50 Things to do on Your Own

PonderExploring on your own should be an activity written in all guidebooks.  Whether you are traveling alone, or just want to get away from the group for a bit, here are some things you can do:


1. Take an art history class

-If you’ve never liked art, or never understood it, why not start?  Even if you like art, there is always more to learn about the masterpiece in front of you.

2. Brush up on the language

-Take a class, or find a private tutor.  Maybe you’ll be opened up to a new circle of friends.

3. Go to a museum

-There seems to be a museum for every interest.  Military, history, science, and even toilets; there seems to be something out there for everyone.

4. Check out a library

-Even if you don’t possess the power of a library card, it can still be interesting to see what events are going on.

5.  Check out the art scene

-Art can be found everywhere.  Don’t just consider the museums.  Some of the coolest art can be found in the streets.

6. Gaze at the architecture

-There are a variety of styles.  Some destinations are filled with multiple kinds.  Make sure you look up and around.

7. Learn a new artistic form

-Think about what art forms you enjoy and get involved.  Maybe you’ll be the next Rodin.

8. Read a newspaper out in publicA Monk Tourist at Notre Dame

-Make sure you get out.  Few memorable experiences will take place in your hotel.

9. Go to the historical sights

-It seems every town has some history to share.  See what makes that place unique.

10. Check out an author reading/signing

-Even if you’ve never heard of the book or author, it is a chance to learn and be around people.

11. Read literature from/about the destination

-One way to bring a place to life is through the words and experiences of others.


12. Dive into a neighborhood

-Spend a day wandering in just one area.  Learning about a place will open up more knowledge about the people.

13. Stop by a cemetery

-Cemeteries are different all over the world.  Check out the graves, and maybe you’ll even come across someone famous.

14. Watch the vendors set up early in the morning

-Getting out early is a great way to avoid tourists, and peak into everyday life.

15. Be Roman, Passeggiata

-The Romans love to stroll in the evening.  As the day starts to settle down, grab some ice cream or gelato as you walk through, and watch people congregate in areas and socialize.


Waiting Artist16. Peruse the market

-There are markets for everyone: food, clothing, books, etc.  Even if you don’t plan on buying anything, you can still look.  Take the opportunity to talk to a local about their products.

17. Hunt for bargains at a flea market

-You don’t have to buy anything, but it can still be enjoyable to check out the interesting items.

18. Window shop at boutiques

-Sometimes the pocketbook doesn’t hold enough currency to purchase anything behind the windows, but at least it is free to look and get ideas.

19. Immerse yourself in a bookstore

-Books are cool.  People that like books are cool.


20. Visit a park

-You can sit, sun bathe, eat, nap, or do whatever your heart desires (within reason).

21. Watch the sun set/rise

-Find a nice spot to settle down, and welcome or say goodbye to the sun.

HobbiesIce Cream Break

22. Take photographs

-Consider focusing on a theme to create your own view of your destination.

23. Go to a movie

-Even if you’re in a foreign country, sometimes you can find movies in English.  If not, interpret the movie the best you can from the imagery.

24. Sketch a scene

-My aunt carries a few colored pencils with her in case she sees a scene she wants to sketch.  It is another memento to take with you.

25. Write your thoughts

-Journaling is a great activity to do out in public.  Somehow I become more observant with a pen and paper in hand.

26. Volunteer

-If you are looking to meet some good people, consider volunteering to help.  There are always food pantries that need help.  Get involved with a community and make an impact with your stay.

27. Start a blog

-As you can probably tell, I love this one.  When those nights come around, and you don’t want to go out, but you don’t want to go to bed, write a post to share your activities and reflect.

Benchwarmer28. Join in on a cooking class

-Whether your expertise doesn’t go beyond ramen noodles or you are America’s Top Chef, we can learn new ideas, and create fusions through cooking classes.  This is also another great way to meet people.  Food always brings people together.


29. Have a picnic

-Grab some bread, cheese, meat, and maybe a little wine.  Find a prime spot in a park and plop down.  If you are nervous about eating out alone, a picnic can be a nice compromise.

30. Sit at a café

-Some places definitely have café culture.  Order a drink of choice and relax.

31. Order a cappuccino at the bar

-If you don’t like sitting by yourself, go up to the coffee bar and get a drink.  Sometimes this is a cheaper option as well.

32. Sip at a wine tasting

-Everyone gets friendly with a little wine in them.  Make it a double win by enjoying wine and meeting other wine fans.

33. Pick up a gelato

-Gelato is delicious and a bit healthier than ice cream.  You can grab some and go, or stay.

34. Savor the local dessertsArtist at Work

-When your sweet tooth is calling, answer with the dessert of the destination.

35. Taste at a brewery

-I’m not a beer fan, but even I will do a little tasting at a brewery.  Yet another way to meet people.

36. Taste the local alcohol

-Sometimes wine or beer is not the specialty on the menu.  Think about a whiskey,  schnapps, or other local beverage tasting.

37. Have a Sunday dinner with a local

-I just signed up for one in Paris.  He typically has over 40 guests.  The cost is very reasonable, and all types of people come together.  Some places have agencies that can arrange it or check out meetup.com.

Sight See

38. Join a tour

-Learning from a local can provide the most comprehensive view of a place.  They can also make recommendations for places to visit if you need ideas.

39. People watch

-Some countries have this as a pastime.  I love to find a bench to watch people on a nice day.

Solitude40. Cruise down the river

-Get another perspective of the city.  The view from the water generally encompasses many of the major sights.

41. Ride the lines

-Sometimes I will get on the metro in Paris and just ride.  The stations all have a unique vibe and some can be considered art museums themselves.

42. Search for pop culture sights

-If you’ve seen a movie, read a book, or listened to a song about the place you are visiting, see if you can find the sights mentioned.


43. Attend a concert

-You can find a band from that country, or find familiar acts.

44. Watch a game at a local bar/pub

-Every country loves sports.  America loves baseball, football, and basketball.  Europe loves soccer.  Figure out what the most popular sport is, and cheer on the local team.

45. Visit an open house

-If a home is open to view, check it out to see how someone else lives.

46. Watch bar windows for posters to see a live band

-If you don’t want to pay the fee of a concert, consider catching a band at the bar.


47. Stroll through a church

-Churches are very popular in Europe.  If there are interesting churches where you are going, step inside.

48. Walk through a synagogue

-Be sure to check that people are welcome when you want to visit.  See how others warship.

49. Visit a temple

-Same as above.  Temples are often welcoming and hope you join them for meditation.

50. Investigate a Mosque

-Same as above.  Some Mosques even have little cafes if you’d like to try a different kind of fare.

Helpful Resources



What is your favorite thing to do on your own?

3 Comments Add yours

  1. irwing12 says:

    Nice ideas! Did some of them and will do the rest 🙂

  2. Lovely things to do while you are alone. I have done many of them but think I have some new things to try out next weekend!!

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