I think the best alternative to individual bonds are target maturity bond ETFs, a fairly narrow niche of the bond ETF universe.
These ETF's raise money and invest in certain specified bonds that mature in a specified year. Then when the specified year comes, they collect maturity money and reinvest it short term and then in December make a terminal distribution and the ETF dies. They typically have a common theme (Corporates, Munis, Treasuries, High Yield, Emerging Market) and low ERs.
They sort of straddle owning individual bonds vs perpetual bond funds or ETFs. You can also ladder them. A 5-year corporate (mostly BBB/A rated) bond ladder (2023-2027) would have a 4.82% YTM and a 5-year Treasury ladder would have a 4.24% YTM.