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34 Things to do in NYC When it Rains – With Rainy Day Activities in NYC for Every Budget!

August 24, 2022

Are you looking for things to do in NYC when it rains? If so, you’ve come to the right place.

If you’re looking for things to do in NYC when it rains, then we’re about to give you loads of ideas and inspiration.

You might feel stuck for ideas when it comes to things to do in NYC when it rains, but there are actually lots of great options and fun rainy day activities in NYC.

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We like to consider ourselves NYC experts around here, and the chances are, if you’re visiting NYC in autumn, winter or spring (heck, even summer!) you might encounter a rainy day or two during your trip. So having some rainy day activities in NYC up your sleeve is a great idea.

Luckily, there are lots of things to do on a rainy day in NYC and New York isn’t the kind of city that grinds to a halt in the rain. The city keeps moving, and we all just move indoors to the many rainy day activities in NYC on offer.

So, if you’ve woken up in NYC and the rain is pouring, don’t despair. We’ll find something fun for you to enjoy, just keep reading this list of things to do in NYC when it rains.

Let’s get into it and figure out what to do on a rainy day in NYC!


What to do on a rainy day in NYC…


Summit One Vanderbilt

An observation deck might not seem like the most obvious choice for what to do on a rainy day in NYC, but trust on this one!

The views aren’t actually the main pull at Summit One Vanderbilt, it’s more about the experience and the different themed rooms that make up the observation deck.

things to do in NYC when it rains

If you find yourself wandering around Midtown in the rain, heading up here and checking out the incredible installations and experiences, is well worth it and a great option for things to do in NYC when it rains. Even if you don’t have blue skies and a super clear outlook, it’s still mesmerizing!

You’ll be astounded by the mirrors, the infinity walls, the floating reflective balloons and so much more. It’s pretty incredible, and 90% of the experience is indoors too.

There is a brief outdoor observation deck towards the end of the experience, but if it’s raining, you can just skip that part!

This is such a great choice for things to do on a rainy day in NYC… Click here to buy tickets.

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Visit Aire Spa

This is our favorite spa in NYC, so of course, we had to include it on our list of things to do in NYC when it rains.

Aire Spa is the most transformative, magical, whimsical spa you’ll ever visit. It’s also located underground, completely away from nature’s elements, so perfect for what to do on a rainy day in NYC!

The spa is expensive, but you can opt for a cheaper ticket option, which includes admittance but no treatment, to bring the cost down a little.

But guys, it’s so worth it. It’s utterly magical, and no words we write here will do it justice. Just go experience it for yourself, and you’ll soon understand.

This is absolutely one of the things to do in NYC when it rains.


Take a tour of Grand Central Station

If you’re new to NYC, or you’re visiting the city for the first time, use your rainy days to explore some of the indoor landmarks. Such as Grand Central Station!

It’s a perfect choice for things to do in NYC when it rains as it’s completely sheltered.

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Exploring Grand Central Station is a perfect choice for things to do on a rainy day in NYC, as it’s all indoors, and there’s plenty to see and do without leaving the station.

We actually recommend doing the ‘Secrets of Grand Central Station tour’ – because you’ll learn so much, and see things normal tourists won’t get to see. As well as the world-famous main concourse (pictured above) there are also shops in the station, and a charming little food market too.

As for the secrets, we’ll let you find them out on the tour. There are so many quirky and gorgeous stories this station has to tell.

It’s such a great option for things to do in NYC when it rains and a perfect rainy day activity in NYC. Book tickets here.

Read more: What is the best observation deck in NYC?


Things to do in NYC when it rains: The Friends Experience

Next on our list of what to do on a rainy day in NYC, it’s The Friends Experience. We really recommend this for anyone who grew up watching the show, or anyone who loves it.

It’s a totally indoor experience (hurray!) and it’s full of great attractions, nostalgia, photo opportunities, and the like. It’s an ideal option for rainy day activities in NYC.

If you’re in NYC, and you enjoy this classic TV show, then you’ll absolutely enjoy doing the Friends Experience.

This is a classic pick for things to do in NYC when it rains, and we love the nostalgia and laughs we had. You can book tickets by clicking here.


