Looking for things to do on a rainy day in NYC? If so, you’ve come to the right place!

NYC is my favorite city in the world – and it’s also one of those rare cities where the rain doesn’t ruin the fun.

Look, I know we’d all prefer sunshine when we’re on a city break, but if you find yourself looking at the weather report, and all you see is rain, don’t worry. NYC won’t let you down. I’ve visited NYC many times in the rain, and it’s still beautiful, fun, and interesting. And each rainy day in NYC that I’ve experienced, I’ve still managed to pack my day full with activities.

In this list, I’m going to go over some of my personal favorite rainy day activities in NYC. Some of these things are indoors where you can take shelter from the rain, some of them give you that ‘cozy’ rainy day feeling, and some of them will benefit you – because there will be less crowds on rainy days.

My husband and I have been caught in the rain many, many times while visiting NYC.

But we always make the best of it.

NYC is just one of those unpredictable cities, and it’s smart to have a rainy-day plan, just in case. Having some things to do on a rainy day in NYC up your sleeve is always a great idea. Oh, and a waterproof coat too, it’s always smart to have one of those!

The city keeps moving, and (trust me) you’ll still have a wonderful time!

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

Summit One Vanderbilt

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

Even if it’s a little cloudy, or rainy, the views aren’t actually the main pull at Summit One Vanderbilt.

Yes it’s an observation deck, but it’s more about the experience and the different themed rooms that make up the amazingness of the experience. Which makes it the perfect option for things to do on a rainy day in the city.

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.

Tip: Visiting on a rainy day also ensures there will be less crowds here. Which is an added bonus.

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

Visit Aire Spa

Next on my list of things to do on a rainy day in NYC, it’s a spa day. Aire Ancient Baths is my favorite spa in NYC, so of course, I had to include it on my list.

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 to the spa pools, but no spa treatment (to bring the cost down a little).

But guys, it’s so worth it. It’s utterly magical, and no words I write here will do it justice. Just go experience it for yourself, and you’ll soon understand. It’s (hands down) one of the most magical things to do on a rainy day in NYC, you’ll feel so cozy and you’ll forget all about the rain outside.

Another reaosn I love this place, is that it’s adults-only. This means the experience is super peaceful, exactly what you’d want from a luxury spa day.

Take a walk around Grand Central Terminal

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 Terminal. Which is much bigger than you’re imagining, and you can easily spend an hour or so exploring.

It’s a perfect choice for things to do in NYC when it rains as it’s completely sheltered, and there’s plenty to see and do without leaving the station.

As well as the world-famous main concourse (pictured above) there are also shops in the station, and a charming little food market too.

You could also book yourself onto a tour here, if you’d prefer. I’d 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.

Grand Central Terminal Station in NYC
Grand Central Terminal Station looking beautiful!

Ride the SeaGlass Carousel

The SeaGlass Carousel in NYC is a little indoor carousel located in Battery Park, in Downtown Manhattan. But it’s so magical, and well worth a visit.

This is one of my favorite quirky, whimsical things to do in NYC, and it’s a perfect pick for a rainy day (because it’s totally covered!).

So what’s the deal? Well, this special carousel is aquatic-themed, so instead of sitting in horses, you sit in giant colorful fish! The fish spin around and move up and down as the carousel spins – and it’s so wonderful!

This would be a great choice for anyone looking for something a bit different!

Cozy up in one of my favorite bookstores

One thing I love doing on a rainy day in NYC, is getting lost inside some of my favorite bookstores.

New York City is a city with hundreds of bookstores, but I have a select few that I love more than others – and I’ve shared those with you above!

Most bookstores in NYC welcome visitors staying and exploring, and most even have seating too – so you can really make yourself comfortable on rainy days.

Walk around Central Park

I know that walking around Central Park might not seem like the most obvious choice for a rainy day activity in NYC, but I have always loved the park in the rain!

In fact, I love Central Park in the rain so much, that I wrote about it here!

One of the advantages of exploring Central Park on a rainy day is how peaceful it is. You’ll find less people in the park on rainy days, and sometimes it can feel like you’ve got the whole place to yourself.

The park just feels a bit more mysterious and magical when there is mist and rain in the air!

Tip: I planned a ‘Central Park in the rain’ walking route, which is an easy walking route you can easily do in bad weather. See below!

Ride the Staten Island Ferry

Staten Island Ferry is one of those classic activities for tourists in NYC, and it’s a great choice for rainy days!

