As the temperature drops, weekends are slowly becoming more difficult to fill. What is there to do at the beach when there’s snow on the ground? Who wants to go for a leisurely hike when it’s 16 degrees outside?
Luckily for locals, New Brunswick has tons of indoor attractions that are perfect for a day out, even if the weather isn’t cooperating.
Check out what you can do in New Brunswick this winter without even taking your parka out of the car.
1. Laugh it up at the Stress Factory Comedy Club
Central Jerseyans can hear some of today’s most popular comedians up close and personal without ever having to get on a train to New York City at New Brunswick’s Stress Factory Comedy Club, which has been entertaining locals for the more than 20 years.
Comedians such as Dave Attell, Jim Breuer, Drew Carey, Brian Regan and Bill Burr have all graced its stage. Open from Wednesday through Sunday, visitors can check out the hour-and-a-half to hour-and-45-minute shows at the 90 Church St. venue.
For this week and next, Vinnie Brand from “Last Comic Standing” will be performing, followed by Colin Jost from “Saturday Night Live.” Tickets generally range from $20 to $50 and can be purchased at stressfactory.com or by calling 732-545-4242.
2. Bar hop through downtown
New Brunswick’s downtown bars aren’t just for Rutgers University students. Instead, they’re fitting for anyone hanging out that needs a drink — warm or cold — to get out of the chill.
Some notable bars in the area that are lacking in fraternity members are Clydz at 55 Paterson St., an underground, American restaurant and bar with an enormous drink menu and exotic food menu; Harvest Moon Brewery and Café at 392 George St., a microbrewery that specializes in pairing food items with their homemade beer; and the Court Tavern at 124 Church St., which holds live music shows and open mic nights.
Local bars come in all sorts from Irish pubs to dance clubs to music venues and craft-beer hangouts. Simply take a stroll down George Street and Easton Avenue to find one that suits you.
3. Catch a show at the State Theatre
The State Theatre, a nonprofit organization, brings national and international performing artists to the 15 Livingston Ave. stage while providing arts educations programs to local students as well as bilingual and autism-friendly performances.
The venue, built in 1921 as a vaudeville and silent-film palace, is today credited as a major factor in New Brunswick’s return to economic vitality thanks to its visiting international orchestras, Broadway musicals, world-class dance, stand-up comedy, pop, jazz, children’s theater and world music.
Some of the upcoming programs include Annie on Feb. 27 and 28, Adam Lambert on March 1 and Howie Mandel on March 10. Tickets generally range from $30 to $200, depending on the show and seat selection. They can be purchased by visitingstatetheatrenj.org or by calling 732-246-7469.
4. Enjoy fine dining
In most cities where you can find offbeat bars and hangouts that bring people from all parts of a region, you can usually find fantastic restaurants as well, and New Brunswick is no exception.
Favorite local restaurants include Steakhouse 85 at 85 Church St., an upscale eatery that hosts live jazz; Destination Dogs at 101 Paterson St., a quirky spot known for its gourmet hot dogs; and the Old Bay Restaurant at 61 Church St, a lively hangout with New Orleans-style Cajun-Creole fare.
Regardless of your favorite cuisine or how much you have in your wallet, New Brunswick, which is packed full of people and restaurants from all walks of life, has an eatery to fit your outing.
5. Check out art at the Zimmerli Art Museum
The Zimmerli Art Museum, on the Rutgers University College Avenue campus, is a teaching museum with 60,000 works as well as galleries that spotlight an artist, period or theme.
One of the largest and most distinguished university-based museums in the country, the 71 Hamilton St. museum is always free and open to the public. Guided tours, however, cost $11 per adult and are offered Tuesday through Sunday by appointment.
Founded in 1966 as the Rutgers University Art Gallery, the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum was established in 1983 in the 70,000-square-foot facility. To plan your visit, head to zimmerlimuseum.rutgers.edu or call 848-932-7237.