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Best things to do alone in New York City

Even if you’re a social butterfly, you need solo time and recharge your batteries. Find ideas with this list of things to do alone.

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Photograph: Photograph: Peter Aaron/Esto

Film Forum

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Photograph: Dominic Perri

The Stone

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Photograph: Dominic Perri

The Stone

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Photograph: Daniel Givens

Other Music

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Photograph: Tina Zimmer

Barcade

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Photograph: Wendy Connett

Prospect Park

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Oasis Day Spa

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Wendy Connett

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Photograph: Mark A Steele

New Balance Experience Store

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Austrian Cultural Forum

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Central Park

Once you’ve figured out the best ways to make friends, you’ll need to suss out a few things to do alone so that you can indulge in a little me time. We’ve chosen activities and places to relax by yourself, including one of the best spas in 2012 and one of our favorite 50 NYC attractions best experienced by a party of one.

RECOMMENDED:50 ways to make friends in NYC

See a movie at Film Forum

Critics' pick

As anyone who’s caught a blockbuster on opening weekend knows, moviegoers can be a chatty, loud-chewing, cell-phone-addicted lot. Thankfully, Film Forum attracts a respectful, quiet and often solo-flying audience to its expertly curated showings of classics (frequently presented in new prints) and indies from around the globe. Enjoy an eye-opening flick and a nose bag of fresh popcorn—to be eaten quietly. • 212-727-8110, filmforum.org. $12.50, seniors (Mon–Fri before 5pm) and members $7.

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Downtown

The Stone

No bar? No advance tickets? No promoters? No phone number? No listed address? This is still a music venue in Manhattan, right? John Zorn’s tiny, no-frills East Village space attracts serious music devotees—not the ones fixated on hobnobbing and tweeting. Here you’ll be free to focus on envelope-pushing acts encompassing free jazz, experimental classical music and droney guitar work.thestonenyc.com. Most shows $10.

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East Village

Dig through the crates at Other Music

Because this East Village institution occupies small quarters, you can check out almost every title in less than an hour. This is great for lone shoppers because (a) the selection is solid—especially of recent vinyl releases, and (b) friends and loved ones don’t typically want to spend a chunk of their afternoon watching you bob your head to staff picks at the listening station. • 212-477-8150, othermusic.com.

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Downtown

Play video games at Barcade

Critics' pick

Drinking alone can be kind of…sad. But throw the ultimate indoor-kid activity into the mix and you’ve got a fun, nostalgic booze session. This cavernous Williamsburg drinkery boasts 35 classic video games—including Donkey Kong and Contra—and a daily-changing list of 24 American brews on tap. A bonus to going solo: You can gloat about your high score without fear of alienating friends. • 718-302-6464, barcadebrooklyn.com. 25¢ per play.

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Williamsburg

Cycle in Prospect Park

Critics' pick

Really pushing yourself with a proper workout is best achieved alone. On weekends, you’ll want to seek out the middle lane of Park Drive, reserved for cyclists. The loop around Prospect Park stretches for more than three miles, offering a tree-canopied, carless course with a punishing uphill section and a longer, rewarding, wind-in-your-hair downhill stretch for speedy coasting. • 718-965-8951, prospectpark.org.

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Prospect Park

Pamper yourself at Oasis Day Spa

You work hard. You deserve to—say it with us—“treat yo’self!” Unwind with complimentary tea at this posh subterranean spa in Murray Hill, where you can soothe tight muscles with a massage; choose from Swedish (30mins $70, one hour $115, 90mins $150), lava-stone (one hour $145, 90mins $190) or deep-tissue (30mins $75, one hour $125, 90mins $160). If your mug’s in need of some TLC, revive your skin with Oasis’s signature facial (one hour $115, 90 minutes $150). • 212-254-7722, oasisdayspanyc.com.

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Midtown

Explore the Met

Critics' pick

Trying to stick with a group while winding through the typically tourist-swamped Metropolitan Museum of Art is no way to experience the landmark’s works. Ditch your friends and tackle the  Met solo—that way you can fully absorb its period rooms (datingto the 1600s) from around the globe and new exhibits (we recommend “Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop,” through Jan 27) at your leisure. • 212-535-7710, metmuseum.org. Suggested donation $25.

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Central Park

Pick out kicks at the New Balance Experience Store

Don’t be that person who drags someone around shopping for hours on end. If you’re serious about running—or long to be—you will commit said social crime at the New Balance Experience Store if you don't arrive alone. The 4,000-square-foot megashop, which opened last year, even includes a track, so you can test out shoes under the watchful eye of employees. • 212-727-2520, newbalance.com/nyc.

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Flatiron

Read at the Austrian Cultural Forum

Critics' pick

Make your way to the library on the fourth and fifth floors of this skinny, sleek architectural marvel—which reaches 24 stories and is less than 25 feet wide. Pick a book from the stacks, nestle into the window-facing white chair or couch and alternate between the tome and contemplatively gazing at 52nd Street. • 212-319-5300, acfny.org. Free.

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Midtown East

Contemplate the big questions in Central Park

Critics' pick

Find some quiet time to ask yourself what it all means. A few areas in Central Park foster such reflective opportunities, such as Strawberry Fields, the memorial for John Lennon (west side between 71st and 74th Sts), and, just a little deeper into the park, the Bow Bridge (midpark at 74th St), which spans 60 feet over the Lake and boasts mind-liberating views. You can also try the small sheltered enclaves adjacent to the Conservatory Water boating pond; the benches there are ideal for introspection. And if you really feel the need for a sounding board, you can always chat up one of the resident ducks. (They’re good listeners.)centralparknyc.org

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Central Park

Comments

2 comments
Kim J
Kim J

You forgot to add:

- Get shot

- Get raped

- Get stabbed

- Get pushed onto a subway railing

All things you can do visiting there.

The Solo New Yorker
The Solo New Yorker

This is a great list! I'll have to check out some of these spots and write about them on my blog! thelonelynewyorker.blogspot.com