Things To Do In NYC For Solo Traveler On Vacation

By Go City Expert

Top Things to Do in NYC for a Solo Traveler on Vacation

Don't be intimidated by the idea of a solo trip to New York City - it's one of the best cities in the world to experience on your own. New York City will challenge you as a tourist. You'll have to navigate the city (and quickly learn why it's so commonly referred to as a 'concrete jungle') on your own, entertain yourself, and choose your own itinerary--entirely. The perfect destination for a little you time and self discovery. Traveling alone in NYC is an entirely different experience than traveling with a partner or in a group. When visiting NYC alone you have total control over what you see and do. No compromising over restaurants, sightseeing tours, or afternoon outings. Yet to make the most of your solo travels to New York City, you want to choose things to do that are geared at single people. Here are some of the best activities for a solo traveler to help guide your itinerary.

Free Entry with The New York Pass®

Free entry to many of these popular New York attractions and activities are included on The New York Pass®. Used by over 3.5 million travelers, the New York Pass is the ultimate sightseeing pass, which includes admission to 90+ attractions, Fast Track Entry at select attractions, a free guidebook, & much more. Learn more about the New York Pass benefits & how to save up to 70% off attractions.

New York Art Galleries

Spread out across six neighborhoods in NYC are locally procured art galleries, which are perfect for a solo traveler with an artistic curiosity. After all, when you are by yourself you can fully immerse yourself in the art without feeling pressured by others to move to the next activity. Admission: the galleries are totally free to get in to and open to the public. They are located in Chelsea, Lower East Side, Upper East Side, Soho, Williamsburg/Bushwick, and Dumbo located in Brooklyn.

Shopping at Cobble Hill

Whether you are into books at Books Are Magic, prefer the hip finds at Refinery, or want to nosh out at Stinky Bklyn, Cobble Hill is where it’s happening for shopping in NYC boutiques. For all of your trendiest New York shopping needs, the Cobble Hill shopping district along Smith and Court offer a smorgasbord of delights. Shop til your heart is content without any guilt from tagalongs as a solo traveler in NYC. This is a great place to grab souvenirs for family members whom you left behind for your trip. Admission: getting into the shops is totally free, the shopping however, is unfortunately not.

Luxury Spa Days

Where is the one place where silence is golden? Why, at a luxurious spa, of course, and New York City is full of these. Consider booking a spa experience at your hotel, or splurge for the Sleeping Beauty treatment at Joanna Vargas Skin Care. And, no, spa days aren’t just for the ladies. Solo male travelers can strive for Brad Pitt’s face with a treatment by the Tracie Martyn Fifth Avenue salon. After all, this is who gives Brad his Hollywood shine. Admission: to experience NYC spa luxury, you'll have to book a treatment or appointment with a spa before you go.

9/11 Memorial and Museum

If you visit NYC, then you must experience the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. The memorial is on the World Trade Center grounds and features a pair of reflecting pools. Then in the museum in Foundation Hall, you can see a wall that was an actual part of the retaining wall used during the recovery after the 9/11 attacks. The 9/11 Memorial and Museum are solemn places where you will be glad you are visiting alone. Admission: 9/11 Memorial and Museum tickets are included with the New York Pass.

Museum of Modern Art

MoMA is one of the world’s most famous modern art museums and a grand adventure for any solo traveler. See works of art by the most famous modern artist of New York City—Andy Warhol—including the Gold Marilyn Monroe painting. Other artists on display include Frida Kahlo, Pablo Picasso, Roy Lichtenstein, and Willem de Kooning. It is a must-see for any NYC visitor, and when visiting alone you have no pressure to rush through the 250,000 plus photos on display at the Museum of Modern Art. Admission: Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) tickets are included with the New York Pass.

Brooklyn Bridge Bike Ride

When is the last time you tried riding a bike with your kids tagging along, or your parents for that matter? If you are traveling with a group, trying to enjoy a bike ride is nearly impossible. Someone’s always complaining or getting left behind. Well, now that you are traveling NYC solo you are in the driver’s seat. Test your bicycling chops with a bike rental and tour over the Brooklyn Bridge. Enjoy the sights and sounds of New York City including the Statue of Liberty and NYC Harbor. Admission: Brooklyn Bridge Sightseeing Bike Tours and Rentals tickets included with the New York Pass.

