The Best Things to do in New York City in the Rain

Fun Rainy-Day Activities in New York City

While the rainy season in New York City generally starts in April and ends in June, rain can fall all year round in the Big Apple. After all, more than 100 days out of the year tend to get some sort of precipitation.

Luckily, there are tons of indoor activities in NYC, from legendary shows to places where you can embrace your inner child. We’ve compiled a list of the best things to do in NYC on a rainy day to help you get out of the cold and have some fun in “The City That Never Sleeps!”

Fun Rainy-Day Activities in NYC

Catch a Show

Best Things to do in New York City in the Rain: Catch a Show

Seeing a show is one of the best indoor activities in NYC, whether it’s raining or not. On Broadway alone, you’ll find toe-tapping musicals and thought-provoking plays. But there’s plenty more to see off-Broadway, as well. In fact, seeing an off-Broadway show might just mean seeing the next big thing before everyone else does.

If you’re hoping to score same-day tickets, you may have to wait outside in the rain at the box office. Or you can use an app like TodayTix to help you out.


Go Museum-Hopping

Fun Things to do in New York City in the Rain: Museum-Hopping

New York City is home to hundreds of museums and cultural institutions. While many people know the big-name museums, like the American Museum of Natural History or the Museum of Modern Art, there are many more off-the-beaten-path options.

The Tenement Museum in the Lower East Side teaches you about life for immigrants coming to the US, while the New York Transit Museum, housed in a decommissioned subway station in Brooklyn, helps you learn about how public transportation shaped US cities. 

And while Manhattan’s Museum of Sex isn’t exactly a family-friendly destination, it’s an interesting place to visit if you’re curious about the evolution of human sexuality.


Check Out a Comedy Club

New York City has a fantastic comedy scene, which is why seeing a comedy show is one of the best things to do in NYC on a rainy day. NYC is home to many famous comedians, but many more travel here to play in the city’s beloved clubs, as well.

If you’re looking for improv, The PIT Loft over in Chelsea is a great place to start. Or head to Greenwich Village’s Comedy Cellar for the chance to see the sets of some comedy greats. The Gotham Comedy Club in Chelsea is another perfect spot to see comedy giants, as well as up-and-coming talent.


Spend Some Time and Quarters at an Arcade Bar

Best Things to do in New York City in the Rain: Arcade Bar

Remember those rainy days during your childhood when you just hung out at the arcade all day, plugging away quarter after quarter to get that stuffed animal you had your eye on? Well, we can’t guarantee that there will be prizes, but reliving your childhood at an arcade bar is still one of the most fun rainy-day activities in NYC.

One of the most well-known arcade bars is the aptly named Barcade, which has three locations. You can find this arcade/bar with all its classic video games and a massive list of brews in two places in Manhattan and one spot in Williamsburg.


Enjoy a Movie

Cool Things to do in New York City in the Rain: Nitehawk Cinema

Seeing a movie is always an excellent choice for rainy days in NYC. There are movie theaters galore in the city, but some of the best spots make seeing a film more of a full experience.

One of our favorites can be found in two locations over in Brooklyn. Nitehawk Cinema is an independent dine-in theater that shows first-run movies as well as showcases classics in its unique film series. They also have an expansive dinner and drinks menu, with specials tied to what’s currently on screen.


Pick Up a Good Book at a Bookstore

Fun Things to do in New York City in the Rain: Bookstore

Are you a book lover? Spending a day perusing the shelves of some of the city’s best bookstores is one of the most fun things to do in New York City in the rain. 

One of the most famous options is The Strand, which is a true NYC institution. It’s the largest bookstore in the city and features millions of new and used books. 

If you’re looking for something a little more off the beaten path and love a good romance, check out The Ripped Bodice over in Brooklyn. This new bookstore is quickly making waves for being entirely devoted to romance novels and for creating a highly inclusive atmosphere where all are welcome to explore their heart’s desires.


Take a Class

Best Things to do in New York City in the Rain: Take A Class

There’s never a bad time to learn a new skill, but a rainy day in New York City might just be the best time. There are tons of unique classes to take in the city that will help you hone new skills and have a great time doing it.

Over in Brooklyn, you can put your art skills to the test with a graffiti lesson. Or you can try a one-of-a-kind cooking class. Is there a better place than New York City to learn how to make a bagel? We don’t think so!


Have a Spa Day

Cool Things to do in New York City in the Rain: Spa Day

When you’re stuck in New York City in the rain, you’re going to want to get inside to warm up. And what better way to shake off the cold than by indulging in a spa day? 

Over in Tribeca, you’ll find one of the best spas, the Aire Ancient Baths. In this scenic, serene spot, you’ll be able to relax in multiple spacious baths, steam rooms, and hot-stone rooms. You can experience the ultimate indulgence with their private red wine baths.

