One of the best reasons to visit Lambertville, NJ is its close proximity to the Delaware River. The waterside town is about 90-minutes outside NYC, making it an easy day trip for North Jerseyans. The fun is that it truly does feel like an escape. You can literally walk across state lines into New Hope, PA via steel bridge or hunt for hidden gems at one of the antique-focused downtown boutiques.
In addition to stunning scenery (no matter the season), Lambertville is best known for its flea markets, cozy inns, historic bars and endlessly charming vibe. The free-spirited town also boasts one of the state’s best art scenes, with a concentration of local galleries, museums and working artists’ studios. For this reason, the city’s quaint and bucolic setting attracts creative and nature lovers alike.
While one could easily spend the entire weekend here, even a short amount of time will prove that there really is something exceptional about this overlooked border town. Need more convincing? Here are five reasons to visit Lambertville, NJ.
1. Shop at “the antique capital of New Jersey”
Lambertville has been nicknamed “the antique capital of New Jersey.” That’s because you’ll mainly find these types of stores dominating the town’s shopping center. This is the place to pick up second-hand steals and great collectible finds.
Popular outposts include The People’s Store Antiques Center and A Touch of the Past Antiques. There’s also Sojourner for everything bohemian and antique and estate jewelry purveyor, Park Place Antique Jewelry. Vintage enthusiasts will find a curated selection of sustainable finds at Bear Bone Vintage. Those looking for rare, hard-to-find titles should head to Panoply Books.
Pictured: The People’s Store Antiques Center
It’s only fitting that you also pay a visit to Lambertville’s Golden Nugget Flea Market. This flea market in particular is open year-round and has been in operation for over 50 years. Here you can find everything from furniture and home decor to healing crystals.
2. Explore the arts and culture
No trip to Lambertville is complete without stopping by some of the town’s many art galleries and museums. The area’s river views and Victorian homes have served as inspiration for many artists, both locally and around the world. Expect to see works from painters, sculptors, photographers and more.
Jim’s of Lambertville is one of the most popular galleries in the area. The 7,000-square-foot space is known for its collection of Pennsylvania Impressionist and Modernist paintings in addition to American and European art from the 18th to the 20th centuries.
If you’re feeling adventurous, there’s also an opportunity for a photo-op at the famous abandoned (and graffitied) train car. A way to sort of live out your “Into the Wild” fantasy.
Pictured: Abandonded train car covered in graffiti
Lambertville is also well-known for its performance venues and playhouses. Theater aficionados can visit Music Mountain Theatre which hosts numerous Mainstage productions throughout the year. Some shows on the 2021 schedule include “American” and “Elf the Musical” to name a few.
3. Feast on the local dining scene
There are tons of ways to take in the joys of Lambertville. One of our personal favorites? Feasting on the local dining scene. There’s Lambertville Station, an institution of almost 40 years. Here, you can grab a seat outside on the canal or inside one of the cozy dining rooms. Nearby, sip on craft cocktails at Lambertville House, a boutique inn and restaurant.
Pictured: Lambertville Station in NJ
For farm-to-table fare, D’floret is the place to be. During warmer months, the garden patio makes for a serene setting for either brunch or dinner. Inside, local art adorns the walls against crisp white tablecloths. The menu at D’floret centers around elevated dishes that use locally sourced ingredients.
If you need a quick hit—or a jolt of energy in between shopping trips—Union Coffee is your go-to. Liv and Charlies or Metá Café are also great for breakfast or a midday pick-me-up. Think homemade breakfast sandwiches, pancakes, omelets, soups, salads and sandwiches.
4. Take a hike, jog or leisurely stroll along the river
We can brag all we want about the picturesque setting that is Lambertville, but you’ll just have to see this stunning landscape for yourself. Like most places nestled close to a river, the town is a true reflection of the seasons. Think golden hues in the fall and blooming greenery by spring.
Pictured: The Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park Trail
The nearby Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park Trail is one that visitors prefer for a leisurely stroll. The multi-use path spans 70 miles and crosses several NJ counties. If you want to strap on a pair of hiking boots, there are opportunities for that too, including routes for running, mountain biking and horseback riding. In the summer, goers can kayak or canoe along the Deleware River. A free launch site is located in Lambertville.
5. Stop by the historical sites
After your hike, might we suggest marveling at some historical sites? There are two prominent fixtures in Lambertville—the Holcombe-Jimison Farmstead Museum and the James Wilson Marshall House. Marshall gained fame when he discovered gold in California in 1846. His childhood home in New Jersey now belongs to the Lambertville Historical Society. Visitors can see room recreations, period furniture, exhibitions, photography and more memorabilia from Lambertville’s industrial days during a tour.
At the Holcombe-Jimison Farmstead Museum, they’ve managed to preserve much of the area’s agricultural heritage. The property, albeit restored, features a general store, post office, dentist’s office, blacksmith shop and more. There are also exhibits of agricultural equipment and domestic artifacts from throughout the 18th into the 20th centuries. Do keep in mind that this historical site closes seasonally, typically from November to May.
Thinking of exploring NJ with a visit to Lambertville? Let us know in the comments.
Main image by Chris Engel