New York On a Rainy Day: 14 Things To Do
It does rain often during the spring and summer in New York City so it is best to have an itinerary of what you can do on a rainy day in NYC. In fact, New York gets some type of precipitation approximately 120 days per year, which means it can rain or snow up to once every three days.
But a rainy day in New York City is not the end of the world. There are plenty of things you can do in the Big Apple on rainy or cold days. No matter how luxurious your hotel is, nobody wants to spend their vacation there. So, grab your rain hat and brave the wet to see some of New York City's fun indoor things to do.
You can spend a few hours at the New York Public Library checking out the collection of over 53 million items. Also, Grand Central Terminal has art installations, performances, and a variety of historic items to see. While you are out and about, have afternoon tea with some felines at the very first Japanese Cat Cafe.
If you are looking for some retail therapy, you can find plenty of shopping opportunities from the fancy Fifth Avenue to the iconic Oculus Shopping Mall. Although many of the main shopping districts are outdoors, you can join thousands of others at one of the indoor shopping plazas to shop 'til you drop, dine at the food halls, and play games as well as watch movies, take part in bowling, finding all sorts of fun.
New York City also has a number of concert venues from Madison Square Garden to Radio City if you want to see a show. Or visit one of the tea rooms for an afternoon tea with scones, croissants, and finger sandwiches. To keep your belongings safe, find the closest baggage storage spots in NYC to leave them while you explore. Travel light and see as much as you can!
New York Public Library
Constructed in 1911, the first New York Public Library building in East Village was built due to the generous donation of John Astor who died the wealthiest man in America at the time. In his will, he bequeathed $400,000 for a reference library to be built in New York City. Be sure to visit the Rose Main Reading Room, the most popular room in the building.
You can also browse the Rare Book Division with over 20,000 old and rare books. Many famous people have visited the library including Francis Ford Coppola, Helen Hayes, Norman Mailer, and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. You never know who you may run into while perusing the stacks on a rainy day in New York City.
Grand Central Terminal
It may not seem like a fun activity to visit a train terminal on a rainy day in NYC, but Grand Central is more than just a terminal. Also known as Grand Central Station, this transportation hub sees over 67 million passengers per year. Many people go just to see the architecture and the chandeliers in Vanderbilt Hall. Each one weighs 2,500 pounds and has 132 bulbs.
Besides the beauty and transportation, you can also find 60 retail shops, 35 eateries, and several entertainment venues all under one huge roof. There is even a market with 13 local vendors selling food, treats, and souvenir items. Be sure to check out the celestial ceiling in the Main Concourse.
Japanese Cat Cafe
As long as you are not allergic, you have to visit this unique eatery on the lower east side at 26 Clinton Street. Koneko, which means kitten in Japanese, is dedicated to saving at-risk cats from shelters. They get their furry felines from Anjellicle Cats Rescue and adopt them out to customers.
In fact, most of the customers are there for that purpose. The cafe can hold up to 20 furry friends at a time and you have to set an appointment. Of course, there is food too, with breakfast croissants and waffles, Tokyo-style tofu, soba noodles, and chocolate crepe cake as well as tea and Stumptown coffee in many varieties. This is a great restaurant for vegetarians.
Radio City Music Hall
Everyone has heard of Radio City Music Hall on 6th Street at Times Square. This is where to see the Rockettes, music and dance concerts, and their famous Christmas show. It is actually part of the Rockefeller Center and holds almost 6,000 people.
It was the world's largest music hall when it opened and features art as well as music. The music hall is famous for being the site of the MTV Video Music Awards, the Tony Awards, and The Grammy Awards as well as the NFL Draft.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Also known as the MET, this iconic museum was established in 1870 and boasts over two million items to discover, making it the largest art museum in the Western Hemisphere. What better way than to spend your rainy day in New York City at such a grand place?
You will find the MET on 5th Street in Central Park along what they call Museum Mile. The permanent collection holds classical antiquity, paintings, ancient Egyptian items, and sculptures from all over the world. Some of the highlights include paintings from Renoir, Rembrandt, Monet, and Goya.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Also on Museum Mile in Central Park, the Guggenheim Museum holds modern art in a building that is also a work of art. Architect Frank Lloyd Wright built the masterpiece in 1959 in what was referred to as a temple of the spirit although some say it took away from the artworks it holds.
However you feel about the building, you will not find another like it and the pieces inside are stunning, to say the least. One of the most popular is the 1899 Man With Crossed Arms by Paul Cezanne. Other artists on display include Georges Braque, Franz Marc, Juan Gris, and Marc Chagall.
