Worldwide icon-chevron-right North America icon-chevron-right United States icon-chevron-right New York State icon-chevron-right New York icon-chevron-right Best things to do alone in New York City

Heads up! We’re working hard to be accurate – but these are unusual times, so please always check before heading out.

 (Photograph: Photograph: Peter Aaron/Esto)1/11
Photograph: Photograph: Peter Aaron/EstoFilm Forum
 (Photograph: Dominic Perri)2/11
Photograph: Dominic PerriThe Stone
 (Photograph: Dominic Perri)3/11
Photograph: Dominic PerriThe Stone
 (Photograph: Daniel Givens)4/11
Photograph: Daniel GivensOther Music
 (Photograph: Tina Zimmer)5/11
Photograph: Tina ZimmerBarcade
 (Photograph: Wendy Connett)6/11
Photograph: Wendy ConnettProspect Park
Oasis Day Spa
 (Wendy Connett)8/11
Wendy ConnettThe Metropolitan Museum of Art
 (Photograph: Mark A Steele)9/11
Photograph: Mark A SteeleNew Balance Experience Store
Austrian Cultural Forum
Central Park

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.

By Tim Lowery

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

Film Forum
Photograph: Photograph: Peter Aaron/Esto

See a movie at Film Forum

Movie theaters Independent West Village

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, $12.50, seniors (Mon–Fri before 5pm) and members $7.

The Stone
Photograph: Dominic Perri

The Stone

Music Music venues East Village

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 Most shows $10.

Other Music
Photograph: Daniel Givens

Dig through the crates at Other Music

Shopping Music and entertainment Noho

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,

Photograph: Tina Zimmer

Play video games at Barcade

Bars Beer bars Williamsburg

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, 25¢ per play.

Prospect Park
Photograph: Wendy Connett

Cycle in Prospect Park

4 out of 5 stars
Attractions Parks and gardens Prospect Park

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,

Pamper yourself at Oasis Day Spa

Health and beauty Spas Midtown

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,

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Wendy Connett

Explore the Met

Museums Art and design Central Park

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, Suggested donation $25.

New Balance Experience Store
Photograph: Mark A Steele

Pick out kicks at the New Balance Experience Store

Shopping Sports Flatiron

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,


Read at the Austrian Cultural Forum

Music Music venues Midtown East

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, Free.

Central Park

Contemplate the big questions in Central Park

4 out of 5 stars
Attractions Parks and gardens Central Park

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.)


    You may also like