22 Things To Do Alone in New York City

2018 Natalie was very Carrie Bradshaw, Season 5: 

“If Louis was right and you only get one great love, New York may just be mine.” 

carrie bradshaw sex and the city gif in times square

As of late, I’ve found myself more interested in dating my home rather than dating men. Can you blame me? New York is endlessly entertaining and sometimes, you just need to be alone with The City That Never Sleeps. 

The other night, on one in a series of great dates, I was by myself at a stand-up comedy show in the Lower East, at a great bar called Pianos, where tickets were donation-based.

While waiting for the show to start, I did as most people by themselves do and got on Instagram! I posted a poll to my Story to see how many like the idea of going out and doing things on their own versus how many find the sentiment horrifying. By an overwhelming amount, people said they do in fact enjoy solo exploration–and for that, I have compiled this list.

Simple and affordable, as I like my alone-time, I hope these 22 personal tips can be a reference to you some lonesome, optimistic day in New York!

(P.S. They are mostly downtown-centric as I am a downtown girl)

22 Things To Do Alone in New York City

For the explorers

the pink tinted interior design at Little Cupcake Bakeshop in Manhattan's Lower East Side

1. Go to the Little Cupcake Bakeshop on Prince St. in the Lower East, and then spend a couple hours perusing the McNally Jackson bookstore, also located on Prince St. 

FOR THE READER

2. Like the bookstore idea? Visit landmark book lover shop, the Strand at 828 Broadway, and then see what’s going on around Union Square Park

*Max Brenner Chocolate Shop & TsuroTonTan Noodles close by* 

3. Speaking of parks, sit and reflect at Washington Square Park but don’t go to the Starbucks. Walk a few blocks and have a coffee instead at the Stumptown in Greenwich Village before going to look at pens and stationary at Goods For The Study

FOR THE MUSEUM GOER

4. Speaking of parks pt. II: Central Park. This living, breathing, organism of a park is truly a wonderland when explored on one’s own, ridden I’m sure with magical rabbit holes. Go to Central Park and then go to the Guggenheim, which is located all the way up on the corner of East 89th St. & 5th Ave (conveniently along Central Park)

*On Saturdays from 5:45 to 7:45 entrance to the Guggenheim is donation-based, line opens at 5:15*

5. ^ See tip 4 but replace the Guggenheim with the MET (Metropolitan Museum of Art) which occupies a portion of Central Park’s Great Lawn, on 5th Ave and East 82nd St. After going to the MET you might as well enjoy a snack on the MET steps and like, write in your diary or something. Just make sure you sign it XoXo, gOsSiP GiRl

*The MET is always donation-based/"pay what you wish"*
central park hot dogs nyc yellow cab what to do in new york

6. OR might I suggest you go to the other side of the park, to the Upper West Side, and visit the American Museum of Natural History, located along Central Park from West 77th – 81st St. On my birthday, I went museum first, park after. I picked up a hot dog on my way into Central Park and it was a great day. 

*The Natural History Museum is also donation-based/"pay what you wish"*

7. Like the idea of walking and eating? Although locals do love Central Park, the spot to get fresh air that many tourists don’t know about, is the High Line. Walk the High Line and explore the famous Chelsea Market! If it were me, I’d go to Chelsea Market first, get a crepe, and then walk it off on the High Line. 

FOR THE SHOPPER

two pretty decorated matcha drinks at matchaful cafe in soho nyc

8. First (or during) try the matcha at Matchaful in SoHo. Even if you don’t like or enjoy matcha. (And if you do this because I told you to but don’t like the drink as you said you don’t like matcha, it’s okay, drink it anyways cause it’s very good for you and then take a pic at the store cause it’s so cute. Also, I’m sry) Now that you have your fix, you’re ready to window shop SoHo! Zara, TopShop, Madewell, Sephora, Nike, Victoria’s Secret, those are all on Broadway. Designer stores are on the cobblestones streets of Greene and Spring, the Glossier flagship is on Lafayette. 

IF YOU LIKE ENTERTAINMENT

9. See a movie in Paris! Located on the Upper West Side, Paris is Manhattan’s last single-screen cinema! It shows indie, artsy and foreign films to its 581-seat stadium. 

10. Speaking of indie, go to Oliver Coffee in Chinatown, have a CBD-infused latte, and choose an article or five from any one of the awesome indie magazines offered by IMPORT News. The topics typically cover foreign and pop culture, music, and travel. I look at this small shop as a place to disconnect (no Wi-Fi) and learn something new from the perspective of someone I don’t know. (But sometimes I just grab an oat milk cappuccino on-the-go at their street window.)

