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25 BEST Things to do in New York City when it Rains (2024 Guide!)

25 BEST Things to do in New York City when it Rains (2024 Guide!)

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They say when it rains, it pours, and this is true in New York City! What a lot of people don’t realize about New York is that it’s actually one of the rainiest cities in the USA, with 46 inches (1,168 millimeters) of rainfall every year. That’s twice as much as London, which is famously wet. 

So of course, if you’re traveling to New York City, you need to be prepared for some rainy days! The rainfall in NYC is fairly evenly spread over the year, so there’s no “dry season” to visit in. Whether you’re coming for your summer vacay or taking a Christmas time tour, you might get rained on. Your best bet is just to have some rainy-day activities in mind, like a dinner cruise along the Hudson River or visiting Chelsea Market!

And trust us, there are plenty of things to do in New York City when it’s raining. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the 25 best ones because you can’t let a little (or a lot of) rainfall ruin your trip to the Big Apple. 

Don’t have time to read the full article? Check out our list of the top things to do in NYC when it rains:

  1. Go inside the Chelsea Market on a tour that includes all your food!
  2. Hop on a New York City Dinner Cruise – it’s even more romantic in the rain
  3. Wander through the New York Public Library
  4. See The Lion King on Broadway
  5. Grab a drink at the oldest pub in New York or our favorite speakeasy – Please Don’t Tell

Things to do in NYC When it Rains

1. Explore the Chelsea Market 

Bailey in the Chelsea Market during our free time on our Chelsea Market food tour
The Chelsea Market is huge!
Bailey eats a New York Slice on a food tour at the Chelsea Market
Yum!

The Chelsea Market is the perfect place to visit in New York City when it rains! It’s an indoor food market, so you really don’t need good weather to enjoy it, and it’s always nice to eat some comfort food on a rainy day. 

The Chelsea Market was once the headquarters for the National Biscuit Company, and it’s actually the birthplace of the Oreo. However, over time the area was deindustrialized and the biscuit factory was moved to New Jersey. In the ’90s, a bunch of developers took over the building and decided to make it into a trendy mixed-use space, in keeping with what was going on in Chelsea and the Meatpacking district at the time. 

Today, the Chelsea Market building is owned by Google, and as well as the food market, you can find boutique stores and even office spaces here. There are also over 40 food stalls with dishes from all around the world. 

We ate some amazing NY pizza here at Filaga Pizzeria as well as delicious doughnuts at the Doughnuttery. Kim Kardashian has even posted online about how these are her favorite doughnuts in the world! We also loved Los Tacos No. 1

You can visit the Chelsea Market by yourself and explore, but you can also do a food tour, which we highly recommend. One of the best things about doing a food tour of the Chelsea Market is that you get to skip the queue, which is a big bonus because the lines get really long! 

Daniel and Bailey take a selfie inside the Chelsea Market in NYC
So much food in one place!

We did this Chelsea Market food tour and had a fantastic experience. We ate so much amazing food, and our guide was informative and entertaining. For $84 USD each, we really thought it was worth the money, and we loved the fact that we also had some time to explore the Chelsea Market by ourselves. We were stuffed by the end! 

Alternatively, this small group walking tour focuses more on exploring the Meatpacking District and the High Line, but there’s also a stop at the Chelsea Market. The food isn’t included in the $39 USD price tag, but on the bright side you can eat at whichever stalls you like, so this could be a good option for those with dietary restrictions. Plus, your guide will be on hand to give some recommendations! 

Or, this semi-private walking tour is another great way to learn about Manhattan’s most hipster neighborhoods and hear lots of interesting stories about the Chelsea Market. Plus, you’ll get insider tips on some of the best eateries around outside of the market, too. The tour costs $47 USD per person and doesn’t include food at the market, but there will be plenty of time to try lots of different stalls! 

Regardless of the tour you choose, the Chelsea Market is a must-visit. In fact, we loved it so much we even included it in our two day NYC itinerary so those with limited time don’t miss it, either.

Related Read: The Chelsea Market is one of the attractions included in our four days in NYC itinerary.

2. Bateaux New York Premier Dinner Cruise

Bailey enjoys her dinner with the Statue of Liberty in the background during the Bateaux New York Premier Dinner Cruise in New York City
It was a gloomy and rainy day but magical!
Pasta starter on the Bateaux New York Premier Dinner Cruise in New York City
The ravioli starter!

Just because it’s raining doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a beautiful night out in NYC! We took the Bateaux New York Premiere Dinner Cruise on a rainy evening and it actually made it more cozy and magical, as if this luxury dinner cruise could get any better!

We have taken dinner cruises all over the world, and I think what made the Bateaux Dinner Cruise stand out was that it’s an all-glass boat, from floor to ceiling! You’re protected from the rain but can still get incredible views of the New York skyline as you enjoy a fancy dinner and cocktails. 

If you take this cruise on a nice, sunny day, you’ll see the sunset as you set sail for the dinner cruise. We caught this cruise in the rain, so while you don’t get epic sunset views, you do get to watch the city light up, which is impressively beautiful as well!

Before you sit down to dinner, you’ll have some time to enjoy the cruise of NYC’s harbor and take in the sights, while enjoying a beverage! We cruised right up to the Statue of Liberty, which was one of the coolest parts of the night. It’s rare to get that close to Lady Liberty, especially as she’s all lit up at night.

Bailey looks out the window on the Bateaux New York Premier Dinner Cruise and admires the view of the city skyline
So beautiful!

