Visiting NYC, but feeling bummed that rain is in the forecast? Don’t worry! There is a plethora of great indoor activities in New York to make for a full, enjoyable weather-proof itinerary on the day or days it rains during your vacation.
First, some tips: when it’s raining in the city, you should try to plan your itinerary in advance and try to visit attractions by proximity. This way, you won’t have to spend too much time outside navigating from one attraction to another.
Bring a sturdy umbrella and some rain-appropriate shoes. Because New York is an older city, many sidewalks will be prone to collecting puddles and you may find it difficult to navigate without waterproof shoes.
While you’re indoors, many museums and other attractions will offer a plastic bag for you to carry your umbrella in, too. Alternatively, you can check your umbrella and coat.
And finally, don’t forget that rainy day activities in a city like New York can often be just as fun, if not more so, than some of your traditional outdoor options.
To help you plan your rainy day vacation activities, check out our list of these popular things to do in New York when it rains.
Looking for some fun things to do indoors?
Admission to a bunch of the below activities are available on the New York City Explorer Pass®.
Choose as you go from dozens of fun attractions and save up to 50% off combined admission vs paying at the gate.
A few of the available activities include…
- American Museum of Natural History
- The Met
- Museum of Modern Art
- Madame Tussauds New York
- Ripley’s Times Square
- and many more!
The American Museum of Natural History
Head to the American Museum of Natural History, one of the largest natural history museums in the world.
It’s a perfect place to spend hours when the weather outside doesn’t cooperate, with dozens of galleries, tons of exhibits, and plenty of things to see.
Be sure not to miss the 94-foot whale model in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life, the massive collection of dinosaur fossils, and their impressive array of gemstones.
Fans of outer space won’t want to miss the Rose Center for Earth and Space, featuring the renowned Hayden Planetarium.
Getting In: Admission to the American Museum of Natural History is available on the New York City Explorer Pass.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met)
For the artsy folks, another option is to scope out the collections housed in the marble hallways of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
As one of the most comprehensive art museums in America, you’ll be able to cover just about everything, from Ancient Egyptian artifacts to modern day photography.
Their extensive galleries are appealing to any fan of art, architecture, craftwork, and more. They also have specialty exhibits that vary seasonally, so even if you’ve been before you’re sure to see something new on this visit.
The Met also has some sister museums that offer indoor fun, like the Met Breuer (modern and contemporary art) and the Met Cloisters (medieval art).
Bonus: Your admission to the Met means you’ll get free admission to both of the other two museums for three consecutive days!
Getting In: Admission to the Met is available on the New York City Explorer Pass.
The Museum of Modern Art (The MoMA)
Another option for the artistically-inclined is the world famous MoMA.
The Museum of Modern Art is home to some of the most influential pieces of modern art in the world featuring works of art by artists such as Monet, Warhol, Cezanne, Van Gogh, Seurat, and lots more.
You’ll recognize some of the most iconic works in contemporary art history, from Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans to Vincent Van Gogh’s The Starry Night.
Like the Met, they also offer frequent special exhibits that focus on a particular period or artist, offering a more expansive view of some aspect of their collections.
They’ve also got some superb gift stores that make for ideal souvenir-shopping.
Getting In: Admission to the MoMA is available on the New York City Explorer Pass.
Madame Tussauds New York
Another great indoor attraction to visit on a rainy day in New York is a visit to world famous Madame Tussauds.
Enjoy an entertaining way to interact with 200+ life-like wax figures of your favorite celebrities, movie stars, and more.
There are multiple exhibits featuring all the hottest things in popular global culture, from Ghostbusters to Kong: Skull Island to the Marvel 4D Experience. You can even snap photos with British royalty!
Getting In: Admission to Madame Tussauds New York are available on the New York City Explorer Pass.
Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Times Square
This is a fun attraction for kids that adults can really enjoy as well. This quirky museum/fun house offers great opportunities to explore all the weird and wonderful things they’ve collected over time, plus some fun exhibits.
For example, you’ll see everything from shrunken heads and albino animals to an extensive, small-scale model of New York City.
Getting In: Admission to Ripley’s Times Square is available on the New York City Explorer Pass.
Popular Venue Tours
Another great way to stay indoors while still exploring the city is try out a tour of a popular venue.
There are tours of everything from famous concert halls to sports arenas, so whatever you’re interested in, you’ll be able to have some indoors fun while learning about your chosen venue.
For example, the Radio City Music Hall tour offers a behind-the-scenes look at this amazing musical venue, and the Madison Square Garden Tour is perfect for sports fans of all stripes! (Even if you hate the Knicks, it’s still pretty cool to see the transition from basketball court to ice rink.)
Although your view admittedly won’t be as clear as it might be on sunny days, you’ll still get a good sense of the city layout at either of NYC’s major observatories.
The Top of the Rock offers excellent views of Central Park and the city beyond, with the most unobstructed views available.
On the other hand, the Empire State Building is the more famous of the two, and has some pretty fascinating exhibits on the viewing floors.
Either is a great option for a way to “tour” the city without getting wet!
Go Enjoy Some Shopping
New York City is a shopper’s dream! With plenty of options to choose from, there is a store for almost everybody.
We love to help save people money, so check out our thoughts on some of the best ‘cheap’ shopping in New York. With a little research you can find a bunch of your favorite brands for a fraction of the original price.
Quick Rainy Day Recap
All in all, there’s a plethora of things to do in New York City when it rains.
Rather than resent the forecast, take advantage of these indoor activities in NYC.
We hope these ideas helped inspire you to create a fun filled indoorsy itinerary.