Who runs the world: Tips for solo females traveling in the US
Hey girl, traveling to the states on your own? Lucky, lucky girl. To make sure you’re well prepared to (almost) anything, our female cousins from NYC, Austin and LA share their useful tips for women traveling alone there. Go have the time of your life.
Map out your route: knowing how to get to your destination can be half the battle. If I am feeling really unsure I’ll check out google street view to see how well lit or busy the area is. It’s always better to be on a street with a lot of people and stores. There is usually at least one bodega or store open all night that you know you can run into if you feel unsafe. Chat up the person working the register and let them know what’s going on. New Yorkers always help each other out.
Talk to the bartender: If you’re going solo at the bar your biggest ally will be the bartender. Look for places with seats at the bar and if possible a female bartender. Dive bars are great for this because they are relaxed and a lot of people will be there by themselves. It’s super easy to strike up a chat with some locals or read your book and have some down time.
When in doubt, use uber/lyft/gett or whatever your preferred car service is. I mostly stick to flying solo in my own neighborhood so it’s easy to get home. If you’re in the South Park Slope area be sure to check out Freddy’s, South, and Sea Witch. I’ve had great conversations with other locals here all while by myself. As long as you’re close to a train or the place you are staying it’s really hard to go wrong. NYC is a great place to trek out on your own.
for me NY is safe day and night. Public transportation is really safe all over – Brooklyn, Queens, Harlem. There always can be a crazy homeless guy talking to himself, just walk to the other direction and all is good. Just be confident, relax and enjoy the city. (btw, everyone here use tinder just to meet someone for a drink or for sex).
For NYC the first tip that comes to mind is in the subway. At each station there is a black and white zebra striped bar that aligns with where the train conductor’s car is, at each stop she/he will point to the bar. This is a good opportunity to ask for help if needed.
On guys: Catcallers are all about, day or night. I would avoid eye contact, look ahead and walk on. I was once followed home by a guy who stopped me to ask me for the time, people like this with alternatives motive are all about in NYC, use discretion if/when you choose to engage or respond to them. If you leave your Tinder location on when traveling here, and meet guys, always meet them in a public place and not their apartment.
Bars/areas to walk: I’d say use situational awareness in any part of NYC at any time of day but especially at night and when alone.
There are plenty of women owned/ operated bars that have a good vibe like “Butter and Scotch” in Crown Heights on Franklin. In the evenings these areas are always populated with other bar goers and relatively safe. Williamsburg is also good for bar crawls. But use due diligence like never leaving your drink unattended. Bond Street Marketplace also has a good guide to women owned establishments in the city. I think Midtown is relatively safe as well, but I would avoid parks at night.
I would beware of some pockets of Manhattan at night like E125th. Areas in Queens like Liberty Ave use should avoid (a woman got her purse snatch in front of me there once), some outer parts of Brooklyn like Canarsie, East New York, etc can also get a little rough.
We in new york are be pretty lucky that it’s a pretty safe city to be a solo woman. Generally, in most “safe” neighborhoods it’s fine to walk alone at any time. I would advise caution in neighborhoods which are more borderline such as bed-stuy, harlem, alphabet city and many places in the bronx.
In general, bars and cocktail lounges in gramercy, flatiron, east village and west village are fine for being alone and meeting people. I like “Blind Tiger” and “Central Bar” as pretty easy going places. NYC guys will def like to talk to you but don’t expect them to pay for food/drinks unless you are planning on doing more than talking. Being independent gives a great sign that you are up for socializing and no more than that.
Generally speaking, females like myself who practice common sense and look alert have felt safe in Los Angeles. Caution is always recommended to take (don’t wander off in isolated areas, try not to walk by yourself esp. at night, park close to the venue and in well-lit spaces if travelling by car, constantly look up and around, wear comfy shoes or carry flat shoes in a bag if insisting to wear heels for outings, carry mace/pepper spray if extremely cautious).
Public Transit exists in L.A. and is run well by Metro (MTA). MTA light rail system (Red Line, Gold Line, etc) is convenient to take, esp for exploring downtown LA, Koreatown, and Hollywood areas faster/more direct than the bus. Delays happen but they are not constant.
