A Solo Traveler’s Guide: Top 30 Things to Do Alone in NYC

Planning to do a trip alone anytime soon? Come to New York City, one of the best cities for solo travelers for the abundance of adventurous activities it offers.

This City that Never Sleeps has amazing things to do alone – from visiting tall skyscrapers to restaurant hopping and people-watching in parks.

Whatever your interests may be, NYC has some of the most diverse attractions for every kind of traveler.

In this article, I share my top favorite things to do alone in NYC.

Whether you are interested in arts and music or keen on history, this article lists the top 30 possible activities to do as a solo traveler.

Choose from free places to visit and affordable paid attractions below. Continue reading to plan your solo trip!

1. Stroll the Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge 1

The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most iconic bridges in the world that opened in 1883.

Take a stroll and walk past the Brooklyn Bridge while admiring the Brooklyn Bridge View, city skyline and river views – for free!

Fun fact: it takes 60 minutes to complete the walk over the bridge. Things to do near Brooklyn Bridge are endless.

Try one or some of the best restaurants near by after visiting Brooklyn Bridge.

Address: Brooklyn Bridge, New York, NY 10038

2. Relax in Central Park

Central Park 16

A favorite film location, Central Park is famous for its landscaped green spaces and more than 10,000 benches for seating.

Stretching 843 acres of land, its size is known to be even bigger than a country such as the Principality of Monaco and Vatican City State

You can do yoga, visit the Central Park Zoo, and have a picnic in the park.

Address: 14 East 60th St., New York, NY 10022

Phone: 212-310-6600

3. Explore a Charming Local Bookstore

It may be a digital world already but nothing beats real paperback books for reading.

Support local businesses by visiting a local bookstore tucked away from the buzzing streets of NYC.

Check out the list of All in NYC: Bookstores and see all the bookstores available in the five NYC boroughs.

4. Stroll through Brooklyn Botanical Garden

Brooklyn Botanical Garden

Located on Washington Ave. in Brooklyn, Brooklyn Botanical Garden is a 52-acre urban garden founded in 1910.

It is filled with more than 18,500 living accessions and several events and activities for adults and children.

The ticket is free for members and children under 12 years old, whereas non-members have to pay $18 for adults, $12 for seniors, and $12 for students above 12 years old.

Address: 990 Washington Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11225

Phone: 718-623-7200

5. Walk through the Stretch of the High Line

The High Line

The High Line is a public park that stretches 1.4 miles long on an elevated freight rail.

It is located on Manhattan’s West Side from Hudson Yards to Chelsea. Some of the best things to see here are the public art, wildflowers, and exciting events.

Address: New York, NY 10011, United States

Phone: +1 212-500-6035

6. Feel the Italian Vibe in Little Italy

Street scene from the Feast of San Gennaro in Little Italy Manhattan.

If you want to have a taste of Italy in NYC, head over to Little Italy in Lower Manhattan. It is one of the most convenient locations to visit other must-see places since it is bordered by popular neighborhoods including Chinatown, Lower East Side, and SoHo.

Visit the neighborhood’s famous landmarks such as Mulberry Street, the Old Police Headquarters, and Italian American Museum, to name a few.

Don’t forget to try one or some of the best restaurants in Little Italy.

7. Experience the Hustle and Bustle in Times Square

Love in Times Square

Situated in Midtown Manhattan, Times Square NYC is an entertainment and commercial center famous for its illuminated neon billboards.

Be blown away by its action-packed streets where you can catch exciting events – from New Year’s countdown to music concerts.

Check out worthy attractions such as Madame Tussauds New York, Ripley’s Believe it or Not!, and M&M’s World New York.

Address: Manhattan, NY 10036, United States

Phone: +1 212-768-1560

8. Grab a Bite of the Famous NY Pizza

Patsys Pizzeria

Have a taste of New York-Style pizza from the many pizza places available in the city.

Expect the slices to be large and wide with a thin crust. If you are looking for a pizza place for lunch or dinner, try Patsy’s Pizzeria in East Harlem, Joe’s Pizza in Greenwich Village, and Paulie Gee’s in Greenpoint.

Try these famous pizza spots when you are visting Times Square.

  • Patsy’s Pizzeria

         Address: 2287 1st Ave., New York, NY 10035, United States

  • Joe’s Pizza

        Address:  7 Carmine St, New York, NY 10014, United States

  • Paulie Gee’s

       Address: 60 Greenpoint Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222, United States

9. Cruise the River with Staten Island Ferry

Staten Island Ferry

If you fancy riding a boat, the Staten Island Ferry is a passenger ferry available every day for 24 hours with a 15 or 20-minute interval.

It cruises the New York Harbor, covering about 5.2 miles for 25 minutes.

On top of that, the ride is free, so expect the ferry to be crowded especially on major holidays.

