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Treat Yourself: Where to Go Alone in NYC

I consider myself an extrovert and love hanging out with my friends, but honestly, I love doing things alone. When you make plans by yourself, you can literally get exactly what you want out of your day.

By / January 31, 2018

Wanna go see that new guilty pleasure flick at the movie theater? Do it. Wanna skip the boring rooms at the Met and spend an hour in front of your favorite painting? Feel no shame.

Treating yourself to alone time can be one of the most luxurious events on your calendar.

This is especially true in a place like New York City. You never feel truly alone here, so you get the best of both worlds. You don’t have to worry about whether or not your partner is having fun or if your friend would rather be doing something else. However, there’s always the chance of making new friends or asking for directions or laughing with a stranger at some weird dog that just crossed across the street.

Since no one wants to leave their house in the winter, this season is the best time to luxuriate in alone time. These are the most excellent places to go alone and treat yourself in NYC.

Tea service at Tea and Sympathy


Afternoon tea service is an excellent way to treat yourself, and having an entire spread to yourself is a joy. At Tea and Sympathy, you’ll get a big, warm pot of your favorite tea from their extensive menu, plus homemade scones with clotted cream and jam, a selection of sweet cakes, and an assortment of tiny sandwiches (which is way better than having to pick one sandwich flavor, am I right?).

Spots with big tables and fancy decor can make you feel a little lonely all by yourself, but Tea and Sympathy is so cozy and quaint, you’ll feel like you’re enjoying a casual afternoon tea in your British aunt’s living room. Settle in and enjoy yourself without having to share your favorite sandwich flavor.

The Frick Collection


Any museum is amazing by yourself. Imagine seeing exactly what you want to see for as long as you want to see it, without having to wait for the bathroom when you don’t want to use it or getting rushed through the gift shop when you really just want to try on that $300 shawl. But personally, The Frick is my favorite.

Set inside a literal mansion flocked with magnolia trees and a pristine green lawn, this once-private collection feels more like Paris than the Upper East Side. The architecture alone is beautiful to admire, with atriums and gallery rooms filled with 18th-century porcelain, rococo-era portraiture, beautiful handmade furniture, and quiet masterpieces you might skip over if the museum was bigger or more bustling—or if you go with someone else.

Go to a spa


The number of day spas with flat admissions in NYC is staggering. From the rooftop hot tubs at Premier 57 to the authentic Russian restaurants and steam rooms at Brooklyn Banya, there are so many options. Spa Castle is a perennial fave; with a huge location just north of Flushing, it features outdoor hot pools that might make you hate winter a little less.

These spas offer extra services for premium prices (think massages or getting yourself smacked with exfoliating olive branches), but you can also spend all day merely luxuriating in saunas and hot tubs. It’s the ultimate self-care date.

Best of all? Tons of them have Groupons offering discounted admission for all the full-priced perks. Why not save a couple of bucks?

I can finally die happy 🙏🙏😭😭

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Go to the theatre


The highest echelon of live entertainment is right in your backyard, so take advantage of it! And why even bother going to a performance with someone else, when you’re not gonna be talking during any of it? Go to a Broadway show alone and no one will judge you if you cry your eyes out or laugh ‘til you pee (actually, please don’t do that). You can even wait in line at the TKTS counter with a book or a podcast and snag yourself a cheap seat.

Sleep No More is the best solo, too, since you have more of an opportunity to interact with the actors and, I mean, since you have a mask on, there’s no point in hanging out with anyone. Finally, the ultimate pro tip: you have a better chance for winning the Hamilton lottery if you only enter for one ticket. Godspeed, friend.

Hayden Planetarium


The planetarium at the Museum of Natural History is the home to the world’s largest cosmic atlas. Take a trip uptown and pay what you want to get into the museum, making sure to get a ticket to the Space Show, which runs every half hour.

Projected onto the arched 67-foot ceiling above you, the show changes occasionally and is narrated by everyone’s most/least favorite astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson. This part of the museum experience is both old-fashioned and high-tech at the same time, and is a great way to spend a cold solo afternoon. Sit back and enjoy the show.

Do something touristy


Checking out the observation deck on the Empire State Building and walking across the Brooklyn Bridge sound exhausting when you first think about them. Dealing with all those out-of-towners, plus trying to wrangle the people you’re with and getting stuck when you’d rather leave early (or, on the other hand, not having enough time to enjoy it)… it all sounds stressful and awful.

But going to tourist destinations alone is great. You can see the parts you want to see and ignore the things you don’t. You really don’t have to interact with anyone. Put on your headphones, ignore all the noise, and enjoy the most iconic parts of the city while not dealing with anyone else.

Go to the beach


This one might have to wait for warmer weather, but there’s maybe nothing better than having a beach day all to yourself. There’s no rush in getting to the train on time, there’s no restaurant you have to eat lunch at, there’s no time limit to how long you can lie there doing absolutely nothing. It’s awesome.

It’s totally fun to make a whole party out of it, but the serenity that comes with a solo beach day is unrivaled. Feel the sun on your skin, listen to the sound of the waves against the sand, and get yourself some peace and quiet. For free.


Quinne Myers is a writer, illustrator, apparel designer, and lingerie industry pundit living in Brooklyn. Loves sweaty concert dancing, eating dessert, feeling feelings, and petting every dog.

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