Last updated on Nov 17th, 2020 at 04:31 pm
New York! City of yellow cabs and fast walkers, big name brands and jaw-dropping skylines. City of Central Park and 5th Avenue, MOMA and Broadway. City of dreams… But where to start if you’re a solo woman with two days to soak up the city?
Here are a few essential tips:
1. Find the right place to stay
This was trickier than it might sound, because if there’s one thing NYC has a lot of, it’s hotel rooms.
But there are parts of it you definitely don’t want to stay in, and others that are wildly out of budget, and others that are simply too far away from the midtown buzz (here’s looking at you, Brooklyn…).
I wanted somewhere central but not tourist central, far enough away from Times Square and the bright lights, but close enough to feel part of the beating heart of NYC. And I found it, in The Redbury – a boutique hotel in midtown New York, the area known as NoMad (North of Madison Square).
It was the perfect spot from which to explore the city, an enclave of peace and tranquillity, close enough to walk everywhere I wanted to go. The Redbury also happens to have been the first ever New York hotel exclusively for women, and it made an appearance in the iconic American film, Valley of the Dolls!
I was lucky enough to stay in a suite, so I had a separate lounge area to watch TV, and my own little office (hooked up with high speed complimentary WiFi) which was a joy after working on hotel beds the rest of the trip! It’s a wonderfully comfortable spot, and I felt immediately at home.
Finding the right place to stay as a solo woman in the city is definitely the first step in a fabulous stay.
2. Eat some incredible food
New York is home to some remarkable restaurants, so it can seem a little intimidating choosing where to treat yourself. But an amazing meal at a special restaurant is a must whenever I travel, and this time was no different.
I chose to lunch at the Majorelle restaurant in the Lowell Hotel in uptown New York, and it was mind-blowingly good. I sat outside, in their beautiful covered courtyard, and had one of the best lunches I have ever eaten.
What Majorelle has done that is so exciting and unique is combine the superb service and attention to detail of a French restaurant with the warmth and comfort of an American restaurant. The result is amazing French fine dining but without the stuffiness of a classical French restaurant.
Much of this is due to the staff, who manage to be both welcoming and discreet.
And then, of course, there’s the food – fresh white asparagus just flown in from Provence, wonderful ceviche of bass with lemon and olive oil, beautiful fresh salmon grilled with acacia honey and lemon and a homemade fontainebleau served with the first rhubarb of the season that I will be thinking about for months.
The location is pretty unbeatable, too, just around the corner from Central Park and a fabulous stroll past some of the most prestigious shops in New York.
3. See some amazing sights
Of course, New York is thrilling enough that you can walk down the street and see some amazing sights, but it’s also home to so many attractions – MOMA, the Empire State Building, Central Park, the Statue of Liberty, etc., etc.
I’ve done New York a few times, so this time I opted for something a little left of centre and spent a fabulous morning downtown at The Color Factory, an amazing pop-up gallery experience of colour that is so thrilling and unexpected that it was one of the most fun hours I’ve ever spent, anywhere. From colourful treats to surprise dance floors and giant ball pits, The Color Factory was a thrill a minute (literally! Sixty minutes of excitement.)
4. Walk everywhere!
And my final tip for your solo NYC trip? Walk everywhere! Sure, there are cabs and the metro and buses, but part of the joy of New York is getting into the right frame of mind and hurtling down the sidewalks with the throngs of people, hopping in and out to browse through fabulous stores or grab a cup of coffee from Starbucks, check out some famous sights and then dive right back in.
That’s how you get the feel of New York, the hum beneath your feet, the buzz, the thrill of it…
What a city! What a trip!
I have a host of other opinions to fill your days in the Big Apple, but part of the joy is making it up as you go along, and crafting the trip that’s just right for you. These are my essential ingredients for a solo woman’s guide to NYC – what are yours?