jersey and Pennsylvania and is one of the busiest bridges in the country.
The Pennsylvania Bridge features a beautiful industrial aesthetic.
The bridge is made of metal and is over a mile long.
The best time to walk or drive across the bridge is at night when the city lights are shining bright.
The bridge is a great spot to watch the sunset and take excellent photos.
You can also get a great view of the bridge and the city from one of the many nearby parks.
Trenton is a historic city with a lot to offer visitors.
From historical landmarks to museums to outdoor sporting activities, there's something for everyone in Trenton.
So, what are you waiting for?
Start planning your trip to Trenton today!