How To Spend A Day In NYC By Yourself

I get it—some NYC solo travel ideas suck. No one wants to watch many couples slobbering all over each other when they’re trying to search for fun things to do alone in New York City.

Okay, maybe it’s me. And maybe I’m super bitter, but still. Some things are better for solo travelers than others. So, if you are biting the bullet and going solo in New York City, I’ve got some epic solo date ideas in NYC for you!

So, here is a super savvy local guide filled with expert tips on all the absolute best things to do alone in NYC. This will give you excellent ideas for your next solo date in NYC. 

How To Spend A Day In NYC By Yourself?

I am looking for the best things to do in NYC by myself.

Then you’re in the right place!

With its energetic and hyper-social reputation, New York may not seem the best place to be alone; however, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

As a local New Yorker constantly roaming the city alone, New York City is a perfect place for solo adventures, thanks to the sheer abundance of things to do. 

There are many museums to explore, shops to peruse, parks to wander, and shows to see throughout the city, and you don’t need a big group to enjoy them fully. In some cases, they might be better enjoyed alone; there is no need to argue with others about what to do and when; just grab your bag and go! 

You’ll also always feel supported in New York City. At any of these spots, you’ll find plenty of people on their own who just might be willing to strike up a conversation. Who knows? You might end up walking away with a new friend or two! 

If you were looking for a sign to book a solo trip to NYC — or to get out and do more things on your own — this is it! Read on to learn about some of our favorite things to do in NYC alone. 

See A Broadway Show

  • Seeing a Broadway show is the most fun you can have alone in New York. Firstly, you’ll sit in a dark room and see nobody besides the actors. Secondly, who wants to avoid catching a Broadway Show?
  • Most showings are in the evenings, so you can spend the day exploring the city. The plays tend to occur at one of the theatres between 6th and 9th Avenue and West 41st and 59th Street. 
  • This is a fantastic opportunity to see historical musicals, like The Lion King or Moulin Rouge. But remember, these are some of the top showings on Broadway, so tickets sell out quickly.
  • Top Tip: Check out tickets for some of the best musicals like Wicked on Broadway and The Phantom of The Opera.

Splurge On A Shopping Spree

  • Like many scenes in famous Hollywood movies – I’m looking at Sex and The City – New York is a shopping destination for everyone. The most popular spot for spending is 5th Avenue in Manhattan, where you can find all the major luxury brands.
  • If you’re traveling on a budget but still want the New York shopping experience, head to the East Village. Here, you’ll find all the best vintage and thrift stores with the most bargain deals.

Take In The Views From The One World Observatory

  • There’s nothing quite like looking down on the bustling city below. And where better to do so than at the highest point of New York’s skyline at the One World Trade Centre?
  • At the top, you’ll have 360° views of the city, from the Hudson River to the West and the Brooklyn Bridge to the East. Standard tickets start at $44 and can go up to $74, depending on the package chosen.

Visit Lots Of Coffee Shops

  • Now, for the next best New York pastime. I was drinking lots of coffee. New York has loads of quaint coffee shops you’ll love.
  • If you’re in the West Village on 6th Avenue, visit the aesthetic O Cafe with homely breakfasts and a wide range of coffee options. For a more French feel, Maman NYC is the perfect patisserie-based cafe with all your desires in mind at several locations in the city.
  • And for a farm-to-table vibe, have your cake and eat it too at Devoción. What I’m getting at is that you’ll never be short of options, and a coffee shop is the best place to meet friendly faces in New York.

Explore The Oculus

  • For any architecture lover, visiting The Oculus is a no-brainer. Designed by genius architect Santiago Calatrava, the Oculus is much more than just a transportation station.
  • It was completed in 2016 and represents hope, with the abstract form of a bird taking flight. It nestles within the World Trade Centre Path Station and is home to 12 subway lines.
  • You’ll use the subway during your travels, so visiting The Oculus is highly likely.

Join A Staten Island Ferry

  • Another simply delightful thing to do is join a Staten Island Ferry ride. The ferry connects Whitehall Street in Manhattan to St. George on Staten Island. It’s also one of the last running ferry services in New York, so it’s like a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
  • The ferry ride takes roughly 25 minutes. You can also admire the views of the city and the Statue of Liberty from the top deck. And once you get to the island, you can visit the Staten Island Museum or the Chinese Scholar’s Garden. 

Stroll Across Brooklyn Bridge

  • For a simple yet lovely experience, walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. You can access the bridge’s walkway from the east side of Washington Street. The westside entrance is at the intersection between Boerum Place and Tillary Street.
  • You’ll have breathtaking views of the East River and the Manhattan Bridge. And once you’re done with your walk, rest and admire the views from the Brooklyn Bridge lookout.

Go To The Colour Factory

  • Now, this is a real gem that’s hidden from the masses. If you want to snap memorable photos of you enjoying a world of vibrancy, go to the Colour Factory for a truly unique museum experience.
  • This is an interactive art museum in the SoHo district. Explore the coolness of the sky in the “Slide into the Blue” exhibit, or experience NYC through Carnovsky’s perspective at the kaleidoscope-like installation.
  • And you don’t have to worry about awkwardly asking someone to take photos. The museum takes professional pictures for you and then emails them free of charge.

Walk At The High Line

  • For a park experience above the city streets, visit the 2.3 km long Highline Park. It’s an old railway track turned park and garden space perfect for solo travelers who want a bespoke New York experience.
  • You can join a free tour on Wednesdays or Saturdays to learn about the different park spaces and secrets each holds. When you’re not walking, visit the High Line website to discover what art-based events and activities are on show during your stay.
  • Today’s New York has far less crime than it used to, is far cleaner than before, and is much more expensive than ever before. It’s a place where some people making six figures are considered middle class. Nearly all of Manhattan and Brooklyn’s “cool parts” are so sanitized that the safety is on par with a theme park.

Over the years, people tend to associate destinations with their 90s conflicts. Mention that you’re going to Cambodia, or Bosnia, or South Africa, and people will often react like Pol Pot is still alive, Serbian bombs are falling, and Apartheid ended yesterday. That’s not the case. Each of these countries has changed enormously since the 1990s and, with proper research and preparation, is safe to travel today.

Thanks for reading. 

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