The weather in New York can be quite strange, and especially the rain is not something to joke about. What to do in New York City when it rains? There’s no single New Yorker who doesn’t own rain boots, and there is a good reason for that. You could easily end up with puddles in your sneakers if you’re not prepared for the monsoon-kind-of-rainfall in the city, which can basically happen any day. So what are the things to do in NYC on a rainy day?
A rainy day in NYC during your trip is not the end of the world. As a matter of fact, there are a lot of really fun rainy day activities in New York City for you to check out. In this article, I’ll share my favorite things to do in New York City when it rains so you what to do on a rainy day in New York City.
What to wear in NYC when it rains?
Before we dive deep into the best things to do on a rainy day in NYC let’s figure out first what to wear in NYC when it rains. Depending on where you’re traveling from you may be used to heavy rain. So how to deal with rain in NYC? Always check the weather the night before.
Most of the time the common weather radar apps are pretty accurate Always pack an umbrella and rain boots when you’re coming to New York during a rainy season like the fall. I’ve made the mistake of wearing sneakers during down-pouring rain and was simply soaked afterward. The right attire when it rains in NYC is everything. Wear a jacket that is water resilient and protects you from the wind. Layers always help to not get cold easily.
Best 11 Things To Do In New York City When It Rains
Visit a museum when it’s raining in NYC
There’s one thing you certainly can’t say about New York: “I’ve already been to every single museum“. It is almost impossible, as new, fun ones open all the time. What sounds better than staring at masterpieces of art or ancient stuffed animals while learning about history on a cozy, warm and dry museum floor, when you know the world is drowning outside? These are my favorite museums in New York City. Visiting a museum is one of my favorite things to do in New York City when it rains
Make sure to check out the famous museum hack tours in New York City before deciding which one you’re going to choose. The museum hack tours are fun guided tours and provide great and sometimes hilarious inside about the museum, the art, the different artists and much more behind-the-scenes-topics, you would never get to know about.
Explore the Oculus in Lower Manhattan
Another fun one from my list of New York City rainy day activities is checking out everything the Oculus in Lower Manhattan has to offer is always a great idea. With over 50 stores in the shopping hub, you will be sure to find what you are looking for (or maybe what you are not?) at the Westfield WTC mall! Here is the complete list of stores. What’s really great about this shopping space is that it is not nearly as crowded as Soho or Midtown.
On top of that, there are a bunch of restaurants like the Eataly Downtown and you can even walk your way to Brookfield Place which is another shopping mall with some high-end stores. You don’t have to go outside once. It’s all connected underground.
Go Shopping on a rainy day in New York
What to do in New York City when it rains? Shopping is always a good idea, right? If you’re tired of two things – the crowded streets of New York AND the rain, we have an even better shopping idea for you: Catch a bus at Port Authority and take a trip to New Jersey.
Shopping at an Outlet is perfect on a rainy day in New York, as you never have to leave the dry mall to go to the next store because you have them all in one place (not even to mention all the discounts you get!) We love Jersey Gardens and Garden State Plaza Mall. If you don’t want to take a bus out of the city, why not go to Macy’s?
Workout at the Chelsea Piers
Fitness enthusiasts listen up. As one of my favorite things to do in NYC on a rainy day Chelsea Piers offers a 28-acre sports village with enough excitement to cover an entire day of shitty weather. They have a Volleyball court, the same goes for basketball, you can play golf, run on an indoor running track, or hit a fully equipped gym.
Check out the best Food Markets in New York
Comfort food on a rainy day is just what you need? We couldn’t agree more. Why not make it a whole food experience? Go to Chelsea Market in Meatpacking and stroll through its indoor flea market, shop some vintage, and eat eat eat everything from donuts, burgers or German „currywurst“ for one of the best rainy day activities in New York City.
Another great food market you should check out is Time Out Market in Dumbo. Their concept is totally different compared to all the other food markets in the city. Only the best of the best restaurants were able to open up a mini version of their business inside Time Out Market. Maintaining or improving their standards is a requirement for an ongoing partnership.
If you’re more into Italian food, the Eataly is the right place for you to go to. You can either dive into the Italian deliciousness of Eataly at the Flatiron Building or like I mentioned above, at the Oculus.
Visit Grand Central Terminal
What to do in new york when it rains? When it’s raining in NYC, make sure to stay inside as much as possible. Protect yourself from the rainy weather by taking a tour through the Grand Central Terminal. I highly recommend booking an official self-guided tour with headsets to explore every corner of Grand Central.