Sure, I know the Staten Island Ferry might not seem like the most obvious pick for a rainy day, but it’s actually a great time to ride the city’s famous ferry, because there will be less crowds, and the whole process is a bit less chaotic.

You may have to sacrifice those perfect blue-sky views of the skyline (especially if it’s misty or foggy) but you’ll still have such a fun experience!

I actually took the Staten Island Ferry on my most recent trip to NYC in the rain – and loved it! I’ve included some photos below!

Tip: Here’s my tourist’s guide to taking the Staten Island Ferry! It has everything you need to know!

Visit the Flagship Harry Potter Store

If you’re a Harry Potter fan and you happen to be visiting NYC, you’re probably going to want to visit the Harry Potter Store in NYC! I wrote about it here, and everything to expect!

This gigantic store is spread over multiple floors, and has so many amazing products, photo opportunities and themed-rooms inside!

This place is a little bit like a museum, except everything in it is for sale! You could easily spend an hour or so in here just exploring the amazing products and all the beautiful rooms they have set up.

Tip: Don’t forget to order a Butterbeer from their Butterbeer bar. It costs $12 and includes a souvenir tankard!

Visit the Museum of Broadway

The Museum of Broadway is my new favorite museum in the city! And it’s a perfect choice for things to do in NYC in the rain!

This museum is totally indoors (so you can totally hide from the rain) and it’s genuinely one of the most fascinating, colorful, beautiful museums you’ll have ever step foot in.

Filled with original costumes and props from dozens of Broadway shows (past and present) this place is such a joyful and wonderful place to explore – and I can’t recommend it enough.

It’s super immersive too – so there are lots of activities inside, and ways to actually get involved with the exhibitions. Including some amazing photo opportunities!

Get lost inside Little Italy’s all-year-round Christmas store

If you’re feeling a little bit festive (it doesn’t matter the month!) then you have to visit the all-year-round Christmas store in Little Italy.

This store my next pick for things to do in NYC when it rains, because it is the ultimate pick-me-up, mood enhancer!

Even in the height of August, this place feels like a winter wonderland! And it’s one of the perfect cheerful activities to keep yourself busy on a rainy New York City day.

Read more about visiting NYC: 42 Christmas things to do in NYC

Ride the Central Park Carousel

Another cute carousel to make my list of things to do on a rainy day in NYC! This time, the famous Central Park Carousel.

This place is also located undercover, so it’s ideal for doing in the rain! This carousel is more of a ‘traditional’ carousel, with classic horses, and carousel music.

Visit Harry Potter: The Exhibition

This is another suggestion for things to do in NYC in the rain, and it’s another one that is ideal for any Harry Potter fans reading. But this one comes with a caviat!

Now, I’ll start off by saying, I wasn’t exactly overwhelmed by how amazing this place was when I visited myself. It felt a little chaotic and rushed, and I felt that some of the ‘interactive features’ were a bit basic.

However, it was a great escape from the rain (it was pouring outside when I visited), and it would still make a great indoor activity for children, especially ones who love the movies.

There are plenty of costumes inside, lots of props, some nice interactive features – so overall it’s not a bad option for escaping the rain for a few hours.

Eat a sticky toffee pudding at Quality Meats

My favorite restaurant in NYC is a steak place called Quality Meats. It’s right by Central Park, and it’s this cozy, romantic steakhouse.

Now, obviously, I recommend you try their steak, but on a rainy day in NYC I also recommend sitting in their bar area and just ordering their delicious sticky toffee pudding.

Sticky toffee pudding is one of the most comforting, warming and delicous desserts, and this one is one of the best I’ve had. Think about warm toffee-flavored sponge, with ice cream, topped with a warm sticky toffee sauce. It’s amazing.

If you want somewhere to shelter from the rain, with some delicious food then this is the place!

Sticky toffee pudding at Quality Meats in NYC
How good does this look? Sticky toffee pudding at Quality Meats.

Go to the Cinema

Going to the cinema is a pretty obvious suggestion for things to do on a rainy day in NYC… But I 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.

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 me!

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

Cinema in Times Square
Cinema in Times Square

Watch a Broadway show

  • Recommendations: Wicked, Chicago, Hamilton, Book of Mormon, Six, and Frozen (for kids!)
  • Costs can vary for tickets, from approx $50 – up to around $500.

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.