On top of the views and cozy glass boat to keep you dry from the rain, you will get to sit down to an incredible 3-course meal. I can honestly say that this was one of the best dinners we had in New York City, even with the city’s world-famous food culture! The food is truly that good on the Bateaux Cruise

To make this evening even more special, there was a live band on board which just enhanced the ambiance. Sometimes live music can be a bit too loud or overbearing, but this set the mood just right and we were quite impressed by the musicians! 

The Bateaux Cruise is certainly a luxury experience, and worth every penny in my book! The price depends on the day and how far in advance you reserve your spot, but you can expect it to be between $250-$300 USD per person. This includes a 3-hour cruise on the Hudson River, a gourmet 3-course meal, live entertainment, and the views are complimentary! Alcoholic beverages are also available for purchase. 

Booking a dinner cruise in New York City on a rainy day is one of the best things you can do. Be sure to reserve your spot in advance to secure the lowest price for this luxury cruise!

3. Visit NYC’s oldest pub

Daniel and Bailey take a selfie at McSorley's Old Ale House in New York City
It’s an interesting bar!
Bailey with two beers at McSorley's Old Ale House in New York City
Double fisting!

If you like history and beer, McSorley’s Old Ale House deserves a spot on your NYC itinerary. What better way to spend a rainy day than hunkering down in an old pub anyway? 

McSorley’s Old Ale House is the oldest pub in New York City and just might beat out all those new, polished, swanky bars you’ll find in the city. This pub was first opened in 1854 by an Irish immigrant, Old John McSorley, and you can still feel his fiery Irish spirit here! This bar has withstood the Prohibition years by serving “near beer” which had such a low alcohol content, that it didn’t apply to the anti-alcohol laws. This was the time before the large, industrial brewing mechanisms we know today, so this ale was likely to have been made in bathtubs!

It has even managed to stay open through both World Wars, multiple economic downturns, and more recently, COVID-19. There are a lot of loyal patrons who are dedicated to keeping McSorley’s open for as long as possible!

Many of those great patrons include famous icons, such as Teddy Roosevelt, Harry Houdini, and John Lennon. You can see memorabilia from these notable customers, like an original “wanted” poster for John Wilkes Booth who was wanted for the assassination of President Lincoln (who also drank at McSorley’s), and Houdini’s handcuffs suspended from the ceiling. 

McSorley’s has faced quite a bit of change from its early days. Women weren’t allowed to drink here until 1970 when the slogan was “Good Ale, Raw Onions and No Ladies.” They now allow ladies, but still serve raw onion on the cheese platter – so some things never change!

If you’re a fan of old-timey pubs, McSorley’s is the perfect thing to do in New York City when it rains! You can get a beer for $5.50 USD (cheap for New York!) but you have to buy two drinks at one time, so everyone is double-fisting here! 

McSorley’s is located on East 7th Street, just a 3-minute walk from the Astor Place subway station

4. See a Broadway show 

The cast of The Book of Mormon say thank you after an awesome show on Broadway in New York City
The cast of The Book of Mormon!
Bailey at The Book of Mormon Theater on Broadway in New York City
Bailey at The Book of Mormon Theater!

Going to a Broadway show is a bucket list experience and it doesn’t require good weather, so it’s the perfect thing to do when it’s raining in New York City. 

Bailey is a huge Broadway fan and has seen Rent, Chicago, The Lion King, and Spring Awakening. On our most recent trip to New York, we went to see The Book of Mormon together and it was fantastic. You just can’t beat the atmosphere at a Broadway show, and there are so many famous shows to see whether you’re spending six days in NYC or less. 

You should definitely book a Broadway show in advance because they’re super popular. If you’re really keen to see a certain show, we recommend booking through Viator because there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to get tickets at the TKTS booth. Plus, you don’t want to queue up for over an hour in the rain! 

One of the best shows to see is Moulin Rouge, which has won 10 Tony Awards. It’s a real spectacle and the singing, dancing, and costumes are just amazing! If you like tragic love stories, this is for you. Tickets for Moulin Rogue start at $73 USD but prices vary a lot according to the date you want to go, how far in advance you book, and the seats you want. 

For those who love The Wizard of OzWicked is a must-see. This prequel to the famous tale has established itself as a legendary Broadway show in recent years, and some of its songs like Popular and Defying Gravity have become classic hits. This show is super popular, and you can get tickets starting at $124 USD. 

The packed Broadway Theater that shows The Book of Mormon in New York City
It’s such a fun experience to see the real Broadway!

Back to the Future is one of the newest Broadway shows, so even if you’re a die-hard Broadway fan like Bailey, you may not have seen this one yet! The show started in the UK and proved such a hit that it has come stateside to regale audiences with the adventures of Marty McFly. Tickets start at $78 USD and make sure to get yours well in advance as this show is very in demand.

Meanwhile, The Lion King is an absolute classic. It’s one of the longest-running Broadway shows of all time and over 60 million people have seen it since 1997. If that’s not a glowing review, then we don’t know what is! The production value of this show is on another level and come on, who doesn’t love this classic Disney story? Tickets for The Lion King are a little higher, starting at $150 USD, but that’s because it’s so legendary!

Or, if you want to learn more about the history of Broadway, you can also take this historical walking tour. An actual Broadway performer will show you around the area, taking you to famous theaters and cast hangout spots. You’ll learn all about the most beloved Broadway traditions and discover what makes New York City’s theater scene tick. At $39 USD, we think this is well worth doing for theater lovers! 

Related Read: If you’re visiting NYC and not sure how to start planning, we got you covered! Check out our 5 days in New York City Itinerary for the ultimate city experience.

