Explore America's Campgrounds
In New York City, traveling solo is no barrier to seeing the best of the city. Solo travelers are footloose, able to go where they please without making sacrifices to appease a group of people. The Big Apple is packed with museums, parks, interesting neighborhoods and people-watching opportunities to keep you busy while traveling alone.
Visit a Museum
New York is home to famous museums like the American Museum of Natural History, where you can view ancient dinosaur bones, stunning animal dioramas, gems and minerals. The cavernous Metropolitan Museum of Art, nicknamed the "Met," houses more art than you can possibly see in one visit -- or even in several. Pieces by renown artists like Leonardo da Vinci, John Singer Sargent, Monet and Rembrandt are on display permanently, alongside numerous temporary exhibits. Cross the East River to Brooklyn, where you can visit the New York Transit Museum to learn about the city's extensive subway system, built in 1901.
Go for a Run
One of the best ways to cover significant ground in New York is to take a jog or a long walk. Choose a route along the water, such as Westside Highway along the Hudson, or head to iconic Central Park, where paths crisscross this massive green space. You can also run along Hudson River Park or cross over into Brooklyn for a circuit around Prospect Park. A path encircles the park and passes its major sites, like the carousel, zoo and botanic garden. For a head-spinning view above the city, try crossing the Brooklyn Bridge or the elevated High Line, a former freight rail line that slices through the Meatpacking District and Chelsea. The contrast between greenery and surrounding concrete and steel can make for an interesting trip.
Explore the Neighborhoods
Manhattan and Brooklyn are knit together by a slew of neighborhoods, each with their own personality. To get an authentic feel for the city and the people who live and work here, take a stroll down random streets. You'll come across parks, community gardens, basketball courts, schools, unique shops, bars, restaurants and scenic views. You might happen upon a celebrity in trendy NoHo, catch a musician or gymnast performing in Washington Square Park, spy aspiring fashion designers hurrying through the Garment District or spot a famous landmark in downtown or Midtown, like the World Trade Centers site, the Empire State building, the New York Stock Exchange or the far-off Statue of Liberty from Battery Park. In Brooklyn's many neighborhoods, you'll pass hipsters in throwback clothing sporting ironic mustaches while sipping beer or coffee on sidewalk cafes.
People-Watch at a Cafe
Neighborhoods like hipster-heavy Williamsburg, fashionable SoHo, and celebrity-stocked NoHo make for prime people watching. At Think Coffee, on Mercer Street between West Third and West Fourth streets, NYU students mingle with musicians and street performers heading to or from Washington Square Park. Dine at Cafe Select, on Lafayette Street across from Petrosino Square. Here, you can feast your eyes on New York's fashionable and fabulous. And at Cafe Moto, in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, you'll be front-and-center for viewing ironicly-clad hipsters going about their day.
Megan Hill is a Seattle-based writer with more than 10 years of experience. She has served as a writer and editor for websites and nonprofit organizations, as well as a reporter for magazines such as "Seattle Met," "Seattle Magazine" and "Edible Seattle."