Same case for riding the bus. The bus experience does get to be a nuisance (noisy, not very clean, and if crowded a chance someone rubbing up against by accident or not) However, the bus can be a very good option for short stays. Big Blue Bus in the Santa Monica are is esp. a fun ride for getting to the beach.
Ideal places to walk day/night:
Westside LA areas (Brentwood, Westwood Village) and Santa Monica (Montana Ave, Promenade shopping, lots of security in a popular area). Downtown L.A.Financial Dist. (best, most attractive part of downtown, close to L.A. Live entertainment center). Arts District & Little Tokyo ( cleaner part of downtown, fun bar and nightlife options ) Marina Del Rey (beautiful marina scenery to walk, unique/luxury shopping spots, Chace park, very low for major crime) The “Valley” areas of Sherman Oaks & Studio City-great variety of shops and dining down the long straight stretch of Ventura Blvd.
Just outside of L.A city. limits: Beverly Hills (great shopping for luxury and Off Rodeo-inexpensive, attractive buildings, parks). Old Town Pasadena ( great variety of shops, bars/nightlife spots- L.A county). South Bay beach towns of Manhattan Beach/ Hermosa Beach-(L.A county). Belmont Shore and Naples neighborhoods in Long Beach- L.A. county). West Hollywood (called WeHo often)- Streets are more walkable and clean here than Hollywood/ East Hollywood. Gay men central here-If heterosexual women don’t want attention from the guys, it’s the place to walk.
Not ideal places to walk: MacArthur Park (higher # of crime incidents, not so attractive looking)” Eastern portions of San Fernando Valley or “The Valley” (like Mac Park, except walking in Van Nuys’ Balboa Park during the day is fun for active women). Downtown L.A. Skid Row/Toy District (isolated, spots, high crime alert) East Hollywood- residential, less touristic outside of Hollywood Walk of Fame, higher incidents of crime. East and South LA- more residential than touristic, more incidents of crime, no great spots for a meeting. Venice Beach- too crowded at times lack hangouts/shopping at night compared to Santa Monica, seedy and isolated bars, higher crime incidents.
The thing about LA is that each different neighborhood is like a different city. One block could be completely safe and fine, but then you cross over to the next one & you’re in a different neighborhood – you could feel very unsafe.
Places I feel fine walking around at night alone are often the busier places, where it would be hard for something bad to happen without someone seeing:
3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica Main Street in Santa Monica Santa Monica Blvd in West Hollywood Parts of Sunset Blvd in Los Feliz/Silverlake Downtown Burbank Ventura Blvd in Studio City Abbot Kinney in Venice (but only this street)
Places I wouldn’t walk alone at night:
Venice Boardwalk Hollywood/Highland Hollywood in general A lot of Downtown LA Any place that feels less populated/looks like the surrounding area in unkempt.
Public Transportation – leaves a lot to be desired. The metro can be fine in some ways – but it’s mostly terrible. The most common form of transportation is uber or lyft. If you don’t own a car in LA, it’s a struggle to get around.
Santa Monica is probably the place with the most tourists at any given time of year if someone is looking to meet other tourists. Overall – I think LA is relatively safe. Just, always be aware of your surroundings – and trust your gut instinct if a place doesn’t feel safe or right.
I would say that LA is very safe, but like any city, I would avoid walking alone at night, anywhere. Uber is very affordable and it’s so easy to order a car, even if it’s a short trip. Definitely avoid Skid Row and some Downtown or South LA areas at night, and even during the day I would say. Public transportation is super safe and cleaner than most cities I’ve lived in — the only issue is that buses don’t come very regularly. For bars, I recommend the following: No Vacancy on a Friday or Saturday night– arrive early, you don’t want to spend an hour in line Good Time at Davey Wayne’s on Wednesdays — they have a live band The Ace Hotel’s rooftop bar for the view of the city (or Perch if you didn’t get in the Ace) The walker in Koreatown, one of the best speakeasies in the US Gracias Madre if you’re in Beverly Hills because there’s almost nothing else out there. The Abbey, very close, is super fun: one of the most popular gay bars in the country Barney’s Beanery in West Hollywood if you want that super old style dive bar to play pool and drink cheap beer.
