With its vibrant and highly strong reputation, New York may not appear to be the most incredible spot to be alone; however, nothing could be further from the truth. Truly, New York City is ideal for solo adventures, possibly due to the immense abundance of things to do.
There are numerous things to do alone in NYC from loads of museums to visit, shops to browse, parks to visit, and Broadway shows to see all over the city, and you don’t need a huge crowd to truly appreciate them.
In some cases, they might be better enjoyed alone; there is no need to make an argument with your lover or family about what to do and when to do it; simply grab your bag and go!
You’ll never feel truly alone in New York City. There will be plenty of folks on their own at any of these locations who are ready and able to start a conversation. Who can say? You might come out of it with a friend or two!
If you’ve been looking for an indication to book a solo trip to New York—or simply to get out there and do more stuff on your own—this is it!
1. Best Things to Do Alone in NYC
Well, isn’t that the point of this article? Scroll down below to read more!
1.1. The Met (The Metropolitan Museum of Art)
Yes, this is the proverbial “Holy Grail” of New York City Museums! Plus, between the MET on Fifth Avenue and the Cloisters, you can easily spend several days admiring all of the majestic artifacts that call the MET home.
But even if you despise museums, the MET is an absolute must-see! Sure, the Metropolitan Museum is a conventional gallery, although it is so much more in an unexpected way.
Because, in addition to the museum, they have a rooftop bar with stunning views of Central Park and, well, the entire city, it is truly one of the famous museums.
If you’re a music lover, you can also sit in the cafe that overlooks the entrance gate and listen to live piano music. But don’t forget to visit the Temple of Dendur before you leave! This Egyptian-period monastery is among New York City’s most photogenic spots.
Simply go on a weekday or even as soon as reasonably practicable on a weekday or weekend to avoid crowds. Also, reserve your tickets at this American museum beforehand so you don’t have to wait in line for hours.
1.2. Visit the New York Public Library
This place is basically the world’s book mecca. It’s true! With a copy of the Gutenberg Bible and a collection of the legendary stuffed animals that influenced the author of Winnie the Pooh, it’s easy to see why the New York Public Library is among the best things to do alone in NYC.
But things improve. You could easily spend an entire day here between the beautiful reading rooms (perfect for an Instagram photo session) and the exhilarating rotating exhibits in this legendary museum.
What’s the catch? Depending on your level of pop culture knowledge, you may recall this tower as the location of Big and Carrie’s wedding in the first, less terrible, Sex and the City film. There’s a lot to see and so little time.
1.3. Stand Under the Stars at Grand Central Station
Any solo trip to New York City is incomplete without visiting the Grand Terminal. Grand Central Terminal is among the better New York City attractions! This building’s architectural beauty is something to think about. Truly enchanting, and one of the many great things to do alone in NYC.
Grand Central Terminal is one of the top NYC attractions because of its historic architecture, gorgeous blue ceiling adorned with twinkling constellations, and a stunning array of delectable and reasonably priced food options.
1.4. Spend the Day Shopping
Stroll down 5th Avenue, visit the fashionable boutiques in SoHo, and stroll down Madison Avenue. Even if you only go window shopping, it’s worth the walk for fashionistas.
Don’t forget to visit the 260 Sample Sale to see which designers are currently providing heavily discounted clothing, shoes, and accessories. I’ve gotten some incredible deals while shopping with them!
The Shops at Columbus Circle in the Time Warner Building are also worth visiting for some retail therapy and a bite to eat. You should also visit the numerous vintage stores scattered throughout the city. They contain some truly incredible treasures.
1.5. Take a Walk on NYC’s Favorite Bridges
A bridge walk is an excellent way to see the city from a different perspective. Several of New York City’s most famous bridges, including the Williamsburg Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, and Queensborough Bridge, have their own walking paths that allow you to cross the river safely while admiring the Manhattan skyline, the East River, and the boroughs.
Because these walkways are often quite narrow, going alone gives you an advantage (a smaller group means less foot traffic). Don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes!
