Some may say we're crazy, but there's nothing that we love and crave as much as a solo outing (hence why having a "solo" category on our Master Guide was a top priority). We love having the freedom to go where we please, eat what we want, sit when our feet are tired and actually have the chance to be alone with our thoughts for once. We've not always been this way and in fact, used to dread the thought of being alone, but through understanding ourselves and what fills our cup up the most, we've learned to love + truly enjoy our alone time + seek it out at every opportunity. As avid solo travelers and lovers of life, we'll be sharing some of our favorite solo outings in the NYC Metro Area that we've enjoyed recently in hopes to inspire you to get out on your own in your neighborhood.
First Things First - The Rules:
1. There are No Rules
The best & most important part of any solo outing, is the fact that it's something that is wholly yours. Remove any pressures or stigmas you've been operating under and let yourself just exist judgement free & simply as you please.
Things To Keep in Mind:
1. Safety First
As much as we wish this weren't a thing, sadly your safety needs to be top of mind during any solo outing (and generally, always). This means taking more precautions than usual, such as considering Ubering home instead of taking public transportation if it's a late night, or possibly taking a busier street to walk from one place to the next. Whatever it is, be aware that single people are naturally going to be subject to more dangers - operate with that in the back of your mind, take reasonable precautions and you'll be good to go.
2. No One Cares
One of the things we hear most when we talk about solo outings is the general sentiment of "...but won't people think I'm weird if I go/do XYZ alone.." and the harsh truth is that no one cares. If you don't believe us, think back to the last time that you saw someone out alone and what you thought of them, we bet you can't think even think of an example. The matter of fact is that everyone is so consumed with themselves that they can't be bothered to think about what others are doing, and even if they do notice that you are alone, no one really cares and if anything, they'll think it's empowering. So own it and let yourself do as you please!
3. Lie as Needed
Anchoring on points 1 & 2, an added bonus of being alone is that you can lie as needed (or as feels fun) without anyone there to fact check your made-up stories. While we don't typically advocate for lying, the truth is that sometimes it's easier and safer & strangers won't know the difference. If you're approached by someone, you can easily lie and say that your husband/girlfriend/friend/etc. is in the bathroom and you're just waiting for them, for example.
4. Do It For Yourself
A solo outing gives you the freedom to do exactly & only what YOU want to do so capitalize on the opportunity to do things you've always wanted to do and listen to your intuition when it's saying it doesn't want to do something. If you have plans to go to lunch followed by a museum but after lunch you're feeling like you'd prefer to go to the movies, you have the full autonomy to make that judgement call, guilt free. Listen to yourself & what your soul needs to be filled up and we promise you'll have the best time ever.
5. Come Prepared
Unsurprisingly, we're big advocates for research, planning and general preparedness and this is especially important for a solo outing. Navigating difficult situations is typically made much more difficult when you're doing it alone so spend the extra 5-10 minutes before departing on your outing to prepare adequately. Whether this means looking up your parking options ahead of time, packing snacks or a change of clothes, do whatever you can to make your life as easy as possible the day of.
1. Spa Day
Kicking off with one of our all-time favorite ways to relax and unwind. Who doesn't love a spa day. Given the quiet and individualistic nature of most spas, it's the perfect spot to go alone. Some favorite spas in the NYC-NJ area are:
- Island Spa in Edison, NJ
- Sojo Spa in Edgewater, NJ (recommend going on an "off" day to avoid crowds)
- QC NY Spa in Governors Island, NY
- AIRE Ancient Baths in TriBeCa, New York
2. Self Care Day
Very similarly, a great way to spend time alone is with a self-care day. Schedule a massage, facial, hair cut, nail, eyelash, eyebrow, etc. appointment, pop in your headphones with your favorite playlist or podcast and let yourself be pampered.
3. Something You've Been Wanting To Do
Everyone has that one thing/place that they keep trying to do but never have the opportunity to or are shot down by others anytime they bring up gong. A solo outing is the perfect opportunity to do That Thing. For us, it was going to a local record store one time and scanning through our favorite musicians' section, on another occasion, it was going to the Yayoi Kusama Infinity Mirror room.
4. Go to the Movies
A top tier solo activity since you sit in silence the whole time anyway.
