28 Things To Do On Rainy Days In NYC In 2024

person standing outside with an umbrella on a rainy day in NYC

When the heavens open and you’re faced with rainy days in NYC, you need to find sheltered, indoor things to do. This post will help you have a great day in New York City despite bad weather.

New York is a brilliant city with so much going on, but we have to face reality: the weather, especially in spring, autumn and winter, might not be our friend.

I’ve had rain on several of my trips to NYC, and on my first visit, it even snowed in March! In the past, I’ve been a little stumped about what to do with myself when it was wet outside, so I would have appreciated this list of ideas back then.

You could say I learned the hard way, so you don’t have to. In this post, I’ve included my suggestions for things to do on rainy days in NYC, and I also included suggestions from other travel bloggers, too. So whatever your taste, there’ll be an idea to keep you entertained in the dry.

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. These are links to products or experiences I recommend and if you were to buy something after clicking on them, I might earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Any earnings go towards the upkeep of this blog, which I appreciate.

28 Things To Do On Rainy Days In NYC

OK, here’s our combined list of what to do in NYC on a rainy day, split out into categories. Use the table of contents above if you want to skip around.

Entertainment For Rainy Days In NYC

1. Red Rooster Gospel Brunch

Contributed by me, Martha from MayCauseWanderlust.com

gospel singers on stage in a speakeasy-style venue
Sunday Gospel Brunch at Red Rooster in Harlem

My top recommendation for a wet, rainy day in NYC is a fantastic, drawn-out soul food brunch at Red Rooster. Not only is the food delicious and comforting for a cold day, but on Sundays, they host a spectacular Gospel Brunch.

The Sunday Gospel Brunch is held downstairs in a speakeasy-style venue, with an amazing live gospel choir performance. It’s the perfect place to hole up and avoid a rainy day in NYC and it is for sure one of the more unique things to do in NYC.

The Gospel brunch can be popular, though, so this might be best for a trip when you know rain is forecast ahead of time because your best chance of getting tickets is to book a table in advance.

However, they also have lots of other live music on the schedule, so if you miss out on Gospel Brunch tickets, there could well be other options that take your fancy and are available at short notice.

2. Jazz & Cocktails

Contributed by me, Martha from MayCauseWanderlust.com

cocktails on a lamp-lit table with a sign for a jazz pianist
Cocktails and live music at Bemelmans Bar

Another way to escape the rain and enjoy some music at the same time is to choose a cocktail bar with live music.

Bemelmans Bar in the Carlyle Hotel has live jazz music to accompany the cocktails in the evening. It’s an atmospheric bar in a legendary Upper East Side hotel. It has a unique décor, with murals by Ludwig Bemelmans, the creator of the classic Madeline children’s books. Enjoying a drink at one of their cosy, lamp-lit tables is one of the many romantic things to do in NYC.

There’s a live pianist in the early evening, usually from 5:30 pm and a jazz trio later in the evening. Does it get better than sipping a cocktail to live jazz music in the heart of New York City?

Heads up: there are cover charges, so be prepared for that (and pricey cocktails) – but my tip is to choose a drink you’ll only want to sip and make it last.

3. See A Movie

Contributed by me, Martha from MayCauseWanderlust.com

exterior of Village East cinema in the East Village of NYC
Village East cinema

I mentioned earlier that I had snow on my first visit to New York City, which was in March, so I wasn’t expecting it. I’m a movie buff, so on one particularly cold and wet day during that trip, I decided to seek refuge from the rain in cinemas.

I watched back-to-back movies, including one set in New York City, which seemed strange – to be watching the streets I was so close to on the big screen!

Going to the cinema is typically much less expensive than other forms of entertainment, so this can be a good one if you’re exploring NYC on a budget. And of course, it’s an easy thing to do in New York at night.

On that first trip, I went to a couple of cinemas near Times Square, but I have since discovered some of the arthouse cinemas in downtown Manhattan, including The Angelika and Village East.

4. Madison Square Garden

Contributed by Olivia McDonald From Defining Decade

basketball game played inside a stadium
Basketball at Madison Square Garden is great for a rainy day in NYC

Catching a basketball or hockey game at the world-famous arena, Madison Square Garden, is a fantastic way to escape the rain in New York.

Located in the safe midtown Manhattan neighbourhood, Madison Square Garden is just a quick subway away from most NYC locations.

