As always, I hope whoever reads this is blessed and gains tips, with valuable information for your next solo trip whether it be to New York City or anywhere else your heart desires.
Why Go Solo?
Lets go back to Summer of 2016 after a hard break up and I desperately craved adventure. Where do you go? New York City Duh! Without thinking twice I booked a ticket to New York City for 6 days. Without having a real plan or itinerary at that moment I just knew it was something I had to do.
Till this day it was the most spontaneous and utmost self-loving moment in my life. It was exactly what I needed to spark that light inside of myself that had been dimmed for so many years. I believe this was the moment I first realized life was meant to be lived moving and experiencing new things whenever at all possible.
Don't just take pictures, live life exploring it all!
How Do I Prepare?
After the initial shock of purchasing the ticket I had to make sure I had all I would need for my first solo trip which meant my first time packing to fly. Let's just say I missed a thing or two and had no clue what was TSA approved or not. If you need tips on some packing basics see my top Amazon Must-Haves for traveling!
Where Should I Stay When I get there?
I did a lot of research to make sure I stayed at a hotel that was close to the main things I wanted to see, good ratings and most of all safe. I chose to stay in Times Square at Sheraton of Times Square. I must admit at the time was above my price point but I wanted the full experience and spared no expense.
Solo Travel Safety and Tips
My biggest priority after making sure I had a good time was to make it back home safe and not get into any trouble. I followed a couple of my own rules -- These are things that helped me and are only tips. What works for me may not work for others.
-I checked in with my family everyday if not multiple times a day to make sure they knew where I would be for the day/evening.
-I stayed in crowded/busy areas that were not dark or hidden from people.
-I carried only my essentials in a small bag around my body and not off of my shoulder where it could be ripped away and stolen.
-If I ever felt unsafe while walking an area I pretended to be on my phone -- True story; it deterred a group of guys from continuing to yell at me.
-Be very aware of your surroundings! No need to be paranoid but be vigilant; always.
In these times things are bit different from 2016 when going to NYC. Please make sure to check their local state site for any and all restrictions before making any travel plans.
What Should I Do When I Get There?
I had to plan my trip really well so I didn't miss any must see sights or waste any precious time. A few fellow New Yorkers highly recommended The New York Pass tour guide and it certainly was worth it. It includes all those major touristy attractions you can't miss if its your first time in NYC-- Empire State Building, Top of the Rock, Rockefeller building, 9/11 Memorial, Museum of Natural History, just to name a few. You can say it made my sight seeing very effortless by providing safe city transportation and skipping ticket lines.
If you find yourself out of ideas for the day or want something free to do take the Staton Island Ferry that goes back and forth from Staton Island ever 20-30 minutes 24 hours a day 7 days a week for FREE. I took it to get a closer look at the Statue of Liberty as I could not get tickets in time to go check it out.
9/11 Memorial / Museum
It goes without saying that if you visit NYC you must visit the 9/11 Memorial. I happened to go on July 4th and it was such an emotional experience to be there where once the twin towers stood. Instead of Somber the crowds were filled with American spirit and everyone celebrating this great country we are all so blessed to be in.
While exploring the city and seeing the thousands of signs and billboards posted with so many shows and attractions I decided to buy tickets to The Radio City Rockettes to really experience and take in what it meant to be in this city. The energy in the crowd and how full my heart felt at that moment while I watched such an extraordinary show was beyond words.
I loved this show so much the next day I bought tickets to the Cirque du Soleil Presents Parmour, if you haven't seen a Cirque du Soleil yet-- what are you waiting for? Check it out! This was my second one at the time and since then I have seen 5 shows all different from one another but amazing in its own way!
Another vital location you have to visit is any part of Central Park. I loved the fact that I could always go into Central Park from some of my sights and just hop into a relaxing walk, local artist trying to show you his latest piece or hear a violinist play for you under a bridge. It felt like it was all possible in New York. I was experiencing it all and taking in as much as possible in such a short amount of time.
If you're a John Lennon fan you'll want to visit Strawberry Fields / Central Park Conservancy where millions of people a year go to pay tribute to him. It is close to where him and his wife Yoko Ono resided and liked to take walks through Strawberry Fields. Ono after John Lennons death began to conceive of a memorial in this landscape and invited countries from all over the world to contribute plants as well as stones to create an international garden of peace.
Stepping Outside The City
Getting lost in the city sounds like the perfect adventure and I was ready by the third day to try something new. I decided to go rogue and take an Uber to Brooklyn to eat breakfast. Weeks prior I found this bagel shop that specialized in Rainbow Bagels. I couldn't leave New York without trying these strange but delicious looking treats at The Bagel Store! I have to say it was the softest, strangest -- but most delicious tasting bagels I have ever had. Very much worth the Insta hype!)
Going Rogue and Venturing Outside the Plans
Once I was done with my too-cute-to-eat breakfast I realized I didn't have much planned on that side of town and I quickly started to look around the area for anything that wasn't super mainstream but worth checking out. Just a few blocks away I found The New York Transit Museum which holds so much history and real subway trains to explore for the wimpy first timer like me that's too afraid to go on the subway alone.
After that I wasn't done walking I was determined to embrace the city for all it had to offer and enjoy every second of it while it lasted. I decided to take on the mission of walking from Brooklyn to China Town that afternoon. I decided to go through the Brooklyn Bride -- to me it had been that beacon of light before I even planned this trip to the big apple.. It had been the one thing I looked forward to the most for years as I saw it posted everywhere in those photographs you see in the travel magazines to the scenes with the girl getting her happily ever after moment on it.
Buying Souvenirs On A Budget
Never ever, ever, ever buy souvenirs in the city! I find they are always so much more then when you go just bit outside the city. Once I got off the Brooklyn Bridge I stopped at China Town and to my delight I was surrounded by endless small shops with many take-home trinkets and countless amounts of delicious restaurants I could pick from. After some much needed lunch I stopped in at some shops to get my key rings and mugs I would give out and others I kept for years to come.
But What About The Food?
Forgive me as I don't have all the names of the places I went to. Here is a list of places I went to and what types of places I recommend:
TSQ Brasserie - French American Bistro perfect for Dinner or a light lunch in the heart of Times Square with a wide variety menu.
Tony's Di Napoli - Italian Cuisine in Times Square area - Order the Spaghetti!
9/11 Museum Deli - Get a quick bite with a one of a kind beautiful view of all NYC.
The Chelsea Market - Anything-goes farmers market, gourmet food court.
Local Corner Store Deli's. - Had the best Deli sandwich with cold macaroni salad ever!
Nathan's Hot Dog Stand - Hot dog so good the NY rats tried to snatch it. (True story)
Quick story; While I sat down at a park bench to enjoy my very delicious NY hot dog a little girl on her mother walk by and she points directly behind me and says "Look Mommy a Rat!". This rat was the size of a cat and was right under me waiting for a crumb to fall or possibly even sneak a bite if I had not seen it. Needless to say it was a moment I laugh at even to this day about the NY rats!
Most Important Tip
Whether its NYC or its on a Mountain top somewhere make your Solo trip one to remember and make it something you have always wanted to do. I had NY on the brain for years since I was a kid and even contemplated moving there after my first trip because I loved it so much!