15 Things To Do on a Rainy Day in NYC

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 here 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 to NYC. What should I do?”

It might be a great idea to purchase attractions passes, since there is a great variety of activities and attractions included and it gives you the flexibility of picking and choosing from over 100 attractions, tours and services! Each pass has its own advantages, my favorites are The Sightseeing PassThe Sightseeing FLEX Pass and The Go City Pass. And as usual, you can get 10% off any of them with the coupon NYABOUT1OFF through the blog’s affiliate link on Tiqets! I also recommend reading THIS post to find out which one is best for you! 

If you aren’t familiar with attraction passes they are basically digital passes that allow you to choose from many of the main NYC attractions for a much better price. There are different passes available but some of the most popular are the New York CityPASS, the New York PASS, Go City Explorer Pass, the The New York Sightseeing Pass. You can use the blog’s special coupon (NYABOUT10OFF) to get 10% off any of them.

1- Visit one of the many food halls in NYC

One of the most interesting things to do in NYC is trying out different food. Often due to lack of planning, many travelers end up choosing the burger + fries combo over and over again or the endless pizza slices instead of taking the chance to taste the wonders of cuisines from all over the world in New York.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m love saving money on trips but the culinary scene in NYC is something you don’t wanna miss! If you need some help with planning the perfect trip, don’t forget to check out the NY & About guide,  there are 16 unique itineraries to explore NYC like a local and with suggestions on where to eat in every area of the city listed there.

Back to food halls/food markets, I feel like there is a new one opening every day so you shouldn’t have any problems finding one. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Chelsea Market
  • Tin Building
  • TimeOut Market
  • Urbanspace 
  • Eataly
  • The Hugh
  • Urban Hawker  (specialized in Asian food)

2- Explore the museums

Despite its popularity on rainy days, please note that there are many, many, many museums in NYC, you don’t need to go to the 2 or 3 most popular ones to have an amazing time, there is something for everyone in NYC and that’s also why buying an attraction pass like the Sightseeing Day Pass or The Sightseeing Flex Pass might be extra helpful, since you will have access to over 100 attractions, museums, tours and services.

Some museums are free, some require tickets, while others operate in a “pay-what-you-wish” fashion or most likely they will offer a set time and day of the week/month when admission is free (sometimes only for NYC residents though). Some of the most popular museums are MoMa, Museum of Broadway, The Tenement Museum, The 9/11 Memorial and Museum, The Met, The American Museum of Natural History, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The New Museum and so many others. Click HERE to see more museums!

3- Spend the day at the famous NY stores, malls and NJ outlet malls

Rainy days mean shopping days for a lot of people, so taking the opportunity to buy everything you need at once might be 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 famous brands and designer clothes for a more 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 price, 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, sometimes those stores aren’t very organized. There are many options available and it takes some effort to find the best deals sometimes. My favorite stores are Nordstrom Rack, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Burlington and Century 21. 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. There are two other popular outlets but they aren’t indoors like this one but if you are feelings adventurous, check out the Empire Outlets (super easy to get to by taking the free Staten Island Ferry, but there aren’t as many stores as the other ones) and Woodbury Commons.

For regular shopping malls I recommend The Shops at Hudson Yards and The Shops At Columbus Circle.

4-Eat at a fun/themed restaurant

Exploring NYC restaurants makes any trip even more interesting. If you’re the type of person who never misses a chance to try different places and loves taking pictures, here are some fun ones:

  • Panna II
  • Brooklyn Surf Bar
  • Ellen’s Stardust
  • Beetle House
  • Alice’s Tea Cup
  • Trailer Park Lounge
  • Serendipity 3

Some are favorite touristy so make sure to check their instagram to see if it is something you find it worth your time and money.


5- See a Broadway show

Broadway shows are a great way to experience an iconic NYC activity on a rainy day. For those who plan on skipping it because of the price, keep in mind that there are several ways to purchase tickets with discounts. Here are some options: Broadway lotteries, Today Tix, Tkts booths, Broadway Roulette and of course, the 10% discount from Tiqets! Click  HERE to get tickets with 10% off using the code NYABOUT10OFF – and free cancelation.