Go to the Cinema

Going to the cinema is a pretty obvious suggestion for things to do on a rainy day in NYC… But we wanted to include it anyway!

There are plenty of cinemas in NYC, but if you’re stopping in midtown, the easiest cinemas to get to in the rain will likely be the ones in Times Square.

Read more NYC recommendations: The 18 best happy hours on the Upper West Side, NYC

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They will always be showing the newest releases, and you’ll be able to stock up on candy, nachos, hotdogs and drinks before your showing starts. Sounds like a perfect rainy day activity in NYC to us!

This is a pretty normal activity for a rainy day, but the cinema is always fun, so we wanted to make sure we included it on our list of what to do on a rainy day in NYC.

Read more NYC recommendations: Our guide to visiting the famous floating island in NYC!


What to do on a rainy day in NYC: Play indoor golf

If golf is your thing (or maybe you just fancy trying it) then playing indoor golf is a great shout when looking for what to do on a rainy day in NYC.

There are plenty of locations you can play indoor golf in NYC, so just find one close to you and enjoy an afternoon away from the busy city, focussing on your swing!

Five Iron Golf is probably the most popular. They have a few locations around the city, in places like Flatiron, Herald Square and the Financial District.


Watch a Broadway show

Another classic NYC experience is watching a Broadway show, and luckily, it’s also a perfect option for things to do on a rainy day in NYC.

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Broadway shows are all indoors, and you’ll be entertained for a couple of hours out of the weather, in a cozy theater.

The only issue here may be with booking ahead, but most shows now offer last-minute tickets through various vendors. Also, if you can’t get the first show you wanted, it’s not like there’s a shortage of options.

NYC has so many amazing Broadway shows and musicals to choose from – we wrote a guide to them here.

So, pack some snacks, put on some cute clothes, and head out to enjoy the theater! It’s a great choice for things to do on a rainy day in NYC.


Go climbing at Brooklyn Boulders

If you’re feeling a little cooped up because of the rain, and you feel like you need to burn some energy, then we really recommend checking out Brooklyn Boulders.

This is a fantastic option for things to do on a rainy day in NYC, and it’s a little different too!

If you’ve never been bouldering or rock climbing before, don’t worry! You can get introduction sessions and beginners classes here!

It’s a great choice for things to do on a tiny day in NYC, and you’ll probably meet new people too – which is an added bonus!

Read more about visiting NYC solo: Dining solo in NYC and the best places to eat alone in NYC!


AKC Museum of the Dog

When it comes to finding quirky things to do on a rainy day in NYC, the AKC Museum of the Dog is a must-visit.

This is such a touching, cute, and lovely museum. And if you own a dog, or just love dogs, then this is a must-visit during your time in NYC.

This museum is a celebration of the dog, and the role dogs play in our society and in our lives. It’s like a big ‘thank you’ letter to all the dogs that came before. We love it, and it’s a great choice for things to do indoor in NYC!


Visit the Museum of Ice-Cream

Look, we know an ice-cream museum might not seem like the most obvious choice for things to do on a rainy day in NYC, but we actually think this suggestion is pretty cool.

The Museum of Ice-Cream is located in Soho, and it’s a really fun, immersive experience that has plenty of activities and photo opportunities too.

If you’re really craving the sun, but all your got was rain – this will put a little sunshine back into your vacation.

It’s a little bit like visiting the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory – but for ice-cream instead of chocolate! You can even eat as many ice-cream treats as you want while there!

And don’t forget their giant swimming pool filled with rainbow sprinkles!

It’s an awesome choice for things to do in NYC in the rain! You can book tickets by clicking here!


Get lost inside Macy’s

Macy’s is one of the world’s biggest department stores, and guess what? It’s all indoors!

If you’re looking for what to do on a rainy day in NYC… Macy’s is a perfect suggestion. Do all your shopping in one place, and you never even have to go outside!

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Macy’s has plenty of brands, different products and departments, public restrooms, cafes, and eateries inside.

So you literally have everything you need for a day of none-stop shopping. And it’s all indoors too – away from the rain.

If you love shopping, then this is the perfect choice for things to do on a rainy day in NYC. Just make sure you remember to take your credit card!


Museum of Sex

Our next suggestion for things to do on a rainy day in NYC isn’t family friendly! Just as a heads up!

The Museum of Sex is an adults-only museum, that delves into everything sex-related and chronicles the evolution of human sexuality in ever-changing exhibits.

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It’s a really interesting Museum, and it’s certainly different from anything else in the city. This place is 100% unique, and it’s certainly a story to tell!

If you’re after quirky things to do on a rainy day in NYC, we think this might be a good fit for you!

Read more about visiting NYC with kids: Fun touristy things to do in NYC with a baby


Visit Barcade in Brooklyn

If you’re into arcade games and video games, then you’re definitely going to love this suggestion for things to do on a rainy day in NYC!

Barcade in Brooklyn is an absolute treasure trove of arcade games, nostalgic and fun activities and games to enjoy.

You’ll feel like a kid again, and you’ll have to be dragged out kicking and screaming when closing time rolls around. It’s such a great choice for things to do indoors in NYC, especially on those glum rainy days in the city.

Is this doesn’t cheer you up, we don’t know what will! This is an epic pick for things to do on a rainy day NYC.

Read more about visiting NYC: The ultimate guide to spending Christmas in NYC


Tour the Federal Reserve Bank

This next suggestion for things to do on a rainy day in NYC, is a bit of a weird one. But, did you know you can tour the Federal Reserve Bank?

It’s all indoors, so it’s actually a great idea for rainy day activities in NYC.

It’s pretty cool, and it’s an experience not many people in the city know about. Which obviously gives it a deserving space on this list of things to do in NYC when it rains.

Of course, the tour is indoors, and actually underground. It’s a bit mysterious, very intriguing and totally different from other tours on offer in the city.


Go shopping at Chelsea Market

If you fancy a shopping trip, but don’t want to brace Macy’s – then we recommend Chelsea Market for things to do in NYC when it rains.

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Chelsea Market is a small indoor market, offering eateries but also independent stores too. This isn’t the most exciting of rainy day activities in NYC, but it’s lovely to have a relaxed stroll around.

It’s a lovely place to stroll around for a few hours, especially if you’re trying to stay out of the rain or cold.

You can also book a tour of Chelsea Market and the Meatpacking district by clicking here.


Visit the New York Public Library

One of our favorite things to do on a rainy day in NYC, is buckle down inside the New York Public Library.

You can’t find a more iconic book-hub in the city, it’s pretty much the number one place for any book lovers or literature lovers. And one of our favorite things to do in NYC when it rains too.

Whilst you do need a membership to enter certain parts of the New York Public Library, other parts you can enter as a visitor or tourist. There are also tours you can take of the library too!

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Shop until you drop at the Shops at Columbus Circle

Next up on our list of what to do on a rainy day in NYC, it’s visiting the Shops at Columbus Circle. This is a great shopping mall to take a stroll around in NYC, and there’s a variety of stores inside too.

We personally love looking around Williams Sonoma in there (it’s huge!). And there’s also a bit Wholefoods too, if you need to stock up on food.

There aren’t actually many malls in Manhattan, and this is one of the few in Midtown. So check it out!

It’s a great pick for things to do in NYC when it rains.

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Get your nails done

If you’re partial to a manicure, you’ll find loads of nail places in and around Manhattan – so a good way to pass the time on a rainy day in NYC, is getting yourself pampered.

Most nail places allow walk-in appointments, so just drop in and see if they have any available. And here are a list of some of the best nail salons in the city (if you need some help!).

A nice manicure and pedicure is a great option for things to do in NYC when it rains, and it’s a perfect option for rainy day activities in NYC.


What to do on a rainy day in NYC: An Escape Room

Next on our list of things to do on a rainy day in NYC… it’s an escape room! Surprisingly, there are actually quite a few escape rooms hidden throughout the city and they’re growing more and more popular too.

Escape rooms are great, because you can escape reality for a little while and be transported to another world (not literally of course). Here are some recommended Escape rooms you could try!

