I’ve always been fairly independent. I do my best schoolwork alone, enjoy my personal space and follow a schedule that best suits me. While spending time alone in my apartment, at the gym or in the study rooms across campus comes easily, making plans without others outside of my typical routine and environment can be harder. In an effort to challenge societal norms, test my confidence and explore my college city without relying on the commitment of friends and classmates, I’ve started to make more outings on my own. Here are some of my personal favorites, with specific ties to the city of St. Louis.
see a show at The Fabulous Fox Theatre
The St. Louis Arts District is full of galleries, venues and artsy spots worth checking out. One of the biggest attractions is the Fabulous Fox, an ornate theater perfectly sized for St. Louis, which houses a variety of rotating shows and musicals throughout its season. While tickets can be pricey to purchase ahead of time, most shows offer Student RUSH tickets for several performances. Show up 2 hours early to the box office to purchase great tickets for as low as $39–there isn’t a bad seat in the house! If you’re going to a popular showtime, getting multiple tickets next to each other might be hard, so this is a perfect thing to do on your own. I went to see Wicked while it was in town, and I’m still singing “What Is This Feeling?” in the shower. You may have to muster up the courage to ask a few people to take some pictures (because you’re obviously dressed to the nines), but a little confidence push never hurt anyone.
Pro tip: Sign up for email notifications here so you know which shows offer RUSH tickets!
Browse for hours at the St. Louis Central Library
For all the bookies out there, the St. Louis Public Library system offers a network of 17 libraries across the city, so you’re bound to find one within a few miles of your location. Each one has its own unique style and offerings, but the Central Library is the perfect combination of classic and modern, with old-time reading rooms and wooden staircases on one side and new releases and technology offerings on the other. The Central Library even has a mini rotating exhibit in the foyer, with topics ranging from music across the decades and city history. The library is the perfect place to find a new book or magazine or just sit and get some work done. If you go alone, no one can distract you from your book!
Pro tip: Bring your student ID and driver’s license if you aren’t a city resident to sign up for a library card.
Peruse the exhibits of the St. Louis Art Museum
The St. Louis Art Museum is another great rainy day activity for when you just want to leave the house for a few hours. Also perfectly sized for our midsize city, you can pick just a few exhibits or spend the whole day seeing them all. Perched atop Art Hill in Forest Park, this museum is beautiful inside and out. Museums are best experienced at your own pace, so take advantage of going alone and spending as little or as much time as you please on each painting.
Pro tip: If it’s nice out, end your trip with a stroll on the paths around Art Hill, or wait for the evening to see a colorful sunset.
Plan a picnic for one at any of STL’s beautiful parks
Going to a restaurant on your own can be intimidating, but picnics are a great way to enjoy a meal while also appreciating the great outdoors! St. Louis has so many green spaces, each with its own character and all worth exploring. There’s the iconic Forest Park with over 1,000 acres of space, but I personally love visiting Lafayette Square and Tower Grove, too. Each of these parks has plenty of space for picnic blankets and nicely kept paths for strolling.
Pro tip: Pack a book, a portable speaker and a couple of simple art supplies to elevate the whole experience.
Window shop around the Delmar Loop
If you want to be surrounded by people on your solo date, the Delmar Loop is the place to be. Full of tasty restaurants and tons of boutique stores, you’re destined to find something that piques your interest. It’s also several blocks long, so you can get some steps in while at it. And, if you decide to make a little purchase, just remember: it’s great to support local establishments!
Pro tip: Check out Pitaya for cute going-out fits, Vintage Vinyl to browse thousands of records and Found or Avalon Exchange for unique, vintage clothes. Also, be sure to check online for store hours before planning your outing!
Dig for finds at the Goodwill Outlet
For a truly unique experience, head to the Goodwill Outlet and see what you can find. Colloquially referred to as “the bins,” the Goodwill Outlet is home to the thrift store rejects, so it’ll require a bit of digging, but with a little bit of patience (and maybe a pair of latex gloves), you can leave with plenty of one-of-a-kind finds. Beyond clothes, there are plenty of books, furniture and glassware to furnish your next apartment. Thrifting is fun with friends, but when supplies are limited…well, that’s just one less person to fight for that retro t-shirt.
Pro tip: They switch out the bins twice daily, so be sure to go when they open or right after the afternoon “lunch break” to get the best selection.
Going out on your own can seem scary at first, but I’ve learned to enjoy my own company and relish in the freedom of doing exactly what I want, when I want, how I want. And if that doesn’t sound like the perfect date, I don’t know what does.