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I’m back with another solo travel post! This time, I’m turning my attention towards solo travel USA. Here are my personal recommendations for the best places to travel alone in the US as a solo female traveller.
A couple of weeks ago, I posted about my favourite solo travel destinations around the world. Although I included some American cities in the mix, I thought I would do a separate post highlighting the best places 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 as a solo female traveller.
Once again, my solo travel criteria include 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 as a solo female traveller.
Here’s my entire North American itinerary
My recommendations for where to travel alone in the US
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 alone) and I would happily return tomorrow – if it was closer to Australia and all that. It’s a great city for solo travel in the USA. Portland 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 to stay in Portland: HI Portland Northwest Hostel
Portland’s northern neighbour, I visited Seattle twice when living in Vancouver. It’s one of the best places for solo female travel in the USA as there are lots of things to do in the city and beyond. Plus, public transport was easy to use to get to areas like Wallingford and Fremont. It was also one of the safest places to travel alone in the US, as I felt comfortable walking around the waterfront and the city at night by myself. In saying that though, always trust your instincts. I highly recommend catching the ferry to Bainbridge Island, watching the sunset from Olympic Sculpture Park and visiting Fremont.
Where to stay in Seattle: Green Tortoise Hostel (seriously one of the best hostels in the US).
3. Las Vegas
My guide to visiting Vegas solo is one of the most popular posts on Hayley on Holiday. Hence it’s not just me that’s apprehensive about visiting a notorious party city as a solo female traveller. However, in the end, I am so glad I decided to visit Las Vegas alone. 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 vacationing there alone. Trust me, add Las Vegas to your solo travel USA bucket list now.
Where to stay in Las Vegas: Hostel Cat
4. New Orleans
Another place to vacation alone in the US is New Orleans. To be honest, I didn’t know if New Orleans would be a good place for solo female travel in the USA, but I loved my time in the city. Just like Los Angeles and Las Vegas, it might be more fun to visit with friends. However, 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 to stay in New Orleans: AAE Bourbon House, but it looks like it’s closed down. However, another top-rated hostel in New Orleans is India House – check out the reviews!
Okay, Honolulu is definitely one of the best places to travel alone in the US. So far, I’ve visited Honolulu twice as a solo female 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 female traveller.
Chicago is a fantastic city and another one of the best places to vacation alone in the US. 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 easily stroll between attractions, along Michigan Avenue and around The Loop. 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.
Related post: My guide to all things Chicago
Where to stay in Chicago: Chicago Getaway Hostel
7. San Francisco
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 as a solo female traveller and with friends and think it’s one of the best cities in America. It’s also one of my favourite places to travel alone in the US. Why? Excellent public transport, a lot of hostel options and too many attractions. Even after spending about 10 days there altogether, I still have places to tick off my San Francisco bucket list. 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).
8. Washington DC
Washington 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 within walking distance of each other. I loved all of the free attractions in Washington DC too, including the Smithsonian Museums and Zoo. I was there for three nights but could have easily stayed longer.
Related post: My budget guide to Washington DC
Where to stay in Washington DC: 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 and yes, one of the best places to travel alone in the US for solo female travellers. There is 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 heading here for a solo trip.
Related post: Two days in Nashville
Where to stay in Nashville: Music City Hostel
10. Los Angeles
I’ve visited LA three times now – twice as a solo female traveller and once with friends. Although I had one of the best trips ever to 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 (like this one and this one) 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.
12. San Diego
San Diego pleasantly surprised me, in that it’s a great place to visit as a solo female traveller in the USA. My first thought was that it 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.
Related post: The best of San Diego
Where to stay in San Diego: Ocean Beach USA Hostel
3 cities I don’t recommend for solo female travel in the USA
Although I ended up visiting all of these cities, I didn’t think they were the best for solo female travellers visiting the USA. This is primarily because they lacked good transport links and budget accommodation options. I worked around the difficulties, but if you’re planning your first solo vacation in the USA, these are the cities I don’t recommend you visit if you travel alone in the US.
Although Charleston is beautiful and one of the top cities to visit in the USA, 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.
Same as Charleston. The one budget hotel that was available was located out of the city. Fortunately, it was easy enough for me to get a bus into the town centre daily.
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So there it is – my personal recommendations for the best places to travel alone in the US.
All of these cities are perfect for solo female travellers visiting the USA or Americans looking for the perfect place to vacation alone in their own backyard. Before you go, I recommend checking out these blog posts, which you may find helpful in planning your USA solo trip. There are my top tips for fellow solo female travellers staying in hostels, how to meet people as a solo traveller and what I learned bussing across North America.