It’s a great way to pass the time, and they’re great for groups and families too. So a perfect choice for what to do on a rainy day in NYC.


Visit the Museum of the Moving Image

Another exciting museum you could visit on a rainy day in NYC, is the Museum of the Moving Image.

This museum is all about the growth and production of film, TV and movies, and it’s really interesting! It’s a fantastic choice for things to do in NYC when it’s raining!


Visit an Urbanspace Food Hall

Next on our list of things to do in NYC when it’s raining, is the Urbanspace Food Halls. There are a few of these scattered around the city, so you should (hopefully) be able to find one close to you.

These are great food options for rainy evenings, as you get the feel of a food market, or street food, but you’re safely tucked away indoors.

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There are usually around 8-12 food options too choose from, and the choices can vary from donuts, to pizza, to Chinese dumplings, to BBQ meats. There’s a little bit of something for everyone!

It’s a great choice for what to do on a rainy day in NYC. This is also (obviously) a perfect rainy day activity in NYC for foodies!


Things to do in NYC when it rains: Visit a Koneko Cat Cafe

Our next suggestion for what to do on a rainy day in NYC… it’s visiting a cat cafe! Our favorite is the Koneko cat cafe, but there are quite a few others dotted around Manhatten and Brooklyn.

What is a cat cafe, we hear you ask? Well, it’s a cozy corner of the city (much like an intimate coffee shop) where there are cats to play with, cuddle and fuss over.

It’s one of those experiences that really just makes you feel ‘at home’. There’s nothing quite like cuddling an animal to boost your mood.

This is such a classic choice for things to do in NYC when it rains, and we love it.


Take a cooking class

Next on our list of things to do on a rainy day in NYC, it’s taking a cooking class. NYC is known for being foodie-heaven, and taking a cooking class is a great way to learn more about the local food here.

Cooking classes are also a great way to escape the rain or bad weather, and there’s something really satisfying about cooking a storm, whilst it actually storms outside.

There are loads of cooking classes in NYC, so the best things to do is pick your favorite kind of food, and see if you can hunt out a local cooking class making the stuff you love the most!

Pizza is an obvious favorite in NYC, as you’d expect!

Regardless of which food you choose to learn more about, this is a great idea for what to do on a rainy day in NYC.

Read more NYC food inspiration: What is the best pizza in New York City


Explore Oculus, Downtown

Next on our list of what to do on a rainy day in NYC, it’s exploring the Oculus in Downtown. The Oculus is part of the new World Trade Center area, and it’s the transport hub for the subway lines in that part of the city.

But it’s also so much more than that too, and the architecture and shopping are a pull for visitors all year round.

You have to see it to appreciate why it’s so uniquely fascinating – but it’s a great place to explore, if you haven’t already, and a perfect choice for things to do in NYC in the rain.


Visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Guggenheim

Our next suggestions for things to do on a rainy day in NYC, are pretty classic choices. Art galleries and Art Museums!

Galleries and Museums are great options for things to do on a rainy day in NYC, as they’re indoors, really entertaining, and usually have food and drinks choices inside them too. So it’s everything under one roof!

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Guggenheim both offer tours, and even on your own offer literally hours of entertainment.

You could spend hours browsing the amazing artworks on show at either. We really recommend checking them out!

Read more NYC art gallery recommendations: The best art galleries in Chelsea, NYC


Visit the Museum of Natural History

Next on our list of things to do in NYC when it rains, it’s visiting the Museum of Natural History. This is such a great museum, and it’s ideal for rainy days in the city.

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This is undisputedly one of the top rainy day activities in NYC, hands down!

It’s also a brilliant choice for families with kids too – because the museum is geared towards children and children’s education.

Overall, this is one of the best things to do in NYC when it rains.

Read more about visiting NYC: The ultimate NYC bucket list (80 ideas in the city!)


Spend a few hours at Chinatown Fair Family Fun Center

The Chinatown Fair Family Fun Center is an arcade filled with all the games from your childhood, and then some.

It’s an awesome location to add to our list of things to do on a rainy day in NYC, and honestly, we love it.

