10 Solo Adventures in the Big Apple: Things to Do in New York Alone

A view of the Brooklyn Bridge while walking on it.

New York City (NYC), often described as the city that never sleeps, is a hub of culture, cuisine, art, fashion, and history. With its iconic skyline, renowned landmarks, and endless activities, it’s no surprise that the city welcomes millions of visitors each year. But what if you’re visiting solo? Worry not! NYC is one of the best cities in the world to explore on your own. Here are some of the top things to do in New York alone that promise a memorable experience.

1. Embark on a Self-Guided Walking Tour

Exploring the city on foot not only allows you to immerse yourself in its vibrant atmosphere but also gives you the flexibility to set your own pace and agenda. Two must-visit locations for solo adventurers are Central Park and the Brooklyn Bridge.

Central Park

Central Park is a sprawling urban oasis that provides a myriad of solo activities. Here’s what you can do:

  • Scenic Stroll: Take a leisurely walk along the park’s winding pathways, and soak in the natural beauty that surrounds you.
  • Boat Ride: Rent a rowboat or take a gondola ride on the serene Central Park Lake for a peaceful escape.
  • People-Watching: Find a cozy bench and observe the diverse mix of people who flock to Central Park. It’s a great spot for some solo reflection while remaining connected to the city’s pulse.

Brooklyn Bridge

A solo walk across the iconic Brooklyn Bridge is an exhilarating experience, offering unbeatable views of the New York City skyline. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Breathtaking Views: As you traverse the bridge, you’ll be treated to panoramic vistas of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the East River. It’s a prime spot for capturing stunning photos.
  • Flexible Timing: When walking alone, you have the freedom to pause, take pictures, or simply enjoy the scenery without feeling rushed.

2. Visit World-Class Museums

Exterior view of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Immersing yourself in the city’s world-class museums is a must. Here are two iconic options that offer enriching experiences for solo travelers:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met):

The Met is a cultural treasure trove, housing an extensive collection of art and cultural artifacts spanning 5,000 years of history.

  • Wander at Your Own Pace: As a solo visitor, you have the freedom to explore The Met’s vast halls at your leisure. Take your time to admire the art and artifacts that captivate you the most.
  • Diverse Exhibitions: The museum’s diverse exhibitions include ancient Egyptian mummies, European masterpieces, and captivating displays from around the world. Solo exploration allows you to choose your own adventure and delve into the areas that pique your interest.
  • Quiet Reflection: The Met provides tranquil spaces for quiet contemplation, making it an ideal setting for solo travelers to soak in the cultural richness.

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

MoMA is a haven for those with a passion for modern and contemporary art. It showcases renowned works by artists like Picasso and Van Gogh, as well as avant-garde films and cutting-edge design objects.

  • Personalized Engagement: Visiting MoMA alone means you can engage with each piece of art on your own terms. Spend as much time as you desire absorbing the creativity and innovation on display.
  • Evolving Artistic World: MoMA offers a glimpse into the ever-evolving world of art, making it an excellent choice for solo travelers seeking to stay on the cutting edge of artistic expression.
  • Educational Opportunities: MoMA often hosts workshops, lectures, and discussions, allowing solo travelers to further deepen their understanding of contemporary art.

3. Take a Cooking Class

Consider signing up for a cooking class, where you can learn to prepare delicious dishes while mingling with fellow food enthusiasts. Here’s what to expect:

Diverse Cuisine

New York City is truly a gastronomic melting pot, and this diversity shines through in its cooking classes. Whether you’re passionate about perfecting the art of Italian pasta making, mastering the delicate skill of sushi rolling, or exploring any other culinary avenue, you’ll find a class that suits your interests. Embrace the chance to immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of global flavors right here in the Big Apple.

Hands-On Experience

One of the highlights of taking a cooking class in New York is the hands-on experience it offers. You won’t just be watching a chef at work; you’ll be rolling up your sleeves and getting directly involved in the culinary process. This interactive approach not only ensures a deeper connection to the dishes but also equips you with practical cooking skills to recreate these delectable delights in the comfort of your own kitchen. It’s a fantastic way to turn your passion for food into a lifelong skill while enjoying the vibrant food scene of New York City. So, if you’re looking for an immersive and educational solo adventure, don’t miss the opportunity to take a cooking class in the city that never sleeps.

4. Explore New York’s Literary Scene

Exterior view of The Strand Bookstore on a corner street with people walking outside.

New York offers a rich literary landscape waiting to be explored. Here are two noteworthy places to immerse yourself in the city’s literary culture:

The Strand Bookstore

The Strand Bookstore is a bibliophile’s paradise with a collection that stretches over 18 miles of shelves. It’s renowned for its diverse selection, including rare books, bestsellers, and literary classics.

  • Experience: As you navigate through the labyrinthine stacks, you’ll find yourself lost in the captivating world of literature. Whether you’re on the hunt for a specific title or simply browsing, The Strand offers a one-of-a-kind solo experience. It’s a perfect opportunity for introspection and literary discovery.
  • Events: The Strand frequently hosts book signings, author talks, and various literary events. These gatherings are fantastic for engaging with fellow book enthusiasts, expanding your literary horizons, and immersing yourself in New York’s vibrant literary community.

Nuyorican Poets Café

The Nuyorican Poets Café has been a vital hub for artistic expression in New York for decades. It’s celebrated for its intimate atmosphere and dedication to poetry and spoken word performances.

  • Experience: As a solo visitor, you’ll have the chance to experience the raw energy of poetry slams, open mic nights, and captivating spoken word performances. The cafe’s welcoming ambiance makes it easy to immerse yourself in the artistic heartbeat of New York City. If you’re feeling inspired, you can even share your own work with the audience.
  • Community: The Nuyorican Poets Café offers a unique opportunity to connect with New York’s thriving literary and artistic community. Engaging with local poets and performers can provide valuable insights into the city’s vibrant creative landscape.

5. Enjoy Live Performances

New York City is renowned for its vibrant performing arts scene, offering solo travelers a plethora of opportunities to indulge in live entertainment. Here are two must-consider options when searching for things to do in New York alone:


Watching a Broadway show is an absolute must when visiting the city. These world-class performances, hosted in iconic theaters like the Richard Rodgers Theatre and the Gershwin Theatre, offer an immersive theatrical experience that’s unparalleled. Whether you’re into musicals, dramas, or comedies, there’s a Broadway production to suit your taste. As a solo attendee, you have the freedom to choose the show that resonates with you the most, and many theaters offer single-ticket options. The dazzling lights, exceptional talent, and sheer magic of Broadway make it a quintessential solo adventure in New York.

Apollo Theater

Located in the heart of Harlem, the Apollo Theater is steeped in rich history and has been a pivotal venue for African-American entertainment for decades. Attending a live performance at the Apollo is not just a show; it’s an immersion into the cultural heritage of the city. From music and comedy to talent competitions, the Apollo offers a diverse range of live acts that celebrate the city’s artistic diversity. As a solo visitor, you can soak in the unique ambiance and revel in the knowledge that you’re treading the same stage where legends like Ella Fitzgerald and James Brown once performed.

6. Sign Up for Workshops

Exploring New York City alone doesn’t have to be limited to sightseeing; it can also be an opportunity for personal growth and skill development. Enrolling in workshops across various disciplines can be an enriching and educational experience for solo travelers. Here’s how to make the most of it:

Diverse Workshop Offerings

The city offers a wide range of workshops, catering to various interests and skill levels. From photography and dance to pottery and cooking, you can choose a workshop that aligns with your passions or allows you to explore a new hobby.

Learning and Local Connection

Workshops provide an excellent platform to learn something new while connecting with locals and fellow enthusiasts. It’s a chance to interact with like-minded individuals, exchange ideas, and gain insights from experienced instructors.

Personal Growth

Participating in workshops not only adds to your skill set but also fosters personal growth. It encourages creativity, boosts self-confidence, and can be a refreshing break from traditional tourist activities.

Memorable Souvenirs

Many workshops allow you to create your own keepsakes, whether it’s a piece of artwork, a culinary masterpiece, or a new dance routine. These tangible

7. Discover Global Cuisine

The city’s diverse food scene offers a plethora of options to explore, from vibrant food markets to solo dining experiences that cater to every palate and budget.

Food Markets

New York City boasts an impressive selection of food markets that serve as cultural melting pots. Two standout examples are Smorgasburg in Brooklyn and Chelsea Market in Manhattan. These bustling venues provide an astonishing variety of global foods, including Korean BBQ, Mexican street tacos, artisanal cheeses, and fresh seafood. As a solo traveler, you have the perfect opportunity to sample a world of flavors, engage in conversations with passionate food vendors, and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of these markets. Exploring food markets in New York is not just a gastronomic adventure; it’s a cultural journey that allows you to savor the city’s rich diversity.

Solo Dining

New York City is dotted with eateries that are ideal for solo travelers. Whether you prefer the coziness of cafés, the sophistication of upscale restaurants, or the simplicity of street vendors, the city caters to all tastes. Consider sitting at the bar of a Michelin-starred restaurant, where talented chefs prepare your meal right before your eyes, enhancing the dining experience with their culinary skills. Alternatively, embrace the city’s iconic street food culture by indulging in a hot pretzel, grabbing a slice of classic New York pizza, or savoring a timeless hot dog. Solo dining in New York isn’t just about the food; it’s about the diverse dining experiences that enrich your solo journey, offering a taste of the city’s vibrant and eclectic culinary tapestry.