You can also click HERE to learn more about other types of Broadway discounts.

6- Get tickets for Rise NY

This is an experience you won’t wanna miss and it is the perfect option for a rainy day. Part museum and part ride, you will soar over NYC iconic spots. Yes, you can soar over NYC’s most iconic landmarks on a thrilling 4D ride! I’ve been there multiple times and I love it. The whole experience takes me about one hour to complete but you can of course take your time and enjoy the museum at a slower pace.

Get tickets HERE with free cancelation and insert coupon NYABOUT10OFF for 10% off.

7- Visit NYC’s iconic train stations

The New York Penn Station and Grand Central Station are the most popular and busy train stations in the city. You’ll find not only thousands of people coming and going all day long but also countless restaurants, eateries and shops! Grand Central is my favorite one and it is magnificent! I recommend visiting both when you get the chance. Penn Station has a nicer entrance on 33rd Street, worth checking if you are in the area (just look up when you go down the escalator).

8-Have fun but stay dry going on indoor NYC 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 TourMetropolitan Museum of Art Tour,  and many others!  Click HERE for more options! You can also get 10% off and free cancellation on all of them with code NYABOUT10OFF.

9- Go bowling in NYC style!

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 are looking for a more traditional bowling alley, check out Bowlmor Times Square, where you’ll find not only a bowling alley but also arcade games and snacks.  


10- Book a dinner or brunch cruise

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 offer several types of tours with brunch/lunch (click HERE to learn more) or dinner cruises. I recommend THIS one and THIS one. 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- Visit one of the observatories

We all want a beautiful day and hopefully a breathtaking sunset but rainy days (with no fog) can make for beautiful views of NYC on top of some observatories that offer indoor space.

Summit OV and One World Observatory would be my suggestions for rainy days. Use my code NYABOUT10OFF to get 10% off and free cancellation HERE.

12- Explore NYC’s iconic Public Library

NYC’s public library on 5th Avenue and 42nd Street 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 their free guided tours. Learn more about the tours schedules HERE! The library is located at 476 5th Ave(42nd Street Entrance) New York, NY 10018.

13-Explore the New York 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: 

  • Shakespeare and Co
  • Kinokuniya
  • Housing Works
  • McNally Jackson
  • Book Culture
  • Barnes and Noble
  • The Ripped Bodice

14- 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! For current rates click HERE!

Now, if you’re coming during the fall/winter, my favorite rink is the Wollman Rink, 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

15- Get a drink at one of the many rooftop bars

There are gorgeous rooftop bars and restaurants that make for the perfect night even on rainy days – unless you’re looking for iconic outdoor photos, of course.

Some of my favorites are:

  • The Skylark
  • Daintree
  • Panorama Room
  • Nubeluz
  • Ophelia
  • Bar Blondeau
  • Dear Irving on Hudson
  • Westlight
  • Jimmy
  • Peak (Hudson Yards)

16- 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.


Let’s connect on Instagram!

I’m always sharing the best of NYC and our day to day life as a family of 3 exploring the city!

Click HERE to follow me on instagram and say Hi!

17- Get the NY & About Guide (Bonus tip!)

This is a must if you are visiting NYC for the first or even the tenth time! Rainy days sometimes mess up our plans and we need to reroute. With the NY & About Guide you have countless NYC tips to make your trip easier (and save money) but it also includes 16 walking itineraries with a step-by-step to explore NYC like a local (but not miss all the “must sees” as well!). You will also find restaurant recommendations in every area explored, which helps you save time. The NY & About guide is available as an ebook (not kindle friendly- but you can save and use your smart phone or tablet to access it) or paperback on Amazon. 


Budget friendly accommodations in NYC: 

Budget friendly hotels in Manhattan: HERE!

Budget friendly hotels in Queens ( very close to Manhattan): HERE!

Book hotels and packages on BookingHERE!

Book hotels and packages in Hotels.comHERE!

Best NYC HostelsHERE!