35 Best NYC Indoor Activities for Rainy Days
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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!
Planning a last-minute trip to New York City?
To make the most of your visit to New York City, we recommend you book accommodations and experiences soon. Below are some top recommendations to get you started.
Top accommodations in New York City
- Pestana Park Avenue (rated highly)
- Hilton Club The Quin New York (5-star rating)
- Riu Plaza Manhattan Times Square (4-star rating)
Top tours and experiences in New York City
- 35 New York City activities
35 Fun Indoor Activities in NYC
- Read at the New York Public Library
- Try indoor rock climbing
- See a show at Radio City Music Hall
- Relax at Aire Ancient Baths
- Work out at Chelsea Piers Sports Center
- Enjoy some indoor ice skating
- Spend the evening with the New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center
- Snuggle with kitties at a cat cafe!
- View contemporary artworks at the Museum of Modern Art
- Tackle an escape room challenge
- Take photos with celebrities at Madame Tussauds Times Square
- Snap sweet pictures at the Museum of Ice Cream
- Walk with dinosaurs at the American Museum of Natural History
- Dine above the city at One World Observatory
- Marvel at art installations at Artechouse
- Go to a New York Rangers game
- Watch the New York Knicks play
- Spoil yourself with afternoon tea at Alice's Tea Cup
- Admire the collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
- Have brunch at Clinton St. Baking Company
- Experience a Broadway show
- Play arcade games at Barcade
- Explore the Guggenheim
- Skate at Roller Jam USA
- Tour the United Nations
- Immerse yourself in the life of spies at Spyscape Museum
- Catch a show at the Apollo Theater
- Sip cocktails at Apotheke
- Hang out at a coffee shop
- Challenge your friends to a mini-golf game at Shipwrecked
- Find out something new at the National Museum of the American Indian
- Bowl, dine, and more at Bowlero!
- Learn about New York at the New-York Historical Society Museum
- Venture underground to explore the New York Catacombs
- Shop at Chelsea Market
New York City Activities Map
A map of New York City. Use the map to explore all the activities.
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!
Explore the New York Public Library - Stephen A Schwarzman Building on a tour
- One-Day Guided Sightseeing Tour of New York (extremely popular)
- Small Group Tour of New York's Top Attractions With One World Observatory
Stay in close proximity to the New York Public Library - Stephen A Schwarzman Building
- Riu Plaza Manhattan Times Square (rated highly)
- CitizenM New York Bowery (4-star rating)
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.
Places to stay close to the Central Rock Gym
- Pestana Park Avenue (highly acclaimed)
- Hampton Inn Manhattan-Three5th st Empire State Bldg
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.
Accommodations nearby Radio City Music Hall
- Park Terrace Hotel (well-regarded)
- Times Square EDITION New York (5-star luxury)
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.
Places to stay close to the AIRE Ancient Baths in New York
- The Hoxton, Williamsburg (rated 4-stars)
- Pod Brooklyn
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.
Join a tour to see Chelsea Piers
- New York's Manhattan Aerial Tour by Helicopter (popular with most)
Stay nearby Chelsea Piers
- The Maritime Hotel (4-star rating)
- The Standard, High Line New York
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.
Visit Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers on a tour
- New York's Exclusive Tour of Underground Donut Scene (highly rated)
- Discover 100 Top New York Attractions, Including the Empire State Building, With the New York Pass (a sort after tour)
Stay nearby Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers
- Four Points by Sheraton Manhattan Midtown West (rated very highly)
- Dream Downtown Hotel (breathtaking waterside views)
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.
Places to stay near the New York City Ballet
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!
Accommodations in close proximity to Koneko
- The William Vale (5-star rating)
- Hotel Indigo Lower East Side (highly rated)
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.
Accommodations in close proximity to the Museum of Modern Art
- San Carlos Hotel New York (4-star rating)
- New York Marriott Marquis
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!
Accommodations nearby the Escape Game New York City
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!
Accommodations near Madame Tussauds New York
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.
Nearest accommodations to the Museum of Ice Cream
- Sixty Soho Hotel (scored highly by guests)
- 11 Howard (5-star rating)
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.