1.6. Visit the Oculus and World Trade Center
Visiting the memorial is indeed an emotional experience; it is an amazing and remarkably well-done place, but it is also a tough place to visit. This structure also serves as a transit hub for trains entering and exiting the World Trade Center.
I mean, even a novice photographer can capture some decent images of the Occulus. So, as you solo travel NYC, head over to this stunning structure, which is a poignant mixture of beautiful architecture and the tragedy of 9/11.
As you might expect, the World Trade Center can get quite crowded, so the sooner you go, the better. But because this building is so large, you don’t feel claustrophobic even when it’s crowded. Take a glance no further than the One World Observatory at One World Trade Center for some of the best views of the Manhattan skyline.
One World Observatory, which stands 102 stories above Lower Manhattan, provides panoramic views of the five boroughs and the rest of the region that will make you feel as if you can see forever.
You could also enjoy unique audio and visual life experiences highlighting the city’s history and architecture as part of your visit from the observation deck. Prefer a late-night view? The Empire State Building is available until 10 p.m. and has one of the best nighttime views in New York!
1.7. Spend Time at Washington Square Park
If you’re visiting NYC solo, go to Washington Square Park. Washington Square Park, once the center of the Bohemian world, is now a popular urban oasis rich in history. If you’re looking to save money, this is definitely an inexpensive place that you must visit in New York City!
On any given day, there are hundreds of people in the park, ranging from university students to chess players to various buskers.
Grab a drink or a slice of pizza at one of the nearby shops, then take a seat on one of the park benches and enjoy the scenery.
1.8. Do Some People-Watching and Enjoy the Views of Bryant Park
Nobody is surprised to see this iconic New York City park on this list of stuff to do alone in NYC, but whatever. This place isn’t any less awesome because it’s the most well-known and best sight in NYC.
Furthermore, this wonderful park is conveniently located near Times Square, the New York Public Library, and the Morgan Library. So, there is clearly a lot of neat stuff to do in New York, despite its relatively small size. Any solo trip to New York City is incomplete without visiting Bryant Park.
As a result, before you leave Midtown, stop by this marvelous green space. It has a charming little carousel that will transport you back to your childhood. Just don’t eat a delectable waffle from Waffle and Dinges right before you ride on this portion of childhood nostalgia.
For all you solo travelers out there, Bryant Park should make it to your top 10 list of fun things to do alone in NYC!
If you’re traveling alone in New York during the cold season, Bryant Park is converted into a lovely Christmas market with a wonderful ice skating rink, which is less crowded and less expensive than Rockefeller Center.
1.9. See a Broadway Show
You cannot visit New York and not see at least one Broadway or off-Broadway production. Because even if you don’t like musical theatre in the conventional sense, there’s bound to be a Broadway show for you!
And, contrary to popular belief, Broadway shows are not expensive. Amongst the many things to do alone, this is definitely a must. A Broadway show is ideal for solo travelers since all you have to do now is sit inside the dark theater and enjoy the spectacle.
If you’re not sure what to choose, here are a few shows to choose from,
- The Phantom of the Opera
- The Lion King
Alladin and Chicago are all classics that almost everyone will enjoy In New York City.
Another iconic show is Dear Evan Hansen (a moving production about difficult topics). A truly beautiful and thought-provoking performance (not suitable for children) Come from Away (a moving and uplifting story about people who were marooned after 9/11), and Tina (an empowering and amazing show about Tina Turner).
1.10. Stroll Down the Brooklyn Bridge
Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn Heights are linked by the iconic Brooklyn Bridge. The Brooklyn Bridge, known for its stone arches, has six lanes of traffic (no trucks) and a shared pedestrian and bicycle path. In 2018, over 116,000 vehicles, 30,000 pedestrians, and 3,000 cyclists crossed the Brooklyn Bridge each day.
The Brooklyn Bridge does have one of the most amazing sights in the city, so crossing it should definitely be on your New York bucket list.
You’ll get breathtaking views of the urban landscape and see Lady Liberty in the range as you walk. Depending on how quickly you walk, the Brooklyn Bridge stroll takes between 30 and 45 minutes to complete.
