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Published February 2, 2023

13 Fun Things to Do on a Rainy Day in NYC

The best activities to do in NYC on a rainy day. 🌧

by New York Bucket List


As much as we all love a cloudless, sunny day, there's something to be said for a moody afternoon in New York City when the skies are gray and the rain drizzles outside your window. While it may not be the ideal time to go boating in Central Park or grab a drink on one of the city's many rooftops, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy New York when the weather outside isn't ideal.

From cozying up with a hot latte in one of the city's best cafes to exploring the hidden gems in Grand Central Station, we’ve put together the ultimate list of things to do in NYC on a rainy day, so you can still enjoy the city on those wet, not-so-sunny days!


13 Rainy Day Activities in NYC

Explore Grand Central Station

Of course, you’ve been to Grand Central before, but have you ever really explored it? It’s one of New York’s most defining landmarks, and there’s so much to do and see besides catching a train. The stellar zodiac ceiling is breathtaking (it’s painted backward, so viewers see it from a divine perspective rather than a human one) and contains over 2500 stars. And the iconic information booth clock (valued at over 20 million dollars) is worth taking an up-close look at.

Grand Central is also home to dozens of restaurants and bars—including the only Danish food hall in New York and a secret sushi den—along with a fresh food market, museum gallery, tennis court, and the largest example of Tiffany glass in the world. In other words, it’s the perfect spot to go exploring on a rainy day—you never know what other hidden gems you might stumble across.

Where: 89 East 42nd Street, New York, NY
More information on Grand Central Station.


Cozy up in a Café

New York is the city that never sleeps, and it’s no coincidence that there’s a cafe on just about every street corner in Manhattan. We’ll take a caffeine boost anytime, but few things are more picturesque than sipping a hot latte inside a cheerful café while listening to the rain outside. Check out our guide to the best cafés in NYC to find a coffee shop to cozy up in near you.

Where: Various locations.
More information on NYC Cafés.


See a Broadway Show

Yes, you’ll have to deal with the crowds in the theater district, but it’s a small price to pay to see world-class performances. Broadway is a staple of NYC culture, and seeing a show is a good excuse to escape the gray, soggy streets and enjoy a few (dry) hours inside.

Where: Various locations.
More information on Broadway Shows.


Duck Into a Hidden Speakeasy

Nothing feels quite as exhilarating as escaping the city (and the weather), and finding yourself in a secret plush lounge, sipping cocktails. From 1920s-style lounges to laid-back bars to glitzy venues offering jazz and burlesque shows, spending some time hidden away in a speakeasy is a great way to pass the time on a rainy day.

Where: Various locations.
More information on NYC’s Hidden Speakeasies.


Visit the New York Public Library’s Main Branch

There are libraries all over the city (and all of them are worth visiting on a rainy day), but if you’ve never taken the time to visit the main branch, here’s your sign to go. Located at the south end of Bryant Park, the Stephen A Schwarzman Building is free and open to the public and offers daily tours, stunning architecture, impressive exhibits, quiet study spots, and more. Make sure to check out the Rose Main Reading Room—the elaborate ceiling design and murals are reason enough to visit.

Where: Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, New York, NY
More information on the NYPL Main Branch.


Go Rock Climbing

The rain may make climbing outdoors less than ideal, but you can climb all the walls you want at places like Central Rock Gym, Manhattan Plaza Health Club, and Brooklyn Boulders. Each spot offers thousands of square feet to climb, lessons for beginners and experienced climbers, comprehensive fitness classes, and more. In other words, it’s the perfect way to get active when you’re stuck indoors.

Where: Various locations.


Explore the Turnstyle Underground Market

When you can’t enjoy the outdoors, go underground. Beneath 8th Avenue, at the Columbus Circle station, there’s a sprawling market with 39 unique eateries, pop-ups, and retail shops. Shop everything from fresh flowers and handmade soaps to statement jewelry and baked goods. Plus, enjoy an array of delicious food options like dumplings, empanadas, paella, and more.

Where: Beneath 8th Avenue, between 57th and 58th Street. There are seven street-level entrances to the market.
More information on the Turnstyle Underground Market.


See the Knicks Play

Visiting the historic Madison Square Garden is an experience in and of itself, and catching a Knicks game is a must-do NYC activity, whether you’re visiting or have lived here for years. It’s also a great way to stay dry when the weather is less than ideal. Grab some concessions, sit back, and soak up the energy in the arena.

Where: Madison Square Garden: 4 Pennsylvania Plaza, New York, NY
More information on the Knicks.


Book Cooking Class

Instead of sitting inside going stir-crazy, up your culinary game and sign up for a cooking class. In this fun, hands-on, interactive class, you’ll learn how to make a classic potato dough from scratch. Your chef instructor will demonstrate how to make a basic red sauce and brown garlic, onion, and herb sauce to enjoy with your handmade gnocchi.

Where: Bat House Brooklyn: 459 Grand St, Brooklyn, NY
More information on Handmade Gnocchi Making Classes.

Multiple locations
Handmade Gnocchi Making Class - NYC
Starting at $56

Book now


Spend a Day at the Spa

A rainy day is a perfect excuse to relax and rejuvenate at one of NYC’s luxurious spas. The Peninsula on Fifth Avenue offers an intimate, indulgent experience featuring innovative spa treatments from facials to full-body Swedish and deep tissue massages. They also offer a unique Sleep Support Therapy treatment designed to balance emotions and reduce stress and anxiety.

Where: 700 Fifth Avenue at 55th Street
More information on The Peninsula Spa.


Check Out a Museum You’ve Never Visited Before

Everyone knows New York is home to world-class museums, and more than likely, you’ve spent some time at the MET, MoMA, and the American Museum of Natural History. But have you ever explored the Skyscraper Museum, the Museum of Food and Drink, or the Houdini Museum of New York? With dozens of niche and out-of-the-ordinary museums across the city, there’s a spot to explore for every hobbyist and enthusiast out there.

Where: Various locations. 


Visit Madame Tussauds

Speaking of unusual museums, there’s nothing quite like Madame Tussauds. The famed wax museum is the greatest of its kind, and if you’ve never stepped inside, it’s high time you check it out. Perfect for meandering through on a rainy day, this indoor activity is full of hyper-realistic wax replicas of your favorite celebrities and characters, from Marvel superheroes to POTUS himself.

Where: 234 W 42nd St, New York, NY
More information on Madame Tussauds.


Get Lost in a Bookstore

Few things are better than curling up with a good book on a rainy day, but one thing that might beat it is getting lost in a bookstore. As one of the most literary cities in America, New Yorkers have access to some pretty great bookstores like Argosy and Strand—New York’s two oldest bookstores—to newer favorites like Books are Magic and Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn. There are even specialty shops like Albertine Books on the Upper East Side, devoted primarily to French literature, or Rizzoli in Flatiron, known for its vast collection of large, illustrated coffee table books.

Where: Various locations.