35 Best NYC Indoor Activities for Rainy Days


12 min read
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The Manhattan Skyline with skyscrapers, a river, and the Brooklyn Bridge
You can find many indoor activities to enjoy on rainy days in NYC

New York City is a world-renowned destination with something for every type of traveler. Being in the northeastern United States, good weather is not guaranteed when visiting. Fortunately, you can find numerous things to do indoors in New York City.

The best NYC indoor activities range from visiting museums and theaters to ice skating and watching New York sports teams play at Madison Square Garden. You can also explore indoor markets, cuddle with kitties at cat cafes, and so much more.

Whether you're in NYC on a rainy day, during a snowstorm, or simply want some fun things to do inside no matter the weather, this list of 35 activities is sure to give you some inspiration!

  • 35 New York City activities

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35 Fun Indoor Activities in NYC

New York City Activities Map

A map of New York City. Use the map to explore all the activities.

A stone lion statue sitting outside a stone New York Public Library building
Visiting a New York Public Library branch to read is a relaxing thing to do inside

Read at the New York Public Library

The New York Public Library is one of the most well-known libraries in the world. The library system has 92 libraries across New York state, with the Manhattan location being the most iconic.

No matter which borough of New York City you’re in, you’ll find a library to explore. All locations have reading areas too, allowing you to sit inside to read and unwind.

A fun NYC fact relating to the library is that there are a total of over 50 million books housed within its libraries, so you’re guaranteed to find at least a few that interest you!

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Try indoor rock climbing

While you may think rock climbing is an outdoor activity, you can find many places to enjoy the sport indoors. In Manhattan, you can head to Central Rock Gym to do so. The 12,000-square-foot rock climbing center welcomes all ages and abilities.

Fitness classes are also held here if you want to try an additional activity.

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One of the best NYC indoor activities is going to a show at Radio City Music Hall
Going to a show at Radio City Music Hall is one of the best NYC indoor activities

See a show at Radio City Music Hall

Radio City Music Hall is a famous New York City entertainment venue. It hosts a variety of shows, including concerts, comedy shows, and the iconic Radio City Rockettes performances.

If you have time during your trip, seeing a show at the venue is one of the best indoor activities in NYC, especially for arts and culture lovers. You can also take a tour of Radio City Music Hall during the day.

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Relax at Aire Ancient Baths

Are you looking to pamper yourself a little? If so, going to AIRE Ancient Baths is a must! The luxury spa features pools, hot tubs, and an extensive treatment list with massages, facials, scrubs, and more.

This spot is especially recommended for tourists who have already visited all the area’s landmarks, making a trip to AIRE Ancient Baths one of the best non-touristy things to do in NYC.

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A warehouse-style building with a banner that says "Chelsea Piers"
You can try numerous exercise classes at Chelsea Piers Sports Center

Work out at Chelsea Piers Sports Center

Getting a workout in is a great idea if you want to spend some time inside. A fun place to do so in New York is at Chelsea Piers Sports Center. Located on the Hudson River, the center has a fitness gym, driving range, indoor sports field, and gymnastics center.

You can work out in these spaces alone or take one of many classes. Kids’ classes are on offer too, and summer camps are held each year.

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Enjoy some indoor ice skating

Chelsea Piers Sports Center also has an indoor ice skating rink, known as the Sky Rink. General skating, that’s open to all ages, is on offer throughout the week, and helmet and skate rentals are available.

Classes for kids are on offer too, including beginner skating classes, figure skating lessons, and youth hockey sessions.

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Two buildings in a square with signs for the New York City Ballet and Philharmonic
The New York City Ballet is a renowned ballet company that hosts amazing performances

Spend the evening with the New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center

The New York City Ballet is one of the most well-known ballet companies in the world. They dance at the David H. Koch Theater in Lincoln Center, and going to a performance is a memorable experience.

You can see a variety of shows, with their holiday performance of The Nutcracker being one of the most famous. This activity is especially recommended for couples as watching the New York City Ballet is one of the most romantic things to do in NYC.

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Snuggle with kitties at a cat cafe!

If you’re an animal lover, one of the fun indoor NYC activities that will appeal to you is going to a cat cafe. Koneko, on the Lower East Side, is a great one to check out.

At the cafe, you can meet the resident cats who you can play with and pet. You can also order delicious Japanese snacks, plus a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, including coffee with cute cat latte art. All kitties are up for adoption, so you may end up going home with a feline plus one!

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The entrance to a glass-front museum with a "The Museum of Modern Art" sign
The Museum of Modern Art's collection features almost 200,000 artworks

View contemporary artworks at the Museum of Modern Art

NYC is known for being a hub of art and culture, so it’s no surprise there are many art museums to visit. The Museum of Modern Art, or MoMA, is a North American landmark and one of the best art museums in the US!

During a visit to the Museum of Modern Art, you can see the collection of almost 200,000 works. There are also temporary exhibits that rotate frequently.

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Tackle an escape room challenge

An exciting activity to enjoy with friends or family on a rainy New York City day is tackling an escape game challenge. The Escape Game NYC is located in Manhattan and has a range of rooms to choose from.

