10 Best Places to Travel Solo as a Woman: U.S. Edition

And I even include women-owned lodging and safety tips

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Female solo travel is on the upswing. According to an American Express Travel trends report for 2024, Gen-Z and millennials view solo trips as self-care. And it makes sense—after staying put through the early covid years, people are restless to explore, and who has time to line up schedules and itineraries? Solo travel means your trip, your terms. And no doubt, independent travel can feel scary. So opting for a domestic trip is a smart baby step before you take off for that round-the-worlder you're dreaming of.

But when it comes to solo travel as a female, there are few extra things to take into consideration, namely, safety. So, in curating this list, I made certain that the majority of these destinations are extremely safe for women traveling alone and those that are deemed less safe (NYC, Chicago, Seattle) can be navigated safely by following the tips below. Another factor I took into account was ease of getting around. Every city or town on this list is easy to explore by walking or some other readily available means of transit (bike or scooter share) or public transportation. Also, each destination offers a variety of options for every type of solo traveler—the foodie, bar hopper, spa seeker, shopper, art and culture buff and outdoorswoman. Lastly, each boasts a strong presence of women-owned businesses and women-centered lifestyle offerings. Ready? Get packin'.

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A woman traveling solo in NYC
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1. New York, New York

With the subway operating at all hours, getting around one of the world’s largest and most famous cities is quick and easy. Sheep Meadow on the west side of Central Park is a popular place to people watch or read a book. For theater, has deals on last-minute shows on and off Broadway. Although Times Square is mind-boggling (literally), explore the neighborhoods beyond midtown via The High Line, a former rail line rife with artwork, fresh foliage, lounge stops, ice cream stalls and views of the Hudson River. For the best views of Manhattan across the East River, take the 7 train to Long Island City. If you choose just one museum, hit the Museum of Modern Art . Swing by female-owned Talea Beer Co. for a pint, The Well for a soak or sauna or The Strand for your new favorite novel. Music buffs, check the concert calendar. As the City that Never Sleeps, live music is on tap everywhere.

A woman traveling solo in Newport Beach
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2. Newport Beach, California

This posh SoCal city delivers relaxation, adventure and shopping galore. Stroll or pedal the boardwalk on Balboa Peninsula, then ogle at the (9,000-plus) yachts in Newport Harbor via a Duffy Boat ride with mother-and-daughter-launched Sea Senorita. Maybe catch sight of the world’s largest animal (a blue whale) on a tour with Newport Coastal Adventure, explore the back bay on a SUP Glow tour with Pirate Coast Paddle Company or get rad on the waves at Newport Surf Camp. Hike the hilly coastline in Crystal Cove State Park after breakfast at the always poppin’ Beachcomber Café. Shoppers, Fashion Island is home to all your favorite brick and mortar stores, plus indy boutiques like woman-owned Talia and nearby, book cryotherapy or facial at Spa Pendry. For great eats, try Newport’s famous frozen banana from OG (1945) Sugar n’ Spice shack, the lobster roll and brunch cocktails at woman-owned Malibu Farm or the seafood tower at The Cannery.

A woman traveling solo in Breckenridge
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3. Breckenridge, Colorado

This picturesque, historic mining town offers endless options for outdoor exploration, plus a chill, friendly vibe. There’s plenty of mellow hiking options, plus a women-run adventure company, VNTRbirds, offering female-only (including female-identifying) mountain bike skills clinics and fun women at Colorado Adventure Guides for hiking, rock climbing, mountaineering and rafting excursions. Hit up Sarah Barclay at Breckenridge Outfitters for a fly fishing lesson and Clairvergence for self-care and wellness: reiki, sound baths, acudetox and tarot card readings. Find namaste vibe at women-run Meta Yoga, a frothy pint from brewer Suzanne Nance at Breckenridge Brewery, an authentic bowl of pho from the Vietnamese sisters and mom team at Peak of Asia or a cocktail by Billie Keithley, liquid chef at Breckenridge Distillery. Not into the bar scene? Join a landscape painting class, build a trinket from recycled plastic sleds, check out live music or a theater performance though Breck Create. Downtown is walkable, there’s a free bus and in the summer, an e-bike share.

Best places to travel solo Tampa
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4. Tampa, Florida

Oft-overlooked for "beachier" Floridian destinations, Tampa has miles of protected paved path skirting the bay, where a jog, bike or scooter ride might yield a dolphin sighting. Explore from downtown through the Water Street district and Ybor City on the free Streetcar. Appreciate the entire panorama from Tampa’s highest rooftop, The Beacon, over a cocktail and some apps. Treat yourself to an aromatherapy massage or hydrafacial at the women-run spa at JW Marriott. Sip a cold brew by female co-founded Made Coffee, indulge in a sweet treat at woman-owned Bake n’ Babes or Sweet Mama’s Ice Cream. Also, woman-owned Vela Italian makes an amazing Benedict for breakfast, plus salads and pizzas for lunch or dinner. Get your water fix, too; Urban Kai and WhatSUP rent paddleboards and kayaks and offer group paddle tours and yoga.