5. Get out of New York City! 

New York is one of the best cities in the USA to visit, but it’s definitely not the only one. If you’re staying in New York, then you can still take a day trip to another city and see a little more of the country. This is especially true on a rainy day in New York City, because hopefully, you’ll find better weather elsewhere! 

Day trip to Washington, DC

Bailey and Daniel Take a selfie with the Lincoln Memorial in Washington Dc
Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC

Washington, DC is the capital of the USA and so there are a ton of important historical and political sites here. You can check out world-famous highlights including the White House, the Capitol, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and so much more. 

It’s about a 4-hour drive from New York City to Washington, DC, so if you want to take a day trip then we strongly recommend taking a tour. Otherwise, you’ll probably be too exhausted to enjoy the day properly. 

This full-day tour includes round-trip transport so that you can snooze in a comfy bus or minivan on the way there and back, and you also get some guided commentary along the way. 

You’ll also get to see the White House and the Washington Monument, and your guide will teach you more about the history and significance of these iconic landmarks. You’ll also get to visit the Arlington Cemetery, where thousands of US Army soldiers are buried, as well as President John F. Kennedy, whose grave is marked with an eternal flame.

One thing that we love about Washington DC is that it’s home to a ton of world-class museums. On this tour, you’ll get to visit either the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History or the National Air and Space Museum. Both are fantastic! 

We really like this tour because it takes all of the hassle out of a day trip to Washington DC, and gets you out of the rain in NYC! Plus, at $169 USD per person, we think it’s good value for money, too, since this price includes transport, your guide, and all activities. You can reserve this day trip to Washington D.C. online here!

Day trip to Philadelphia

Bailey poses for a photo with liberty bell in Philadelphia on a tour from New York City
Liberty Bell!
Inside Independence Hall in Philadelphia on a tour from New York City
Independence Hall!

Philly is a super charming city and it’s a huge historic destination. It may not be the capital, but did you know that it’s the birthplace of the United States?

In fact, Philadelphia is probably the most historic city in the USA. There are plenty of great Philly tours to take you to Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed, see the Liberty Bell, visit lots of museums, and Elfreth’s Alley, the oldest residential street in America. You can even take a tour focusing on Philadelphia’s history to see and learn as much as possible!

History is Philly’s main draw but it’s also a huge foodie city and we loved eating our way around here. It’s best known for the Philly cheesesteak, but tomato pie is also a must-try. It’s basically pizza without the cheese and although it sounds a bit disappointing, don’t knock it ‘till you’ve tried it – we loved it! 

You can take the bus from NYC to Philly in around 2 hours. It’s pretty easy to find tickets using sites like BusBud. Or for a slightly faster option, there are also plenty of trains, which tend to take around 1 hour and 20 minutes. 

However, if you’d prefer to have everything handled for you, you can also take this tour to Philadelphia. You’ll leave NYC pretty early in the morning and head to Philly in a comfy coach or minibus, and then there’s a really fun itinerary that comprises both the city’s historical highlights and its famous Amish country. You’ll get to see how the Amish live and take a tour of the area in a horse-drawn carriage, which we think is a really cool and unique thing to do – when in Philly, right?

This tour costs $169 USD per person including all transport and activities, so you’d probably struggle to do it much cheaper by yourself! We love this day trip to Philly from NYC because it isn’t terribly far and makes for a great escape from a rainy day in the city.

There’s truly so much to do in Philly. For those visiting on a day trip, check out our 1-day Philadelphia itinerary for more inspo! And if one day just isn’t enough, why not spend the night in Philly to see even more of this awesome city? If that’s more your speed, read our 2-day Philadelphia itinerary to get planning.

6. Check out a speakeasy

Bailey enjoys a cocktail at Please Don't Tell Speakeasy in New York City
Cheers!
Daniel rings the phone at Please Don't Tell Speakeasy in New York City to gain entry
The pay phone to get into Please Don’t Tell!

Speakeasies played a huge role in New York’s history and are now a fun part of exploring the city. Seeking out a speakeasy or two is a great way to avoid the rain in NYC, as you can cozy into these hole-in-the-wall joints and sip on some specialty cocktails, just like they did in the Roaring Twenties!

Speakeasies began popping up all over New York City in the 1920s when Prohibition launched the Roaring Twenties era. Prohibition banned the sale and production of alcohol, shutting down legitimate bars and building an underground drinking scene. Many of these speakeasies were run by organized crime groups, as you had to illegally smuggle alcohol from Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Famous crime leaders, such as Al Capone and Lucky Luciano, profited well from bootlegging. 

Speakeasies were hidden behind legitimate shops and restaurants. The name “speakeasy” came because people would have to speak softly, so the authorities wouldn’t be alerted of their hidden activities. 

While Prohibition ended in December of 1933, speakeasies remained. Today, you can find these hidden bars all over the city, and many have been designed to look like a bar from the 1920s. Some even still have passwords, and hidden entrances, or are only known from word of mouth, so the mystery makes them appealing to visit. 

We found a super cool speakeasy in New York called Please Don’t Tell. To find it, you have to go through a hot dog restaurant, enter the phone box in the back, and dial 1. The vibe inside is small, dark, and cozy– a perfect way to get out of the rain! While this bar was once a secret, it certainly isn’t anymore. It can get pretty busy, so I recommend making reservations online. It’s right down the street from McSorley’s so you can combine a visit to hit both. 

