One of the best perks about living in a city like New York is that you can have a perfectly entertaining day, even if you’re spending it alone. Although a New Yorkers natural habitat is to be surrounded by people, the 2020 pandemic has definitely forced locals into having a few solo days. With Broadway closed, dine-in being off and on, and things all around just being unpredictable, I have made a list of ways I’ve been spending my alone time in a safe and pandemic-friendly matter. So whether you’re a local or just here for the week, here are some of my recommendations for the perfect solo day in NYC.
1. The Met Museum
Kind of an obvious choice, but bare with me here. My first solo experience living in the city was a self-led tour of The Met. When it comes to this art museum, there is so much to see, it is nearly impossible to get through it in a single day. I’m a massive advocate of touring museums alone, it seems as though it is truly the best way to experience things, especially art. Getting lost in the sculptures, paintings and artifacts is the perfect way to spend your afternoon. You can also rest assured that this museum is taking precautions when it comes to the safety of its guests, every attendant is required to wear a mask at all times, and reservations are made in advance for capacity reasons. The Met also has a special “pay what you wish” deal on Fridays which you can reserve a spot for via their website.
2. The Guggenheim
The Guggenheim is a perfect place to make a reservation for one. This is yet another well-known and praised art museum located in the Upper East Side. This museum is currently accepting reservations and has a special reduced price of $16 due to the spiral ramp currently being off-limits to guests. The Guggenheim also has a “pay what you wish” admission on Saturdays, reservations for this special goes on sale Fridays at 10am for the Saturday of the following week. This art museum is truly a spectacular way to spend a solo day in NYC.
3. The MOMA
The last art museum I will be discussing in this article is The Museum of Modern Art, also known as the MOMA. Located in Midtown Manhattan, the MOMA was founded in 1929 and identified as one of the most influential museums of modern art in the world. Admission for the Museum of Modern Art is currently $25, but students with an ID are admitted for $14. This museum has unfortunately suspended their “pay what you wish” reservations due to COVID-19 restrictions. Tickets are available for purchase via their website.
4. Strand Bookstore
Moving on from museums, book shops are another one of my favorite places to be on a solo day. The Strand is a book shop located in Lower Manhattan, with a wide selection of new and used books and some fun book-themed gifts. Safety is definitely a top priority at this book shop, masks are enforced for all, along with surfaces being disinfected between visits and dividers being set up at checkout. Four floors of books truly makes time pass by, there is no way to leave without a purchase or two!
5. Washington Square Park
Another great place to kill a few hours in is Washington Square Park, one of the more well-known New York City public spaces. Located in the Greenwich Village area of Lower Manhattan, and approximately ten acres, this park is named after none other than the late President George Washington. Being the location of many cultural activities and meetings has turned this public park into somewhat of a historical site. But if you’re just looking for a relaxing afternoon out, this is also the perfect spot to sip a coffee and enjoy a book.
Time truly flies by when visiting this iconic part of Manhattan. The vibrant colors, food, and shops make this one of the more fun places to spend a solo day in NYC. Whether you’re popping in for a souvenir, Boba, or authentic Chinese cuisine, Chinatown is somewhere I can guarantee you won’t soon forget! But if food and gifts are not quite what you’re looking for, you can stop by The Museum of Chinese in America to learn more about the Chinese-American Immigration experience, their culture, and success stories. Columbus Park is another popular destination in Chinatown, you can find locals playing cards on the North Side while Tai Chi and Kung Fu practitioners occupy the lawn. Although this sounds like a lot, I’ve only just touched the surface when it comes to this diverse, exciting area.
7. Central Park
This location speaks for itself. Central Park is without a doubt, the most well-known public park in New York City, this is not without reason. This 843-acre park occupies the majority of Mid-Manhattan and is the location of The Central Park Zoo, Wollman Rink, Strawberry Fields, and Shakespeare Gardens. You cannot truly have a successful solo day in NYC without checking off a visit to Central Park.
8. Thrift Shops
New York City is truly limitless when it comes to a good thrift shop. So if you’re looking for an inexpensive day out, this one’s for you. Whether it be unique decor for your apartment, attire, or something new to read, you could spend an entire day exploring the local second-hand stores. This is also a perfect activity to do solo because there’s no need to rush through your bargain hunting.