2. Other Fun Things to Do Alone in NYC
2.1. Hop on A Food Tour
There are numerous food tours available in every neighborhood of the city that introduce you to every style of cooking imaginable. It is one of the most fun things to do for all the solo travelers out there!
If you’re already on the food tour wagon, don’t forget to check out Smorgasburg! This fantastic weekend market, which is open from April to October, was previously only in Brooklyn. However, it has grown so widely known that it is now available in Manhattan and operates rain or shine.
So, if you want to try some food tours and its wonderfully strange foods like deep-fried cookie dough and spaghetti doughnuts, add Smorgasburg to your list of things to do in NYC while traveling alone.
2.2. Visit Central Park
Stroll through Central Park, stop for a photo opportunity at Bethesda Fountain, walk through the Ramble, admire the views from the topped Belvedere Castle, visit Strawberry Fields, and have a picnic in Sheep’s Meadow. You could also lease a Citibike at Central Park and take a leisurely stroll through the park. Prospect Park and Riverside Park are two other great parks in NYC.
2.3. Walk Along the High Line
A solo trip to New York City is incomplete without visiting the High line! You’ve probably heard of the Highline, a former railway track that was converted into a super cool elevated park that essentially everyone flocks to during the summer weekends.
As a result, it is recommended that you visit during the week to prevent it from getting like you are in a herd of cattle. This way, you can enjoy the Highline’s breathtaking views and gorgeous street art or modern art without having to dodge crowds.
Aside from walking the Highline, you can also visit Chelsea Piers, eat your heart out at Chelsea Market, see a show at the Highline Ballroom, hang out on the roof of the Whitney Museum of American Art, or laugh your head off at Upright Citizens Brigade Theater.
The High Line connects Hudson Yards and Chelsea, so take the 1 or C train to the 23rd Street station and walk up Tenth Avenue.
2.4. Explore a Tibetian Monastery in The Heart of Staten Island
A Tibetan-style monastery in the Richmond section of Staten Island houses the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art, which houses a huge array of Buddhist writings dating from the 15th to the 20th centuries along with a lot more interesting things.
Throughout the museum, you’ll see amazing sculptures, paintings, photographs, and more that showcase Tibet’s distinct culture and history.
Bonus: The hillside location of the museum also makes for an especially peaceful day among the trees!
If not the monastery, you can always hop on the Seaglass Carousel. Hop on the Staten Island Ferry to see Lady Liberty, go to Ellis Island, walk over to Wall Street, or visit the nearby Irish Hunger Memorial (a truly moving monument that is well worth a visit).
2.5. Do Some More People-Watching at Times Square
Amongst the many things to do alone in NYC, visiting Times Square should be on the list of all solo travelers out there. Times Square is without a doubt one of the best places in the world to do some people-watching.
There will be people taking Instagram photos and parents trying to keep track of their children. There will also be street performers and a slew of Disney and Marvel’s characters roaming around. You get extra points if you find the Naked Cowboy at Times Square!
2.6. Relax at The Elizabeth Street Garden
Looking for fun things to do in SoHo on your own? You’re going to love it!
The Elizabeth Street Garden is tucked away between Spring and Prince Streets, an idyllic patch of open space with unique carvings, stunning blooms, as well as plenty of space to enjoy the fresh air. So you can have ample time to start exploring nature along with enjoying some fine art.
The garden truly feels like an oasis among some of the buildings of Downtown Manhattan, and it’s a great place to unwind after a day of shopping in nearby SoHo. Looking to save money while in New York? You’ll be glad to know that the garden also frequently hosts community concerts and arts events, many of which are totally free to attend!
2.7. Get Lost on West 10th Street
Tucked away amongst the Lower West Side’s hustle and bustle is a quaint area with an old-world charm that is almost entirely lacking in New York City. A location that you are incapable of finding in any solo travel NYC travel guide. The urban landscape is dominated by endearingly historic and ridiculously exquisite townhouses, giving natural history a personal touch.
Buildings are adorned with a diverse array of botanical life; plants that serve as a reminder that New York City can expertly blend the elegance of manmade and natural structures.