The Woo Woo is another fun speakeasy to check out. It’s near Times Square and reflects its seedy history of the 1980s before it became the commercialized area we see today. It’s full of neon lights and graffiti, even their website looks like it was built in 1980. You have to check the website to find out the password to get in! You can make reservations for the Woo Woo online, otherwise, there’s no guarantee you’ll get a table. 

If you’re interested in diving into the history of speakeasies in New York City, you can book this speakeasy tour! Not only do you get to hear crazy stories about the Prohibition era, but you will also get to find hidden speakeasies that you’d never know about without a tour. You can skip the line with this tour, leaving more time for drinking and exploring all the speakeasies of New York! The tour is $35 USD and has a fantastic guide, you will have to pay for your own drinks, but I think the whole experience makes it worth it – book this tour in advance here!

7. See the New York Public Library

Bailey walks down some stairs at the New York Public Library
Inside the New York Public Library
Beautiful buildings inside the New York Public Library
It’s stunning!

Nothing screams “rainy day activity in New York City” than visiting the New York Public Library. I don’t know about you, but there is something so comforting about the smell of old books on a rainy day, and you’ll certainly find that here!

The New York Public Library is a staple in the city, the architecture is stunning and dates back to 1895. You can easily get lost here for a few hours! Plus, it’s one of the best places to explore in NYC for free, which is hard to come by in this city.

This iconic landmark has been featured in tons of movies and TV shows, most notably Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Ghostbusters, Spiderman, and Gossip Girl! There are two lion sculptures out front that are quite famous as well, named Fortitude and Patience. They are great at taking selfies with you! 

When you first enter the library, you’ll set foot in Astor Hall. This is made up of incredible marble arches and a cascading staircase. This room is so extravagant you’ll feel like you’re in a palace, and it’s actually rented out for weddings (as seen in Sex in the City, when Carrie gets left by Mr. Big!). 

The Rose Reading Room is another famous hall, with stacks and stacks of books on large wooden shelves, almost like you’re in Hogwarts! The Children’s Center has the original stuffed animals from the Winnie the Pooh books, so there’s a lot of history for everyone here!

You can easily spend an hour or two exploring the library. It’s located in Midtown, just a few blocks from our next stop, so you can quickly go between the two and not get too wet from the rain!

8. Morgan Library

Bailey walks around the Morgan Library in New York City
It’s a work of art!
Bailey walks the library inside the Morgan Library in NYC
Such a collection!

Just a 7-minute walk from the New York Public Library, you’ll find yet another impressive collection of books at the Morgan Library! As I said, books and rainy days go together so well, you might as well hit two libraries!

The Morgan Library and Museum is a bit different though, as it was founded by J.P. Morgan, who also was the founder of the worldwide J.P. Morgan Chase Bank. He had such an impressive collection of books, manuscripts, and documents from his world travels, that he commissioned architects to build his private library. It is a stunning Italian Renaissance architecture style that compliments the vast amounts of books. It’s pretty impressive to think this was just one man’s collection!

J.P. Morgan Jr. realized that this collection was too important to keep private, and he gifted it to the city in 1924 for scholars and the public to use, fulfilling his late father’s dreams. The library houses the first editions of classical authors, such as Charles Dickens, Edgar Allen Poe, and Mark Twain, and even more literary masterpieces. 

Luckily visiting is one of the best cheap activities in New York City as tickets are just $28 USD. You can jump on the tour at 12:30 pm every day, which helps you understand the grandeur of this collection. However, we really enjoyed wandering around on our own, as there is a lot to check out!

Whether it’s blue skies or a rainy day in New York City, a stop at the Morgan Library is a must!

Related Read: There is no shortage of amazing views in New York, especially with its world-famous skyline! Read here to find the 5 best observation decks in New York City for views that are unmatched anywhere else.

9. Eataly NYC (Flatiron or Downtown) 

A market at Eataly NYC at the Flat Iron Building
Eataly is the best market for fresh Italian food and products!
Cheese counter at Eataly NYC, USA
So much cheese!

Eataly is an amazing Italian food emporium, and eating your way through it is the perfect thing to do in New York City when it rains! It’s basically an awesome market/eatery made up of lots of different restaurants, bars, and vendors that showcase the best regional cuisine from all over Italy. 

There are actually two Eataly locations in NYC. One is in the beautiful Flatiron building, and the other is in the One World Trade Center, so both are pretty cool locations! 

We also highly recommend doing a food tour while you’re in New York City, and this one includes a visit to Eataly in the Flatiron Building. You’ll enjoy some delicious Roman-style pizza here and learn more about the iconic location, as well as visiting other foodie hotspots nearby to chow down on NYC favorites like pastrami sandwiches and grilled cheeses! And come on, who doesn’t love comfort food on a rainy day? You can reserve this 3-hour food tour for $78 USD, and all of your food is included!

10. 9/11 Museum

Bailey walks through the 911 Memorial and Museum in New York City
The steel beams that collapsed at the 9/11 Museum
Display inside the 911 Memorial and Museum in New York City
Display inside the 9/11 Museum in New York City

Visiting the 9/11 Memorial and Museum is an important part of understanding New York City’s culture. The tragic events that occurred on September 11, 2001, shaped this city to be the resilient place we know today, and I felt that it was essential to pay our respects at the memorial and learn more about what happened. 

While the memorial is outside, there is a huge museum that contains photos, debris, first-person accounts, and media reports covering the attacks on the World Trade Center. The museum was really insightful to see the effects the attacks had on the city, plus it’s inside, so you can escape the rain for a bit in here. 