When you arrive, you’ll feel the infectious energy in the air. From the talent on the field to the halftime performances, a game at Madison Square truly sticks with you. And don’t forget about the kiss cam – now that’s a laugh!

For me, it’s more than just staying dry – it’s about being part of a community of fans, sharing the highs and lows of the game. And as an Aussie, it was a great taste of the American college sports league. 

Grab some merch at the express shop and some snacks from the concession stand or how about a beer from the bar? You’ll feel just like a local fan. 

And hey, if sports aren’t your thing, Madison Square has a diverse line-up of other events, such as concerts and theatre performances ensuring there’s something for everyone. You can also do a tour of Madison Square Gardens, where you go backstage and see the VIP areas etc.

So, next time rain threatens to spoil NYC plans, grab some last-minute tickets and head to the Garden.

5. Go See A Live TV Taping

Contributed by Laura from Live Adventure Travel

Live With Kelly TV show being taped
Live TV show taping

Did you know that New York has a secret experience that not many people know? You can go see some of the world’s most famous TV shows for free while visiting New York City. It’s the perfect rainy-day activity!

On the list are some of the most iconic shows, including hosts such as Jimmy Fallon, Kelly Clarkson and Drew Barrymore. To get these tickets, you need to apply through the 1iota website. Here you can register your interest, which ultimately submits your application into a lottery, and if you’re lucky, you’ll be selected to attend a live taping. Normally, I enter every day I plan to be in New York to increase my chances.

Typical filming times can vary depending on which show you decide to see, but it is a cool experience no matter the viewing. It’s crazy to see what goes on behind the scenes of the show.

I have been lucky to see two shows live from New York, the first being LIVE with Kelly & Mark, which was held in the studio. I even won one of the audience prizes, so I was on the show for a brief second, which is pretty cool too.

And the second show I got to see was The Tonight Show, starring Jimmy Fallon, this one was extra special as it was filmed in Central Park. I didn’t manage to get tickets for this through the 1iota system. However, a few days before the tapping they announced that they would be releasing ‘standby’ tickets for anyone willing to queue outside the studio at a set time. So, of course, I jumped at the opportunity.

At the end of the show, Jimmy and guest Carrie Underwood stayed to chat with the audience and sing a little karaoke. It was special to see them be goofy and funny even with the camera’s off. I went solo and still had the best time!

Rainy Day Experiences In NYC

6. Art Galleries In Chelsea

Contributed by Catherine of Day Trip Nomad

neon installation at an art gallery in NYC
Escape into an art gallery on a NYC rainy day

What better way to spend a rainy day in NYC than exploring some of the finest art galleries in the world? The galleries in Chelsea have world-class exhibitions, often showcasing works from internationally acclaimed artists.

But what I love most is the sheer number of side-by-side showrooms, never knowing if you may stumble upon an emerging artist who speaks to you. Find contemporary and modern art spaces like the Gagosian Gallery and Dia Chelsea to niche galleries like 303 Gallery and Artechouse NYC.

The lively Manhattan neighbourhood of Chelsea is located primarily between the 10th and 11th Avenues and 18th to 28th Street. Walking towards the Hudson River, you’ll start to see the distinctive gallery buildings.

You can spend a few hours or the whole day here. Each gallery visit can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. With over 300 galleries in Chelsea, you certainly won’t run out of things to see.

Many galleries are free to enter, but it’s always good to check their websites for any special exhibitions that may require tickets. And if you prefer to have a guide, there are guided tours of the art galleries in Chelsea.

7. Russian Bathhouse

Contributed by Heather Kasvinsky of This Noshtalgic Life

Rainy days in New York City are the perfect excuse to discover some of the city’s indoor treasures. One of them is a Russian oasis: Wall Street Bath and Spa.

It’s located at 88 Fulton Street in the Financial District and is easily accessible via subway, with the nearest stations being Fulton Street or Wall Street.

I went to this Russian bath house with a friend on a whim and our experience was amazing. It’s like a cultural journey wrapped in warmth and age-old traditions.

We spent two hours moving between the saunas, steam room, and the icy cold plunge. Each space had a unique version of relaxation, with the hottest sauna providing intensity I wasn’t anticipating but loved. You can also choose to experience the famed platza treatment, where leafy branches are used in a rhythmic, soothing massage. It is exciting to observe others partaking in this traditional ritual!

A word of caution to those with body piercings, they heat up alarmingly in the intense warmth!

