Indoor Activities and Things to Do
Have you planned a fantastic trip to New York, and then found yourself visiting on a rainy day? Don't worry, there are still plenty of things to do! Yes, you will have fun!
This guide to New York on a rainy day will help you plan your indoor activities - whether you're traveling solo, as a family with kids, or as a couple. New York City offers plenty of places to enjoy the city and activities even if you're not outside. So, let's get started!
New York Transit Museum
The New York Transit Museum is housed in a former subway station near Brooklyn's Borough Hall. Kids love this museum and it's small, so you can pass through it in about an hour and see the cars of a vintage subway train, or sit in the driver's seat of a city bus. The museum walks you through more than a century of transportation history in New York City.
99 Schermerhorn St, Brooklyn, NY, 11201
Radio City Music Hall
The "Showplace of the Nation", this historic theatre is not just home to the Rockettes dance company, but also hosts a number of concerts, performances, stage shows, comedy acts, and other events that keep New Yorkers and visitors entertained year-round. Dating back to 1932, and significantly remodeled in 1999, this was once the world's largest auditorium. Now it's a terrific venue to take in a show any time of the year.
1260 6th Ave, New York City, New York, 10020
One World Observatory
One World Observatory is located at the top of the One World Trade Center building. It is an observation deck that makes up the 100, 101, and 102nd floors, 1776 feet above the city. The glass building is a beautiful sight and the elevator ride to the top offers a changing scene of how New York City has changed and grown over the years.
NYC, New York, 10048
Museum of the Moving Image
The Museum of the Moving Image features exhibits about the movies and the technology that was involved to create these films. There are often temporary exhibits that rotate through and cover such topics as video games and other forms of media as well.
36-01 35th Ave, Queens, NY, 11106
Metropolitan Opera House
The Metropolitan Opera House (also known as The Met), located on Broadway at Lincoln Square on the Upper West Side is part of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Opened in 1966 with approximately 3,800 seats, this is the largest repertory opera house in the world. It is home to the Metropolitan Opera Company but also hosts the American Ballet Theatre in the summer.
30 Amsterdam Avenue, NYC, New York
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
This world-class museum has one of the most in depth collections of art, spanning more than 5,000 years and representing cultures from around the globe. This is one of the largest museums in the world and it features a wide variety of topics. Everything from fashion to photography, and ancient times is represented. For the best price and the least crowds, visit the museum early on a weekday.
1000 5th Ave, New York, NY, 10028
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
This world-class museum opened in 1959 and is recognized not just for its impressive collection of modern art, but also for its architectural design, created by the famous Frank Lloyd Wright. The inverted ziggernaut breaks the mold from the typical clean square museum style of the time. This price is steep ($25 for adults), so make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to fully enjoy the experience.
1071 5th Ave, Upper East Side, New York, NY, 10128
Empire State Building
The iconic Empire State Building has long been a symbol of New York City. It's one of the most famous skyscrapers in the world and the Art-Deco tower has been called one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers. The Empire State Building was the tallest building in the world from 1931 to 1970 and, at 102 stories, it is currently the 2nd tallest in New York City.
A highlight for many visitors to New York is the ride and view from the Top Deck observatory, which offers breathtaking views in every direction.
20 W 34th St, New York, NY, 10001
American Museum of Natural History
This is one of the largest museums in the world and it is made up of 28 interconnected buildings that house 45 permanent exhibition halls. There's also a planetarium and a library. The museum's collection includes more than 33 million specimens of animals, plants, minerals, fossils, rocks, and more.
180 Central Park West, Lincoln Towers, NYC, New York, 10024
The Frick Collection
Located in the early 1900s mansion of Henry Clay Frick, this museum houses artwork by Monet, Rembrandt, Bellini, El Greco, and many more. There's also a covered garden with tropical plants and pond.
1 East 70th Street, NYC, New York, 10021
Weeksville Heritage Center
During the 19th century, Weeksville was one of the country's first free black communities. The community had its own schools, churches, and community associations. The Heritage Center offers tours and activities that serve to educate the public on the history and significance of this community.
1673 Bergen Street, Ocean Hill, NYC, New York, 11233
One of the most famous off-Broadway theatres, the Orpheum hosts a number of great shows, most recently of which is the smash-hit Stomp
. The theatre was originally constructed in 1904, and over the decades has hosted plenty of popular productions such as Anything Goes and Little Shop of Horrors.