The outdoor memorial is two large pools where the base of the towers once were. There are engravings of the victim’s names along the edges of the pools, and once you see how massive these pools are, you’ll understand the scope of this tragedy. It is definitely a somber experience, but truly eye-opening. 

You can get tickets to the museum ahead of time for $33 USD. It is very popular and has timed entry slots. Once you arrive at your designated time slot, you can stay in the museum as long as you’d like. It’s giant, and we spent about two hours here. So if you check the forecast and see rain, be sure to plan a day at the museum. 

If you purchased one of New York’s city passes, entrance to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum might be included. It is one of the available activities on the New York CityPASS®, the New York Pass, or the Go City New York Pass, which are our top three choices! 

11. Visit Grand Central Station 

People walk through Grand Central Station in New York City
Grand Central Station is huge!
A vintage clock at Grand Central Station in New York City
The vintage clocks!

Grand Central Station is an incredibly famous train station that has been featured in tons of TV shows and movies, from Gossip Girl to The Avengers and everything in between. It’s also one of the busiest train stations in North America and it’s a really beautiful Beaux-Arts building that features a ton of artwork. In fact, Grand Central Station is one of the world’s most visited tourist attractions, and a rainy day in New York City is the perfect time to come check it out! 

Grand Central Terminal has 44 platforms, but it also features shops, a grocery marketplace, a library, bars and restaurants, a tennis club, and an event hall, so you could definitely spend a few hours here while it’s raining outside. 

And if you’d like to learn more about this iconic train station’s history and secrets, we recommend this tour. You’ll learn about the construction and development of Grand Central, as well as how it fell in disrepair for several decades after WWII before being restored by a campaign spearheaded by former First Lady Jackie Kennedy Onassis. They will take you behind the scenes and explore hidden rooms within the station, like the whispering room.

Your guide will also point out lots of design quirks and idiosyncrasies that you might not be able to spot on your own and you’ll discover the origins of the terminal’s most unique and recognizable features. This is a must for anyone interested in locomotives, architecture, or the history of NYC. It costs $39 USD per person and you can choose to go at 10 am or 2 pm. so book this Grand Central Station tour here!

Why We Book Tours with Viator

Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! We almost always book our tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:

  • Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
  • Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
  • Lowest price guarantee – If you happen to find the same tour at a lower price elsewhere, Viator will refund you the price difference.
  • Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
  • Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.

Check out the Viator website here! Or, for more info, read our detailed review about Viator here.

12. Have a Butterbeer at Harry Potter New York 

Butterbeer from Harry Potter New York 
Photo credit: Harry Potter New York 

There’s a giant Harry Potter store in the middle of New York City! For fans of the books and movies, checking out this magical treasure trove of wizarding goods is the perfect thing to do in New York City when it rains. 

From soft toys and Hogwarts uniforms to wands, trunks, and cosmetics, there is just so much merchandise on offer here. In fact, the store covers three stories and spans over 20,000 square feet, so you could probably spend hours here! 

This place is not just about shopping, either. There are a ton of fun activities on offer! You can grab a bottle of Butterbeer from the bar (which is a bucket list experience for every true Potter fan!), check out props from the films, and snap lots of photos, of course. 

When you enter the store, you’ll be given instructions to download the Harry Potter Fan Club app, which you can then use to scan a map of Enchanted Keys. You can have fun finding these keys on each floor of the store and when you do, you can scan them to unlock behind-the-scenes secrets.

The Harry Potter store does get pretty busy, so they often use a virtual queuing system so that you don’t have to spend ages waiting outside. This is a big bonus on a rainy day in New York City! Once your number is called, you have a whole hour to get back to the store.

And if you plan on treating yourself to lots of sweet treats like butterbeer, chocolate frogs, and an exclusive collectible wand, then you can book this bundle to save money. 

13. American Museum of Natural History 

A dinosaur at American Museum of Natural History in NYC
Kids will love this!
Stuffed animals at American Museum of Natural History in NYC
The animals come to life!

A rainy day in New York City is the perfect opportunity to check out some of the Big Apple’s top museums, and they don’t get much better than the American Museum of Natural History. This is the museum in Night at the Museum! While you might not see any statues come to life, there are plenty of other unique things to see here.

This is one of the most prestigious and celebrated museums in the USA, and it’s actually made up of 20 different buildings, which are all interconnected, as well as a planetarium and a library.

The collection includes 45 permanent exhibitions and over 35 million specimens, from meteorites and minerals to cultural artifacts and fossils. So basically, there’s always something interesting to see! If you want to really maximize your time, there are also private tours in New York City that will guide you through this massive museum.

You are required to reserve tickets in advance, which cost $28 USD for adults and $20 USD for kids aged 3-12. You can easily spend 3-4 hours here, so it’s the perfect way to wait out the rain while learning about the history of … well, almost everything! 

Money Saving Tip – Some of NYC’s best attractions unfortunately aren’t free. But that doesn’t mean you have to blow your budget to see them! We purchased a New York City attraction pass during our visit and it helped us save 30-40% on admission fees to top attractions like the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty. There are a few different options, but the top three are the New York CityPASS®, the New York Pass, and the New York Explorer Pass by Go City.

14. See the New York Yankees Play

The New York Yankees play at Yankee Stadium in New York City
The Yankees!
Bailey and Daniel take a selfie at a New York Yankees game in NYC
They lost but it was still fun!

The Yankees are one of the most iconic baseball teams in all of the USA and a symbol of good ol’ American culture. Catching a game at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx is a quintessential New York experience! And, like any good baseball game, a little rain never hurts.

