15 Things Everyone Should Do Alone at Least Once
Try these solo activities. You'll learn something new about the world— and yourself with these solo activities.
Hike a mountain
There’s something so primal and thrilling about being a tiny human alone in the great outdoors. Hiking alone is a powerful way to get in touch with nature, let your thoughts wander, work through tough feelings, and sing as loud as you like. Not to mention you’ll reap all the many mental and physical health benefits of walking outdoors. Enjoy the journey as much as the destination and when you get to the top, that feeling of accomplishment will be worth every step. One big caveat: Follow safe hiking practices by choosing a well-known trail (and staying on it); pack plenty of water, food, and clothing; bring a first-aid kit; and leave a note or tell a friend exactly where you’re going and when to expect you back. Consider making an even bigger event of it by booking one of the 10 best solo vacations to take on your own.
Go to a comedy show
Live comedy is always fun. Even when it’s bad, it still gives you something to giggle about. But when you go solo you get to guffaw at whatever you think is funny, as loudly (and weirdly) as you like, without any fear of being judged by your friends for your taste level or your hyena laugh.
Go to church
Religion is so steeped in other people’s expectations and beliefs that it can be hard to figure out what feels true and right to you. While religious traditions can be comforting and provide a way to relate to family and friends, every once in a while it’s worth it to go all on your own. Try out different churches, synagogues, mosques, and other houses of worship and different belief systems, examining your own thoughts, and decide what is truly important to you. Bonus: This is a great way to ditch ingrained belief systems that aren’t working for you and the guilt that goes with them. Try these 50 science-backed tips to banish loneliness.
Take an improv class
Improv classes teach a variety of life skills beyond comedic timing and stage presence. You learn how to be uninhibited, increase creativity, overcome shyness, speak loudly, and think on your feet. And you’ll find you’re less restrained if you don’t have to worry about seeing any of your classmates in your “real” life.
Ride a rollercoaster
Are you the type to put on a brave face for the giant plunge so your friends won’t know how scared you really are? Or do you scream your guts out to entertain them? Nothing wrong with either of those things but take a turn as a solo rider every once in a while and you’ll have an entirely different ride. Instead of thinking about the person next to you, you can enjoy the scenery and appreciate the stomach-churning turns. Or maybe you’ll realize you kind of hate coasters and you’ve been riding them for everyone else. These are the 34 little life skills everyone needs to be a grown-up.
Attend a costume party
Parties are, as a general rule, more fun with friends. But a costume party offers a unique opportunity to be someone entirely different from your everyday self—an opportunity that will be wasted if you’re surrounded by reminders of who you normally are and how you normally act. Go by yourself, and for one night you can test drive a new you. Who knows? Maybe you’ll discover that teal is your perfect hair color or that you aren’t as shy as you thought you were.
Hit up a hobby expo
Whether your jam is gardening, vintage cars, rock collecting, weddings, or comic book cosplay, there is a hobby expo for it. But the fastest way to ruin a good time is to drag along a friend or partner who isn’t as into it as you are. Not only will you have to spend all day explaining things to them, but you’ll have to go at their pace. Skip the drama and attend by yourself. You can spend all day looking at just the things that interest you, and chances are good you’ll find a like-minded soul to share your thoughts with there. Don’t have anything you’re particularly passionate about? Follow these 10 simple steps to find a hobby you’ll love.
Wander around the state fair
Fairs are a panoply of unique sights, sounds, smells, and tastes, and you can experience it all on your own. This is your opportunity to truly get lost in the crowd (without having to worry about actually losing someone else in the crowd). People-watch, get through lines faster, win your own prizes, and eat churros and a fried Twinkie for dessert with zero judgement.
See a movie
Watching a movie alone is a totally different experience than watching it with friends. It starts with not having to compromise on which movie to see. You want to see that tiny arthouse film instead of the blockbuster? Then see it! Once you’re there, it’s easier to find a good seat when you’re looking for only one opening. These are the 40 risks everyone should take before turning 40.
Try a new restaurant
Eating solo forces you to be mindful of what you’re consuming, allowing you to appreciate subtle flavors and scents while taking your time to enjoy the whole sensory experience. To maximize the effect, don’t fill in the void with electronics or other distractions. Keep your focus on the food and how much fun it is to eat.
Do a home improvement project
Sure you could hire a handyman or ask an experienced friend to help you around your house, or you could learn how to do basic repairs—change a light fixture, install shelving, patch drywall—yourself. You’ll save money and time, plus you’ll get the satisfaction of being able to point something and say “I did that!” YouTube is a gold mine of simply DIY home improvement videos, or help out a friend with their project and learn from them. Here are the 22 things everyone should do in the summer.
Go skinny dipping
There’s just something so satisfying about sliding through water in the buff, yet the risks for embarrassment are so high that most of us never try it. But you won’t have to worry about getting teased by friends or spotted by a stranger if you do a little solo swim. No one will ever know but you and the fish. (And fish are notorious nude swimmers anyhow!)
Take a trip
Traveling can be scary, even in a group. But it’s worth it to get out of your comfort zone—physically and metaphorically speaking—to experience our wild, beautiful world. Traveling by yourself allows you to make new friends you wouldn’t otherwise, better experience local culture, and see exactly what you want, when you want to go. Make sure you take precautions to ensure your safety—start by doing your research on your destination and reading up on solo traveling—and then enjoy a vacation completely on your own terms. These are the 10 most extreme travel adventures around the world.
Aerial, flow, relaxation, power, stand-up paddleboard: There are endless variations of the ancient exercise, but perhaps none have the possibility to be as healing as solo yoga. Working through some stretches and poses on your own eliminates distractions like other people, fear of judgement, or feelings of competition or inadequacy, and allows you to focus on your breathing and movements. Research has shown that yoga can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and improve mood, among many other health benefits.
Order a fancy dessert
It doesn’t have to be your birthday to order that amazingly decadent seven-layer chocolate cake with fudge sauce. You are reason enough to celebrate, any day of the year. Just make sure it’s an indulgence you really want and are excited about (so no wolfing down mediocre lemon cream pie just because it’s there). And you don’t have to wait until you can share it with others. Order the dessert you want and if the waiter brings two spoons, well then you’ll have one for each hand. Enjoy! Here are 50 more simple pleasures in life to start enjoying today