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Between Central Park and Times Square, you can continue your exploration of art at MoMA. Housing one of the largest collections of modern art in the world, the works inside include books, film, and photos as well as sculptures, paintings, and architecture.
The 1907 Les Demoiselles d'Avignon by Pablo Picasso and the 1920 Reflection in the Clouds on the Water Lily Pond by Claude Monet are just a couple of the most popular works. Other famous artists here include Gauguin, Dali, Chagall, Cezanne, and Pollock.
New York Transit Museum
Another unique museum, the Transit Museum is located in the Court Street subway station from 1936 near the Brooklyn Bridge. Spend a rainy day in NYC learning more about the history of New York transit. It is packed with memorabilia from the railway, bus, and subway as well as tunnels and bridges.
See small-scale dioramas and models of transport systems like the Staten Island Ferry, subway stations, and even some buses. The upper level is the main area with many of the exhibits, a dining hall, and a gift shop. On the platform level, there are subway tracks and trains to explore as well.
American Museum of Natural History
For more fun indoor activities, why not learn something new at the most well-known history museums in the US? It was established in 1874 and is located across from Central Park. With 45 permanent exhibit halls and 26 buildings, there is way too much to see in one day.
The Mammal Halls are the most popular with their collection of eight African elephants among thousands of other exhibits. Also popular, the Indian Halls feature several groups of Native American groups including the Northwest Coast, Eastern Woodlands, and the Plains Indians. Other favorites include the fossils, planets, and laboratories. New York is full of terrific museums!
The Cliffs at LIC
The city's endless things to do continues into Long Island City as well. Not only can you find museums, theater, and some awesome dining and shopping here, but you will also find some sensational indoor activities like indoor rock climbing at The Cliffs.
This is not a typical rock-climbing wall. It is perfect for everyone from beginners to experts. Even kids can climb, and it is one of the top climbing gyms in New York. And the colorful decor makes you feel bright and happy even on a rainy day in NYC. They have classes as well for those who are not sure yet. Everyone can have a blast here.
Midtown West Chelsea Market
Covering a whole city block in the Meatpacking District from 9th to 10th Avenues and 15th to 16th Streets, the Chelsea Market is one of the largest food markets in New York. Most of the market is indoors so you don't have to worry about getting wet while you shop.
The market features over 60 shops and eateries from Amy's Bread to Zach & Zoe Sweet Bee Farm, you can find a little bit of everything under one roof. The food hall has a shop with Japanese-influenced food, or you can have a drink at the local coffee shop, enjoy some music and theater at Chelsea Music Hall, or just do some people-watching.
One World Trade Center
In honor of the original World Trade Center and all those lost in 9/11, this 94-story skyscraper also known as the Freedom Tower is the tallest in the Western Hemisphere at 1,776 feet. But it is not just a tall building. It holds 528 restaurants and bars, over 7,500 hotel rooms, and more than 500 retailers.
If you want to see it all, have a drink at the One World Observatory on the 101st floor where you can see for miles. It is the highest point in NYC. Or grab a cup of joe at the coffee shop overlooking the North Tower Pool and the Survival Tree. There is so much to do here, it is one of the largest indoor shopping areas in New York.
If you have never been to one of these, New York City is the place to start. The main idea is to work as a team with other people to solve the clues and escape from several rooms in a certain amount of time. There are escape rooms all over the city, so you can find one that will fit your fun meter.
Many of them are in Midtown East but you can find them in just about every neighborhood like West Village. You might also find what you are looking for near some of the NYC landmarks such as Macy's Herald Square, the Empire State Building, and Marine Park.
Where else can you ice skate indoors, take some unique fitness classes, swim in a 25-yard pool, go bowling at a bowling alley, and try your hand at boxing? Chelsea Piers has over 1.2 million square feet of sports facilities along the Hudson River where you could easily spend an entire day, even after it stops raining.
The Sky Rink boasts two skating rinks for public skating as well as skating classes and youth figure skating, hockey, and freestyle lessons. Besides all the sporting opportunities, the piers are also home to several of the best restaurants in town, a variety of shops, and of course, the harbor and marina.
Rainy Day in New York
This is certainly not a complete list of things to do in New York City on a rainy day as there are thousands of indoor activities. If you want a good laugh, check out a comedy show at the Gotham Comedy Club where many stars were launched including Jerry Seinfeld, Amy Schumer, Dave Chapelle, and Sara Silverman.
The Upright Citizens Brigade is another fun attraction with standup, sketch, and improv. Other fun activities for rainy days include seeing a Broadway show, enjoying a cooking class at one of the food markets, or having a spa day at the Aire ancient baths. Columbus Circle is also a great place to visit, as well as Madison Square Garden. No matter when you are here, every day is the best time to visit New York!