You can try to break out of an Alcatraz-style prison, attempt an art heist, or search for gold during the California gold rush!

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Buildings with banners and billboards on them and a Madame Tussauds sign
You can snap photos with celebrity waxworks at Madame Tussauds in Times Square

Take photos with celebrities at Madame Tussauds Times Square

Times Square is a renowned attraction in the United States. If you want something to do indoors around Times Square, checking out Madame Tussauds is a fun idea.

Waxworks include famous movie stars, musicians, and athletes. Madame Tussauds is another attraction that’s ideal for keeping kids occupied on rainy days!

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Snap sweet pictures at the Museum of Ice Cream

Are you looking to update your Instagram page? If so, going to the Museum of Ice Cream is one of many fun things to do in NYC indoors that must be on your to-do list.

This sweet treat-inspired interactive museum has a variety of photo backdrops, including a giant pool of sprinkles and an-all pink subway train carriage. You can also get a variety of real ice cream treats to enjoy and can view exhibits with ice cream fun facts.

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A white stone museum building with trees and yellow cabs on the street outside
The American Museum of Natural History has an array of educational exhibits

Walk with dinosaurs at the American Museum of Natural History

Another world-class museum that has to be added to your NYC itinerary is the American Museum of Natural History. When visiting, you can learn about animals and earth sciences, among other topics. You’ll also get to see fossils and dinosaur skeletons!

To make admission a breeze, purchase American Museum of Natural History tickets in advance.

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A mirrored skyscraper surrounded by other skyscrapers under a blue sky with clouds
Dining at One World Observatory comes with stunning views

Dine above the city at One World Observatory

One World Observatory is the viewing deck located in One World Trade Center. To enjoy an amazing view of NYC, dining at One World Observatory is a great idea.

Dishes to order include salmon with broccolini, gnocchi mac and cheese, and kale Caesar salad. If you just want to go to the observation deck, purchase a One World Observatory skip-the-line ticket to make entry easy!

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Marvel at art installations at Artechouse

Another specialty attraction to check out is Artechouse. Going to Artechouse allows you to immerse yourself in large-scale art installations. It’s a great place for kids and adults, and you’re guaranteed to snap some unique and artistic photos during your visit.

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The entrance to Madison Square Garden with banners on the outside of the building
Watching a New York Rangers game at Madison Square Garden is a must for sports fans

Go to a New York Rangers game

One of the fun things to do indoors in NYC for sports enthusiasts is watching a New York Rangers NHL game. The Rangers play at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan, and you can catch a game between October and April in the regular season.

Most games are played in the evenings, but some take place in the afternoon on weekends and holidays.

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A Madison Square Garden billboard promoting a New York Knicks game
The Knicks are another New York sports team to watch play at MSG

Watch the New York Knicks play

Another sports team to watch in NYC is the New York Knicks. The NBA team also plays at Madison Square Garden from mid-October to mid-April during the regular season. Going to a Knicks game is a fun activity for all ages and offers a great atmosphere!

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Spoil yourself with afternoon tea at Alice’s Tea Cup

A quirky place to stop for snacks and a drink is Alice’s Tea Cup. The eatery specializes in Alice in Wonderland-themed afternoon teas and has two locations in Manhattan.

Items on the menu include scones with clotted cream and jam, finger sandwiches, and cakes. Accompany your meal with tea, coffee, or cocoa, or opt for alcoholic drinks, like a Bellini. A kids’ menu is also available.

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A stone museum building with columns and a fountain in front of it on a clear day
The Metropolitan Museum of Art houses 13,000 artworks by world-renowned artists

Admire the collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is another of the world famous landmarks found in NYC. At the art gallery, you can view around 13,000 artworks housed within a 60,000-square-foot space.

If you want to learn more about the artworks, booking a private Metropolitan Museum of Art tour is recommended.

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Have brunch at Clinton St. Baking Company

Want to simply hang out with friends and enjoy some good food? Then one of the best things to do indoors in NYC is going to brunch! Clinton St. Baking Company in Manhattan is a great spot to try.

The all-day breakfast restaurant has dishes like pancakes with maple butter, buttermilk biscuit sandwiches, and fried chicken and waffles. You can also get milkshakes, boozy shakes, and brunch cocktails, like mimosas.

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Banners for Broadway shows in Times Square with people, buses, and cabs on the street
Watching a show on Broadway is an exciting and memorable indoor activity

Experience a Broadway show

One of the best indoor things to do at night in New York City is going to a Broadway show. A variety of famous performances can be seen on Broadway, including The Lion King, Chicago, and Wicked. No matter which show you choose to watch, it's guaranteed to be a memorable experience!

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Play arcade games at Barcade

A fun place to hang out in NYC is Barcade. As the name suggests, this location is a bar and arcade with retro games and delicious drinks. Barcade opens around lunchtime and stays open until late.

Games to play here include Asteroids, Donkey Kong, and Pac-Man. You can also order craft cocktails, wine, and snacks to enjoy as you play.

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A modern round museum building with a street in front of it
The Guggenheim is another world-famous art gallery located in NYC

Explore the Guggenheim

The Guggenheim is a world-renowned museum with five locations across the globe, including on the Upper East Side in Manhattan. Visiting the Guggenheim allows you to see artworks by a range of famous artists, including Kandinsky, Van Gogh, and Picasso.