8. Attend a Live Taping

For a truly unique and educational solo experience in New York City, consider attending a live taping of a popular television show. This behind-the-scenes opportunity allows you to witness the magic of the entertainment industry up close and personal.

Iconic Shows

New York is renowned for hosting legendary television shows such as “Saturday Night Live” and “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” Attending a live taping of these programs offers a remarkable opportunity to witness the magic of live television production. It’s a chance to see your favorite comedians and hosts in action, right before your eyes.

Behind-the-Scenes Insight

Attending a live taping not only guarantees entertainment but also grants you valuable insights into the meticulous process of creating and executing television shows. You’ll observe everything from rehearsals and script changes to the seamless coordination between hosts and the dedicated crew. Moreover, you’ll feel the electric energy of a live audience, which adds a unique dimension to the experience.

Ticket Availability

While acquiring tickets for popular shows can be competitive, don’t be discouraged. Many programs offer various options for obtaining tickets, such as standby tickets, lottery systems, or online reservations. These alternatives make attending a live taping accessible and feasible for solo travelers. So, dive into the world of entertainment, learn from the experts, and make unforgettable memories in the heart of the Big Apple.

9. Enjoy Panoramic Views

New York City’s skyline is a breathtaking sight to behold, and there’s no better way to appreciate it than by taking in panoramic views from its iconic observation decks. For solo travelers, this activity ranks high among the “things to do in New York alone” list, providing both a visual feast and an educational experience.

The Edge

Located in Hudson Yards, The Edge stands as the newest gem among New York City’s observation decks. It proudly boasts the title of having the highest outdoor sky deck in the Western Hemisphere. Solo travelers can embark on an unforgettable adventure as they step onto the glass floor, which provides a thrilling sensation of floating above the city’s hustle and bustle. Beyond the awe-inspiring views, The Edge offers interactive exhibits that delve into the city’s rich history, architecture, and culture. These exhibits transform your visit into an educational journey, giving you insights into the very essence of New York City while surrounded by breathtaking 360-degree panoramas.

Top of the Rock

Situated within the iconic Rockefeller Center, the Top of the Rock observation deck offers a unique perspective of New York’s landscape. Here, you’ll be treated to stunning vistas that include Central Park, the Empire State Building, and the majestic Manhattan skyline. What sets Top of the Rock apart is its deep-rooted historical significance, intricately intertwined with the city’s narrative. Visitors can delve into this history through informative exhibits that add layers of understanding to the views they behold. Whether you choose to visit during the day or at night, the vistas from Top of the Rock are nothing short of mesmerizing. This makes it an essential activity for solo travelers seeking to capture the very essence of New York City.

10. Relax at a Spa

Amid the hustle and bustle of New York City, taking time to unwind and rejuvenate is essential for solo travelers. Enjoying a spa day is not only a luxurious treat but also an educational experience in self-care and relaxation techniques.

Tailored Treatments

New York City’s spas understand the unique needs of solo travelers and excel at providing personalized experiences. From soothing massages to rejuvenating facials and revitalizing body scrubs, these spas tailor their treatments to your individual preferences and requirements, ensuring a truly bespoke self-care experience.

Wellness Education

Beyond the sheer indulgence, spa visits can be enlightening. Highly trained therapists often share valuable insights into skincare, stress management, and overall well-being. These educational interactions empower you with practical self-care techniques that can significantly enhance your solo journey, leaving you not just relaxed but also better equipped to manage stress and maintain your well-being.

Cultural Insights

Some of New York City’s spas take a unique approach by infusing cultural elements into their treatments. This immersive experience allows solo travelers to explore various wellness practices from around the world, fostering a deeper understanding of global wellness traditions. By partaking in such spa rituals, you can broaden your horizons and gain a richer cultural perspective, making your solo trip to New York even more enriching.


NYC is a city full of opportunities for solo adventurers. With so many things to do in New York alone, you’re sure to have a unique and enriching experience. From immersing yourself in art and culture to enjoying global cuisines, the Big Apple awaits your solo exploration. So, pack your bags and set out on your NYC journey!


Q1: Is it safe to do things in New York alone, especially at night?

A: NYC is generally safe for solo travelers. Like any major city, it’s essential to stay aware of your surroundings, especially at night. Stick to well-lit areas and use reputable transportation.

Q2: Can I book tours or activities tailored for solo travelers?

A: Absolutely! Many tour operators offer activities and excursions specifically for those doing things in New York alone. These can be a great way to meet fellow travelers.

Q3: Are there any NYC-specific apps or resources for solo travelers?

A: Yes, there are various apps to help you navigate public transport, find events, or discover new things to do in New York alone. Some popular ones include ‘NYC Subway’, ‘Time Out New York’, and ‘Eventbrite’.

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