A woman traveling solo in Santa FE
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5. Santa Fe, New Mexico

Whether your heart yearns for art, spice or an outdoor fix, Santa Fe has it all. Dried chilis hang from downtown lampposts and Native American artists line the exterior of the Palace of the Governors with handmade jewelry and ornaments. The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum brings a fascinating glimpse into the life of the famous American painter, while Meow Wolf is its own trippy experience. Soak up health benefits at woman-founded Santa Fe Salt Cave or explore Bandelier National Monument with women-dominated Great Southwest Adventures. Grab a cocktail over a lawn game and live music at Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery, reserve dinner at the James Beard-winning Sazon, savor New Mexico’s famous green (or red, or “Christmas” combination) chili at woman-founded institutions Tia Sophia’s, Tomasita’s and Maria’s or go gluten-free at women-owned Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen. Whip up your own southwest cuisine at the mother-founded, daughter-run Santa Fe School of Cooking

A woman traveling solo in Tucson
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6. Tucson, Arizona

Surrounded by four mountain ranges, the most striking characteristic of this peaceful Southwest city is the saguaro cacti, which only grows in the Sonoran Desert. Entire hillsides feature these statuesque, multi-limbed plants, resembling armies of still, twisted soldiers. Soak up the Saguaro sights hiking Catalina State Park, Sabino Canyon or Dove Mountain. Home to the University of Arizona campus, downtown Tucson is walkable, but to venture afield, renting a car is your best option. More like a zoo, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a must-visit and requires a drive through the jaw-dropping Saguaro National Park. Nosh on tacos by chef Maria Mazon at Bocas Tacos, the best-ever salsa and sangria at woman-founded La Hacienda or Coralie Satta’s grandmother’s scrumptious recipes at Ghini’s French Café.

A woman traveling solo in Seattle
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7. Seattle, Washington

Seattle emanates a safe, small-town vibe in neighborhoods like Queen Anne and Fremont on the outskirts of downtown (though, like any large city has its own issues with crime and an unhoused population). A light rail runs from the airport to downtown and Seattle was one of the first cities to launch a bike share program; both Bird and Lime e-bike and e-scooters can be found around the city. A foodie haven, Pike Place Market is where vendors (more than 250 of them woman-owned businesses) fling fresh fish and a delightful chaos abounds. A chef-guided tour is the place to start, then hit the women-owned and managed Kamp Social House, Communion Restaurant & Bar and (vegan) Plum Bistro. Learn the art of coffee while caffeinating to your heart’s content in a coffee (and bakery!) crawl. Immerse in the water and fresh foliage surrounding the city with a woman-guided half-day guided hike to Twin and Snoqualmie waterfalls.

A woman traveling solo in Asheville
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8. Asheville, North Carolina

For suds connoisseurs, this pretty town in the Blue Ridge Mountains is especially appealing with more than 50 breweries. Burial Beer Co. and The River Arts District Brewery are among the best, but take a guided walking tour for samples of several and the potential to land a pint pal. With 22 miles of trails surrounding America’s largest home (8,000 acres), the Biltmore Estate, make a day of your visit. For real hiking, hit the Lunch Rocks Trail or take a group waterfall tour. Downtown Asheville is walkable and the ART bus system travels to nearby destinations. Get creative with a glass-blowing or painting class at the River Arts District, which also hosts live music and poetry slams. Grab a treat from woman-owned Stay Glazed Donuts & Café, have a (another) pint over amazing 12 Bones barbecue or zone out over pizza and a movie at Asheville Pizza & Brewing

A woman traveling solo in Chicago
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9. Chicago, Illinois

There are plenty of safe areas to stay (River North, The Loop, Lincoln Park) in the Windy City, an easy-to-navigate mass transit system and so much to do, see…and eat. Start with a guided food tour, a sampler of Chicago’s famous delights (hot dogs, deep dish pizza, Italian beef sandwich, the original brownie) as well as a crash course in the city’s layout and history. Get a unique vantage point from the water of Lake Michigan via a SUP or Kayak tour. Tackle the gamut of museums —the Field Museum, Adler Planetarium and Shedd Aquarium—at The Museum Campus and explore the architectural masterpiece that is Millennium Park, home to a constant lineup of workout sessions, live music and festivals. Join the parade of shoppers on Michigan Avenue, or for concerts, theater and (along with Second City) comedy, visit The Chicago Theatre. Getting back to the food, especially the internationally inspired, upscale, female-powered variety, reserve an Italian dinner at Alpana, French at Brindille, Cajun at CheSa’s Bistro, or grab some casual fresh seafood at Brown Bag Seafood.

A woman traveling solo in Salk Lake City
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10. Salt Lake City, Utah

Framed stunningly by the Wasatch Mountains, downtown SLC is somewhat wide-spread with long city blocks, but getting around town (including from the airport) is manageable by light rail, or by using the Greenbike share program. Outdoor explorers can hit the trails on the Foothills Trail System Plan. With that giant lake nearby, visit Great Salt Lake Marina for paddlesport rentals or bond with a group via a two-hour pontoon boat and swimming excursion. The Granary District is where to find the Evo Hotel, home to its own indoor skate park and indoor bouldering gym, The Bouldering Project. Sample local F & B at Woodbine Food Hall and mouth-watering cookies at woman-owned RubySnap. For pampering, book a facial or nail session at woman-owned SpaDAY and land your next favorite dress or scarf at woman-owned Zenzee. 

Tips for Women Traveling Solo

  • Pack wisely. Use a packing list and stick to it. Limit items that take up a lot of space like shoes. Slogging around with a heavy bag will get old fast. Packing cubes are great for staying organized.
  • Opt for a cross-body bag or purse, which is comfortable for walking and which protects against theft.
  • Stick to well-lit, populated streets.When walking at night, avoid walking alone in places without crowds.
  • Make sure the nearest public transportation stop is within a 10-minute walk. Plan in advance and know where and how to get to places.
  • Join a group excursion. You just might find your soulmate or new bestie or even just a person to check in with on your wanderlust.

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Freelance PureWow Editor