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Skate at Roller Jam USA

Located on Staten Island, roller skating at Roller Jam USA is one of the fun indoor things to do in NYC on the weekend. The roller rink has a DJ and fun neon lights and welcomes both kids and adults during the day. In the evening, Roller Jam USA has adult-only nights, many of which are themed!

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A white building with lots of flags in front of it and a taller structure behind it
Going on a tour of the United Nations is a highly interesting indoor activity in NYC

Tour the United Nations

A memorable thing to do indoors in New York is touring the United Nations headquarters. Tours take about an hour and are offered in many languages. As you look around this important building, you’ll learn more about the role the UN plays in international relations.

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Immerse yourself in the life of spies at Spyscape Museum

One of the most fascinating museums in New York City is the Spyscape Museum. The museum focuses on the world of espionage and has a range of interactive exhibits and experiences, such as spy challenges. You can purchase tickets to the Spyscape Museum in advance too!

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A sign that says 'Apollo" on a building under a bright blue sky with white clouds
You can see some great performances at the Apollo Theater in Harlem

Catch a show at the Apollo Theater

Located in Harlem, the Apollo Theater is another top performance venue to visit. The Apollo notably focuses a lot on independent creators and African American culture.

Shows to see at the Apollo Theater include jazz performances and other concerts, comedy shows, and readings on a variety of topics.

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Sip cocktails at Apotheke

A luxurious thing to do indoors in the evening is drinking specialty cocktails at Apotheke in NYC’s Chinatown. This pharmacist-inspired speakeasy bar is somewhat of a hidden secret in Manhattan!

Unique drinks on offer include a gin, dragon fruit, and prickly pear cocktail with‏‏‎ ‎‏‏absinthe mist and a vodka, ginger, lemongrass, cilantro, and pineapple mixed beverage.

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A cafe with a bench, flamingo sculptures, and a blue neon "Sweet Moment" sign
Sweet Moment is a charming coffee shop with Instagram-worthy decor and latte art

Hang out at a coffee shop

Fun indoor activities in New York City don’t need to be overly complicated! They can be as simple as relaxing in a trendy coffee shop.

You’ll have no trouble finding a variety of coffee spots across the five boroughs. If you want a recommendation, Sweet Moment is a cool place to visit. The quirky cafe serves Instagram famous drinks, including coffees with cute kawaii animal latte art!

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Challenge your friends to a mini-golf game at Shipwrecked

A cool place to visit in Brooklyn is Shipwrecked, a pirate-themed mini-golf bar. The golf course itself has 18 holes and features a range of obstacles. After playing a few rounds, you can also play arcade games and order food and drinks to enjoy on a terrace.

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A museum with a "National Museum of the American Indian" banner and statues outside
The National Museum of the American Indian features many American Indian artifacts

Find out something new at the National Museum of the American Indian

The National Museum of the American Indian is a Smithsonian museum with locations in New York and Washington DC. This museum has exhibits displaying American Indian artifacts, including clothing, jewelry, and pottery.

As you look around, you’ll learn a variety of new things about American Indian culture and history.

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Bowl, dine, and more at Bowlero!

Bowlero is another of the fun indoor attractions that will appeal to all ages. This trendy bowling alley has locations across NYC, including in Times Square, Queens, and Chelsea Piers.

After bowling, you can also play arcade games and order food and drinks, including fishbowl cocktails, wings, and pizza. Many food items can be served lane-side too.

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A statue of a man on the steps outside a stone building
You can learn about New York history at the New-York Historical Society Museum

Learn about New York at the New-York Historical Society Museum

If you want to learn more about New York’s history, one of the best things to do in NYC indoors is going to the New-York Historical Society Museum. At the museum, you can discover exhibits on New York’s past, significant events, and notable New York residents.

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Venture underground to explore the New York Catacombs

Catacombs are most often found in European cities, like Paris and Rome, but you can also discover these underground tombs in New York. Embarking on an NYC candlelight catacombs tour is definitely one of the more unusual indoor things to do, but it’s incredibly interesting.

The tour takes you underneath the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral where you can explore the tombs and learn more about those buried there from your guide.

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A brick building with a black and white Chelsea Market sign with a cow on it
Chelsea Market is an indoor venue with restaurants, shops, and art galleries

Shop at Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market is an indoor food hall with a variety of vendors. Things to try range from plant-based dishes and American classics, like grilled cheese and burgers, to sweet treats such as donuts and handmade chocolates.

The venue also has some shops, art galleries, and an arts and crafts flea market. To ensure you visit all the best outlets at the market, take a Chelsea Market guided tour!

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In Summary

If you're visiting NYC in the rain or other bad weather, your trip definitely won't be ruined. This list of the best indoor things to do in NYC should have shown you how many fun things you can do inside, rain or shine, in The Big Apple!

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Written by Alli Sewell

allisewell WRITER Currently based in Canada, I've also lived and worked in the UK and Brazil and travelled in North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. I love finding the best photo-ops and food and drink locations wherever I go!


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