There’s no better place to hide from the rain in my opinion! Broadway shows are all indoors, and you’ll be entertained for a couple of hours out of the weather, in a cozy theater. It’s also a great way to boost your mood too (if the rain has you feeling a bit blue).

NYC has so many amazing Broadway shows and musicals to choose from – I wrote a guide to them here. So you can find the perfect show for you.

Get lost inside Macy’s

Next on my list of things to do on a rainy day in NYC, it’s NYC’s biggest department store, Macy’s!

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

Macy’s has plenty of brands, different products and departments, public restrooms, cafes, and they even have a secret McDonalds in Macy’s – so you can grab lunch too!

Oh, and there’s also a Toys R Us on the 7th floor, which would be heaven for your kids to look around! So even they’re happy.

Toys R Us in Macy's store NYC
Toys R Us in Macy’s store NYC

Go shopping at Chelsea Market

If you fancy some lovely food, and a mini shopping trip, but don’t want to brace Macy’s – then I recommend Chelsea Market for a rainy day in NYC.

Chelsea Market is a great indoor food market – offering eateries but also independent stores too. It’s a lovely place to visit on a rainy day in NYC, and there’s so much choice inside!

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.

Warm yourself up with Korean BBQ

My favorite Korean place in NYC is a place in Koreatown called Kunjip, and it’s my ultimate dining choice for rainy days in NYC.

When it comes to things to do in NYC in the rain, I think Korean BBQ is one of the best. The BBQ warms you up, the food is delicious, and the lights of Koreatown make you feel so cozy too!

Kunjip is one of the most authentic Korean BBQ places in the city, which is why I’ve included it here. I absolutely love it, and try to go every time I’m in the city.

Visit the New York Public Library

  • Website: https://www.nypl.org/
  • Address: New York Public Library, 476 5th Ave, New York, NY 10018, United States
  • Closest Subway station: 5 Av
  • Ticket info: Free!

Another lovely option for things to do on a rainy day in NYC, is bunker 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.

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.

A perfect pick for things to do on a rainy day in NYC. It’ll make you feel so cozy!

New York Public Library in the rain
New York Public Library in the rain

Visit the Tin Building at South Street Seaport

The Tin Building at South Street Seaport is a beautiful food markethall, with lots of gorgeous food stalls and cafes inside, and it’s a perfect choice for things to do on a rainy day in NYC.

It’s all indoors, and there’s so much wonderful choice and variety to explore.

From fresh oysters, to french patisserie items, and even homemade salads and sandwiches. It’s wonderful, and a perfect place to explore on a rainy day in NYC.

A glimpse inside the Tin Building!

Explore Oculus, Downtown

Next on my list of things 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.

The beautiful structure of the Oculus Downtown.

Sip Champagne in Sweet Rehab

If you have a bit of a sweet tooth, then I think a visit to Sweet Rehab might be perfect for you.

This is the ultimate way to cheer yourself up on a rainy day in NYC. Sweet Rehab is basically a patisserie cafe and champagne bar – all rolled into one!

It’s really special, and it’s a lot of fun too – and I know you’ll love it. It’s absolutely a cheerful place to take shelter from the rain.

Sweet rehab in New York City
Sweet rehab in New York City

Have dinner at Ellen’s Stardust Diner

Ellen’s Starburst Diner in New York City is a beloved, iconic eatery that has been serving up delicious comfort food with a retro twist for decades. And it’s a wonderful option for things to do in NYC in the rain.

Found in the heart of Midtown, just off Times Square, this 1950s vintage-themed diner exudes a nostalgic charm that transports patrons back in time. And another reason people love it? They’re treated to wonderful performances from the waiting staff too!

The classic diner fare, from fluffy pancakes and hearty burgers to creamy milkshakes, is made with a touch of old-school flair and a whole lot of love. Overall, this is a really great option for hiding from the rain in NYC.

Ellen's Starbust diner nyc ona. rainy day
Ellen’s Starbust Diner in NYC on a rainy day

Get lost inside 2nd Street Thrift Store (Lower East Side)

2nd Street thrift store is one of my favorites in the city, and it’s absolutely HUGE! So, it’s next on my list of things to do on a rainy day in NYC.

This shop is so big, that you could easily spend an hour or more combing all the rails for the best and most unique pieces. And that’s exactly what I recommend doing!

You never know what you might find! Last time I visited, I found a vintage Chloe bag for $90!

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, I 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!