Address: 1 Bay Street Staten Island NY 10301

10. Watch a Live TV Show Taping

Live TV Show Taping

Do you like watching a comedy or talk show like The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and SNL?

What better way to witness these shows than to watch it on its live taping for free at National Broadcasting Company headquartered at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

Tickets are usually given by lottery or by reserving a ticket early, just check the show’s website for ticket information.

National Broadcasting Company (NBC)

Address: at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, New York, United States

Contact: NBC Help Center

Visit Website

11. Track Down the Film Locations of Your Favorite Movie or TV Show

The Statue of Liberty 1

Immerse into the world of your favorite movie or TV show by stepping into its actual film location.

A plethora of movies and tv shows feature the Big Apple through its widely recognized locations such as the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, the Empire State Building, and Wall Street.

Go to Wall Street to see the film locations of The Wolf of Wall Street, Queensboro Bridge for Spider-Man (2002), or at 90 Bedford St. for the famous FRIENDS apartment.

12. Watch a Broadway Show

If you enjoy musicals and plays, you should catch a Broadway show in NYC.

Purchase cheaper tickets from TKTS to get a 50% discount or take a shot with a lottery ticket.

Some of the top-rated Broadway shows to witness are Hamilton, Wicked, The Phantom of the Opera, and The Lion King.

13. Rent a Bike to Ride around the City

Ride around the City

Riding a bike offers a convenient, affordable, and hassle-free way to travel around New York City.

Plus, it is an environmentally-friendly mode of transportation, compared to taking a taxi or train.

If you decide to rent a bike, check out the NYC DOT’s Bike Smart: The Official Guide to Cycling in NYC to make sure you follow the safety rules in the city.

14. Thrift Shop at Vintage Stores

Housing works thrift shops Park Slope

Thrift shopping is one of the best ways to find hidden treasures within the city.

For retro fashion clothes, check out 9th Street Vintage in East Village or Procell in Delancey Street.

If you want to support a cause, buy from Cure Thrift Shop where all profits are given to Diabetes research programs.

  • 9th Street Vintage

         Address: 346 E 9th St, New York, NY 10003, United States

  • Procell

        Address:  5 Delancey St, New York, NY 10002, United States

  • Cure Thrift Shop

         Address: 91 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10003, United States

15. Eat at Time Out Market New York

Eat at Time Out Market New York

Looking for food and drinks all in one place? Check out Time Out Market in Dumbo, Brooklyn, a fantastic place where you can dine in and drink from top restaurants.

Moreover, catch the latest events in arts and culture here while having a nice meal.

Address: 55 Water St, Brooklyn, NY 11201, United States

16. Have Coffee from Local Coffee Shops

coffee in a small cafe, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York.

Skip the typical coffee chains and visit lovely local coffee shops in NYC neighborhoods.

Order from their selection of expertly brewed coffee, chat with the locals, and watch people in the city while having a coffee boost.

Don’t forget to have a cup of coffee from some of the best including Abraço, Drip Coffee, Café Integral, and Coffee Project New York.

  • Abraço

Address: 81 E 7th St, New York, NY 10003, United States

  • Drip Coffee

Address:  12 Belvidere St, Brooklyn, NY 11206, United States

  • Café Integral

Address: 149 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10012, United States

  • Coffee Project New York

Address: 239 E 5th St, New York, NY 10003, United States

17. Book a Boat Tour

new york media boat

One of the most popular tours in NYC is boat tours, offering great views of the city skyline, river, and iconic landmarks.

Have an exhilarating ride from New York Media Boat or a relaxing cruise with Hudson River Cruises.

For an out-of-the-ordinary kind of tour, try NYC Cycle Boats and hot tub boat tours of Sea the City.

  • New York Media Boat

Address: 225 Liberty St, New York, NY 10281, United States

Phone: 347-789-0588

  • Hudson River Cruises

Address: 40 Rondout Landing, Kingston, NY 12401, United States

Phone: 845-340-4700

  •  NYC Cycle Boats

Address: 1301 Sinatra Dr N, Hoboken, NJ 07030, United States

Phone: 646-392-7999

  • Sea The City

Address: 84 Audrey Zapp Drive, Jersey City, NJ 07305

Phone: 201-335-2732

 18. Chill at a Bus Tour

Bus Tour

If you prefer to ride a bus to go sightseeing, book a bus tour and sit at the top deck to get amazing views of NYC landmarks.

In this way, you can relax and not worry about walking on long roads.

Some of the most popular bus tours are Big Bus Tours and The Ride.

