35 Things to do in NYC when it Rains (Indoor Activities)

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While Netflix and movies sell New York as a sunny city, there are times when the heavens open so this guide reveals the best things to do in NYC when it rains!

Regardless of whether you are a local trying to make plans or a visitors creating an itinerary, you’ll find the follow NYC indoor activities fun, accesible and diverse so there is something to entertain everyone.

Have we missed out your favorite NYC rainy day attraction? Tell us in the comments!

Indoor Things to do in NYC when it Rains for Adults

Dive Into a Coffee Shop

This may sound like an obvious NYC rainy day activity because it is!

The city has no shortage of coffee shops so when the heavens open, you know where to escape to but just make sure the cafe offers more than just counter serve.

Hot tip! Cafes aimed a freelancers or co-working space tend to be a little bigger because they expect customers to dine with a laptop.

Here’s a few suggestions of unique coffee shops in NYC because we love a business with a story.

Caffe Reggio (119 MacDougal St) in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village is one of the oldest coffee shops in NYC and is known for its ‘magnificent espresso machine’!

The Bean on Broadway (771 Broadway) is a large space with lots of tables, free Wi-Fi and vegan options.

Pietro Nolita (174 Elizabeth St) has a bubble gum pink interior, perfect if you want to pose with your pumpkin spiced latte.

If you find yourself near Grand Central when the rain starts, pop into Cafe Grumpy for a window seat.

Speaking of Grand Central!

Visit The Beaux-Arts Landmark, Grand Central

Since it has a roof, Grand Central is also an option for a quick rainy day activity on 42nd Street.

The original building was built in 1871 and was initially called Grand Central Depot until 1901 when renovations took place along with a change of name to Grand Central Station.

In 1913, a new building was made, Grand Central Terminal.

During your visit, stand in the Main Concourse to feel the buzz of the Grand Central Terminal and look up to see the celestial mural with more than 2,500 stars on the roof.

People watch as friends greet each other under the four-faced opal clock, a popular meeting place before cellphones shared our exact location!

Grand Central has featured in many movies such as Men in Black and Superman and is also the backdrop to a BTS music video.

You can do a couple of other rainy day things without leaving Grand Central which we’ll discuss next.

A busy Grand Central Station New York

Grand Central Oyster Bar

Grand Central is not just a transportation hub.

It is also a shopping and dining center.

The Grand Central Oyster Bar is the oldest restaurant at this landmark and it has been serving oysters for over 100 years!

You can enjoy your own little salty piece of history paired with over 80 types of wine.

There’s over 25 types of fish and 30 varieties of oysters so if you enjoy seafood, you won’t even notice its is raining out.

If you’re just starting out on your oyster journey, go for the Long Island which the staff refer to as the ‘beginner’s oyster’ as it is mild.

Central Market New York

Grab a snack or lunch at the sandwich-centric Central Market New York shop located on the lower level near Track 116.

The menu includes bagels, grilled cheese and wraps.

Magnolia Bakery

Magnolia Bakery from Sex and the City fame is located on the lower level of Grand Central too.

However, the bakery that features in the TV show is found at Bleecker Street in the West Village so if you want to do your best Carrie and Miranda eating a cupcake, wait for the rain to stop and head there.

Oculus New York

Sticking with the transport theme, next up we have Oculus New York in lower Manhattan.

This is a super modern building so a cool contrast to the historic Grand Central.

Westfield World Trade Center exterior - large white modern structure

People use the Oculus to hop on subways or the World Trade Center PATH station.

There’s also shops and musical performances.

Oculus is a popular photography spot.

White building Oculus transportation NYC

Afternoon Tea, Dahling

One of our favorite food-related pastimes is gorging ourselves on multiple rounds of sweet and savory snacks, washed down with tea or fizz if we’re feeling fancy.

Afternoon teas tend to start with palate cleanser then a round of savory sandwiches and pastries before a serving of warm scones and cakes.

While this is a quintessentially British dining experience, there are tea rooms in New York that dish up this lavish meal.

Check out The Palm Court at The Plaza for opulence, The Russian Tea Room for history, and Little Choc Apothecary for vegan and gluten free afternoon tea at a reasonable price.

Food Hall Feeds

We love upmarket food courts because there is no pressure on everyone eating the same style of food!

