Explore New York City

Rainy Days in New York City

If it's raining in New York City on your next visit, there's still a world of things to eat, see and do.

There’s no need to stay under a dark cloud when the weather isn’t the best. There are plenty of activities to enjoy in New York City to keep everyone entertained. Grab an umbrella and get ready for some rainy-day fun. Just choose the type of entertainment that appeals. Here are some great ideas to chase away any rainy-day blues in NYC.

What to Do on Rainy Days in NYC

Museums

New York City is a cultural capital. It’s a no-brainer to opt for a museum visit when it’s too nasty to walk the sidewalks. Fortunately, there are options to fit everyone’s interests and some that are perfect for all ages. 

The newly redone Halls of Gems and Minerals at the American Museum of Natural History elicits oohs and ahs with its beautiful arrays of gemstones and geodes. At the same time, kids of all ages adore the museum’s vast collection of dinosaurs. You can also purchase a ticket for the space show at the next-door Hayden Hall Planetarium.

For a touch of creativity, the Museum of Ice Cream has added a fun space partnership with Brooklyn toy company Clixo where you can build strawberry- and cherry-colored masterworks with flexible magnetic shapes. When you’re done playing Rafael Viñoly and Jackson Pollock, you can enjoy a treat du jour

CLIXOxMOIC at Museum of Ice Cream New York | WHERE Traveler®
CLIXOxMOIC at Museum of Ice Cream (©Will Ellis)

Music

Buskers will keep you rockin’ even while you travel by subway. Major subway hub stations like 14th Street, 34th Street, and 42nd Street offer up a medley of steel band, classical and popular music. Follow your ears, and be sure to leave a tip.

Indoor venues throughout the city have scheduled concerts. Continuing NYC’s reputation as The Jazz Capital of America, Harlem clubs like Minton’s Playhouse, Smoke Jazz & Supper Club and Showman’s Jazz Club, or Theater District mecca Birdland mix up local talent with visiting artists. If you’re in Greenwich Village, many underground venues feature top musicians. Check the schedules online for tickets to top-rated Le Poisson Rouge (LPR), Cafe Wha?, Blue Note Jazz Club and Village Vanguard

Jazz Club | WHERE Traveler®

Sports and Games

You may not think of NYC as a place for personal sports, but there are many fun options for inclement weather. SPIN23 in Chelsea will give you an upper body workout as you vent your weather frustrations with a ping pong paddle. Kids are welcome to show off their table tennis skills, too, before 9 p.m., after which the venue becomes a proper social club. Royal Palms in Brooklyn is a walk-in indoor shuffleboard club limited to guests 21 and over. If you love gaming, adults-only Barcade in Williamsburg, the East Village and Chelsea has vintage pinball machines and video games to keep you busy for hours, along with a menu of American craft beer. Golfing adults can try Manhattan’s new indoor mini golf experience at Swingers Crazy Golf below the Virgin Hotel in NoMad or head to Chelsea Piers if they’re 16 or over for some driving range practice at the Golf Club. For littler visitors, with supervision by their parents (who can also participate), bouldering at Central Rock Gym in Manhattan will while away the hours while providing some welcome exercise. 

Courtesy Swingers Crazy Golf NoMad New York | WHERE Traveler®
(Courtesy Swingers Crazy Golf NoMad)

Restaurants and Shops

Who doesn’t love lamenting the bad weather over a lovely meal and cocktail? A burgeoning phenomenon in New York City, food halls give you plenty of possibilities to indulge in cuisines from all over the world paired with a creative beverage. There’s no better place to steer clear of the raindrops than inside one of the city’s many food halls. You can start in DUMBO at Time Out Market New York or travel to Long Island City for JACX&CO to indulge in pastries, Mexican and Mediterranean cuisine, and Cantonese BBQ for starters. The creative options at Industry City in Sunset Park offer more than just food. There’s a sake brewery, an entire Japanese market to accompany the many Japanese food stalls, and a building of shops from area makers. If you’re in Manhattan, plan to spend many hours at Chelsea Market, where you can nosh on tacos at Los Tacos No. 1, grab an espresso or an excellent pasta dish at La Devozione and shop at their everything-Italian market, or start or end a progressive dining experience with hummus and halva from Miznon from talented Israeli chef Eyal Shani. 

The Oval at La Devozione New York | WHERE Traveler®
The Oval at La Devozione (Courtesy La Devozione)

Other Entertainment

New York is a city that never sleeps, and it certainly doesn’t shut down when it rains. A welcome return to the town, magician Steve Cohen has taken up residence in the Lotte New York Palace Hotel with four shows a week of his hard-to-believe “Chamber Magic” sleight-of-hand. Well-behaved children are welcome, too. The Paley Center for Media will let you indulge in television shows from the past to the present, including classics like “I Love Lucy,” “Rowan Martin’s Laugh-In,” “Leave It to Beaver,” and “Mad Men.” There are also video games to amuse the kids. 

Opened this year, Manhattan’s first motion-simulator ride, RiseNY in Times, provides a museum-like walk through not only New York City history but also an “aerial” ride through the city. And, while you’re in Times Square, you absolutely must go to a play or musical on Broadway. The Broadway Collection makes it easy to choose and book a show. Their website has a selection of the most popular productions, from long-running family favorites like “Aladdin” and “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” to newer shows like “MJ The Musical” and “Almost Famous.” 

Courtesy RiseNY New York | WHERE Traveler®
(Courtesy RiseNY)