Best places to explore solo

Austinj, the "live music capital of the world." (Photo: Dave_B_/Flickr)Austin, the "live music capital of the world." (Photo: Dave_B_/Flickr)


British explorer Dame Freya Stark once said, "To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world." We think this late adventurer was on to something: Traveling on your own can be invigorating.

While roaming solo, your senses will thrill at unfamiliar sights, sounds, and tastes; interesting strangers will upend your preconceived notions; exciting adventures will lie at every turn.

But you need to know the places to go. After all, Paris—with its profusion of honeymooners—might make you pine for that one who got away, and Juarez (with its high crime rate) might make you fear for your life. However, lively cities like Dublin and Nashville offer visitors an ideal combination of safety, friendliness, accessibility, and affordability. With these qualities in mind, U.S. News Travel has compiled a list of the best places to explore solo.

Austin

One of the Texas capital's more interesting slogans is "Keep Austin Weird." When a city touts its weirdness as one of its most admirable qualities, you know it's going to show you a good time. This quirky city is also the self-proclaimed "Live Music Capital of the World." Take that as you will, but you'll find evidence of this hyperbole all throughout Austin, especially in the melodies that pour from 6th Street's bars. This sunny city is also pretty cheap: Forbes listed it as the 12th most affordable place to live in the United States this year.

Best solo activities
: After grabbing a bite at Franklin Barbecue, head over to Zilker Park. Later, check out the bats under the Congress Avenue Bridge before snagging a beer and some live music along 6th Street.

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