Some of the most popular food markets in NYC are Chelsea Market, UbranSpace Vanderbilt, Gotham West Market and Gansevoort Market.

Chelsea Market exterior red stone

Indulge In Desserts

NYC is all about the food and it has lots of the sweet stuff on offer.

Cookies at Levain Bakery (167 West 74th St), delicate slices at Lady M Confections (30 Rockefeller Plaza Suite U) or all things chocolate at Mojo Mousse Bar (177 E 100th St).

Morgan Library and Museum

Morgan Library or The Morgan, is a lavish cultural institution and is one of the lesser-known things to do in NYC.

This research library and museum in Manhattan has a series of rooms such as Mr Morgan’s Library, Study, Morgan Stanley Estate Galleries, the Marble Hall and the Morgan Dining Room.

Artifacts include Beethoven’s music papers and drafts by Jane Austen.

See a Broadway Show 

Nothing beats being whisked away to a different location for a few hours, especially when the weather isn’t cooperating. 

Seeing a Broadway show is a great way to go out while staying indoors without the use of VR!

Some of the best Broadway shows, if you can get your hands on tickets, are Wicked, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, The Lion King, The Book of Mormon and Six, which we highly recommend.

Broadway also features in our guide to things to do at Times Square.

Relax at a Spa

If your hotel doesn’t have a spa facility or your dinky NYC shower just doesn’t cut it, consider booking yourself for some R&R to avoid the rain forecast?

AIRE Ancient Baths is located in an 100 year industrial building, Shibui Spa offers lux tranquility and Spa Castle has a nude bath area and hydrotherapy pools.

Laugh At A Comedy Show

Don’t let the wet weather get you down, lighten up the mood by watching local and international comedians perform in the city that never sleeps.

Some of the best comedy shows can be found at The Stand (116 E 16th St) and The Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal St).

Boozy Bowling

Strike it lucky at the closest bowling alley.

Check out Frames (Hells Kitchen), Bowlmor’s (Midtown) or Brooklyn Bowl (Brooklyn).

Do you need the bumpers? We do! No shame.

Shuffleboard

Shuffleboard is not reserved for more mature adults on cruises or family BBQs!

Adults of all ages, and hair colors, can pick up a puck at At The Wallace (Broadway) and Cellar Dogs (Greenwich Village).

Go To An Escape Room

If you’re in a large group, escape rooms are a sensible choice when looking for indoor activities in NYC for groups.

The aim of the game is to make your way through a series of clues under timed conditions.

This is a cool way to connect with your friends because you have to work together and keep calm under the pressure – a great way to kill an hour or two while waiting for the rain to stop.

Some of the city’s most popular escape rooms include Komnata Quest (104 West St, Brooklyn, NY 11222) and The Escape Game (295 Madison Ave).

Many have themes such as prison breaks or heists!

Listen to a Symphony

If you’ve never been to a symphony before, NYC is the perfect city for your first time as the New York Philharmonic (10 Lincoln Center Plaza) features violins, violas, cellos, basses, flutes, piccolo, oboes, clarinets, percussion, pianos, and often performs with guests.

That’s a lotta bang for your buck!

The David Geffen Hall, where shows take place, first opened in 1962 and it seats 2,738.

Not all shows are hardcore Beethoven, some play along with popular movies, acting as gateway to orchestra music!

Hit the Jazz Clubs

Have your own La La Land moment at one of the jazz clubs in NYC.

Head to Bill’s in Harlem for an intimate, no-frills BYOB experience or The Django at The Roxy for live music and food.

You might also like our guide to NYC at night.

Join a Pub Crawl

You might need your umbrella for this one but the 3-hour prohibition pub crawl is a fun option for those who want to learn more about the dark history of the 1920s liquor and bar scene!

The tour includes a visit to four of the best preserved bars from the 1920s.

It also includes three drinks, snacks and a tour guide.

Play Golf

Things to do in NYC indoors don’t always have to revolve around drinking.

Avoid the cold green and hit a few balls at the The Hack Shack (108 W 39th St Suite 310) or Five Iron Golf (138 5th Ave).

Book A NBC Tour

If you’re a fan of Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show or Late Night With… check out the NBC Studio Tour (30 Rockefeller Plaza).

