The Big Apple, The City of Dreams–call it what you will. New York is a city that never sleeps, but somehow still rejuvenates you with its never-ending thrill and inspiration. Keep this guide in your back pocket during your solo trip to NYC. Just a single step out of the subway will give you infinite ideas for exploration, but it does help to have a cheat sheet of fun ideas on hand. From Broadway to fine dining to cultural immersion, New York City has an excursion for travelers of all speeds. Whether you’re remote working in one of NYC’s beautiful and breaking out at night, or spending long days in the street looking for adventure, NYC’s got you covered any hour of the day.
Finding The Best Places To Stay On Any Budget
Finding a place to stay is sometimes the hardest part for a solo traveler. Do you stick to the hostels? Book yourself a luxury hotel room? Utilize Airbnb? Whether you’re sticking to a budget or splurging for your trip, NYC has a suitable place to stay for any traveler.
Right in the heart of Manhattan, there are ample hostels ranging in price from about $50-$100 a night depending on location and whether you decide to bunk up or get a private room. Hostels are great for someone looking to meet travel partners along the way, as most usually host group outings or events for solo travelers to link up.
If you’re working from home and need stable Wi-Fi in the daytime, go for a hotel in a different borough such as Brooklyn or Queens. Transportation into Manhattan is still a breeze, but the boroughs offer a more laid-back stay that’s likely to be a bit more quiet. Opt to stay in a surrounding town if you’re really eager to cut down on costs–Hoboken or Jersey City, New Jersey are just a train ride away from the Big Apple.
Transportation Around The City As A Solo Traveler
The cost of cabs, Ubers, and Lyfts can easily add up as a solo traveler. Luckily, the NYC MTA (subway system) is easily accessible and cost-effective for any budget. When you arrive in the city, purchase a Metrocard at a kiosk for $1, and load up for your rides. A single ride costs $2.75, and most trains offer free transfers to the next line. Unsure if you’re going the right way? Just use the Google Maps app on your device to follow along with the train stops, or tap a passerby on the shoulder. NYC locals are surprisingly friendly and helpful.
NYC also offers scooter and bike rentals for cheap if you are feeling adventurous. CitiBikes are prevalent and offer a 24-hour pass or 7-day rental, so get your exercise and sightseeing in with one great deal. After all, New York is a super bike-friendly city, and the best way to “take it all in” is to do so above-ground.
What To Do As A Solo Traveler In NYC
So you’ve mastered accommodations and transportation. Now, what to do all day? New York City is famous for providing opportunity at every turn, and that includes opportunities for fun. Head to 42nd street, buy a single seat ticket and catch a show on NYC’s iconic Broadway. With dozens of shows playing any given month, it’s easy to score a budget-friendly ticket, especially if you head to the ticket booth on a last-minute whim.
If plays or musicals aren’t your mood and you’re looking for some laughs, search for comedy shows. NYC is a comedy haven with plenty of “underground” and emerging comedians performing at local clubs for cheap. Purchase a single ticket and don’t forget ID, because most clubs require a two-drink limit per person. If music is your jam, opt for local bars putting on shows for a truly unique experience, and it’s a great way to mingle with locals. All musicians make at least one stop in New York City on their world tours, so a quick “concerts near me” search just may surprise you.
For The Cultured Crowd
New York City is full of iconic museums. Start by heading to the Metropolitan Museum of Art on 5th Ave, better known as “The Met,” and either have a photo op on the steps, or splurge on the $25 ticket for a day of art and culture appreciation. Other museums to add to your bucket list should include The Guggenheim, The MoMA, The Whitney, and the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. All unique in their own way, museum-hopping is perfect for someone looking to spend the day alone appreciating art. It’s best when you can take the galleries at your own pace, anyway.
The Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side, a national historic site, celebrates migrant stories and provides a peek into the average New Yorker’s day-to-day as far back as the 1800s. For insight into the immigrant lifestyle and struggle, upon which New York City was built, The Tenement Museum is a must-see.
Spend The Day Outdoors
Believe it not, NYC actually offers plenty of green space. Grab a blanket, an NYC bagel with cream cheese shmear, and head to historic Central Park to start. You’d be hard pressed to find another urban oasis as legendary as Central Park.
If you are looking for a more modern, artistic experience, explore the 1.45 mile long elevated park called The High Line. Railroad-line turned green public park, this all-purpose walking, biking, and picnicking path provides top-notch views around the city, perfect for endless selfies.
Shop Til You Drop
In recent years, SoHo has emerged as one of the most fashionable neighborhoods in all of NYC. Landmark stores like Bloomingdale’s and Prada can be found among the cast-iron architecture and cobblestone streets of SoHo, as well as more hip, newer spots like Supreme and Kith. Window shop for inspiration or swipe your card all day– when you’re ready for a break, there are plenty of cute cafes and trendy eateries along the streets.
Leave Space For Spontaneity
When it comes to New York City, plan to not plan. The city’s magic is in the sidewalks, the subways, and the stumble-upons. Neighborhoods like Greenwich Village (The “West Village”) are brimming with interesting pop-up shops, eateries and galleries at every corner. The atmosphere can’t be beat– it’s no wonder Greenwich Village has been the bohemian backdrop for countless plays, novels and movies over the years.
With all this exlporing, you’ll definitely need a bite, bookmark Where to Find the Best Italian Food in NYC’s Little Italy.