Solo Traveller's Guide To New York City - Things To Do Alone
By Kamilla Khasanova, curious lover of all things arty and New York City dweller, shares her top tips for zig-zag-ing through the modern metropolis.
Edited by Holly Stark
Adventuring in the States and seeking things to do in NYC alone? When organising a New York solo travel trip, it’s important to see everything you want to see and make the most of your visit, which should be easy enough since you don’t have to wait around or rely on anyone else when you’re making important plans! So whether you’re taking the leap with your first ever solo trip travelling to New York alone or are already a keen independent traveller, discover the best of what to do in NYC alone with my ultimate New York solo travel ideas that encompasses the ideal mix of the city’s quirky neighbourhoods, historic attractions, great food spots and some of the best things to do alone in NYC at night!
People Watch In Greenwich Village
My ideal day involves wandering around, and getting lost in Greenwich Village. The area has a creative and intellectual energy and is a great spot for people watching. Sit in the park and see students of NYU lounging around on the grass, talented buskers and young families feeding pigeons and having picnics. Perfectly combining a bit of the East Village’s beloved grunge with a bit of the West Village’s artsy charm and as the birthplace of the beatnik movement, Greenwich Village has innovation at its heart. Displayed in the area’s food scene and attractions, you’ll find new restaurants, independent theaters and comedy clubs around the corner from quiet blocks with nothing seemingly going on. Whether it’s a 24-hour falafel place, a dark and dingy downstairs bar, or boutique furniture shops, the neighborhood has it all for anyone who relishes the culture, history and energy of the city. Don’t miss Greenwich Village when going to New York alone for the first time.
Window Shop In SoHo
The iconic arty neighborhood of the 70s and 80s has transformed over time into one of New York City’s prime, fancy shopping districts. Beginning in the 60s and lasting through the 90s, SoHo was the playground of many of NYC's most famous artists. SoHo, which is an acronym for South of Houston Street, has reinvented itself and is now home to some high-end, commercial galleries, but mainly has luxury shops and independent designer boutiques which embody the area today. Walk along and window shop (or if you’ve got the budget, really shop!), soaking up the vibe and people of the area. Once you’ve had your dose of retail therapy, take a break with a meal at one of the area's many great eateries or have a drink at one of its classy bars.
Eat And Drink In The Lower East Side
The Lower East Side is a really eclectic mix of gritty alleys, tenement-style buildings, upscale apartments and fancy boutiques. I like to wander around and check out the architecture here. The area is probably best known for its nightlife, so come dusk it draws in a cool, young crowd to the area's bars, clubs, music venues and restaurants. Adding to the vibrancy of the area are the energies of the immigrant, punk and artistic past. The neighborhood's Jewish heritage lives on through Orchard Street's Lower East Side Tenement Museum and old-world fabric stores, as well as traditional delis such as Katz's, where you can try legendary pastrami, corned beef and Jewish deli classics. Seeking solo dining NYC experiences? Check out Russ & Daughters; a landmark New York City institution. Since 1914, the shop been owned and operated by four generations of the Russ family and today continues to provide the tastes and traditions of a true New York experience.
Have A Picnic In Central Park
I love to grab some food and find a great spot of grass in Central Park where I can enjoy a lazy lunch and watch the locals of New York pass by. Check out Zabar’s; a gourmet deli and grocer on the Upper West Side; home to yummy pastrami sandwiches and baguettes with cheeses and cured meats. Head to the Gapstow Bridge; the park’s main promenade where artists and vendors gather, and when you reach the end of the Mall, walk around the Bethesda Terrace and Fountain. From there, you can choose between approaching the Conservatory Water, with its remote-controlled boats and the Alice in Wonderland statue; or walk across the Bow Bridge to see the lake from there. If you are a Beatles fan, don’t miss the tribute to John Lennon; Strawberry Fields.
Walk The Cobbled Streets Of Dumbo
Dumbo - which stands for “Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass” - is widely known as the neighborhood that welcomes travelers into Brooklyn from Manhattan. But Dumbo is much more than a passageway; loved by locals for its scenic, panoramic skyline views, renovated market lofts, cobblestone streets, and thriving art, technology and small community initiatives. The diverse influences have made Dumbo a place that laidback creatives and culture lovers are proud to call home. A laid back neighborhood with plenty going on including fine-dining NYC restaurants, leafy green parks, and a scenic waterfront, exploring Dumbo is one of the best things to do in NYC alone. If you’re seeking understated and energetic NYC, check out the dynamic, under-the-radar charm of Dumbo.