My first taste of solo travel was when I tagged along with my husband on a business trip to London. We met up in the evening for dinner or drinks and shared a hotel room, of course. However, during the day, I was totally on my own and free to explore the city in any way I chose. I joined a sightseeing bike tour of classic London landmarks, spent hours wandering parks and museums, searched far and wide for London’s best fish and chips and successfully learned to navigate the city on my own.
Once I learned how to travel solo, I felt comfortable and confident being on my own in a new place. Now, I relish the opportunity to take a solo trip. I love traveling with my friends and family, but when you travel on your own, your time belongs only to you.
To that end, TPG rounded up some of the best solo travel destinations to help you step out of your comfort zone and experience travel in a new way.
Good for: History buffs.
From its crucial role in the Revolutionary War to longstanding icons like Fenway Park, Quincy Market and its many museums, Boston plays host to a wealth of attractions for solo travelers who fancy themselves history buffs. For a firsthand look at Boston’s early days, step onto The Freedom Trail, a walking tour of 16 sites that played integral roles in the birth of our nation. You can continue your exploration in some of Boston’s historic neighborhoods, including Beacon Hill and the North End (Boson’s Little Italy).
If you plan to spend an evening cheering on The Boston Red Sox, a stay at The Verb Hotel (starting at $240 per night) will put you within walking distance of Fenway. Or, for a points-friendly option, book a room at The Liberty, A Luxury Collection Hotel (starting at $313 or 53,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night) The building once served as the home of Boston’s Charles Street Jail and you can dine among the preserved jail cell facades at the hotel’s restaurant, Clink.
Asheville, North Carolina
Good for: Hiking, biking and beer.
Asheville truly has it all for outdoor enthusiasts — hiking and mountain biking trails through the hazy vistas of the Blue Ridge Mountains (the city provides a “hike finder” to help you find the perfect trail), paddling down the French Broad River or simply checking out Asheville’s outdoor shopping districts like the River Arts District or Biltmore Park by foot (shopping counts as cardio in my book).
When it’s time for some apres-hike brews and bites, head to one of Asheville’s breweries. There’s plenty to choose from, but Wicked Weed and Hi-Wire top the list for spots to satisfy your thirst and hunger in a fun setting.
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For an upscale boutique stay in downtown Asheville, check in to The Foundry Hotel (starting at $265 or 76,000 Hilton Honors points per night), a Curio Collection by Hilton property or the budget-friendly Hotel Indigo Asheville Downtown (starting at $136 or 27,000 IHG One Rewards points per night.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Good for: Live music and livelier crowds.
Even if you visit The Big Easy alone, you are never truly on your own. Whether it’s vibing with the throngs of tourists on Bourbon Street, standing in line for beignets at Cafe du Monde or learning about the city’s rich history on a group walking tour, you’re likely to be surrounded by friendly faces with similar interests (and a taste for powdered-sugar-covered fried dough).
If you’ve never been to New Orleans, make time to hit up hot spots like Pat O’Briens for a rum-soaked hurricane, Central Grocery, where the famous muffuletta sandwich was invented and Preservation Jazz Hall for live jazz. If you still have time during your trip, venture farther from the French Quarter to City Park and Mardi Gras World or take a guided tour of New Orleans’ hauntingly beautiful mausoleums.
For a hotel that’s “close but not too close” to the French Quarter, stay at The Eliza Jane (starting at $150 or 28,000 IHG One Rewards points per night) or the Kimpton Hotel Fontenot (starting at $150 or 17,000 World of Hyatt points per night), two of New Orleans’ many points-friendly hotels.
Good for: Music-lovers and foodies.
The Texas state capital is known for many things — delicious barbecue, a stellar music scene, gorgeous green spaces and lakes where you can stay active and the world’s largest urban colony of bats, to name a few. What’s great about visiting Austin as a solo traveler are the various neighborhoods you can visit to enjoy dining, drinks and entertainment all in one place.
Sixth Street closes down to traffic on weekends and is a great spot for creative cocktails and neon-lit music venues. For something a little more laid back, head to Rainey Street. Also, South Congress, with its unique boutiques and variety of dining options, is a must-visit for both locals and tourists.
Zilker Park puts more than 350 acres of outdoor fun at your fingertips. You can swim in the spring-fed Barton Springs Pool, explore on a rented bike or canoe or time your visit to annual events like the Austin City Limits Music Festival or the Austin Kite Festival.