Chinatown Family Fun Centre
Inside the Chinatown Family Fun Center

Get cozy and watch some Jazz on the Upper West Side 

I was unsure whether to share this little gem, because it’s one of my favorite spots in the city (and I don’t want it to get crowded!) but it’s simply too good not to share.

The Arthouse Hotel is a beautiful boutique hotel on the Upper West Side, and their lobby bar is small and intimate, and has live jazz performers at the weekend.

The vibe of this whole place is just perfection, and I especially love how cozy it feels on rainy evenings in the city.

There’s just nothing better than sipping a drink, watching some jazz, and hearing the rain fall outside.

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.

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.

And this means that hiding away in a sports bar and watching the game is a top option for hiding from the rain.

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

Get lost in the Disney Store

If you find yourself looking for things to do on a rainy day in NYC around the Times Square area, then I recommend ducking into the Disney Store.

It’s absolutely huge, and filled with so much nostalgia and cuteness, and it’s great for adults and children alike.

Any Disney fan will easily be able to spend an hour in here looking at all the gorgeous toys, costumes, ornaments, etc!

Shop at Zabar’s

My favorite supermarket / grocery store in NYC is a Jewish deli on the Upper West Side, called Zabar’s.

I recently wrote a love letter to Zabar’s – take a quick read of that post to understand why I love this place so much.

This is one of my personal favorite activities for a rainy day in NYC. I love just browsing the shelves, buying myself some treats, and seeing what gorgeous produce they have in store that day.

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

Visit SAKS Fifth Ave

Next on my list of things to do on a rainy day in NYC, it’s another iconic NYC department store. This time, the stylish and sophisticated SAKS Fifth Avenue.

This place oozes style and glamour, and it’s actually quite the opposite of Macy’s in that way. Whereas Macy’s feels very chaotic and busy at times – SAKS is a much more relaxed shopping experience.

Whichever you prefer is down to personal taste, but we wanted to include SAKS on our list of things to do on a rainy day in NYC, because it’s such a great indoor store, and absolutely huge!

A glimpse inside the luxurious SAKS Fifth Avenue.

Visit the Time Out Food Market in DUMBO

Next on my list of things to do on a rainy day in NYC, it’s visiting Time Out Market, across the river in Brooklyn.

A quick subway ride across to Brooklyn, will take you to the Time Out Food Market in DUMBO. This is such ana amazing choice for foodies!

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.

Tip: My personal favorite is Jacob’s Pickles, and I always order their Fried Chicken and Biscuits.

Time Out Market in DUMBO

Take some photos of Times Square in the rain

If you’re feeling brave and don’t mind braving the rain, then we really recommend taking some photos of Times Square when it rains!

Times Square is a really unique and beautiful place in the rain (I think a rainy day is my favorite time to see this part of the city). There are also less crowds in the rain too!

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.

Sure, you’re not going to stay dry for this suggestion but we think it’s well worth it if you’re into photography! Just make sure you put on a waterproof coat.

Times Square in the rain
A photo I took of Times Square in the rain.

Look around Philip Williams Poster Museum

Next on my list of things to do on a rainy day in NYC, it’s checking out the gorgeous poster store / museum, called Philip Williams Posters.

This place is an absolute hidden gem, and it’s tucked away Downtown in the most unassuming building.

But hidden inside is a world of vintage posters and graphic design prints, old tourism posters, it’s just magical. And so unique!

I absolutely love it here, and reocmmend it to anyone looking for something truly different and unique.

Find a cozy bar and just watch the rain

Next on my list of things to do on a rainy day in NYC, it’s finding a cozy bar, just just waiting it out.

One of the coziest bars / restaurants I can recommend is Gemma. The decor is like something out of a Disney movie (it reminds me personally of the taven in Tangled).

It’s super cozy and such a cute place to enjoy some wine, sheltered from the rain outside. A perfect option for things to do on a rainy day in NYC.

And last (but not least!)… You could just order pizza

Look, if all else fails when you’re in NYC and it’s raining, just order a pizza and stay in your room!

Sometimes a cozy night in, with a movie on the TV, and a delicious pizza at your fingertips if all you need for a great night.

My husband and I have resorted to this option many times, especially during trip when we just could face getting drenched for the 2nd or 3rd time that day.

There’s no shame in it, and you know what, New York City has some of the best pizza in the world – so this is a still something unique New York that you can do. Whilst also staying cozy and dry.

Here are the pizza places I recommend above others:

A helpful map of all the locations mentioned above!

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

things to do in NYC when it rains