SoHo, Little Italy and Chinatown

Instead of sticking close to your hotel and Times Square, venture out into the melting pot that is NYC. Three of the most cultural neighborhoods in the city are SoHo, Little Italy, and Chinatown. Best of all, you can take a walking tour of all three and soak it all in. As a single visitor, you won’t have to fret with getting split up from your group. Instead, you can spend as much time meandering vendor stalls and people watching while you dine alfresco. Admission: SoHo, Little Italy and Chinatown Tour tickets are included with the New York Pass.

Brooklyn Botanical Garden

As you look for a place to rest your tourist-tired feet, consider a stop at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. Tucked away in the midst of a bustling city, the BBG features an array of flora that will give your spirit a lift. From the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden to the Shakespeare Garden, there are several small gardens nestled throughout the property. There’s also a Children’s Garden where kids have been gardening for more than a century, inspiring tourists of all ages. Admission: Brooklyn Botanical Garden tickets are included with the New York Pass.

Museum of Sex

Let’s be honest, sometimes you want to see the sites of a city, but you are too embarrassed to ask others in your group to join you. Here we have the Museum of Sex, which is educational and enlightening if not a bit eye-catching at times. And if you typically travel with children, now is your opportunity to experience this 18-and-over museum on your own. Plus, for solo travelers in NYC, there is the Jump For Joy exhibit. Here you can unleash your energy and bounce around in a room with strangers. The interestingly shaped round bouncy balls are made to encourage bumping into one another. Admission: Museum of Sex tickets are included with the New York Pass.

Remember To Save On Attraction Admission

There's always something to do in New York City, hence the nickname "The city that never sleeps". Being that there are so many different activities and attractions to visit in the city, you can end up spending a ton on admission fees. However, if you purchase the New York Pass, you'll gain free access to over 90 attractions in New York. This will allow you to save more money and visit more attractions. For more information on the New York Pass, click here.

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What to do in Dry January

If you’re abstaining from alcohol in January (or even February or March), you still need fun stuff to do. And yes, plenty of fun, alcohol-less stuff does exist. You just need to think outside of the box/liquor bottle. Or box of liquor bottles. Our first tip? Don’t think of it as Dry January. Think of of it as Fun January, just without the liquor. Here's what to do in Dry January. Reunion in Brooklyn First up, breakfast! Head to Reunion in Brooklyn; it’s on UNION Avenue in Williamsburg, so that’s cute. It’s an Israeli Café with a cozy vibe, and sidewalk seating when the weather is, you know, not the next four months. Order the Yemenite Pancake, which is fried dough with tahini and a soft-boiled egg. Or maybe the schnitzel on challah, partly because it’s just really fun to say. Get yourself a pomegranate juice and a latte, and you won’t even miss the Mimosa. Robotic Church Ok, you need a distraction. Something different, something new. You need to visit the Robotic Church in Brooklyn. Yes, that's a real thing. Formerly the Norwegian Seaman’s Church, the space is now host to a series of kinetic robots arrayed throughout the entire building. And we do mean entire--they’re on the walls, on the floor, peering over a catwalk. They range from one foot to more than 15, and each one has a task that produces a particular noise, sometimes all at once. Visiting will provide not just an experience, but a story that will see you through Dry January and many days to come. abcv Looking for a bar experience without the bar tab and the bar drinks? Check out abcv, Jean George’s plant-based, largely organic bar and restaurant. Never fear—mocktails and juice-based concoctions abound. Try a cold-pressed organic juice, like the turmeric elixir, with turmeric, local honey, lime, and Himalayan sea salt. Or maybe a shake with pears, coconut, and bee pollen. They also offer homemade sodas and organic iced teas. You can also get actual food, like mushroom walnut bolognese, or sauteed leafy greens. Our favorite category? “Brunch’s dessert.” Try the chocolate mousse parfait. Outsider Art Fair Not drinking? Look at some art! The Outsider Art Fair takes place in January at the Metropolitan Pavilion (other versions take place in other locales around the world), and it’s the time to attend a variety of exhibits from artists who are outside of the mainstream, Exhibits include “Relishing the Raw,” in which contemporary artists display works from their own collections, and “Bogus Cinderellas,” a show about postage stamps that display often fictitious places. You’ll also find talks and special projects, so call up that ”Art History 101” knowledge and check it out this dry January. Wave-Field, Variation O From now through March 31, you can get different kind of buzz—head to Wave-Field, Variation O, a series of glowing, interactive see-saws at Pier 17 next to Seaport Square. Yes, you read that correctly. The exhibit features eight different-sized see-saws, each one with its own musical “vocabulary,” demonstrated when they’re in motion. Play, glide, call on your inner child and your sense of rhythm. Looking for more winter fun to distract yourself? Why not try The New York Pass?
Go City Expert
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The Best Attractions in Brooklyn

