15 THINGS TO DO ON A RAINY DAY IN NYC!
Bad weather catches a lot of people off-guard, making most of them fret about how “their trip literally went down the drain”. But don’t worry, this post is here to help you plan a rainy day that goes well beyond visiting museums! There is a world of attractions waiting for you in NYC. Enjoy!
Oh, before I forget…To see more of my day to day life in NYC, check out my Instagram (@marthasachser), and follow my Youtube channel. For more NYC tips join my NYC tips Facebook group HERE! And if you are traveling to NYC, don’t forget to get my New York City Guide HERE!
IT’S GOING TO RAIN FOR MOST OF THE TRIP, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
It might be a good idea to purchase attractions passes, since there is a great variety of destinations included, and, if you’re really going to use it, the price is super worth it! Each pass has its own advantages, so I recommend reading THIS post to find out which one is best for you!
If you aren’t familiar with attraction passes they are basically passes (paper or digital) that allow you to choose from many of the main NYC attractions for an attractive price. There are different passes available but some of the most popular are the New York CityPASS, the New York PASS, the The New York Sightseeing Pass (my favorite) and the New York City Explorer Pass, in case you are staying for up to 30 days in the city.
1- VISIT ONE OF THE MANY FOOD HALLS IN NYC
One of the most interesting things to do in NYC is trying out its food. Often due to lack of planning, people end up choosing the burger + fries combo over and over again instead of taking the chance to taste the wonders of cuisines from all over the world in a single city. If you need some help with that, don’t forget to check out the RESTAURANTS tab on this blog, there you’ll find several tips about where you should absolutely stop by! If you’re looking for something a bit more gourmet, I recommend visiting some indoor “food markets” that offer nice options bound to please all tastes and budgets under one roof.
Chelsea Market: This one is part of most people’s itinerary and a sure-fire choice on rainy days because in addition to several restaurants, it also contains shops, bookstores and a small market. 75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011.
Eataly: This Italian market owns two addresses in NYC and offers pasta, fresh produce, sweets, bread, cheese and wine. 200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010.
Gansevoort: This is a kind of rustic, kind of industrial gourmet market I love located in the Meatpacking District. It isn’t so big but it does the job. Offers plenty of good options. 353 W 14th St, New York, NY 10014.
Urbanspace Vanderbilt: This is a food hall that serves more than 20 options and features a seating area near Grand Central Terminal. East 45th &, Vanderbilt Ave, New York, NY 10169
2- EXPLORE THE (MANY) MUSEUMS
Despite its popularity on rainy days, please note that there are many, many, many museums in NYC. Some are free, some require tickets, while others operate in a “pay-what-you-wish” fashion. And there is almost always a set time on a set day of the week/month when admission is free. MoMa, for example, offers free tickets every Friday, from 4PM to 8PM. The Whitney Museum of American Art establishes a “pay-what-you-wish” policy on Fridays from 7 PM to 10 PM. The New Museum does the same on Thursdays, 7PM to 9PM. The American Museum of Natural History also works by that policy — keep in mind that you can always pay the full suggested amount though. If you prefer alternative stuff, the New York Transit Museum is quite interesting and will please everyone in the family. Click HERE to see more cool museums! Click HERE to find more free museums!
3- SPEND THE DAY SHOPPING AT OUTLETS
Rainy days mean shopping days for a lot of people, so taking the opportunity to buy everything you need at once is a great idea. If you’d rather save and don’t feel like going to an outlet, remember there are also several stores in NYC that sell designer clothes for an affordable price, once their selection is made up of items from a previous season that aren’t probably available in designer stores anymore. That means you get to purchase the same product for a cheaper amount, which is great for those who don’t care about wearing the newest fashion and want to save money. Furthermore, I suggest going with plenty of time to spare; there are many, many pieces available and it takes some effort to find the best deals for you. My favorite stores are TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Burlington and Century 21 Stores. If you are looking for an outlet mall, the Mills At Jersey Gardens is an indoor mall that offers a huge selection of stores and you don’t have to worry about the rain! You can get there by public transportation as well by taking the 111 bus from Port Authority to the mall. It shouldn’t take you more than an hour to get there.
4-EAT AT A THEMED RESTAURANT
As I said before, exploring NYC restaurants makes any trip even more interesting. If you’re the type of person who never misses a chance to meet different places and loves silly and fun pictures, click HERE to learn about NYC’s coolest themed restaurants, it’s in Portuguese but you can check out the photos and names. And click HERE to check out the restaurants that have already been featured on this blog in English.
5- ATTEND A BROADWAY SHOW
As if I’d leave this out of the list! Broadway shows are unique and make the trip more special. For those who plan on skipping it because of the price, keep in mind that there are several ways to purchase tickets with discounts. Click HERE or HERE for two of my favorite websites for Broadway and other tickets with a discount!
6- VISIT NYC’S TRAIN STATIONS
Penn Station and Grand Central Station are the most popular and busy train stations in the city. There you’ll find not only thousands of people coming and going the entire day but also countless restaurants, snack bars and stores! Grand Central is my favorite one and it is magnificent! If you’d like to experience a New Yorker’s day, however, I recommend visiting both when you get the chance.
7- TAKE A GUIDED TOUR
There’s no shortage of guided tours in NYC. You can select from a variety of walking or even water and bus tours! Click HERE to book your experience!
8-TAKE AWESOME INDOOR TOURS
There are tours you’ll only find in NYC which are 100% worth taking! Examples include Madison Square All Access Tour (I had a great time!); NBC Studio Tour (a must for TV lovers!); Radio City Stage Door Tour, Disney on Broadway Tour, Metropolitan Museum of Art Tour, and many others!
