A while back, I realized I was in the middle of a dating drought. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d gone on a first date, let alone a good one. So I brushed off the metaphorical cobwebs on Bumble and The League and got reacquainted with the banalities of online dating: the constant swiping right or left, the images that all start to look the same, and the matches that communicate in the language of emoji.
With my half-birthday on the horizon and Balanchine’s Coppélia about to debut, I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands: I would take myself out on a “me” date, an early dinner at a happening seafood restaurant that just opened, followed by an evening spent at the ballet without a grumpy boyfriend who would have resented me for making him miss the DNC broadcast.
Even if you’re not single as I am, science suggests that scheduling some time alone is crucial to staying happy and balanced. To give you some tips on how to plan the perfect evening, here are 10 activities that are best enjoyed solo:
Go to the restaurant that is impossible to get into. If you’re dining solo, the hostess should be able to squeeze one person in at the bar. Leave your phone in your purse and be yourself open to the possibility of chatting with the bartender, the waiters, and the people sitting next to you. You just may learn something new.
Get a concert ticket to see your favorite band or singer. If you can’t find anybody to splurge on that Drake ticket, go on your own! Try to sneak up to the very front so that you can see the artist up close and personal.
Spend time at the grocery store to browse the aisles for items that aren’t on your weekly shopping list. Picture a just-baked focaccia bread, wildly creamy cheese, rosemary crackers, and a bottle of sparkling wine. Head to your local park with a blanket and Kindle, and enjoy a leisurely afternoon in the sun.
Sign up for a personal training class at your favorite fitness studio. Book a class with your preferred trainer and discuss your health and exercise goals. Afterward, treat yourself to a smoothie or cold-pressed juice.
Take a staycation and head to your city’s best hotel. Splash out on a luxurious spa treatment and then take advantage of the hotel’s amenities like its steam showers, hot baths, rooftop pools, and tea rooms. Make a day of it!
Sign up for a class and learn a new skill. Shops like Paper Source offer calligraphy and card-making classes on a regular basis, and many local florists have arrangement lessons. Choose a class where you’ll head home with something, be it a bouquet of pink ranunculus, a jar of strawberry preserves, or macramé wall hangings.
Head to the shopping district and spend a few hours browsing the racks at your favorite boutiques. Before you leave your house, browse your closet and make a list of new items you want to add to your wardrobe. Shop for these pieces.
I Went Out on Friday Night Alone Sans Smartphone—Here’s What Happened
Go to a local beach a half-hour before sunset. Sit in the sand and watch the sunset over the water. Walk to a seafood shack on the beach and enjoy white wine, oysters on the half shell, and fried fish tacos.
Get a ticket to a sporting event. Go early and find a crowded bar of spirited fans near the stadium. When at the game, talk to people who are seated in your section, drink beer, and eat a hot dog.
Spend a Saturday afternoon checking out a new exhibit at a museum. Talk to the docents and sign up for the walking tour. Continue the evening with an educational wine tasting. Go to a local wine bar and order a flight. Talk to the sommelier about the wine, and savor the differences between each one.