Shopping in Princeton is an experience you haven’t had anywhere else because Princeton is a wonderful one-of-a-kind shopping town! Plan to spend the day with girlfriends, and give yourself plenty of time to explore our two shopping districts, both of which developed in the 1800s as Princeton began to grow. The South Shopping District grew up around Route 6/34, which was once the main route from Chicago to Princeton for horses and carriages (and later, automobiles). The arrival of the railroad fostered growth on the North end of town.
There are no national chain stores, none of the market-driven sales and promotions that you’ve seen in the malls again and again. Every little store in Princeton is unique, and in most of them, it’s the owners themselves who will be right there serving you. Ask them about the history of their stores; one of our gift boutiques still has the original drawers, racks and rolling ladders that were part of the hardware store that originally occupied the space.
Be sure to take a quick break from shopping to look up & down; in many of these shops, you’ll notice the beautiful weathered hardwood floors and the unique decorative ceilings that were standard when these buildings went up in the 19th and early 20th century.
Many of our shop owners can boast that their stores are filled with items that are Made in America, and more specifically, right here in Bureau County. Local artisans, from potters to woodworkers to jewelry artists, sell their handmade products in local stores. You can even arrange for a lesson to make your own bowl or vase on a potter’s wheel.
If you’re looking for the perfect gift that nobody else will be giving, you’re in the right place. Our shops boast a remarkable and unusual collection of kitchen items and linens, refrigerator magnets, pet accessories, scarves, unique clothing, scrapbooking materials, jewelry, home decorating items, perfumes, garden accessories, handmade candies and specialty popcorns, candles, great wines and liqueurs, stationery, greeting cards, teas, coffees… well, you get the idea!
Antique shops? High-end consignment stores? China replacement on your list? We have a variety of choices for your shopping pleasure. And every year, more new shops open, so your Princeton shopping experience never gets old.
On summer Saturdays, local farmers and bakers are on hand at the Farmers Market on South Main Street next to our historic Apollo Theater. You can head back home with fresh produce, locally baked goods, and relishes, jams and jellies to remember your trip for Princeton for days to come.
Next time you’re thinking about shopping at the same old mall with the same old stores, give yourself a break, hop in the car with some girlfriends, and head out to Princeton, Illinois. We’re waiting for you!