  • Big Bus Tour

Address: 723 7th Ave, New York, NY 10019, United States

Phone: +1 518-333-7747

  • The Ride

Address: In Front of Patrick’s Restaurant, 259 W 42nd St, New York, NY 10036, New York, NY 10018, United States

Phone: +1 212-221-0853

19. Book a Guided Walking Tour

Brooklyn Heights Promenade 1

Are you the type who prefers to go on foot when traveling? Look for a free guided walking tour and choose the location you wish to go to.

For instance, you can sign up for a two-hour walking tour at SoHo, Little Italy, and Chinatown or a three-hour tour at Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn Heights, and Dumbo.

20. Appreciate Art and Culture

Brooklyn Museum

NYC draws many people for its vibrant art scene and rich culture.

You will find several cool and spectacular art museums to appreciate art collections and exhibitions.

Here are some museums to appreciate NYC art:

Brooklyn Museum

Address: 200 Eastern Pkwy, Brooklyn, NY 11238, United States

Phone: +1 718-638-5000

Color Factory NYC

Address: 251 Spring St, New York, NY 10013, United States

Phone: +1 347-378-4071

The Jewish Museum

Address: 1109 5th Ave &, E 92nd St, New York, 10128, United States

Phone: +1 212-423-3200

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Address: 1000 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028, United States

Phone: +1 212-535-7710

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

Address: 11 W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019, United States

Phone: +1 212-708-9400

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Address: 1071 5th Ave, New York, NY 10128, United States

Phone: +1 212-423-3500

21. Learn about History

History enthusiasts must visit these top museums to learn about the country’s past and culture.

Museums allow you to explore galleries, exhibits, and hundreds of artifacts.

Moreover, it is also a great place to meet people and discuss your thoughts on history.

Check out these museums below:

The American Museum of Natural History

Address: 200 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024, United States

Phone: +1 212-769-5100

Merchant’s House Museum

Address: 29 E 4th St, New York, NY 10003, United States

Phone: +1 212-777-1089

Museum of the City of New York

Address: 1220 5th Ave, New York, NY 10029, United States

Phone: +1 212-534-1672

Statue of Liberty Museum

Address: Liberty Island, New York, NY 10004, United States

Phone: +1 212-561-4588

Tenement Museum

Address: 103 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002, United States

Phone: +1 877-975-3786

22. See the Statue of Liberty

the Statue of Liberty 2

One of the must-see attractions in NYC, soaring at a height of 93 meters, the Statue of Liberty has been the symbol of hope and freedom for many people in New York.

It was established in 1886 and has attracted 4.3 million visitors every year.

Make sure to book a ferry ticket with Statue City Cruises to visit Liberty Island.

Address: New York, NY 10004, United States

Phone: +1 212-363-3200

23. Reach the Top of the Empire State Building

Empire State Building Colors

Opened in 1931, the Empire State Building is one of the most photographed buildings in the world.

It is well-known for its amazing architectural design and fast construction process.

Climb up the 102-story skyscraper, starting at $44 for adults going to the 86th-floor observatory or $77 for adults going to both 86th and 102nd-floor observatories.

Address: 20 W 34th St, New York, NY 10001

Phone: 212-736-3100

24. Check Out the Amazing Views from the One World Observatory Deck

Located in Westfield World Trade Center, the One World Observatory offers panoramic views of the city skyline.

Prices start at $43 for a standard package, $53 for a combination, $63 for all-inclusive, and $73 for a VIP tour.

You can also dine in and have a drink at their bar and restaurant called ONE Dine.

Address: 117 West St, New York, NY 10006

Phone: 844-696-1776

25. Reach the Sky at Top of the Rock Observation Deck

Reach the Sky at Top of the Rock Observation Deck

Top of the Rock is an observation deck located at Rockefeller Center.

Get clear views of the Empire State Building, Central Park, and Midtown Manhattan.

General Admission tickets cost between $34 and $40, Express Pass is $75, and $125 for a VIP tour.

 Address: 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112

Phone: 212-698-2000

26. Experience the Thrill at Edge NYC Observation Deck

the edge 3

Located at Hudson Yards, Edge NYC is a 100-story building offering 360-degree views of New York.

What makes this observatory deck unique from the rest is its triangular elevated sky deck, making you feel like you are floating in the sky.

Feel the thrilling experience with just $38 for adults for general admission.

Address: 30 Hudson Yards, New York, NY 10001

Phone: 332-204-8500

27. Relax with Nature in Bryant Park

Bryant Park

Bryant Park is another free attraction to visit and experience a variety of public programs and activities.

It is a 9.6-acre park complete with daily amenities such as restrooms, reading rooms, game centers, gardens, and spots to eat and relax.

Check out their free events such as Le Carrousel, movie nights, picnic performances, BINGO!, and Broadway in Bryant Park.  

Address: New York, NY 10018, United States

Phone: +1 212-768-4242

28. Be Entertained at Coney Island

Coney Islands Electro Spinp

Visiting Coney Island is worth the trip since it is filled with entertainment and dining scenes that are mostly free to visit.