Places to stay near the American Museum of Natural History
Dine above the city at One World Observatory
One World Observatory is the viewing deck located in One World Trade Center. To enjoy the amazing NYC skyline, dining at One World Observatory is a great idea as it is one of the best observatories in the city with a view.
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!
Accommodations close to the One World Observatory
- The Lodge Red Hook
- World Center Hotel (rated very highly)
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.
Nearest accommodations to ARTECHOUSE NYC
- Hampton Inn Chelsea Hotel (loved by guests)
- Selina Chelsea New York City (unwind poolside)
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.
Visit the Madison Square Garden with a tour
- Scenic Helicopter Tour of Manhattan, NY (highly sought-after)
- Tour of Madison Square Garden's Exclusive Areas
Stay nearby the Madison Square Garden
- Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea (5-star rating)
- Pod Times Square
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!
Stay nearby Madison Square Garden
- SpringHill Suites by Marriott New York Manhattan Chelsea
- InterContinental New York Times Square, an IHG Hotel
Join a tour to see Madison Square Garden
- Guided Tour of Madison Square Garden in NYC (top-rated tour)
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.
Places to stay near Alices Tea Cup
- Hyatt Place New York Midtown-South
- Arthouse Hotel (highly rated)
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.
Stay near the Metropolitan Museum of Art
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.
Stay near the Clinton St Baking Company
- Sixty Les Hotel (soak up the sun poolside)
- Hotel on Rivington (4-star rating)
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!
Accommodations in close proximity to Broadway
- Hostelling International New York (well-priced for the area)
- The Lucerne Hotel (4-star rating)
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.
Stay in close proximity to Barcade
- INNSiDE by Meliá New York Nomad (mesmerizing waterside views)
- Hilton New York Fashion District Hotel (4-star rating)
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.
Places to stay near the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum
- The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel (rated very highly)
- The Mark Hotel (5-star rating)
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!
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.
Experience the United Nations Headquarters with a tour
- Bus & Boat Tour of New York City With Sightseeing Included (frequently sold out)
- Around Manhattan Brunch Cruise
Stay in close proximity to the United Nations Headquarters
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!
Accommodations nearby SPYSCAPE
- WestHouse Hotel New York (rated 5-stars)
- Dream Midtown Hotel (4-star rating)
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.
Visit the Apollo Theater on a tour
- The Boroughs of New York City - Harlem, Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, & Coney Island (a sort after tour)
- Tour of Brooklyn, Bronx, & Queens - Exploring Diverse Contrasts, Colors, & Characters in NYC
Accommodations close to the Apollo Theater
- Courtyard by Marriott Edgewater NYC Area (loved by guests)
- Aloft Harlem
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.
Accommodations near Apotheke
- Hotel 50 Bowery, A Joie de Vivre Hotel (loved by guests)
- Wyndham Garden Chinatown (very highly rated)
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!
Accommodations close to Sweet Moment
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.
Accommodations nearby Shipwrecked
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.
Explore the National Museum of the American Indian on a tour
- Tour the Remnants of Dutch New Amsterdam in Lower Manhattan (often fully booked)
- Tour of Underground Railroad & Slavery in New York City (top-rated tour)
Accommodations near the National Museum of the American Indian
- Residence Inn by Marriott New York Downtown Manhattan World Trade Center Area (highly acclaimed)
- Artezen Hotel (4-star rating)
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.
Discover Bowlero Times Square on a tour
- Experience NYC's Skyline & City Lights With a Helicopter Tour (likely to sell out)
- Hop on Hop Off Tour of New York City With Big Bus
Accommodations in close proximity to Bowlero Times Square
- Hyatt Place NYC Chelsea
- InterContinental New York Times Square (5-star rating)
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.
Stay nearby the New-York Historical Society
- The Wallace Hotel (5-star rating)
- Hotel Beacon (4-star rating)
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.
Accommodations close to the Basilica of St Patricks Old Cathedral
- The Broome Hotel (4-star rating)
- Off Soho Suites Hotel
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!
Stay near the Chelsea Market
- Gansevoort Meatpacking (5-star rating)
- The Moore
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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