People are very friendly in LA and it’s easy to make friends once you’re in town!
In my experience, LA is very safe to explore alone as a female, even at night. The metro train stations can become a little shady late at night, lots of crazy guys and homeless people hang out down there and there’s not a lot of security. The local guys are pretty tame compared to lots of foreign countries I’ve traveled to and should leave you alone for the most part. They might hit on you in a bar but that’s about the extent of it. Safe universal advice is to walk in well-lit areas and avoid dark alleyways, and stick to Lyft or uber over the metro if you’re traveling alone at night. West Hollywood and Santa Monica are probably the safest neighborhoods, but I wouldn’t say any neighborhood, in particular, is unsafe. Just be aware of your surroundings as a solo female alone at night!
In general I would advise everyone to rent a vehicle and don’t bother walking alone at all! Everyone has a car here. Cool app for renting cars (same idea as Airbnb, for cars): “Turo”. Some areas have a lot of shady people at night. So try going downtown, Hollywood BLVD, muscle beach and alike after dark. Arnold Schwarzenegger will not be there to save you. If it were me I would give good attention where I choose to sleep- go for something solid even if it’s few more bucks a night. It’s LA you’re going to be off-budget anyway. Good club for going alone- Sound Nightclub in Hollywood.
Austin is honestly a fairly safe city as long as you’re smart. West 6th Street, also known as Dirty 6th can have a lot of the frat boy atmosphere so things can get a bit rowdier, but I’ve never felt unsafe. One of my recommendations is an outdoor bar called Moontower in South Austin, and it’s a great place to go on your own. It has lots of communal tables and fire pits, so people are friendlier and more open to chatting than a lot of places, but it’s a very casual atmosphere so people tend to be a lot less pushy.
The east side of Austin can be a bit sketchier, but honestly, the places that are heavily populated with bars and restaurants where non-locals will go tend to be well lit and safe.
There is a fairly large homeless population in Austin, so you’ll encounter panhandlers, but for the most part, they aren’t aggressive. One thing worth mentioning to out of owners because this is a popular hotel on a very popular street – about a block away from the Hotel Indigo on Red River is one of the largest homeless shelters in the city so there are always a lot of people on the street right outside of the hotel. Red River is a popular street with tons of bars and music venues, and as a single woman that would definitely come into play with booking the hotel for me. If you’re not by yourself, you don’t tend to get hassled, but it’s worth noting for someone traveling alone.
I can’t speak much for public transportation. With Uber and Lyft there’s always the risk of getting a sketchy driver, but I’ve had decent luck with drivers. I haven’t used any buses or cabs in the area though.
Local guys run the gamut, and it really depends on the spots you go to. If you hit up dive bars or someplace where the only thing they have to offer is $1 Long Islands, you’re definitely going to meet a different crowd than if you hit up a craft cocktail spot. I tend to stick with the hipsters and the fancy drinks, so I usually make friends with the bartender and people watch. On the whole, though, I’ve had very few negative experiences in Austin.
Portland is a relatively safe city. For the solo female traveler, I’d recommend staying out of Old Town after dark. As a gay woman, I’m not sure where the best straight bars are for people to go to hang out and meet people. 😉
Public transit in Portland is easy to use. I have a Trimet Hop Pass preloaded with money and it’s so easy to use on the bus or train. I’m a huge fan of the light rail and we also have Lyft if you want to use ridesharing. Busses do not run as late as most cities so keep that in mind.
I am a pro solo traveler and for me, Austin is an amazing place for traveling solo. It is considered one of the safest cities in the US and I agree with it.
The environment is friendly and the southern hospitality is real. People here are welcoming, polite and will try to make a conversation with you at all times.