It is home to well-known action-packed rides including the Cyclone, Deno’s Wonder Wheel, and Thunderbolt.

When you get to Coney Island, walk the boardwalk, explore Luna Park, go to the beach, eat hot dogs, and watch the Friday night fireworks.

29. Indulge at The Bowery Market

Bowery Market

Similar to Time Out Market, another food hall to satisfy your cravings is The Bowery Market at 348 Bowery.

It is an outdoor market with diverse food options, ranging from Italian, Japanese, and Mexican dishes.

The kiosks available are Alidoro, The Butcher’s Daughter, Champion Coffee, Pulqueria, and Sushi on Jones.

Address: 348 Bowery, New York, NY 10012, United States

30. Visit the Largest Harry Potter Store

Harry Potter Store

Are you a fan of Harry Potter? You should not miss visiting the largest Harry Potter store in the world located at 935 Broadway.

It has the largest collection of merchandise of exclusive products, collectible toys, and books.

Get a Virtual Reality (VR) experience, explore their magical interactive exhibit, and taste the famous Butterbeer.

Address: 935 Broadway, New York, NY 10010, United States

Contact: Contact Us

Frequently Asked Questions on Solo Traveling

Is it safe to travel alone?

It is generally safe to do solo traveling in NYC as long as you stay aware and follow safety precautions.

Avoid walking alone at night and wearing attractive items like jewelry or expensive bags.

Whether you are traveling alone or in a group, it is a must to always stay cautious of your surroundings and belongings.

Is solo traveling more affordable?

It depends on the type of activities you prefer to do and the accommodation in NYC.

If you are staying in a standard hotel for under $100, you can save more if you have someone to split the bill with.

You can make your travels more affordable when you choose free places to visit, eat at inexpensive restaurants, and join group tours with others.

Is solo traveling good for me?

Of course! Traveling alone boosts your self-confidence and provides the freedom to choose whatever you want to do.

Moreover, it is a great way to meet people and become more sociable.

Most importantly, it helps you learn more about yourself in terms of preferences and your strengths and weaknesses.

Is NYC a suitable city to start for first-time solo travelers?

Whether it is your first time traveling alone or not, NYC is one of the most ideal places to discover on your own for its vibrant entertainment scenes.

There are tons of unique and incredible things to do alone in NYC, whether you like art, history, food, music, and nature.

Most locations can be visited alone such as museums, observation decks, local neighborhoods, restaurants, shopping centers, and many more.

How do I prepare for solo traveling in NYC?

Before you venture out on your solo trip, it is a must to let your friends and family know where you are going for safety purposes.

Next, research the nearest hospitals in NYC and make sure you have travel insurance in case of unexpected medical emergencies.

Lastly, know about the dangerous areas to avoid ahead of time to keep you away from trouble.

How can I save more on my solo trip?

The ultimate way to cut the cost of solo travel is to book tickets in advance.

Most of the time, the attractions you wish to go to offer early bird rates and discounts. Do not cram and make a last-minute booking as these rates are usually higher.

Moreover, avoid eating at expensive restaurants and staying in standard hotels.

If the budget is tight, it is best to stay in hotels for solo travelers, hostels, or bed and breakfasts.

Planning a detailed itinerary with estimated costs will help you stick to your desired budget.

Is using public transportation a safe way to travel alone in NYC?

Public transportation is usually safe for tourists since you are blended with a crowd.

However, be careful of your belongings and always keep an eye on them since there are many pickpockets in crowded places.

Moreover, do not sleep on the train or bus or you might lose your stuff or miss your drop-off location.

Is it lonely to travel alone in NYC?

Since traveling alone gives you the chance to meet new people, it won’t be as lonely as you think.

You may miss the fun of traveling with friends and family but that doesn’t make you lonely.

The bottom line, you are allowing yourself to enjoy your own company while discovering more about yourself.

How can I take my own pictures in NYC as a solo traveler?

If you like taking selfies and full body pictures with a background, it is always a good idea to bring a tripod where your camera or phone can stand.

Simply put on the timer and pose for the camera.

Alternatively, ask a fellow traveler to take your pictures and you can take their pictures as well as a form of gratitude.

Final Thoughts

New York City is a multicultural and diverse destination fit for every personality.

It comes as no surprise it has attracted more than 66 million tourists annually and is one of the top cities for solo travelers.

Are you ready to explore NYC on your own?

Plan your itinerary ahead of time and research on events and activities available for each attraction.

Remember to book your tickets in advance to get the best deals. Moreover, always travel safely by staying cautious at all times.

Did you find this article helpful for solo traveling? Share your thoughts below in the comments section.

If you are a solo traveler, let us know your tips and the things you have learned on your journey.

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