Some of the best points hotels in Austin are close to downtown, including The Driskill (starting at $215 or 21,000 World of Hyatt points per night) , a World of Hyatt property, and the Austin Proper Hotel (starting at $400 or 42,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night).
Good for: Exploring the unique landscape of the Pacific Northwest.
Portland is surrounded by natural beauty on all sides. Though the city lies in a valley, you can often see Mount Hood, Mount St. Helens and the towering green firs and pines that surround it. To best enjoy these natural wonders, visit Powell Butte for panoramic mountain views or the outlook behind Pittock Mansion for city views with Mount Hood looking in the background.
I’d be remiss to leave out all the weird and wonderful within Portland’s city limits. Voracious readers could spend hours in Powell’s City of Books, the country’s largest independent bookstore, and the outdoor Portland Saturday Market is considered to be the largest continually operating arts-and-crafts market in the country. The city has so many food carts they’ve created a handy guide to help you find exactly what you’re hungry for.
Many of Portland’s hotels reflect the city’s unique style, like the Kimpton Hotel Vintage Portland (starting at $170 or 32,000 IHG One Rewards points per night) and The Nines Hotel Portland (starting at $230 or 43,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night), both located downtown.
San Diego, California
Good for: A mix of beach days and California history.
San Diego is home to many beautiful beaches, but there’s more to San Diego than just lazy days in the sand (though I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t leave the beach during your visit). Many of San Diego’s best-known attractions are in Balboa Park, including the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Natural History Museum, the San Diego Air & Space Museum and many splendid gardens and recreational areas.
About two miles west of Balboa Park on San Diego Bay, stop by the USS Midway Museum to learn about historic naval aircraft and helicopters on board the USS Midway aircraft carrier. Old Town San Diego — the first European settlement in California — and the Gaslamp Quarter are also worth peeling yourself away from the beach for.
Related: The best hotels in San Diego
If you prefer to stay close to downtown and the bay, reserve a room at the Embassy Suites by Hilton San Diego Bay Downtown (starting at $210 or 67,000 Hilton Honors points per night). If you want to be closer to the beach, head for the famed Hotel del Coronado (starting at $400 or 95,000 Hilton Honors points per night).
Good for: Legendary country music.
From the 4,000-seat Grand Ole Opry to the rows of bars with live music along Lower Broadway, you are never too far from legendary country stars and up-and-coming crooners when you visit Nashville.
However, Nashville isn’t only a hotbed of honky tonk. It’s also where music fans go to immerse themselves in the history of country music. You can pay homage to the greats like Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash at the Country Music Hall of Fame or visit RCA Studio B, where perma-stars like Elvis Presley and Dolly Parton recorded country classics.
Nashville is also well known for its shopping scene. Visit The District in downtown Nashville for everything from record albums to cowboy boots, and head to the shops in Hillsboro Village or Gulch for local and nationally-known fashion and accessory brands.
Related: The best hotels to book in Nashville for the full Music City experience
The Embassy Suites Downtown Nashville (starting at $160 or 47,000 Hilton Honors points per night) offers spacious rooms and a rooftop indoor pool, but for a true Nashville experience you’ll never forget, go for the Dolly Parton suite at the Graduate Nashville hotel (starting at $300 per night).
Good for: Reconnecting with nature.
There are few places in the U.S. with more spectacular scenery than Sedona, Arizona. Surrounded by striking red-rock buttes and majestic canyons, this desert destination is an ideal spot for communing with nature. For some, that could mean a solitary day of hiking at the picturesque Bell Rock, while others may prefer a more spiritual experience like a yoga hiking tour of Sedona.
Sedona’s art scene is as vibrant as its landscape. Peruse shops and galleries in the Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village or the Sedona Artist Market. On the first Friday of every month, many galleries stay open into the evening hours and have special artist receptions and other events.
The Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock (starting at $250 or 53,000 Hilton Honors points per night) is about as close as you can get to Sedona’s best hiking trails. For a serene retreat experience, stay at the L’Auberge de Sedona (starting at $250 or 53,000 Hilton Honors points per night) or The Wilde Resort & Spa (starting at $450 per night).
When you take a solo trip, you have the freedom and independence to go where you want and do what you want whenever you want.
Whether you are looking for outdoor adventures, foodie heaven or big-city excitement, these eight destinations are among the best cities in the U.S. for solo travelers.