All you have to do is putting on your headset and get ready for an informative 1-hour tour of the world-famous Grand Central Terminal. You will learn about the history of the terminal and its architectural features, and how it has featured in many popular movies and TV shows. Sure you can also just walk inside and check it out yourself, but the tour will take you behind the scenes and show you parts of the terminal that you probably would have never seen by yourself.
Broadway Musical in New York
There’s no better time to escape the rain and flea into a world of music, great costumes and talented artists. Watching a musical on Broadway in New York will be a lifetime experience. It’s tough for us to keep the list of our favorite Broadway shows short, but we’ve concluded our top Broadway shows.
We’ve enjoyed some of them so much that we have seen them multiple times! We are confident that, no matter what show you go for, it will be an unforgettable experience. Watching a Broadway Show is one of the best things to do in NYC when it rains.
Take a tour at Madison Square Garden
But don’t worry, there are more New York rainy day activities. The guided Madison Square Garden Tour gives you behind-the-scenes access to one of the world’s most famous sports and entertainment arenas and is one of my favorite activities when it rains in NYC.
If you like to save money, you probably have one of the New York attraction passes. Some of them include free admission to the MSG All Access Tour. On the Madison Square Garden tour, you’ll get to see places you probably would never see otherwise. It’s an adventure behind the scenes.
What we enjoyed the most while taking the tour, however, was the value of information and incredible facts. With more than 140 years of history, you can be sure to learn lots of them. All this makes the Madison Square Garden All Access Tour worth joining, beyond a regular visit for a concert or game.
Go to the Spa and relax
New York City has a ton of luxury spas and wellness places. When is a better time to go than when it’s raining in NYC? There are actually two places that I highly recommend checking out. AIRE Ancient Baths New York in Tribeca helps you to disconnect from the bustle with the thermal bath experience and a relaxing massage. It is a magical place in Lower Manhattan. Aire is one of those places that it’s hard to believe is actually in New York. You enter a whole new world that feels more like an oasis than a spa in New York City. So in case, you’re wondering what to do on a rainy day in New York, heading to a spa is a wonderful idea.
Another great spa to go to on a rainy day in NYC is actually located outside the city. Don’t freak, because in order to get to this spa you will have to go to New Jersey. You can be sure though, that it is totally worth the trip. SoJo is a spa club that offers you the ultimate wellness experience in the NY/NJ area, including a variety of indoor and outdoor pools, hot tubs, saunas, a cold waterfall, and lounges across several floors. In addition to relaxing in those areas, you can choose to add various treatments, like massages and facials.
Visit the New York Public Library
As one of the main attractions in New York City, the New York Public Library is an excellent thing to do in New York on a rainy day. The Schwartzman Building was dedicated on May 23, 1911, with over 1 million books and 75 miles of shelving put into place for its opening day. The New York Public Library is one of my favorite NYC’s iconic Beaux-Arts style marble buildings. Don’t miss the two marble lions outside the building which makes this building so recognizable.
Inside the library, there is so much more to explore. Spend hours inside by reading civil war battle maps, genealogical records and handwritten manuscripts of classic novels. It is not only stunningly beautiful inside the New York Public Library but also very educational. I actually come here quite a lot to write inside the Rose Main Reading Room. If you want, just sit down and take in the magical atmosphere.
Go for a run (indoors)
My last tip of fun New York activities in the rain are going for a run. Indoors obviously, even though New Yorkers go for a run during any weather condition. So if you’re up for it, why not? At the Mile High Run Club you can book a class and get a challenging and super fun indoor run in.
At Mile High Run Club they provide unique treadmill fitness programs and group treadmill classes at several locations in New York City. Beat the rain and enjoy this class with a bunch of locals. Maybe you can even make some friends and grab a coffee after?
My Personal Top Rainy Day Activities In New York City
If you’d asked me about my 3 personal things to do in New York City in the rain it would definitely be visiting one of the many great museums New York City has to offer. The Museum of Modern Art just reopened. It’s so worth it checking it out.
But also as one of the things to do in New York when it rains is being physically active. Use the day to go on the treadmill at the class that I recommended or even at your hotel. Most hotels have a gym that you could go to.
And then lastly, one of my favorite rainy day activities New York is Broadway shows, any kind of indoor events or even going to the movies. Regardless of what you will decide to do on a rainy day in New York, you will have a blast. New York is such a great place to travel to and spend the best time, that the weather doesn’t really matter at all.
I'm a true New York fan! Not only have I visited the city over 25 times but also have I spent several months here at a time. On my blog I show you the best and most beautiful spots of the city, so that you have a really good time! You can also find lots of insider tips in our New York travel guide. Also check out my hotel finder for New York!