11. Hop and a skip from Oliver Coffee is Doyers St. Once called things like the Bloody Angle and Murder Alley, Doyers Street’s history is infamous for the deaths it saw when organized crime/gang warfare in Chinatown was at a high. It is now a picturesque, often photographed, alley with dim sum house, Nom Wah Tea Parlor. And you just have to go. The soup dumplings. Omg.

12. Since you’re in Chinatown, may I recommend a treat? Perhaps you Instagram a photo of your mochi-laden ice cream in its yummy, fish-shaped waffle cone from Taiyaki at 119 Baxter? Another Instagram-worthy/equally tasty ice cream stop is Milk & Cream Bar at 159 Mott St. The walls replay loops from old cartoons like Powerpuff Girls and Dexter’s Lab, and you can choose from an array of cereal-inspired ice creams and shakes. 

13. Since you’re in Chinatown part II, there’s a Buddhist temple called Mahayana Temple at 133 Canal St., off of Bowery. 

MUSIC LOVERS

14. There’s a record store in Chinatown called Downtown Music Gallery.

15. There’s a record store in Greenwich Village called Generation Records.

16. There’s a record store in East Village called Good Records. And even though it’s snuggled between the homes of E 5th St., you can’t miss it because it’s attached to a bright pink building. After checking out records, get some pierogis (Polish dumplings) at Veselka.

THE WALKERS, THE SIGHTSEERS

17. One may want company when walking the Brooklyn Bridge–it’s an iconic backdrop, who’s going to take your picture? But I promise walking it by yourself is just as rewarding. The Manhattan entrance in the Financial District is about a 6-minute walk from Woops! Cafe on Worth St. You should totally get a coffee and some macarons from Woops! and then see how far you wander across the Brookyln Bridge.

18. If you walk all the way across the Brooklyn Bridge you’ll be in DUMBO, one of my favorite neighborhoods to bring people when they visit because the view of Manhattan from DUMBO’s position along the East River is a sight to see. I’m going to stop there because Brooklyn needs to be its own separate list.

19. Opposite of DUMBO is the neighborhood Two Bridges in Manhattan. Here, along the East River, you can take in the view of both the Manhattan Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge. Far in the distance you can see Jane’s Carousel, along the water in DUMBO. A walking/biking trail that runs all the way Uptown is built along the river.

*OR--bike it. In Two Bridges, along the East River, at Market St. and Cherry St. there is a Citi Bike Station. Rent a bike and head toward the water. With FDR Drive running above you, bike in the direction of the Brooklyn Bridge, within no time you'll be in the Seaport District. 

20. If you really want a view, and you’re willing to spend money, and yeah, you really want to get that impressive shot of the city, I do support going to the Top of the Rock (Rockefeller Center). I think it’s about $34. Top of Empire State is cool too but I like seeing the Empire State in my skyline, ya know? The top of One World Trade is also stunning, and then if you haven’t seen the 9/11 Memorial, it is more than worth while.

21. Get a cheap massage in K-town (Spa 32 is trustworthy) and then really, just pop into any store along 32nd Street that catches your fancy. You can’t go wrong with treating yourself to a bowl of jajangmyeon, ramen, bulgogi + rice, mandu (Korean dumplings) omg I’m getting ahead of myself. Spot Dessert Bar serves up fun, creative desserts that don’t sacrifice flavor for flair.

22. Okay let’s bring this list full circle by ending where we began. Kind of. Because when I began this article, I said I was at a comedy show (the night I took this photo) and I would like to recommend that you be a real loner and go support some local comedians? Let them tell you jokes, marvel at how they work the crowd of people already at the bar, and have a couple strong martinis.*

*This type of lonesome affair has to be done properly. For example, Pianos in the Lower East is perfect as a solo, weekday night thing. And like I mentioned, strong martinis. But you see I wouldn't necessarily go to a stand-up comedy show at say, the Comedy Cellar by myself... although I do recommend that as the next thing you do with your friends. That you most definitely must experience with others. 

Okay so now I need to make a Brooklyn list AND a With Friends list?

Hey, thanks for stopping by! I do hope this list may be of some help to you in some sort of way once, or maybe a few times.

If you have anything you need to tell me or a question to ask, feel free in the comments below!! x

XOXO,
Natalie