I’m back with another solo travel post. This time, I’m talking about the best places to travel alone in the US of A.
A couple of weeks ago I posted about my favourite solo travel destinations around the world. Although I included a couple of American cities in the mix, I thought I would do a separate post highlighting the best cities to travel alone in the US.
Somehow it’s already been over three years since I spent three months travelling across Canada and the United States solo (and on a budget). At the time, I didn’t post enough content about my experiences, so I am remedying that now. All of the cities listed below I’ve personally visited alone.
Once again, my solo travel criteria includes good public transport, limited language barrier (which fortunately isn’t an issue for me in the US) and excellent attractions. So keep reading to discover where I do (and don’t) recommend visiting alone in the United States.
If you’re a regular reader, you know I have a massive city crush on Portland. I’ve visited the city three times now (twice solo) and I would happily return tomorrow, if it was closer to Australia and all that. It’s a great city for solo travellers. The city is very walkable, but if you need to take public transport it’s very efficient and cheap. For $5 you can have unlimited daily travel on all public transport. There’s also plenty to keep you busy, an excellent hostel I highly recommend AND the locals are the friendliest.
Where I stayed: HI Portland Northwest Hostel
Portland’s northern neighbour, I visited Seattle twice when living in Vancouver. I found lots of things to do in the city and beyond, and public transport was easy to use to get to areas like Wallingford and Fremont. I also felt safe walking around the waterfront and city at night alone.
Where I stayed: Green Tortoise Hostel (seriously one of the best hostels in the US)
My guide to visiting Vegas solo is one of the most popular posts on Hayley on Holiday. Hence it’s not just me that was apprehensive about visiting a notorious party city by myself. In the end, I am so glad I decided to visit Las Vegas solo. I got to comfortably see the city at night by bus and I ticked the Grand Canyon off my bucket list. Don’t let the fact Las Vegas is a party place deter you from visiting solo. Trust me.
Where I stayed: Hostel Cat
I didn’t know if New Orleans would be a good city for solo travel, but I loved my time in the city. Just like Los Angeles and Las Vegas, it might be more fun to visit with friends, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some alone time in New Orleans. I did a jazz cruise on the Mississippi, explored Mardi Gras World (so fun), treated myself to beignets, walked around the French Quarter both during the day and night, and strolled down Magazine Street too.
Where I stayed: AAE Bourbon House, but it looks like it’s closed down 🙁
I have visited Honolulu twice as a solo traveller and love it! Yes, it’s very touristy, but the beaches, the food and the people are the best. You will find public transport is geared towards tourists and there are so many tours available, no matter what you want to do and see on Oahu. As a side note, I found Maui much more difficult to navigate as a solo traveller.
Chicago is a fantastic place. I stayed in the Lincoln Park neighbourhood (hello gorgeous houses), but it was so easy for me to get a bus downtown and to the bus station. I also found the city was very walkable and you could easy stroll between attractions. You can’t visit Chicago without eating delicious deep dish pizza either. I went to Giordano’s and can’t recommend it more. Finally, I felt very safe leaving and arriving at my hostel late at night too.
Where I stayed: Chicago Getaway Hostel
Somehow I’ve spent a lot of time in San Francisco, but I’ve never written about it on the blog. I’ve visited San Francisco both solo and with friends and think it’s one of the best cities in America. It’s also one of the best cities to travel alone in the US. Why? Excellent public transport, a lot of hostel options and too many attractions. I still have places on my San Francisco bucket list that need to be ticked off. If you have time, I also recommend doing a Yosemite day tour. It’s a long day, but Yosemite is worth it. Finally, be warned that San Francisco is more expensive than a lot of other US cities (I noticed this immediately).
DC was a lot smaller than I was expecting, but it’s still a great place to travel alone in the US. It has excellent public transport and all of the historical sights and museums are basically within walking distance of each other. I loved all of the free attractions in Washington too, including the Smithsonian Museums and Zoo. I was there for three nights, but could have easily stayed longer.
Read more: My budget guide to DC
Where I stayed: HI Washington DC (I stayed in the 10-bed female dorm, but it was so big and separated I hardly saw any other girls).
Nashville is such a cool city. There are plenty of country music-related attractions, excellent restaurants and live music performances happening daily. I loved being able to eat barbecue for lunch while listening to live music. I found it easy to walk around Nashville too and the public transport was easy to navigate. Highly recommend visiting!
Read more: Two days in Nashville
Where I stayed: Music City Hostel
I’ve visited LA three times now: twice solo and once with friends. Although I had one of the best trips ever in LA with my friends, I still think it’s a great place to travel alone in the US. However, when I visited solo I did rely on tours to see a lot of the sights; whereas with my friends we took Lyfts and Ubers around the city. I have also stayed in both Banana Bungalow LA properties now and they’re both fantastic, with daily events.
Boston did not turn on the sunshine for me during my visit. I ended up spending a lot of time indoors on my laptop. But when the rain stopped, I did enjoy what I saw. I found Boston to be very walkable and I loved the architecture. Two Boston highlights for me were walking along the Freedom Trail (highly recommend downloading and following one of the many Freedom Trail apps) and doing a free walking tour around Harvard. There were no hostel rooms available for me in Boston, so I turned to Couchsurfing and had such a great time with my host and other surfers.
I was pleasantly surprised by San Diego. I remember my first thought being that the city reminded me of Australia. I stayed in the Ocean Beach neighbourhood, which was fortunately easy to get to via public transport. I also spent my time in the city visiting the Old Town, walking around downtown, eating delicious food in Little Italy and venturing across the border to Mexico for the afternoon.
Read more: The best of San Diego
Where I stayed: Ocean Beach USA Hostel
US cities that aren’t totally solo travel compatible
Although I ended up visiting all of these cities, I didn’t think they were very good for solo female travellers. This is primarily because they lacked good transport links and budget accommodation options. I worked around the difficulties, but if you’re travelling solo for the first time, these are the cities I don’t recommend you visit if you travel alone in the US.
• Charleston. Although Charleston is beautiful, it didn’t have a lot of budget accommodation and hostel options, so I ended up couchsurfing. The bus depot is also in the middle of nowhere, so without my very helpful couchsurfing host, it would have been difficult to get anywhere without paying exorbitant taxi fares.
• Savannah. Same as Charleston. The one budget hotel that was available was located out of the city, but fortunately it was easy enough for me to get a bus into the town centre daily.
So there it is, the best places to travel alone in the US. Is there any other American content you’d like to see on the blog? Let me know in the comments!
♥ My budget travel guide to the United States
♥ All of my best solo travel hostel tips
♥ My favourite solo travel destinations around the world
♥ What I learned bussing across North America
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