While the stadium isn’t covered, if you reserve Yankee tickets in the 300 or 400 sections, you’ll be safe from the rain! 

If you’re visiting New York during baseball season, from March to October, you can catch a Yankee game. You can get tickets on Stub Hub, although we purchased ours on Viator. In case it rains too much and the game is canceled, Viator adheres to the Yankees reschedule policy, so you’re not completely out of the experience!

Getting to Yankee Stadium is simple, in fact, it has its own subway stop. You can arrive early to join a tailgate or grab your seats and get a beer and a hot dog from a vendor. This is the ultimate American baseball experience! Prices are a bit steep (as they always are at sporting events) $6 USD for a hot dog and $15 USD for a beer, but it’s a big beer so it’s worth it! 

While you might get a little wet if you catch a Yankee game on a rainy day, try to book higher-level seats because those are covered. Plus, they are a bit cheaper! 

15. See the Knicks or the Nets

The Knicks and the Nets are New York City’s two NBA basketball teams, and their rivalry is well-known all over the world. So if you’re a sports fan, or just want a rainy day activity with a great atmosphere, you should definitely consider checking out a game.

The Knicks (aka the New York Knicks) are from Manhattan and play their home games at Madison Square Garden – another New York City staple. Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets play at Barclays Center

Both the Knicks and the Nets play from October to April in the regular basketball season, and then if they qualify, the playoffs are from April to June, so you should be able to see at least one team for most of the year! 

You can check the Nets game schedule on their official website, and the same goes for the Knicks. The best way to find tickets is on Ticketmaster. You can buy them at the arena on the day but they often sell out, so it’s better to secure tickets in advance! 

If you’re visiting outside of basketball season, visiting the Madison Square Garden is still a unique experience. This giant arena hosts over 300 events a year, including concerts, hockey games (home to the New York Rangers), UFC events, and more. You can take a tour of Madison Square Garden to get a behind-the-scenes look at the logistics and operations of this massive arena, as well as see the VIP suites, the Knicks locker room, and backstage! This tour is $46 USD and is a fun way to get out of the rain for a few hours!

Related Read: Take a break from city life and get outside! A day trip to Niagara Falls is super easy from New York City – when else will you ever see such a grand waterfall!?

16. Eat a New York Slice

Daniel eats a slice of pizza on a food tour in New York City
Yum!
Pizza in New York City on a food tour
You need to try the pizza!

I always say that the best way to experience a city is through food! And what better thing to do in New York when it rains than taste your way through the city!? This city is famous for its New York Style Pizza – thinly sliced, folded in half, with so much grease it drips down your arm. YUM!

We actually ate so much pizza while we were here, and that’s because it’s so cheap and good! A regular slice is around $2.75 USD, just about as much as a train ticket. A regular slice is just cheese and sauce, but toppings aren’t much more. 

New Yorkers take their pizza very seriously, so you’ll find the top places beloved by locals. John’s of Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village is a top contender, along with Prince Street Pizza in Nolita, and Joe’s Pizza, which also originated in the Village, but has locations all over the city!

We ate at 2 Bros Pizza multiple times, not only because it was amazing but it was also right next to our hotel. While it’s not one of the “famous” NY pizza places, we loved it!

So as you’re running around the city, going from building to building to avoid the rain, stop in at any of these iconic pizza places and eat your heart out!

17. Metropolitan Museum of Art

Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City
Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, usually referred to as “the Met”, is a huge art museum, and the place where the iconic Met Gala takes place every year! 

The Met houses one of the most extensive collections of artwork in the world; in fact, it’s home to over 2 million pieces of art! You’ll need at least 2-3 hours here but if you’re a true art lover, you could easily stay for the entire day. 

In the European wing of the Met, you can see famous works by Paul Cezanne, Claude Monet, and Vincent van Gogh. There are also a ton of fascinating artifacts in the Egyptian wing – including an entire temple! Meanwhile, in the sculpture court, you can check out a ton of Greek and Roman sculptures, and from May to October you can also visit the rooftop garden for fantastic views of the city (there’s even a bar up here!).

The Met is closed on Wednesday, and open from 10 am – 5 pm on weekdays and 10 am to 9 pm on weekends. Admission costs $30 USD.

If you’re keen to explore the Met but just don’t know where to start, then you can take this guided tour. Not only is this a fantastic way to ensure that you get to see all of the highlights of this prestigious art collection, but you also get to learn more about the artwork you see and discover the stories behind these famous paintings and sculptures. Plus, you get skip-the-line entry, which can be a real time-saver as the Met is really popular, especially when it’s raining outside! It can be reserved for $62 USD, which we think is a good deal as this includes admission.

Or if you’re a real art lover, why not take this private tour instead? What we like about this tour is that you get to explore the collections that you’re most interested in, so you get a really personal experience that is tailored to your specific interests. This tour costs between $111-$285 USD per person, depending on group size, and we think that it’s a fantastic opportunity for art enthusiasts. 

18. Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral Tour

Bailey stands out the front of the St. Patrick's Cathedral
It’s so beautiful!
Inside the St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City
Inside the St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City

St. Patrick’s Cathedral is a beautiful cathedral in midtown Manhattan, and it’s actually the largest Gothic Revival cathedral in North America. You can visit for free (although a $5 USD donation is recommended) but the coolest part to explore is the catacombs, which you can only access on this candlelit tour.

You’ll meet your guide in Lower Manhattan and learn all about the cathedral and its role in New York’s history, before descending into the catacombs to discover the secrets below the city streets. This is such an atmospheric thing to do on a rainy day in NYC! 