9- HAVE A BLAST AT BOWLING ALLEYS!
Brooklyn Bowl is more than your average bowling alley. Besides playing and ordering a meal, you can also spend the night as a “local” watching live band performances and trying out bar drinks! If you don’t plan on visiting Brooklyn, make sure to stop by Bowlmor Times Square, where you’ll find not only a bowling alley but also arcade games and snacks.
10- GO ON A CRUISE AROUND MANHATTAN
This is one of the coolest experiences you can have in NYC and works well really on rainy days. The only downside is that you won’t be able to stay much time (if at all) outside. I’ve cruised on a bad-weather day once, though, and it was just as amazing!
The companies I sailed with feature several types of tours with brunch/lunch (click HERE to learn more) or dinner. We picked dinner because I just love seeing NYC at night, as the buildings start to glow while the day comes to an end. Keep in mind that the dinner option is more expensive than the lunch trip.
11- EXPLORE NYC’S PUBLIC LIBRARY
NYC’s public library is a true oasis amidst the Midtown buzz! The Rose Main Reading Room is the most visited and photographed in the building. If you’d like to know more about the library’s history and peculiarities, do consider going on the guided tours that take place Monday to Saturday at 11 AM and 2 PM. These tours last one hour and operate by order of arrival – up to 25 people per group. It’s located at 476 5th Ave(42nd Street Entrance) New York, NY 10018. Learn more HERE!
12-EXPLORE THE CITY’S BOOK SHOPS
One of the things that brings me joy is knowing that, in spite of all the technology, NYC still offers a wide variety of beautiful bookshops where you can immerse yourself in books and travel far away without leaving your spot! Not to mention the super cozy cafes that come with them. I’ve showed several of my favorite bookshops on my Instagram stories (@marthasachser) , but I’ll mention a few for you here too:
Barnes and Noble: This bookshop chain owns a megastore at Union Square, but you’ll also find other stores around the city. In addition to books, they sell stationery, toys, board games, office decor, gifts and e-readers. There’s a Starbucks coffee shop inside too. Because of that, it’s no surprise various events and autograph sessions happen there as well. 33 E 17th St, New York, NY 10003.
Shakespeare and Co: Charming and not as large as other stores, this bookshop also features a small coffee shop inside. It’s located at 939 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10065, good option if you are exploring Upper East Side.
McNally Jackson: Another independent bookshop that offers a quiet atmosphere and a small coffee shop in one of my favorite parts of the city. 52 Prince Street, New York, NY
Housing Works: This is a second-hand bookshop that even features a cafe to help you enjoy your reading session even more! It’s a very clean place in optimal conditions, totally worth checking out! Next to it there’s a Housing Works’ thrift shop, I’ve found a lot of cool stuff there too. The bookshop is located at 130 Crosby Street. Click HERE to check out the official website and learn more.
Kinokuniya: this Japanese bookshop is my favorite one in the city. In their basement, you’ll find Japanese magazines, books and stationery. On the first floor, there’s a traditional bookshop and a selection of creative gifts. On the third floor, there’s a cafe that serves simple dishes and traditional Japanese desserts, which makes it a great option for a traditional Japanese afternoon tea. It’s simple, but pleasant. This floor is also dedicated to anime and manga, which are the Japanese-equivalent to cartoons and comic books. It’s located at 1073 6th Avenue, almost facing Bryant Park.
Strand Bookstore: The main address is located in the Union Square vicinity, but you’ll also find other stores/stands scattered around the city. 828 Broadway (& 12th Street), New York, NY 10003.
13- GO ICE SKATING
You’d be wrong to think ice skating is a winter-exclusive activity! Some rinks operate during other times of year, and Chelsea Pier is my favorite one in that regard! There, you’ll be able to ice skate during set hours for US$ 20 per person (which includes the skates rental + US$ 5 for the helmet). Learn more HERE!
Now, if you’re coming during the fall/winter, my favorite rink is Wollman, located in Central Park. Rates vary from rink to rink, but, out of the three most popular ones, the most expensive is Rockefeller Center’s while the most affordable is Bryant Park’s. Click HERE to learn more the Rockefeller Center rink and HERE to learn more about the Wollman Rink.
14- HAVE FUN AT DAVE AND BUSTERS
Rainy days can turn into the best days of all, especially if you’re traveling with kids! At Dave and Busters you’ll find a looooot of games for everyone in the family! The more you play, the more tickets you get to exchange for toys and other prizes later on. It’s pretty cool and I’m sure kids will love it. Besides that, there is also a typical diner inside that serves burgers, salads, pasta and, of course, french fries! It’s located in the heart of Times Square at 234 W 42nd St, New York, NY, 3rd floor.
15- PURCHASE A NYC ATTRACTIONS PASS
NYC offers plenty of attractions passes with very good deals in which you get to enjoy a lot of things in the city and save some money. Each pass has its own advantages, so I recommend reading THIS post to help you decide which one is best for you! And many of them include MAAANY indoor activities! Purchase your pass HERE:
(BUDGET) ACCOMMODATIONS IN NYC:
Budget friendly hotels in Manhattan:HERE!
Budget friendly hotels in Queens ( very close to Manhattan): HERE!
Book hotels and packages on Booking: HERE!
Book hotels and packages in Hotels.com: HERE!
Best NYC Hostels: HERE!
Get credit on your first AirBnB stay: HERE!