Here you can learn about the history of the network and see the NBC Production Gallery and at least two NBC studios.

You can also apply to see a show.

Burlesque!

Watch the ultimate cabaret, burlesque!

While you won’t see Cher or Christina on stage, you might just experience a striptease from the future Dita!

Red Velvet Entertainment (621 W 46th St), Burlesque Nights @333 Lounge (333 Flatbush Ave) and The Sweet Spot Burlesque, NYC (149 7th St) all put on shows.

Join the Drag Race

Hey gurl!

Ready to be gagged at one of NYC’s drag shows?

Check out Illusions the Drag Queen Show (237 W 47th St) for celebrity impersonation drag queen entertainment and Lips Drag Queen Show Palace (227 E 56th St) for brunch, drinks and a drag show.

Take The Ride

The Ride is an interactive 75-minute bus ride and performance that takes you around Manhattan’s streets.

Learn more about Manhattan’s wet street, while sitting in comfort on the custom-built theater bus.

The tour guides are said to be witty, and the “interviews” with locals, entertaining but corny.

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

One of the most popular indoor activities in New York City is the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) at Midtown.

See some of the world’s most impressive contemporary art such as Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans and The Dance (I) by Matisse.

Since there are six floors of art galleries at the MoMA you can easily spend a day getting lost in inspiration.

SUMMIT One Vanderbilt Experience

SUMMIT (45 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017) claims to be the city’s most immersive observatory experience!

This modern sky deck is 1401 feet high, 77 stories up and starts with an ear popping elevator ride to the 91st floor.

Read more in our guide to NYC observation decks.

New York One World Observatory

For a more traditional observatory to hide from NYC in the rain, consider the One World Observatory and learn more about the 9/11 terrorist attack that changed the world forever.

The official opening year of this deck was 2014, 13 years after the 9/11 terrorist attack on the original World Trade Center aka the Twin Towers.

One World Observatory is also known as the Freedom Tower.

One World Trade Center Tower (AKA Freedom Tower) over Hudson River viewed from New Jersey

Indoor Activities for Kids and Teens in NYC

Museum of Ice Cream

Play with your food, Wednesday!

Swoosh about in sprinkles (jimmies), ride the dream subway, and savor sweet treats at the Museum of Ice Cream (558 Broadway).

Get your tickets here to avoid going out in NYC on a rainy day.

Watch A Movie

Up for seeing the latest release or more of an indy house kinda movie watcher?

You’ll find with heaps of choice in NYC such as vintage theaters at Metrograph (7 Ludlow St), Film Forum (209 W Houston St) and Regal E-Walk Stadium 13 & RPX (247 W 42nd St) or modern complexes at AMC Empire 25 (234 W 42nd St).

Immerse Yourself In Virtual Reality

If you’re not a fan of rainy days, consider escaping the reality altogether!

At VR World (10 E 34th St), you can transport yourself to a different location.

There are jet pack simulators, tours of Notre Dame, and the opportunity to walk a 480-foot plank.

Play Arcade Games

Pinball, Pac-Man or PS, whatever your poison, there are plenty of family-friendly arcade games in NYC.

Dave & Buster’s (234 W 42nd St 3rd Floor) and Land-O-Fun (2955 Coney Island Ave) offer a variety of game options for all ages.

Dave and Busters arcade gam

Bounce!

Shake off some of your energy at an indoor trampoline park.

Sky Zone Trampoline Park (29 Lecount Pl, New Rochelle, outside of NYC) is the most popular and offers freestyle bouncing and dodgeball.

Go Ice-Skating

While most people think of ice-skating in NYC they probably image a festive scene with the rink under the Rockefeller but there is also a seasonal covered ice rink at Riverbank State Park too.

During the summer you can…

Go Rollerskating

During the dry seasons, the covered rink at Riverbank State Park is used by skaters.

Check Out The New York Public Library (NYPL)

Step inside to escape the dismal weather and take advantage of the free daily tours at the New York Public Library.

The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building is located at Midtown Manhattan on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street and gives us real Harry Potter vibes.

Final Words

No need to wonder what to do on a rainy day in NYC now that you have this exciting list of indoor activities!

Did we miss your favorite? Tell us in the comments.

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