Public transportation it is not Austin’s strength. It works fairly well if you are in the downtown area, but if you need go any further than that I’d recommend renting a car, or getting an Uber/Lyft/ Ride Austin. There’s even an app called ATXRides the compares the best price for ridesharing.
The downtown area, around 6th and some parts of East Austin it is highly occupied by homeless people, this is due to the fact there’s a big non-profit organization that provides shelter and food for the homeless. It is a sad situation, unfortunately, but I particularly don’t feel threaten walking at night in this area because usually there’s a lot of people circulating (since is where the nightlife happens), but if you are alone I would recommend not walking in dark or empty streets. Better safe than sorry.
Austin is a diverse city, there are tons of tourists and the majority of people that lives here now is from other parts of the country. Everyone I know is ‘new’ in the city which creates a great environment for meeting new people. Guys here are really laid-back.
There are tons of places where you can go by yourself without feeling lonely. Basically all the natural spots, Zilker Park, Lady Bird Lake, The Greenbelt. Barton Springs. Mt Bonnell, Bob Went Park on Lake Travis. I often go watch concerts at Moody Theater or bars with Live music Hotel Vegas, Cheer Up Charlies, Emos, Mohawk. All coffee shops, food trucks parks ( I like the one on Rainey St and Barton Springs Road), Blanton Museum, Hope Gallery are amazing things to do if you are a solo traveler.
In terms of walking around at night, there are a lot of safe places in Dallas to do this. We have lots of open-air shopping and eating centers like Trinity Groves in West Dallas, Highland Park Village and Snider Plaza in the Park Cities neighborhood, and then there’s shops and art galleries with walkable streets in the Bishop Arts District on the Oak Cliff side of town. Downtown Dallas is safe to walk around at night on streets that are busy, if you keep the obvious city principles of not going on unlit streets/alleys and walking with purpose in mind. Uptown Dallas and Oak Lawn are fairly busy neighborhoods—especially the gay bars along the Cedar Springs Road strip—so they’re usually safe to walk around at any time of day or night. All things considered, I would not walk around Deep Ellum, South Dallas, and maybe not some parts of Oak Cliff alone at night just as a precaution. But the main thing anywhere in Dallas is to just pay attention!
Solo female travelers’ best bet in Dallas is probably to use a ride-sharing service to get around, unless they’re in a really walkable area like Uptown or Downtown. Dallas isn’t a public transportation city; the light rail DART train can be efficient for special occasions like the State Fair (in October) or if you’re catching a rally or event downtown at City Hall. The train is a safe environment and there are always DART officers around, but for most people, it’s impractical and inefficient to travel by light rail. Plus, the stations can be in sketchy areas that aren’t the best-lit or busiest. I’m not sure I’d advise riding a city bus alone in Dallas, but then again, I’ve never given it a try.
Speaking about specific bars in Dallas where it’s safe for girls to go alone, I’d have to say The Grapevine Bar in Oak Lawn for it’s friendly, all-are-welcome vibe and reliable and consistent staff who will help anyone out in a pinch or sketchy scenario. There are a lot of bars on Greenville Avenue in East Dallas, too, where women traveling solo would feel comfortable saddling up to the bar and meeting people—The Libertine, HG Supply Co. (also has a cool rooftop bar and patio), Blind Butcher, and Truck Yard, to name a few. There are a few really great hotel bars in town like The Joule downtown has a speakeasy called Midnight Rambler, a Lobby Bar, two really great restaurants, and a cocktail cart that travels around the lobby on weekend nights, so it’s a great spot to chill alone and make friends. Hotel Belmont in Oak Cliff has great live music that ladies could enjoy solo, and also a great bar and scene in general (lots of artistic types hang out there).
The guys here are generally very nice and conventionally chivalrous; they’ll hold the door open and intervene when they see something wrong happening most of the time. Sometimes you see drunk college guys misbehaving in Uptown or Deep Ellum, which are neighborhoods where younger people hang out lately, but that’s pretty normal anywhere in the U.S. I think Dallas is a great place for solo travelers to come personally, and I love and feel safe living, walking, and going to bars here by myself 100% of the time so I would recommend!