126 2nd Avenue, NYC, New York, 10003
New Museum of Contemporary Art
This museum is dedicated to featuring contemporary art from around the world.
235 Bowery, NYC, New York, 10002
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
This interesting museum located in the Museum Mile on the Upper East Side is part of the Smithsonian Institution. The museum showcases design aesthetic, creativity, contemporary design, and showcases other interesting related works of art and design.
2 East 91st Street, NYC, New York, 10128
The Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium
This unique Long Island museum combines a grand mansion, a beautiful park, and a marine and natural history museum, as well as a planetarium. In addition to shows in the planetarium, there is also a rooftop observatory viewing every Friday night.
180 Little Neck Rd, Centerport, Long Island, NY, 11721
Alice Austen House
Located in what was once the home of Alice Austen (1866 to 1952) this museum features about 8,000 photographs taken by this renowned photographer. The museum teaches visitors about her life's work and shows examples of her different styles of photography.
2 Hylan Blvd, Staten Island, NY, 10305
The Museum of Arts and Design
This museum features ceramics, furniture design, fiber art, and metalsmithing. It hosts a number of interesting shows from the contemporary art world, and its unique exhibits make it well worth a visit.
2 Columbus Cir, New York, NY, 10019
This huge indoor amusement park is full of roller coasters, rides, and other fun activities, and is open year-round. Located very close to the New York City in East Rutherford, New Jersey, this place is part of the American Dream complex which also has a water park and a huge aquarium, too. The rides are exciting and fun for everyone in the family from kids to adults.
1 American Dream Way, East Rutherford, New Jersey
New York Hall of Science
This hands on science and technology museum has more than 400 exhibits that focus on biology, chemistry, and physics. It's perfect for kids and adults who are interested in engineering, math, and science. There are exhibits about robots, outer space, design, and light.
47-01 111th St, Queens, NY, 11368
Hayden Planetarium in the American Museum of Natural History
As part of the American Museum of Natural History, this is the most famous and popular planetarium in New York City. It offers a number of shows that are impressive, educational, and entertaining. The facilities are state-of-the-art and much of the programming was developed in partnership with NASA.
The American Museum of Natural History, Upper West Side
The Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art
This museum was built in the style of a hillside Tibetan monastery. It maintains the largest private collection of Tibetan art in the country, and the complex offers a peaceful and beautiful setting where you can explore, sit bay the goldfish pond, or look out at the water. There are often Sunday programs and shows with music, dance, and art, that are perfect for families.
338 Lighthouse Ave, Staten Island, NY, 10306
Bronx Children’s Museum
This rolling museum is located in an actual bus! It has temporary exhibits and travels throughout the the Bronx, offering programs for young kids, particularly in under-served neighborhoods. You'll find the museum at a number of events around town.
Railroad Museum of Long Island
With a variety of historic train cars and engines on display, this museum is part railroad and part history, and all fun. It's great for adults and kids alike. Visitors can tour the historic rail cars, browse the museum informational exhibits, ride the "miniature" train which is large enough for kids and adults to sit inside, and view various toy and model railroads, too.
416 Griffing Ave., Riverhead, New York
DreamWorks Water Park
Located at the American Dream complex in East Rutherford, this indoor
water park is open year-round and claims to be the largest indoor water park in America with the country's largest indoor wave pool as well. With plenty of slides and pools for adults and kids of all ages, this is a terrific escape from the city any time of the year.
1 American Dream Way, East Rutherford, New Jersey
Historic Richmond Town
Historic Richmond Town is an authentic town and farm museum on Staten Island. It's a living history museum that's part of La Tourette Park and it brings everyday life from the 19th century into today. Many of the buildings are historical structures and the staff make up the community of a 19th century small town, each representing a different trade.
441 Clarke Ave, Staten Island, NY, 10306
The Jewish Museum
The Jewish Museum is located in the 1908 Warburg Mansion and it runs a number of temporary exhibits that feature contemporary and modern art.
1109 5th Ave, New York, NY, 10128
Staten Island Museum
This museum has a new facility in Snug Harbor that offers a number of art and natural history exhibits. This is the oldest museum on Staten Island, dating back to 1881 when it was begun by 14 environmentalists.
