New York has so many experiences that make it one of the world’s most popular city breaks. In this article, discover 10 ideas for a solo trip to New York
New York City has got to be one of the most exciting places in the United States. Not only is it home to many of the blockbusters but it is also a shopper’s paradise. Whether you are gazing from the top of a skyscraper or staring across the water from the Statue of Liberty to the famous Manhattan skyline, you'll be gazing at one of the world's most glamorous and exciting cities.
New York City is famous as a centre of art, fashion, shopping, food and music. People from all over the globe fly here to visit this city of movie scenes and famous landmarks. The city that never sleeps is an ideal travel destination for a weekend break or a longer stay. It is packed with all kinds of experiences and plenty of these are ideal for the solo traveller.
A Solo Trip To New York
Having been to New York twice, I can vouch that it is one of the most exciting cities on Earth. It’s the kind of city where you pinch yourself because you can’t believe you’re here. Don’t let being alone stop you from visiting here either. You won’t get any looks if you’re sightseeing solo or even dining alone here and with so many tourists visiting, you definitely won’t stick out so it’s perfect for the solo traveller who wants to be invisible.
Even for a solo female traveller, the city can be a safe and friendly destination. As with any city that you visit, you do need to be careful at night and stick to touristy areas or take a cab if you feel more comfortable. And be careful of your belongings just as would in any crowded city.
Experiences For a Solo Trip to New York
New York has so many experiences that make it one of the world’s most popular city breaks. Here are some of my recommended experiences for your solo trip to New York.
1. See The View From The Empire State Building
Ride an elevator up the Empire State Building, one of the world’s most famous and iconic buildings. There’s nothing more exciting than the thrill of approaching the observation floor that sits 86 storeys high. From here you get access to an amazing 360-degree view of the city. Have your camera phone ready on panoramic mode and get ready for the wow factor. You’re in New York baby!
2. Take a Stroll Around Central Park
Enjoy one of the world's greatest people-watching spaces in Central Park. This vast urban oasis of greenery is framed by urban architecture. It’s free to visit and stroll around, surrounded by that skyline of towering buildings. Spot the joggers passing and business tycoons taking a break on a bench. Or experience biking in Central Park with people who bring you the story behind the events and past of the city.
3. See The Statue of Liberty
Yes, it’s one of the iconic things to do in New York but taking a ride on Staten Island Ferry across the bay to the Statue of Liberty should be up there on your bucket list because this experience is amazing. Stop off at the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration on the way for a moving and fascinating introduction to the history of America.
4. Enjoy an Evening Out
Taking yourself to the theatre is a great solo activity, and because New York City is known for its fantastic theatre scene, there couldn’t be a better place to do it. Look for tickets for both Broadway and off-Broadway plays to experience the magic of the theatre in NYC. Broadway shows are more popular and therefore more expensive. Off-Broadway theatre is cheaper and tends to be more quirky, artistic, or alternative.
Going to the movies might not seem special enough, but New York City has a lot of interesting theatres that show foreign films, indie films and intriguing documentaries. If you’re in the mood for watching something more unconventional, stop in to see a movie at BAM Rose Cinemas, The Paris Theater, or the Film Society at Lincoln Centre.
Or take a trip to a casino for a taste of real NYC glamour. Try the city’s biggest: the Resorts World Casino. Join in for a hand of poker and hold your nerve and cross your fingers for a royal flush. Not only is it a fun night out but you’ll never know who you’ll meet either.
5. See Iconic Movie Scenes
Every corner of New York sometimes seems packed with movie-and-TV nostalgia. Attractions range from the Friends flat in West Village to the Tiffany Store on Fifth Avenue, the scene of the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Once in the movie spirit, you can test your knowledge of TV shows and movies you have seen in the past. Take photos and selfies of places where famous movie stars have acted their part.
6. See Chelsea Market and The High Line
The High Line is an old railroad line that was converted into a long park. It’s located near Chelsea Market, an indoor market space with artisan shops and dozens of food vendors. You can pick up some food at Chelsea Market and then head over to the High Line for a nice walk and a picnic. Or just take your walk on the High Line first and then do some late shopping at Chelsea Market.
7. Get Arty
Browse famous masterpieces at some of the city’s finest art galleries, like the Museum of Modern Art and Metropolitan Museum of Art. You’ll see everything from glorious old masters to crazy Warhol prints. Or escape the crowds by trying a lesser-known gallery, like the brilliant Frick Collection housed in a period mansion on Upper East Side.
Even better still, don’t just see the art—make it yourself! An art class is a great solo date because you get to focus on your own work. Attend an art class from Japanese ink painting to T-shirt printing. You can even take a class that will teach you how to replicate a famous work of art. Keep this in mind when you pay a visit to a museum by yourself. Take a picture of a painting that you like, and then recreate it at your art class the following evening. You’ll make yourself the perfect souvenir to remember your trip.
8. Visit a Museum
For museum lovers, there are plenty of museums in New York to keep you busy for days. From the American Museum of Natural History to the New York Transit Museum, there’s a museum for all kinds of interests. If you visit during working hours on a weekday, the museums will likely be less crowded and quieter. If you want to take yourself out to a museum at night, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is open late every Friday, and many other museums have late hours on the weekends. Late museum hours often have free admission.
9. Relax on a Beach
You may think that New York is full of skyscrapers but it’s not all about the iconic buildings and movie scenes here. Don’t forget that the city has beaches too so when you need a break from all the sightseeing you can hit one of the famous city beaches such as Coney Island or Rockaway Beach.
10. Free Things To Do
It also helps that NYC is full of free things to do so even if you’re visiting on a budget you can find things to see and do. The brilliant free attractions of the Big Apple include Grand Central Station, Times Square and window shopping on Fifth Avenue. Solo visitors can find free things throughout the city: for example, it doesn’t cost anything to walk across Brooklyn Bridge or to visit the famous 9/11 Memorial.
And it’s free to wander around streets and neighbourhoods that are famous all over the planet, like Greenwich Village. On your solo trip to New York be sure to browse local listings for free deals too – currently, the fabulous Museum of Modern Art is free to enter on a Friday night. Or treat yourself to one of the regular free movie screenings in one of the parks.
Other Things To Do in New York
These are just my recommended top 10 but there are countless other experiences to be had in New York City. On your visit here, don’t forget to eat like a New York local. That means picking between iconic big-name restaurants to backstreet ice cream parlours. And you must try a classic New York hot dog from a trader on a street corner.
Plus there are food tours that you can take if you want to have some company whilst eating your way around the city. From café hopping to boutique shopping, there is so much in New York that one solo trip here just won’t be enough.
How To Get To NYC
The main airport in New York is John Kennedy International, locally called JFK. Transport to JFK is easy using the eight-mile AirTrain rail link from the city. Newark Liberty and La Guardia international airports also have simple, dedicated transport links to the city centre.