Thisis just wholesome, childish, silly fun, and it’s exactly what you’ll want to be doing on a rainy day in the city.

Chinatown Fair Family Fun Center isn’t expensive, it isn’t pretentious, it’s just lots of fun and games. This place is full of rainy day activities in NYC!

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Visit a sports bar and watch a game

If you happen to be visiting NYC during September, October, November or December – you’ll be in the city for NFL season.

And this means that hiding away in a sports bar and watching the game is a top option for things to do in NYC when it rains.

This means there will be NFL games happening on the weekends, and the sports bars in the city will have great offers on, and a great atmosphere too.

If you get a chance to watch a game in a local sports bar, we recommend it!

It’s entertaining (of course) but it’s also a great choice for what to do on a rainy day NYC.

Read more NYC food recommendations: 20 of the best cheap lunches in NYC


Ride the Subway

Next on our list of things to do on a rainy day in NYC, we suggest just riding the subway over to Brooklyn, and back.

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Depending on the line you take, you can get some pretty cool views of the city on your way there and back, and the Subway is one of those iconic NYC experiences you have to do at some point during your trip.

Sure, this isn’t something you can do all day long (not without getting bored anyway) but if you need shelter from the rain and you don’t have much budget for activities, the Subway provides it.


Shop at Zabar’s

Our favorite supermarket / grocery store in NYC – Zabar’s is an epic place to go in NYC when it rains.

Zabar’s is a local grocery store on the upper west side, and it’s filled with the most amazing baked goods (some of the best bagels in NYC come from there!), great deli food, meats, and all sorts more.

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It’s one of our favorite things to do in NYC when it rains.

Even if you’re not really hungry, we love just heading to Zabar’s for a stroll around to see what they have on sale that day. It’s a perfect place to escape the rain in NYC.

Read more about NYC shopping: Top 14 grocery stores in NYC


Ride the Staten Island Ferry

Our next suggestion for things to do on a rainy day in NYC, it’s riding the Staten Island Ferry.

First of all, the Staten Island Ferrry is free – which is awesome if you’re on a budget. Secondly, if it’s not too misty or stormy out there, you get some pretty great views of the city and also Lady Liberty.

The view from the ferry on a rainy day!

Obviously, you’ll want to avoid the outdoor viewing deck if it’s raining, but generally, most of the ferry is under cover, and there’s even a little coffee shop on board to warm you up.

It’s a great pick for what to do on a rainy day in NYC.

Read more about NYC: What is the best way to see the Statue of Liberty?


Visit the Time Out Food Market in DUMBO

A quick subway ride across to Brooklyn, will take you to the Time Out Food Market in DUMBO. Which is next on our list of things to do in NYC when it rains.

This is a huge indoor food court (and bar – on the top floor), with some of NYC’s most iconic and famous restaurants offering up small ‘taster’ menus.

It’s one of our favorite places to eat in the city, and it’s an ideal place to hang out on a rainy day in NYC, because it’s all undercover.

Read more about NYC food: 12 Epic food challenges in NYC


Take photos of Times Square

If you’re feeling brave, then we really recommend taking some photos of Times Square when it rains!

There’s something about the reflections against the road, and the lights bouncing off the rain, that makes Times Square a magical place in the rain.

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Sure, you’re not going to stay dry for this suggestion (it’s our only wet idea!) but we think it’s well worth it if you’re into photography!

And even though you’ll get wet, it’s still a super fun choice for things to do on a rainy day in NYC.


Explore the city’s toy stores

If you’re visiting NYC with your kids, then exploring the best toy stores in NYC has to be on your list for rainy day activities in NYC.

New York has some epic toy stores (some of them made famous by movies such as Big and Home Alone 2). These toy stores are so big, you could easily spend hours inside!

Definitely, a great choice for things to do on a rainy day in NYC!

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Hopefully this list of things to do in NYC when it rains has given you loads of ideas!

If you’re looking for rainy day activities in NYC, hopefully, our list of what to do on a rainy day in NYC has given you plenty of ideas!

Which of these rainy day activities in NYC will you be doing first?

things to do in NYC when it rains

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