1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, NY, 10301
Brooklyn Children's Museum
This is one of the earliest museums designed specifically for children. Established in 1899 it offers an impressive collection of fun, games, and activities that encourage kids to learn and play. There are musical instruments, masks, dolls, fossils, and more. There's even a kid's sized cityscape with pretend stores and activities where kids can make up jobs and pretend they're adults.
145 Brooklyn Ave, Brooklyn, NY, 11213
Jewish Children's Museum
This children's museum teaches kids about Jewish history, culture, and heritage in a fun and hands-on learning environment.
792 Eastern Pkwy, Brooklyn, NY, 11213
The Morgan Library & Museum
This institution began as the private library of J. Pierpont Morgan and it was donated to the city. It includes drawings by Michelangelo, Rembrandt, and Picasso. There are three Gutenberg Bibles, and a copy of Frankenstein annotated by Mary Shelley, as well as manuscripts by Dickens, Poe, Twain, Steinbeck, and Wilde. There's also sheet music handwritten by Beethoven and Mozart.
225 Madison Ave, New York, NY, 10016
Long Island Children's Museum
The Long Island Children’s Museum has 14 hands-on exhibits that are perfect for young kids who want to play, explore, and learn. There's also a theater and several different learning studios.
11 Davis Ave, Garden City, NY, 11530
Museum of Mathematics (MoMath)
MoMATH offers kids the opportunity to visualize math and engineering in a fun and playful way. There's a laser "wall", a Math Square, a Jumbotron, and more. Whether your kids love math or need a gentle nudge, this museum will bring it all to life.
11 E 26th St, New York, NY, 10010
Queens County Farm Museum
This fun and family-friendly museum lets kids and adults explore everything about life on a farm, including getting to know the animals. They have pigs, alpacas, sheep, goats, and chickens, as well as hay rides, a bush maze, and a variety of education events. They also have seasonal activities such as pumpkin picking in the fall and more. Most days are free, except during special events.
73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Queens, Floral Park, New York, 11004
New Jersey Sea Life Aquarium
Located just over the river on the New Jersey side, this aquarium is very close to New York and Manhattan in particular. And it's worth the trip, because here you'll find a huge array of fish and aquatic species to gaze upon and learn about. They have sharks, seahorses, clownfish, stingrays, and more. The entire aquarium has a New York City theme to it, which adds to the fun. And one of the best and most popular exhibits is the tunnel that takes you under the massive tank so you can look up at the fish as they swim above you.
1 American Dream Way, East Rutherford, New Jersey
Long Island Live Steamers
This is a cross between a railroad museum and an amusement park. Here you'll find a number of scale model railroads and trains that are large enough sit in to take a ride, but not as large as a real train. It's lots of fun for both adults and children. The park is run as a non-profit and organized by model railroad enthusiasts. They are only open to the public on select days of the year, usually spring to autumn, on the 2nd and last Sunday of every month (but other days are available, too). Check their website for opening days and times.
Southaven County Park Gerard Road Entrance, Brookhaven, NY, 11719
Staten Island Children's Museum
This hands-on kid's museum includes a number of fun exhibits including the Block Harbor (a builder's dream!), large Connect Four and Dominoes games, and a human sized anthill. There's also pretend areas where kids can play firefighter and an environmental education room. Normally an admission fee is charged, but it's free
on Wednesday afternoons.
Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden
DiMenna Children's History Museum at the New York Historical Society
This museum is designed with kids in mind. There are hands-on displays that take you back in time 350 years to learn about the history of NYC. Kids are encouraged to climb and interact with the exhibits that look at the lives of historical figures. There are also family programs available including cooking classes, scavenger hunts, games, and story time.
170 Central Park West, Upper West Side, New York, NY, 10024
Children's Museum of Manhattan
This hands on museum is perfect for kids who want to get their energy out, play, and explore. The museum's exhibits are designed to be touched and played with and kids will learn about culture, history, and science in a fun and hands on way. This museum is perfect for young kids that are 6 and under.
212 W 83rd St, Upper West Side, New York, NY, 10024
How much does it cost?
Prices for activities, things to do, and tours range from $12 to $1,099. The average cost for a tour or tickets is $110. A few of the best options are below.
Where to Stay in New York City
How much do vacation rentals cost in New York City? Prices vary by location, date, size of the place, and the level of luxury. See below for options.