There are actually very few catacombs in the United States so this is a pretty unique opportunity. The first bishop of New York, John Connolly, is buried here, as well as Thomas Eckert, who was one of Abraham Lincoln’s most notable advisors 

This cathedral tour costs $37 USD per person and there are multiple time slots throughout the day. It lasts for 1.5 hours and it’s such a great way to discover a different side of the city’s history.

19. Eat a New York City bagel

Bailey eats a Bagel from Liberty Bagels in New York City
Liberty Bagels are famous!
The New Yorker Bagel from Liberty Bagels in New York City
This is known as the New Yorker!

Here is yet another opportunity to eat your way through the city – the perfect thing to do when it rains in NYC. Just about as iconic as a New York slice is a New York bagel and Liberty Bagels is amongst the best. They are famous bagels that are kettle-boiled and they have a wonderfully fluffy homemade cream cheese. 

They have three locations around the city, so no matter where you’re staying in New York, you’ll be close to one. There is one on Broadway, another on Fifth Avenue, and the Midtown location is just a 10-minute walk to the Empire State Building. And while the Empire State Building isn’t the best rainy day activity, maybe you can catch a break in the clouds and check out the observation deck!

You can go with the classic order of a plain bagel with cream cheese, which is undoubtedly great, but they also have some impressive egg sandwiches. I tried The New Yorker which had egg, roast beef, and hashbrown. There is also a fried chicken bagel that looks incredible, so come hungry!

Nothing fuels a day of exploration better than a bagel breakfast, so this is an essential start to your rainy day in New York City!

20. Staten Island Ferry

Views of New York City from the Staten island Ferry in New York City
Views of New York City from the Staten Island Ferry in New York City

Taking a ride on the Staten Island Ferry is not only a great rainy-day activity but also a classic New York activity! This free ferry connects Manhattan and Staten Island and operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, making it super easy to take if you’re spending a week in NYC.

Before subways and bridges were built, free ferries were the only way to connect the boroughs of New York. The Staten Island Ferry is the only route that still runs, so it’s a significant piece of history, plus it’s a free activity in New York, which is always a bonus!

Once you get to Staten Island, there are some great things to do on a rainy day. You can check out the Booze History Museum (yes, you can drink while you go through the museum) or the Kreischer Mansion, which is a haunted Victorian mansion! You can also visit the Historic Richmond Town, which is a fully operational historic village. It demonstrates what life was like in the 1600s – it’s a pretty unique experience!

The Staten Island Ferry is not ticketed, so don’t fall for any scammers who will try to tell you otherwise. You can simply go to Whitehall Terminal to get a ticket and the ferries depart every 30 minutes. If you’re going during morning or afternoon rush hours (6-9 am and 3:30-8 pm), there are ferries available more frequently. We suggest riding the ferry to Staten Island during the middle of the day to avoid the crowds, it makes for a much more enjoyable experience!

21. High Tea 

High tea in NYC
So delightful!
A high tea display in NYC
It looks too good to eat!

High tea is another fantastic thing to do in New York City when it rains. I mean, sitting in a fancy tea room and eating finger sandwiches and sweet treats is pretty nice in any weather, but it’s the perfect way to pass a wet afternoon in the city. 

Perhaps the most famous place to take high tea in New York City is Palm Court at the Plaza, one of the city’s most iconic and timeless hotels. The menu includes the fanciest selection of finger sandwiches you’ve ever seen, scones, and lots of delicious-sounding sweets with difficult-to-pronounce ingredients. You’ll definitely need to book a table here, and prices start at $155 USD.

Or, you can head to the Blue Box Cafe, which is so named because it’s decorated exactly like the iconic Tiffany’s boxes! With a Michelin-starred chef in charge of the menu, Tiffany’s branded china, and beautiful views of Central Park, this is such a fun location for afternoon tea. You can also come here for breakfast, but we think tea at Tiffany’s is such a fun way to spend a rainy afternoon in New York. It costs $98 USD per person, and reservations are strongly advised!

And if you fancy something a bit more budget-friendly, or just love Lewis Carol’s classic tale, you can enjoy an Alice in Wonderland-themed afternoon tea at Alice’s Tea Cup, which has two locations in Manhattan. The Mad Hatter tea for two includes unlimited tea, three scones, two sandwiches, and a choice of cake with some mini cookies on the side for $77 USD.

22. The Friends Experience

There’s no denying that Friends is an iconic TV show. It originally aired from 1994-2004, and yet it keeps on proving its longevity – in fact, there’s now a whole new generation of Friends enthusiasts out there. It’s perfect comfort TV and it’s definitely one of the most famous shows to have been set in New York City.

So if you long to drink coffee in Central Perk and visit that cozy purple apartment, then you’ve got to check out the Friends Experience. In fact, not only do you get to explore recreations of the iconic sets, but you also get to snap photos as you recreate famous scenes – such as the ‘pivot!’ scene involving Ross’ couch, which is a real fan favorite! 

This is an awesome thing to do on a rainy day – especially if Friends is your go-to when it’s raining outside! 

The experience lasts for about an hour and costs $52 USD per person. This is a really in-demand experience so we recommend booking at least a couple of days in advance if you can. 

23. Listen to Jazz 

People play jazz at Birdland Jazz Club in New York City
People play jazz at Birdland Jazz Club in New York City

New York’s jazz scene is legendary, so what better way to spend a rainy evening than in one of the city’s top jazz clubs, sipping on a cocktail?

One of the city’s best-known jazz venues is Birdland, which has been around since 1949 and hosted many of the USA’s jazz legends. There are performances almost nightly, and they’ve even got a dinner menu in case you’re hungry! 

