A King-sized bed to yourself. Always finding a seat at the bar. Striking up a conversation with the stranger next to you. Having a robust itinerary or wandering aimlessly. No compromises. That’s only a fraction of the perks that come with solo travel. Here are our five favorite cities where solo travel is not only expected, it’s encouraged.
Austin – The Live Music Capital of the World
We know, we know, Austin’s accolades are endless. Ranked as one of the best cities to live in, it’s lauded for its BBQ chops and live music scene — even its airport gets plenty of shout outs. One of the most idyllic ways to lose track of time is to don a swimsuit, BYOB and hit the cooling waters of Lady Bird Lake with a kayak or even better, float down a river. ATXcursions takes care of all the details and you’re pretty much guaranteed to leave with new BFFs. Afterwards, get the scoop at Gati, an artisanal vegan ice cream shop with noteworthy flavors like Black Sticky Rice Horchata and Beet Chocolate Cake. Rest your sunbathed self at Geraldine’s rooftop where Fried Chicken Thursdays include birds, bubbles and live blues.
Where to stay: Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt in the Rainey Street District
Palm Springs – Playground of the Stars
Greater Palm Springs encompasses nine different cities including Coachella, La Quinta, Indio and Indian Wells. If you do one thing, it has to be a self-driving or walking tour of Palm Springs’ exemplary Midcentury Modern architecture like the Kauffman House. Leave room in your bag to pay a visit to Soukie Modern for their beautifully curated home goods like vintage Moroccan rugs and its namesake ceramic candles. Less than a ten-minute drive from Downtown, Tahquitz Canyon feels like miles away with its soaring 60-foot waterfall and trails that are home to thriving native flora and fauna.
Where to stay: Kimpton The Rowan Palm Springs in Downtown Palm Springs
New Orleans – Crescent City
NYC may officially be known as the City that Never Sleeps but New Orleans could give it a run for its money. No matter the hour, witching or otherwise, NOLA has it in spades. Sample all of the city’s iconic flavors at Empanola where Crawfish Étouffée, Gumbo and Bananas Foster all come in the form of cheeky empanadas. The lively sounds of brass will follow you everywhere but if you want to walk in local footsteps, look no further than Tipitinas in the Garden District for bold drinks and musical merriment. For a breezy block party, White Linen Night is approaching nearly two decades of rocking white linen clothing to stave off the heat. Art galleries open their doors and food vendors keep the dishes coming. Pro tip: bring a Tide pen just in case.
Where to stay: Kimpton Hotel Fontenot in the Warehouse District
Miami – Magic City
Miami is bold, beautiful and constantly reinventing itself (now emerging as a bona fide hub for tech and innovation). Art Basel is its crowning glory but the International Ballet Festival is an equal treat for the senses and as impressively global as the Olympics. Talent from all over the world perform in prestigious programs and movements and you’ll have plenty of time to catch a show with its month and a half run. Escape the city’s shine for a day by heading South to Everglades National Park, 1.5 million acres of tropical wetland where endangered species such as the West Indian manatee and Miami-blue butterfly can safely rebuild. Wind down at Juvia where Peruvian, Japanese and French flavors come to life. Make a reservation for its rooftop where you can soak in the views of Bicscayne Bay and its flourishing vertical garden space.
San Francisco – The Golden City
For an unbeatable day, rent a bike from Fisherman’s Wharf to Sausalito. The moderately strenuous 8-mile route will take you through Crissy Field and the Marina for spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Have a wood fired pizza to yourself at Bar Bocce in Sausalito before catching the ferry back. (No one said you had to bike both ways.) Wile away another day at the Ferry Building where you can shop timeless wares from Heath Ceramics and nab a single seat at the bar at Hog Island Oyster Co. where the oysters are as fresh as they come.
Where to stay: Kimpton Alton Hotel in Fisherman’s Wharf