Aerial view of Brooklyn. Photo by Curbed NY [spacer height="20px"] Manhattan is no longer the only borough on the radar of New York City visitors. Tourists as well as Manhattanites have been migrating to the hip borough for a few years for a good reason. Brooklyn offers many great attractions, some of New York City's best restaurants, tranquil greenery and the kind of views you can only see when you actually leave Manhattan. When in New York City, do not limit yourself to the tried-and-true island of Manhattan and venture out to its cooler cousin. [spacer height="20px"] Brooklyn Botanic Garden Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Photo by Vince Young [spacer height="20px"] The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a true NYC gem. It offers tranquil green paths, beautiful flowers, lakes, a fragrance garden, a place for children to learn about plants and flowers and about the most stunning cherry trees that blossom in the spring. Brooklyn Botanic Garden is located at 990 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11225 Opening hours: Tuesday–Friday: 8 a.m.–6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday: 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Closed Mondays (but open Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Columbus Day, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.) Closed Labor Day [spacer height="20px"] Brooklyn Bridge Park Brooklyn Bridge Park. Photo by Robert Harding/Getty Images [spacer height="20px"] After you make the mandatory walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, stop by the Brooklyn piers and the adjacent Brooklyn Bridge Park. This park offers the most amazing views of Downtown Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge. When you stop strolling or lounging in the plush grass, there are many activities to do at the piers, including beach volleyball, soccer, multiple playgrounds, food trucks, ice cream and many more. Finish your day at Brooklyn Bridge Park by visiting Fornino at Pier 6 for a wood-fire pizza, beers and a rooftop patio with stunning views. [spacer height="20px"] Brooklyn Museum Brooklyn Museum. Photo by Mark Lennihan/AP [spacer height="20px"] The third largest museum in New York City, the Brooklyn museum boasts with a great collection of classical and modern art. The museum is located right between Brooklyn's Grand Army Plaza and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden on the edge of Prospect Park. Fun fact: The sculptures on the outside of the majestic structure were designed by Daniel Chester French, the creator of the famous Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. Brooklyn Museum is located at 200 Eastern Parkway Brooklyn, New York 11238-6052 Opening hours: Monday: Closed Tuesday: Closed Wednesday - Sunday: 11am–6pm Coney Island Luna Park at Coney Island [spacer height="20px"] Coney Island is actually a peninsula, located at the South-East end of Brooklyn. The beach and boardwalk at Coney Island serve as a frequent setting in movies and offer some much needed r&r opportunities just a subway ride away. The beach tends to be crowded in the summer, but it's worth a visit, if you're looking for that old New York vibe. Located at Coney Island is also the famous Luna Park. The Luna Park offers awesome thrill rides and roller coasters, kiddie rides and tons of other fun attractions. While you're down there, don't forget to sample a hot dog from Nathan's. [spacer height="20px"] Bushwick Collective Bushwick Collective [spacer height="20px"] It's worth it to venture out off the beaten path into Bushwick. The industrial-looking neighborhood exudes a classic Brooklyn attitude and is full of some of the best street art in New York City. The Bushwick Collective is a non-profit outdoor gallery of graffiti and street art, preserving the cultural integrity of the neighborhood and its vibrant history of self-expression. You can wonder around Bushwick by yourself and then visit the trendy Williamsburg for a bite, or you can take a guided Alternative Street Art tour with Inside Out Tours (included in New York Pass). To see the street art in Bushwick walk around Troutman Street and Saint Nicholas Avenue. [spacer height="20px"] Prospect Park Prospect Park Lake [spacer height="20px"] Central Park's smaller sister is located in the heart of Brooklyn, surrounded by the Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and lots of lovely residential neighborhoods. The 585 acre park was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead and includes spacious lawns, bushy walkways and refreshing lakes for the perfect afternoon getaway. When inside Prospect Park, you can get lost and feel like you're in the woods, fully escaping the busy nature of the city that surrounds it. In the Summer, Prospect Park hosts the famed food market, Smorgasburg every Sunday. In the Winter, the LeFrak Center in Prospect park serves as an outdoor ice-skating rink.
Go City Expert
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Cab Etiquette Rules That Everyone Should Know