You can also check out Blue Note in Greenwich Village, which is a famously artistic neighborhood. The lineup here is usually fantastic, with prominent jazz musicians delighting crowds night after night. They’ve got a great cocktail menu with twists on old favorites, and you can even come here on Sunday for a jazz brunch. 

It’s also worth noting that Harlem was where jazz really flourished in New York City, so it’s also worth heading to an old-school spot there for the evening. On Friday and Saturday nights, you can head to Bill’s Place to travel back in time and enjoy live jazz in a speakeasy. This is also a pretty budget-friendly option as far as nights out in NYC go because tickets are $30 USD and you’re allowed to bring your own alcohol! 

Or, if you want to combine sightseeing and jazz, this sunset jazz cruise is an awesome way to do it. I mean, who says you can’t take a sightseeing tour of New York City on a rainy day?! On this cruise, you’ll sip cocktails on a tall ship as you admire the city’s famous skyline and see iconic landmarks like the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty. And there’s no need to worry about the rain spoiling things, either, because we did an evening sightseeing cruise in the rain and still had the most incredible time! 

This 2-hour jazz cruise is $98 USD. It includes the cruise and music, but drinks are on your dime – you can reserve your spot in advance here.

24. Swingers Mini Golf

Swinger mini golf nyc
Photo credit: Swinger Mini Golf NYC

Indoor mini golf is the perfect rainy day activity, but sometimes it seems like it’s more catered towards kids. However, that’s definitely not the case with Swingers Mini Golf, because on this course you’ll find cocktails, gourmet street food stalls, and a definite party atmosphere. 

They’ve got great DJs here and the crazy golf course is so cool and creative. It’s such a fun thing to do when it’s raining outside! It costs $28 USD per person for one round, or if you come before 5 pm on a weeknight, it’s only $24 USD. 

Swingers is open until late and they do allow walk-ins, but this place gets pretty busy in the evenings so it’s best to book your spot in advance!

25. Museum of Broadway

Museum of Broadway
Photo credit: Museum of Broadway

If you’re a huge Broadway fan like me, then the Museum of Broadway is such a cool thing to do in New York City when it’s raining. 

The museum was designed by a talented team of artists, designers, and historians who were determined to tell the story of Broadway in a fun and accessible way. I mean, it wouldn’t make sense to have a dull Broadway museum now, would it?

As you explore the museum, you’ll learn all about what it’s like to create and star in a Broadway show and understand just how much work goes into it. You’ll probably discover jobs that you never knew existed!

You’ll get to see tons of cool costumes and props and there are some Insta-worthy photo opportunities along the way. You can get tickets for $46 USD per person and I think that this immersive museum is such a fun way to brighten up a bad weather day! 

Related Read: You’ll be doing a TON of sightseeing in NYC, which can add up! To keep costs down, we put together this guide of the best New York City Attraction Passes so you can see the most, without emptying your wallet.

Where to Stay in New York City

Bailey with her luggage in New york City
Ready to check in!

New York City is huge – there is just no other way to put it! Even Manhattan (the area you’ll want to base yourself in) is a lot bigger than you think. That’s why choosing the right hotel in the right location is so important during your stay in New York.

Below, we’ve simplified it all for you by choosing a couple of the very best hotels available in the city. All three of these options have ideal locations close to attractions and the subway system. They all have amazing reviews, too, so just choose the one in your budget category and you’ll be ready to pack your bags!

Motto by Hilton – $$$

Motto by Hilton is a gorgeous hotel located in the Chelsea neighborhood only 600 meters from the Flatiron Building. The hotel features modern decor that has “speakeasy vibes.” In fact, they have a beautiful bar onsite that looks like the perfect place to sip an Old Fashioned. There are a variety of rooms on offer including some that are a little more budget-friendly, and some that are pure luxury with city views!

Prices start from about $400 USD per night plus tax. You can check prices and availability for Motto by Hilton online here!

Delta Hotels by Marriott New York Times Square – $$

Delta Hotels by Marriott New York Times Square is where we stayed the last time we visited New York, and honestly, we loved it! This hotel is the perfect combination of comfort and value for money. It was clean, modern, and our room had all of the amenities we needed for an enjoyable stay (air conditioning, k-cup coffee maker, steamer, large shower, big windows, etc). Plus, the location is ideal – it’s only a couple blocks from Times Square!

Prices do range, but they do go as low as $200 USD per night plus tax depending on the time of year and day of the week. You can check prices and book online here!

Nap York Central Park Sleep Station – $

For those traveling on a tight budget, Nap York is a budget hostel that’s an ideal choice. Although affordable, this property is immaculate and offers a ton of amenities for a great stay including air conditioning and a shared kitchen. The rooms are modern and the location is about as central as it gets! This property only offers dorm rooms, but they are affordable at as little as $100 USD per night.

You can check prices and book Nap York online on either Booking.com or Hostelworld.

Thanks for reading!

Daniel and Bailey take a selfie in New York City
Thanks for reading!

Don’t let a little rain spoil your time in New York City! There are a million things to do in this city, so you can still have an epic time exploring even if it’s raining. One of the things we love most about New York is that there is always something going on, even if it’s 2 am and downpouring. We even found some hidden gems trying to avoid the rain, making our time in the Big Apple even more memorable. 

We hope you found this guide helpful as you plan your trip to NYC. Be sure to check out our other blogs about the USA and Canada as you plan your travels, maybe you’ll find something new to add to your itinerary!

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