5. Dining Outside
There's a certain ~ je ne sais quoi ~ about not only dining alone, but doing it outside on a nice day while you people watch. There may not be anything in this world that we love as much as sipping on a cappuccino alongside the water at a floral filled cafe as we watch people go by. It's also the perfect setting to read that book you've been putting off, but more on that below.
6. Go for a Walk
They call them hot girl walks for a reason! Walk & explore your neighborhood, your favorite part of town or opt for an actual hike. It's an especially nice activity to do alone as you can stop & go as you please, rest when needed and admire what you feel is worth admiration of.
As previously mentioned, reading is a top notch solo activity, especially because EVERYONE has a book they've been putting off picking up. Find a park, beach, cafe, or even your favorite cozy spot at home and get lost in your book.
We like going to museums alone so much that we actively avoid going with other people. We all have different interests and museums can be overstimulating and exhausting, especially when you're aimlessly walking around a section of minimal interest to you. Instead, opt to go alone and see alone the parts that excite you.
Very similarly to number 8, we're extremely passionate about finding exhibitions of interest to explore alone. As avid lovers of fashion, we struggled to find someone to accompany us to the many exhibitions of interest when we lived in Europe and finally started going alone and are SO glad we did. In a few short weeks we spent time at the Christian Dior, Manolo Blahnik, Cristobal Balenciaga, Audrey Hepburn Auction, and Princess Diane Dress exhibitions and they've not only remained some of our all time favorite memories, but irreplaceable and temporary spots that we could've missed out on forever if we didn't take a leap and head out alone.
10. Amusement park
If you're a roller coaster enthusiast, an amusement park might just be the best place for you to spend some time alone. As a single rider, you'll have the added advantage of getting on most rides more quickly and you won't get stuck waiting around for anyone.
We had the opportunity to see our all-time favorite artist, Frank Ocean, in concert at Panorama in 2017 but we didn't have any friends interested in going and felt too awkward to go alone and it has since been our biggest living regret to date as we've not had another opportunity to see Frank Ocean in five+ years. Learn from us, go to that concert of that artist you've always been itching to see live.
12. Attend a Class
Between language, cooking, sewing, self-defense, floral arrangement, acrobatic and work out classes, the options are endless for learning-that-thing-you've-always-been-interested-in. As a bonus, you might even make a new friend with similar interests in class!
13. Play Tourist
For whatever reason, it's SO embarrassing to be caught at local tourist attractions and for that reason, so many people will never see the attractions that draw people to their cities. Carve out a day to play tourist and see all of the sights. In New York City, we love the occasional Statue of Liberty, Broadway Show, Observation Deck, Times Square day, and it gives us reason to avoid midtown for at least another 8 months.
14. See a Play / Musical / Comedy Show
Another great opportunity to see a show you've always been interested in seeing, and as always, you typically sit in silence during these types of things anyway so there's no need to feel awkward going alone.
15. Boat Ride
Get tickets for your local ferry or a larger boat cruise and explore your city like you've never seen before, from the water.
16. Eat Your Favorite Food
We loveeee French cuisine but our regular dining company is not as enthused by escargot so we rarely have the chance to eat at French restaurants, making it our go-to on any solo outing day. Alternatively, stay in with your favorite movie and order your favorite guilty pleasure. Treat yourself, you deserve it.
17. Shopping / Thrifting
You're lying to yourself if you enjoy going shopping with other people - there's no fun in sitting there while the other person tries on clothes or getting dragged into stores completely opposite your taste. Instead, use a solo outing to go to your favorite stores, try on your favorite clothes and enjoy your own company.
The beach has everything you need for a great solo outing - relaxing, peaceful setting and prime opportunities for people watching, book reading and podcast listening.
19. Flower/Apple/Pumpkin/Lavender Picking
Depending on the season, there's sure to be at least one opportunity for picking-your-own. Head to a nearby farm/field and pick your own flower bouquet, pumpkins, apples, etc. and bring them home to enjoy further.
20. Watch the Sunrise/Sunset
Sometimes quiet reflection accompanied by a beautiful sunrise or sunset are all that you need to reset your inner demons. Find solace in the beauty of nature with a little sunset or sunrise watching from a favorite spot.
These are some of our favorite solo activities that you can do in any city or place - stay tuned for our upcoming post on solo destinations for the best cities and spots to travel to alone for those looking to explore outside their own neighborhood. As always, tag us or share below how you put a little disco in the details with these recommendations or your own ideas!