Frenchtown, New Jersey is a picturesque town that makes for a great stop on road trips between NYC/NJ and parts of Pennsylvania. Its name comes from the many french families that followed Paul Henri Mallet-Prevost, a Swiss refugee from the French Revolution, who moved there in 1794.
Located on the Delaware River, Frenchtown is tiny – as in, you can cover the downtown area in about one minute. But it’s super cute, and the perfect pit stop for lunch and a little shopping.
It’s easy to get there: …if you have a car. But if you don’t, you can take the Trans-Bridge Lines bus from NYC.
It’s not as far away as you think: Frenchtown is an hour and a half drive from both NYC and Philadelphia.
Here are some things to do in Frenchtown, NJ.
There are quite a few spots to grab a bite in Frenchtown. Frenchtown Cafe (44 Bridge Street) is a friendly diner that offers all the classics, from eggs to french toast and burgers, with their own delicious twists. Bonus points: they have gluten free bread. Get there early if you want breakfast, and prepare for a crowd: it’s a local favorite.
The Bridge Cafe (8 Bridge Street) is right next to the bridge coming from Pennsylvania, and overlooks the Delaware River. It’s an ideal spot for dining on a sunny day if you can grab a table outside!
The Bridge Cafe was originally Frenchtown’s train depot and the walls and ceiling are still composed of the original pressed tin. If you’re dining inside, enjoy soup, salad and baked goods on the old waiting platform.
Lovin Oven (62A Trenton Ave) is another dining gem of Frenchtown. If you’re seeking a meal made with fresh, healthy ingredients, I loved that they offer numerous creative salads, gluten free options and dishes made with grass fed, hormone-free beef.
Frenchtown is a must-visit if you have gifts you need to buy. There are so many cute little shops filled with home decor items, antiques, jewelry, fashion and other trinkets.
My favorite was The Book Garden (28 Bridge Street), a community bookstore located in an 1860s Victorian home. In the front room, you’ll find more contemporary adult fiction, but in the back they have a nice selection of classic children’s stories. Head to the kitchen for older, harder-to-find and collectible books. Shopping in the kitchen? Fun!
Jasper & June (24 Bridge Street) is another local boutique, but this one is all about giving back. Each item sold helps make a difference, whether it’s using recycled and sustainable materials, creating jobs for women in developing countries or directly donating a percentage to charity. The buyer here has some great taste becuase I wanted to buy, like, everything in the store. From handmade greeting cards to soft men’s tees, stylish scarves and chic throw pillows, I could have completed my Christmas shopping for the next five years in one stop!
Across the street you’ll find Left Bank Home (19 & 33 Bridge Street), a decor and furniture shop filled with Parisian-inspired items. We are in FRENCHtown, after all! It’s a great shopping spot to find a hostess gift if you’re en route to visit friends.
Weather permitting, one of the more active things to do in Frenchtown is rent a bike from Cycle Corner (52 French Street) and cycle along the Delaware River. Or, you can simply take a scenic stroll to burn off lunch before you hop back in the car!
Lastly, if you’re entirely charmed by Frenchtown and decide you never want to leave, or if you are quite tired from that bike ride, spend the night. There are plenty of charming inns and B&Bs to check into, including The National Hotel, which is steps away from all of the above.