Best Things To Do Alone in New York City

Mark Wang / © Culture Trip
Photo of Julia Goicochea
28 June 2019

In the City That Never Sleeps, it can be difficult to find a quiet moment or an empty street. As energizing as the city’s bustling crowds may be, every New Yorker knows there’s something to be said for solitude. There are plenty of things to do in New York City, but not everything is meant to be experienced and enjoyed alone. Here are nine things to do by yourself in New York City.

Experience peace at Shakespeare Garden

Park, University
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Shakespeare is ever-present through language | Mark Wang / © Culture Trip

Escape the crowds at Central Park’s secluded Shakespeare Garden, a four-acre space named and designed in honor of the famed English writer. Bibliophiles will love the garden’s quiet paths lined with flowers and plants referenced in Shakespeare’s works. With its picturesque landscape and ample seating, this designated quiet zone is a great place to stop and smell the roses.

Brooklyn Bridge, New York

Bridge, Park
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The Brooklyn Bridge connects Lower Manhattan to Brooklyn Heights
© TTstudio / Shutterstock
Yes, it’s one of New York’s most popular tourist attractions, but a stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge offers fantastic views of the city’s landscape as well as glimpses of Lady Liberty herself. A great source of exercise and entertainment, a bridge crossing on foot will help you lose yourself in the crowds of tourists and New Yorkers and enjoy the fresh breeze.

Relax and recharge at a meditation class

Art Gallery, Bookstore
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Activities to Enjoy Solo in New York City
Mark Wang / | © Culture Trip
Mindful of the apprehension felt by many novices, Tibet House US offers simple and accessible meditation classes open to beginners as well as experienced practitioners. The classes are educational and relaxing, delving into the history of meditation as the instructor guides a soothing group practice. A deeply personal and individual experience, meditation is an excellent and enriching solo activity.

Dine solo at Veselka

Restaurant, European, $$$
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Ukrainian eatery Veselka has attracted a loyal following of comfort-food-craving locals for more than 50 years. Grab a table for one and sample Eastern European staples like savory pierogi, cheese-filled blintzes and cold borscht. The restaurant’s convenient hours (it’s open 24 hours daily) and unobtrusive service make it the perfect spot for a solitary bite.

Browse the shelves at one of Brooklyn’s biggest superstores

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Activities to Enjoy Solo in New York City
Mark Wang / | © Culture Trip
Don’t call it a junk shop: the inventory of Green Village Used Furniture and Clothing ranges from Fisher Price children’s toys to antique furniture. Also selling books, theater props and housewares, this one-stop shop promises rewarding finds for patient searchers.

Get thrifty in Williamsburg

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View of the Williamsburg Bridge at the intersection of S6 and Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn.
The Williamsburg Bridge connects Williamsburg with Manhattan’s Lower East Side | © Mihai Speteanu / Shutterstock
Take advantage of the neighborhood’s numerous thrift shops by embarking on a personalized thrift crawl. Fans of 1950s letterman jackets and vintage fabrics will love the high-quality finds at 10 Ft. Single by Stella and nearby Stella Dallas Living. For more modern pieces at affordable prices, check out Buffalo Exchange and Monk Vintage Thrift Shop on Driggs Avenue. Often rewarding and always interesting, thrift shopping is an entertaining activity best experienced at your own leisure.

Lounge in a chic hotel lobby

Boutique Hotel, Suite Hotel, Hotel
4.4/5 (926 Reviews)
Soho Grand Hotel
Courtesy of Soho Grand Hotel /
The Salon at the Soho Grand Hotel is an ideal spot to enjoy an afternoon of solitude in style. Sink into one of the room’s plush armchairs with a good book in one hand and a well-made cocktail in the other. Enjoy the anonymity afforded by the hotel’s transient nature as you treat yourself to something from its extensive food and drink menu.
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Explore a museum at your own pace

Building, Museum, Art Gallery
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From the Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Again exhibition at the Whitney Museum.
‘Andy Warhol – From A to B and Back Again’ takes a new look at Warhol in the 21st century | © Whitney Museum
Check out the Whitney Museum of American Art, an institution dedicated to 20th- and 21st-century American art. Explore the exhibitions at leisure, lingering and bypassing at your own discretion in order to make the most of the freedom afforded by solitude. Follow this with a walk north along The High Line, which starts outside the museum and gives an alternative perspective on the cityscape.

Treat yourself to an indulgent snack

Candy Store, Cafe, Pastry Shop, Pastries, American, $$$
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New York, United States. 30th June, 2018. Chocolate products by Marie Belle of Brooklyn on display during New York 2018 Summer Fancy Food Show at Jacob Javits Center Credit: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/Alamy Live News
Chocolates by Marie Belle of Brooklyn | © PACIFIC PRESS / Alamy Stock Photo
Chocolate lovers will adore MarieBelle, a SoHo salon serving decadent desserts, beverages and delicacies. Settle into the shop’s lush Marie Antoinette-inspired setting to sip exotic hot chocolates or sample beautiful ganaches in flavors like whiskey, pistachio and champagne. With an enticing variety of pre-packaged products available to buy, MarieBelle encourages patrons to continue treating themselves long after they leave the store.

Parrish Turner contributed additional reporting to this story.

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