A true gem of a street that can be used to stroll Uptown, towards the Flat Iron Building and the Empire State Building, if you need a little more spice in your life. Truly one of the most amazing places!
2.8. Visit the Beauty of The Botanical Gardens
Visit a Botanical Garden – Whether in the Bronx, Queens, or Brooklyn, they are all incredible and will provide you with some much-needed organic serenity as you solo travel NYC. Brooklyn botanic garden is a must-visit, because of its natural history and it makes a perfect spot when visiting the city solo.
3. How Do I Meet People in NYC?
So, if you want to solo travel to New York City and make friends along the way—or if you’re worried about getting lonely—never fear, because NYC is here to meet ALL of your solo travel needs.
Because there are a plethora of intriguing and completely unique groups of individuals in NYC waiting to make mates somebody like you. You just need to understand exactly where to go and what to do!
Other than that, there are a few online sites where you can hover over to keep track of the latest meetups.
Couchsurfing: The NYC public is quite energetic and is happy to provide weary travelers with free lodging or host social engagements where they can encounter like-minded people.
Group Tour: To be honest, entering a group tour allows you to meet a wide range of people. Because 9 out of 10 people are on vacation, they are delighted to meet you and are much more intrigued as to why you chose to solo travel to NYC. Furthermore, they may be sick of their travel partner and eager to meet someone new.
NYC Meetups on Reddit or Meetup.com: Whatever your interests are, there is a group of people in NYC who are getting together to do something you will enjoy. So, if you enjoy movies, running, clubhouses, board games, or simply hanging out, there is indeed a meetup for you.
4. Mistakes to Avoid During Your Solo Travel
This section is simply a long list of the most basic mistakes travelers make when trying to visit New York or when alone in NYC.
Do not stop in the middle of the sidewalk; if you do, someone will almost certainly collide with you. Instead, move to the other side of the road and complete your task. Also, avoid being a slow walker by walking as rapidly as possible through New York’s streets.
Respect the fact that the people of the Big Apple always seem to be in a hurry. So don’t ask everyone 10,000 questions or ask for directions while they’re hurrying down the street. Instead, go to a tourist attraction and ask someone who has enough time or energy to clear up any confusion. And if you do require assistance, keep your queries and conversation brief, sweet, and to the point.
Stay in a safe neighborhood— we understand that hotels in NYC are quite expensive, and it may be enticing to stay in a sleazy area where suites are so much cheaper, but do what makes you feel safe. So, if it means living in a much more upscale hotel in a nicer location or trying to call an Uber late at night to get back to your hotel, do it. Because feeling secure is far more important than a few dollars saved.
5. Frequently Asked Questions
5.1. Is New York Good for Solo Travelers?
Absolutely! The Big Apple is a lively, exhilarating, and safe city with a plethora of incredible things to do on your own in NYC. So, if you’re searching for one of the finest places to visit alone in the United States, New York City is on your list!
It’s also a very easy place to navigate and a fantastic place to return to because there’s always something new to do and see here!
5.2. Is NYC Safe?
Yes, New York is secure! It does have a bad reputation for being a rough and tough city where everyone is out to get you, but it isn’t! That was the story of the 70s and 80s.
As a result, if you’re thinking about visiting NYC alone, you should do it because it’s a safe place to do so.
5.3. Are 3 Days in New York Long Enough?
You may see the majority of the famous attractions and landmarks in New York City in 3 days. But keep in mind your New York Pass to get the most out of your time and money. Many of the events and sights mentioned in this article are included.
Hope this guide to solo travel in New York City has given you the freedom to start the city on your own. Remember that solo travel is the finest gift you can give yourself, especially if you’re nervous.
If you embrace the journey and leave yourself open to unforeseen life experiences that present themselves (trust me, they’re almost always amazing—unless it’s something sketchy, then run!), you can grow as a person so much.
New York City has a lot of amazing things to offer, from the city hall station to food tours in midtown west, to east village; to off-Broadway, and several amazing local restaurants!
Also read: Fun Things to Do in Hudson NY