Top 10 Cities for Solo Travel in the U.S.

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Taking a trip alone can be one of the most empowering and enriching experiences. Traveling solo allows you to grow outside of your comfort zone, change your plans spontaneously, learn more about yourself, and connect with a diverse range of people and cultures. Before I started traveling solo internationally, I practiced traveling solo throughout the US. Here are my top recommendations for solo traveling within the US.

Top 10 Cities for Solo Travel in the U.S.

1.  Washington, D.C.

There are SO many free attractions in Washington. D.C., making this a great place to go if you’re on a budget. DC has two major airports: Dulles and Ronald Reagan, which makes flying in easy. Their public transportation system, the WMATA, is straightforward. I recommend getting an unlimited 1, 3, or 7 day pass. America’s capital city has so many significant historical sites to offer that everyone needs to visit at least once.

Top things to do:

  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum (free tickets are competitive and are difficult to obtain)
  • Air and Space Museum
  • Planet Word (my favorite museum in DC – free and highly underrated)
  • White House (need tickets in advance)
  • U.S. Capitol Building (need tickets in advance)
  • Smithsonian Museums
  • Washington Monument

2. New York City

A well-organized public transportation system makes New York City easy to get around. Among the hustle and bustle, every personality is sure to find something of interest here! There’s no chance of running out of things to do when you’re visiting New York City.

Top things to do:

  • Central Park
  • Times Square
  • Broadway
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Color Factory
  • Chinatown (food)
  • Little Italy (food)

3. Boulder, Colorado

Boulder, Colorado is in the heart of incredible mountains and nature. There is nothing more breathtaking than viewing snowy peaks reaching up to touch the clouds and hiking up into them yourself! Boulder is such a fun destination for mountain hikes as well as an extensive shopping scene. You’ll need to rent a car, but Denver International Airport makes flying in a breeze.

Top things to do:

  • Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Pearl Street Mall
  • Boulder Falls

4. Seattle, Washington

Seattle’s unique blend of art, music, and outdoorsy culture makes for an eclectic trip! If you get tired of the big city, a drive of just about an hour will get you to some green hills and crisp, clear air for a hike or two. Seattle has a notorious car theft rate – keep your belongings with you all the time and do not leave ANYTHING visible in the car, no matter how mild (ie a water bottle). For the best experience, use Uber/public transportation.

Top attractions:

  • Pike’s Place Market
  • Space Needle
  • Chihuly Garden and Glass

5. Austin, Texas

Austin is teeming year-round with festivals and local events to check out. This can make it one of the most fun places to visit on one of your first solo trips! Not to mention, sunny and beautiful describes the weather most of the time in Austin, so if you live in a colder place like I do and want to get rid of your winter blues, a trip to the south might be just the thing!

Top things to do:

  • McKinney Falls State Park
  • Lady Bird Lake
  • Blanton Museum of Art
  • Texas Capitol Building

6. Boston, Massachusetts

Boston has so much going for it, and it’s a great place to meet other solo travelers with opportunities to pack a lot of sightseeing into a short trip. Boston has a fantastic public transportation system, making it easy to get along. I love the old-town picturesque feel the city offers and it is relatively small in size.

It’s also incredibly easy to hop around the East Coast.

Top things to do:

  • Boston Public Library
  • Freedom Trail
  • Fenway Park
  • Harvard
  • Museum of Fine Arts

7. Nashville, Tennessee

If you occasionally rock some cowboy boots, listen to old T-Swift, or brave a saddle, Nashville might be a dream come true! The home of country music is here, as well as tons and tons of things to do and see. Nashville has dozens of murals, several great bars and coffee spots, and an excellent artsy vibe.

Top things to do:

  • Gaylord Opryland Hotel
  • Grand Ole Opry
  • Country Music Hall of Fame
  • Ryman Auditorium

8. Indianapolis, Indiana

Indianapolis made its mark on the map with the inauguration of the Indianapolis 500, a car race held in the spring. Even if fast cars aren’t your thing, Indianapolis is a great destination for someone who wants a big-city feel in an easy-to-navigate place.

Top Attractions:

  • Monument Circle
  • White River State Park
  • Indianapolis Zoo
  • Indianapolis Cultural Trail

9. Portland, Oregon

Here, the beauty of nature meets the modernity of the metropolis. Mountain views, clear blue skies, and a vibrant social scene make Portland a must on your travel list.

Top things to do:

  • Portland Japanese Gardens
  • The Saturday Market
  • Distillery Row

10. Chicago, Illinois

Chicago’s major airport, O’hare, and its public transportation make it a great city to travel solo. It’s a relatively clean major city with plenty of things to explore.

Top things to do:

  • Millenium Park
  • Eat deep dish pizza
  • Rent a bike
  • Lincoln Park Zoo

Happy traveling!

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