This article was originally published in www.newyork.com on July 14th, 2016 [spacer height="20px"] New York City is the land of cabs — 13,237 at last count — and catching one is only half the battle (see our story, 6 Surprising Tips for Catching a Cab, for more on that aspect). Once you’re in and on your way, there’s a lot to know about what to expect from your ride and how to behave if things start to go wrong. Read on for our four handy tips for navigating the interior yellow cab experience with style and aplomb. [spacer height="20px"] Is it ever acceptable for a cab driver to refuse you service? Technically, the answer here is yes, but only if the trip will take more than 12 consecutive hours, which is illegal, or if the light on top of the cab is off, indicating that the cab is off duty. Otherwise, drivers are obligated by law to drive you to the destination of your choice within the five boroughs. Most New Yorkers wait until they’re safely inside a cab with the door closed before revealing their destination, especially if it’s to an outer borough. Can you insist that a driver hang up the phone if he’s in the middle of a hands-free call? It’s happened to all New Yorkers. You jump in a cab happy to be on your way, but the driver is yapping away on his mobile, blasting music or ignoring the comfort of the rider. Once you’re inside a taxi, you have rights. Too hot on a summer day with the windows rolled up? Request the driver turn on the air conditioning. Can’t hear yourself think from the cell-phone chatter? By law, drivers should not be using mobiles, smartphones or other such devices while driving (even hands-free), so don’t hesitate to ask them to get off the phone. What’s the right amount for a tip? Tipping is a way of life in New York when it comes to restaurants, hotels and taxis. In most American cities the tip threshold is lower than in the Big Apple, around 15 percent according to many surveys. But, hey, this is New York and everything is better, bigger and more expensive. That doesn’t mean you can’t tip 15 percent or whatever number you think is fair, but it’s important to remember that 20 percent is the general rule. If you pay by credit card, there are automatic gratuity settings of 20, 25 or 30 percent gratuity, although you can add any amount. If a cabbie has been incredibly helpful and friendly, it’s always good to show your appreciation, especially if he or she helps you with unwieldy luggage. If they are flat-out rude or get completely lost, tip at your own discretion. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images) Is it acceptable for a cab driver to tell you to stop talking on your cell phone? Legally, a driver can’t make you hang up your phone, but as a rider it’s common courtesy to avoid loud conversations and rude conduct. “I think drivers overall appreciate being respected for their professionalism and the service they provide. Driving a taxi is incredibly difficult, and requires great patience and skill, and the more passengers convey their understanding of this, the more drivers value it,” says NYC TLC Commissioner/Chair David Yassky. The best advice is to treat your driver with respect, and you’ll likely earn their trust and get to your destination quickly and safely. Is it rude to pay with a credit card if the driver asks you to pay in cash? Taxi drivers love taking cash just like every other New York business, but don’t let that stop you from pulling out the plastic. All New York taxis are required to take credit cards, so if a cabbie tries to tell you the machine is broken, don’t take the bait. Another common trick is for a driver to say that he (or she) has already hit the “cash” button, but don’t let that fool you either — switching from cash to credit is as simple as pushing a button. After the transaction, ask for a receipt. That tiny piece of paper can come in handy — it has the official medallion number on it, which is important if you lose something or need to file a complaint. What do you do if a cab driver refuses to comply with your requests? As a paying passenger you have rights, including the option to get out of a cab at any time. If serious issues arise, write down the medallion number, which you can find located on the license plate, hood of the vehicle, on top of the taxi, and on your receipt. You’ll need this to submit an official complaint online at nyc.gov or by calling 311. What’s the best way to acknowledge a driver for exceptional work? A nice tip is more than enough to show your gratitude, but if you’d like you can also commend a cabbie for going above and beyond the call of duty on the same website that the city uses to track complaints. For more New York City tips, visit www.newyork.com.
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