10+ Things to Do in New York When it Rains (Popular Indoor Activities)

Visiting NYC, but feeling bummed that rain is forecast? Don’t worry! There is a variety of great indoor activities in New York. Therefore, create an enjoyable weather-proof itinerary for the 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. Visiting attractions by proximity means you won’t have to spend too much time outside navigating between attractions.

In New York City, many sidewalks will be prone to collecting puddles. You may find it difficult to navigate without waterproof shoes.

Many museums and 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 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.

See all available passes, attractions & prices – Learn more.

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

New York Attractions

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)

Metropolitan Museum of Art 1For 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 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. 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)

MOMA 2_The Starry Night_Van GoghAnother 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. It features 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.

Insider tip: Additional art museum options included the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Guggenheim Museum. Both of which are included as options with the New York City Explorer Pass.

Madame Tussauds New York

Image credit: Madame Tussauds London.

Image credit: 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

Ripley-s-Believe-It-or-Not-Times-Square-7This is a fun attraction for kids that adults really enjoy as well. This quirky museum offers great opportunities to explore all the weird and wonderful things they’ve collected, 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

madison-square-garden-tourAnother 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 the venue.

For example, the Radio City Music Hall tour offers a behind-the-scenes look at this amazing musical venue. 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.)

Getting In: Admission to the Radio City Music Hall tour, Madison Square Garden tour, and Lincoln Center Tour are available on the New York City Explorer Pass.

City Observatories

NYC Top of the RockAlthough 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!

Getting In: Admission to the Top of the Rock and Empire State Building are both available on the New York City Explorer Pass.

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 indoor itinerary.

New York City Explorer Pass

The information contained in this post, to the best of the author's knowledge, was accurate at time of publishing. We do our best to ensure and maintain the accuracy of this information.

Please leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *