10 Fun Things to Do in NYC Alone

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New York City, the ‘Big Apple’, is a mecca for countless tourists around the world – including solo travelers. Enriching experiences await around every corner, and every neighborhood has a hidden gem just calling your name.

In this post I’m sharing some of the most thrilling things to do in NYC on your next United States travel adventure.

So far, I’ve enjoyed 1-day and 2-day trips to NYC, as well as stopovers while traveling overseas.

The great thing about New York is that it’s one of the best cities in the world for solo travel. I felt comfortable walking around my neighborhood when I stayed in Midtown Manhattan.

People were friendly (yes, friendly, don’t believe the old stereotypes) and helpful.

Transportation is a breeze, with taxis, rideshares, and the subway – get your NYC subway map here. New York is also one of the best cities for walking.

There are so many little bars and restaurants and shops, and the vibe is amazing. New York has an incredible energy that keeps calling me back.

Read through the list and bookmark this page for later to make sure that you have the best experience making unforgettable memories in this iconic city.

At the bottom of this post I’ve included a map for all of the places listed here.

 

Best Things to do in NYC Solo

 

This post contains compensated links and I may receive a commission for purchases made through links. See my disclosure about affiliate links here

 

One more thing, before you go to NYC, you should buy a laminated NYC map – with all the top attractions.

Okay let’s have a look at some of the best things to do by yourself in NYC!

1.  Visit the MET

Admission Fee

  • $25 Adults
  • $17 Seniors (65 and over)
  • $12 Students

Hours

  • Sunday to Thursday: 10:00 am – 5:30 pm
  • Friday to Saturday: 10:00 am – 9:00 pm

 

An absolute must-see during your solo trip to New York is the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The legendary museum is popularly known for holding the glamorous MET Gala.

This fantastic building houses some of the most extraordinary collections of fine art to be seen. In 2020 The Met celebrates its 150th birthday.

With artwork that dates back 5000 years, you could spend days exploring each exhibit. I spent an entire afternoon in the Impressionists galleries at the Met.

Take your time and embrace new perspectives through each portrait, sculpture, sketch and other breathtaking creations.

 

2.  Stroll Around Central Park

Admission fee: Free

Hours: 6:00 am – 1:00 pm

Do you want to escape into nature without leaving the heart of New York City? Then you’ll love a stroll through Central Park.

There are plenty of events, activities, and attractions that you will find in this vibrant park. You can also take part in one of the many tours.

Or, hire a bike and take a ride through the tranquil pathways that wind through the grounds.

Some incredible attractions you will find here are:

  • The Carousel
  • Bow Bridge
  • The Pond and Gapstow Bridge
  • The Dairy (A victorian-style cottage)
  • Sheep Meadow
  • The Mall

 

Central Park New York City

 

3.  Read Books at The Strand

Hours:  9:00 am – 10:30 pm

 

Located in East Manhattan, The Strand is one of the largest independent bookstores in America. If you’re a lover of a good-old-fashion page-turner, then you’re likely to find it here.

There are many varieties of books for you to browse, making this a great stop for anyone traveling to NYC alone.

I always find bookstores are an enjoyable place to chill out in a big city when I need to decompress. And I love perusing the bookshelves in search of my next good read.

 

4.  Visit the Statue of Liberty

Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty both temporarily closed effective Monday, March 16, 2020. For ticket refund info 877- 523- 9849 or use the Statue Cruises website

 

Admission fee: Free (ferry rides cost between $10 – $12 USD)

Hours: 8:30 – 4:00 pm

NYC’s pride and joy, the Statue of Liberty, captures the essence of freedom that ripples throughout the city.

This is an iconic monument to visit and it can arguably be better experienced when enjoying solo travel in New York. When alone, you can engage fully in the atmosphere and take your time as you explore.

You will have plenty of time to admire the magical, neoclassical Lady Liberty sculpture and the union with France that it commemorates.

 

Statue of Liberty NYC

 

5.  Stop by Grand Central Terminal

Admission fee: Free

Hours: 5:30 am – 2:00 am

One of NYC’s most legendary places to visit is none other than the Grand Central Terminal. This commuter railway terminal is in midtown Manhattan.

Even if you’re not catching a train it’s a fantastic place for people watching in New York.

Not only is it a railway terminal, it is also a huge NYC landmark that provides excellent cultural, dining and shopping experiences.

There’s everything – with 60 amazing shops, 35 different places to grab a meal and a year-round calendar packed to the brim with awesome events.