Or head to NoHo for the Great Jones Spa, which focuses on healing through the power of its popular water lounge, which includes pools, saunas, steam rooms, and a waterfall. 


Get Cozy in a Hidden Speakeasy

Fun Things to do in New York City in the Rain: Hidden Speakeasy

You know what they say: Secrets are no fun unless they’re shared with everyone. Thankfully, the secret speakeasies of New York City aren’t that hidden, and everyone can get in on the fun. When you get caught in the rain in NYC, you’ll want to warm up with a stiff drink at one of these locations.

Over in Midtown, you’ll find Nothing Really Matters in the 50th Street subway station. This hidden speakeasy is the perfect place to stop for a cocktail on your commute home. 

Or hit up a more traditional Prohibition-style speakeasy in the West Village. Employees Only is hidden behind a fortuneteller’s booth and is a staple of NYC’s cocktail bar scene.


Get Some Anger Out in a Rage Room

Have you ever seen a home remodeling show, gotten to the demolition part, and thought, “That looks like fun”? Then, this activity is what you need to do in New York City on a rainy day!

While rage rooms are definitely not a replacement for other stress-relief methods, they are a great way to have some fun and do something that would otherwise be a major no-no elsewhere. Places like RazeUP Smash Therapy in the Bronx and Rage Room in Brooklyn let you spend some time doing as the Hulk does: Smash! 


Play Indoor Mini-Golf

Best Things to do in New York City in the Rain: Mini-Golf

In a lot of ways, New York City is like an adults-centric playground. One of the benefits of such a place is that there are plenty of rainy-day activities in NYC that let you be a kid again, like the indoor mini-golf courses.

Boasting three nine-hole courses alongside multiple cocktail bars, street food vendors, and much more across 23,000 square feet, Swingers is an adults-only place to escape the rain when you need a night out with your friends. 

If you’re looking for indoor mini-golf for the whole family, head to Shipwrecked in Brooklyn instead, which features an 18-hole course, escape rooms, and an arcade.


Sip on Afternoon Tea

Cool Things to do in New York City in the Rain: Afternoon Tea

Technically, you can head to one of the city’s many teahouses anytime, but afternoon tea is a storied tradition and one of the best indoor activities in NYC. For the experience of an authentic Japanese teahouse, stop by Cha-An Teahouse in the East Village.

For more kid-friendly, themed experiences, you can go down the rabbit hole at Alice’s Tea Cup, which has three locations, or mix up potions at Wizard Afternoon Tea at The Cauldron on Manhattan’s historic Stone Street.


Have a Board Game Night

Fun Things to do in New York City in the Rain: Board Game Night

When it’s a rainy day in New York City, you can grab some friends and make a day out of playing board games to pass the time. But that doesn’t mean that you have to stay in. New York City has many board game cafes and bars where you can grab a hot drink while you challenge your friends to an epic quest.

The Uncommons was the first board game cafe in Manhattan, which paved the way for many more to come. But this classic spot in Greenwich Village is not only the first but also one of the best. It has tabletop games of all kinds, including many rare finds.

However, the largest board game cafe in Manhattan is Hex & Company, which features hundreds of tabletop titles. It now has three locations in Manhattan, making it easy to throw your own board game party no matter where you are. 


Glide Around on an Indoor Roller Rink

Best Things to do in New York City in the Rain: Indoor Roller Rink

When winter arrives in New York City, ice skating becomes the thing to do. But all year round, you can enjoy gliding around on roller rinks in the city, one of the best indoor activities in NYC.

If you’re looking for old-school roller rink vibes, head to RollerJam USA in Staten Island, which boasts disco lights and classic arcade games.

For something even more unique, head to All Night Skate in Brooklyn, a retro bar that encourages you to wear your skates inside. You’ll even get a discount on your drinks if you do!


Eat Your Way Through a Food Hall

Best Things to do in New York City in the Rain: Food Hall

Whether you’re heading to the ever-vibrant Chelsea Market or the historic Essex Market, eating your way through the many food halls of the city is one of the best things to do on a rainy day in NYC.

These food halls are filled with cuisines inspired by cultures from all over the world, so you can let your tastebuds travel while you hide out from the rain.

There you have it! Fun things to do on a rainy day in NYC. What’s your favorite?


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Author

  • Jacqueline Gualtieri

    Jacqueline is a writer and editor pursuing the freelance life to explore the world. Born and raised in New Jersey, she spent her college years in Boston before settling down with her partner and puppy in Monterey, California.

    When she’s not writing, you can often find her planning her next trip. Road trips are her favorite, whether it’s driving across the country or simply exploring a new city in her own backyard. She loves uncovering the history of every new place she goes.

    Jacqueline has a restless passion for learning and makes it a goal to pick up a new skill every year. She’s picked up embroidery, crocheting, knitting, and cross-stitching, but she’s hoping to master more languages to help her in her travels. She’s also a published author, with short stories and poetry appearing in several anthologies.

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