When I had to catch a train in New York, I enjoyed an excellent lunch at Cipriani Dolci, with a spectacular view overlooking the whole Grand Central Station.

And I got into conversations with other travelers, so I had fun while waiting for the train.

 

Grand Central Station NYC full of travelers

 

6.  Snap a Picture in Times Square

Times Square is notorious for being the busiest part of the city, which may not sound great if you’re not into crowds.

But you’ve seen it in so many movies you’ll want to go check it out, maybe twice, once during daytime and then at night with all the neon lights aglow.

And you always want to keep an eye on your belongings while traveling, but especially in crowded places.

Of course, you should keep your handbag close to your body and always be aware of your surroundings and what’s going on around you.

Times Square is a bustling slice of true New Yorker spirit, so you don’t want to miss out on a chance to absorb this area.

 

7.  Go Thrift Shopping

Hours: Approx. 9: 00 am – 9:00 pm

The time-honored art of thrift shopping in New York is a fabulous way to take in the sights and sounds of the city, while also treating yourself to some major bargains.

New York City thrift shops offer some of the most amazing and unique stores.

I know a lot of my fellow solo female travelers love to go thrift shopping in New York. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon and buy yourself a memorable souvenir of New York City.

In Manhattan check out these vintage shops:

  • AuH2O
  • Designer Revival
  • Housing Works Thrift Shop
  • L Train Vintage
  • Rags-a-Gogo

 

In Brooklyn check out the Williamsburg neighborhood for vintage shopping.

  • Antoinette
  • Arbor Vitae Vintage Clothing
  • Brooklyn Vintiques
  • Monk Vintage
  • The Consistency Project

Any of these shops will make the perfect starting point for your love affair with New York fashion.

 

NYC Manhattan skyline

 

8.  Enjoy NYC Views at Top of the Rock Observation Deck

Admission fee: $38

Hours: 8:00 am – 12:00 am

New York’s cityscape views are probably one of the most enchanting in the world. The harbor combined with the outstanding architecture and impressive buildings of the city, it’s essential to find a good viewing spot.

Luckily, that’s what Top of the Rock is for.

Not only can you soak in sweeping views of the city, but you can also treat yourself to some tasty treats and indulge in some retail therapy while you’re here.

Visiting this attraction and enjoying the view is by far one of the most exciting things to do in NYC alone.

 

9.  Walk Along Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge is suspended over the East River in New York City, linking Brooklyn to Manhattan.

This unique bridge has gone down in history for being the first bridge to use steel for its cable wires. It is also a National Historic Landmark.

Brooklyn Bridge is an excellent example of classic 19th-century engineering. There are many aspects of this mesmerizing structure to be admired as you walk across, taking in the sweeping views of the cityscape.

What a great way to get some exercise without feeling like you are exercising, walking is my fave mode of transportation. With the beautiful views it’s a treat.

 

Walk across Brooklyn Bridge NYC solo trip

 

10.      Soak in the Beauty of The High Line

Admission fee: Free

Hours: 7:00 am – 7:00 pm

If you want to try something a bit more offbeat while in the city, be sure to walk along The High Line.

It is a linear park that has been elevated and spans 1.45 miles. It’s an old railway with a greenway path beside it and it boasts a magical design.

Found on the west side of Manhattan, this is an attraction that is well-worth seeing when visiting New York alone.

Tip: Be sure to bring the correct travel gear for this one. You’ll need a sturdy pair of walking shoes.

 

High Line Park NYC on a sunny day

 

Summary of Things to do Alone in NYC

Going to NYC alone gives you the ultimate chance to reinvent yourself, step out of your comfort zone and try many new things. There is a never-ending array of fun for all solo adventurers or solo business travelers to New York.

And, you’re sure to meet many other lone travelers along your journey.

These are a few of the best things to do in NYC alone, and each activity provides you the chance to see some of the city’s most spectacular features.

Going to New York alone is an experience of a lifetime so enjoy your trip to NYC with these special places and activities.

Remember to buy your map of New York and have FUN!

 

NYC Solo Trip Map of Things to Do

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New York City Fun Things to Do on Your First Visit

NYC Solo Trip

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About the Author

Susan Moore spent 7 months traveling solo around Southeast Asia back in the 90's. Returning to Canada she found a job working on rotation in Siberia Russia. She later moved to Austin Texas where she started a bookkeeping business, allowing her to work remotely. Currently Susan is in year 5 of a solo road trip around the USA and Canada, living a nomadic life, and writing about her experiences with a focus on hiking and cultural encounters. Read all about Susan » You can reach Susan Moore at Facebook or Twitter or Instagram

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