We wrapped up our visit with a quirky combination of a bold shot of beet-infused vodka alongside a refreshing glass of fresh-pressed carrot juice. The menu at Matryoshka, which serves the lower-level cafe, is worth exploring, with adventurous items like Cod Liver Salad and Beef’s Tongue. You might not be able to help but chuckle at the blend of health and indulgence.

Set a few hours aside and go experience this for yourself!

8. The Color Factory

Contributed by Roxanne of Faraway Worlds

blue room filled with blue balls
The Color Factory

The Color Factory is a great place to find some vibrancy on a rainy day. Tucked in the heart of Soho, the Color Factory is an experiential art museum that celebrates of colour and creativity.

Spend your visit wandering through the different rooms at your own pace, admiring the colours and the lights, and stopping at the photo stations for Instagram-worthy pics. The colour palette of the city is represented in the rooms, with the themes changing with the season.

The sensory experience goes beyond sight, incorporating sound, taste and smell. In some rooms, you’ll find tasty treats to try. Coordinated with the surrounding colours, they are a highlight of the trip.

For families, it’s a no-brainer. Kids will love the interactive lights, confetti room and the huge blue ball pit. Our favourite was the chromatic dance floor, which was an absolute hit with my son. It’s a silent disco where the floor lights up beneath your feet. 

The Color Factory is located in Soho, near the Spring Street station (C & E trains) or Houston and Canal Street stations (1 train). An average visit lasts around an hour to an hour and a half, but you’ll find the time passes quickly.

9. Summit One Vanderbilt

Contributed by Samantha Oppenheimer of Find Love and Travel 

Summit is one of the most Instagrammable places in NYC and one of the overall most popular observation decks. That being said, if it’s rainy in New York, there is so much more to this experience than just skyline views.

In fact, the best Summit experiences are all indoors with floor-to-ceiling windows and mirror rooms.

Summit One Vanderbilt has three immersive levels that are designed to awaken all of your senses. Enter into “a world of reflection,” peer down into endless space, and take a look at one of the many physical and digital art exhibits. You can then also spend some time peering out over the incredible New York City skyline and taking in the Big Apple.

You will probably spend around an hour here unless you choose to stay for food and cocktails in the Nordic style café. However, you may need to book tickets ahead of time to secure a place in the café.

There are three entrances to the Summit. Either head through the Transit Hall in One Vanderbilt, enter at the street level entrance at 45 East and 42nd Street, or you can enter through the Grand Central Terminal by walking through the Main Concourse Level.

Museums For Rainy Days In NYC

10. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Contributed by me, Martha from MayCauseWanderlust.com

On that rainy first trip to New York, I trekked up to the Met Museum on the Upper East Side, only to find it was closed! I was cold and wet by that point, so I was very glad to be able to get into the Guggenheim Museum instead!

But, to be honest, even if it wasn’t raining, I’d have wanted to visit this place. Arguably the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is one of the most unique and iconic buildings in the world, and I’ve been drawn back to visit it since. The white, round exterior shape is very cool, but the interior is more stunning: the central atrium gets flooded with light and around it spirals the walkway up to the top. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, it’s a modern spectacle and I think it should be on your NYC bucket list.

I was so delighted with the architecture, I didn’t mind that I hated the exhibition that was there on my visit (it was comprised of lots of latex and Vaseline and had quite an unpleasant smell). But the art exhibitions change all the time, so chances are you’ll be able to see a better one than I did that first visit!

11. American Museum of Natural History

Contributed by Candice from CS Ginger Travel

museum with dinosaur skeleton displayed
Dinosaur skeletons at the AMNH

A visit to the American Museum of Natural History is one of the most engaging things to do in NYC with kids and is a wonderful place to spend a rainy day in the city. 

The museum is in the Upper West Side of Manhattan and covers two city blocks. It’s massive and offers so much to do and see for the whole family. With amazing exhibits full of incredible dinosaur, African animal, and insect displays to sections focused on human origins, this place covers the whole gambit. 

No worries if the rain won’t let up because visitors can easily spend the better part of a day in this museum and still be fascinated by what they come across. In fact, we recommend researching which exhibits you want to see beforehand because it would be difficult to enjoy the entire museum in one visit. 

So, don’t let a cloudy day rain on your parade! Enjoy learning something new at the Museum of Natural History! 

12. Morgan Library and Museum

Contributed by Julie from Toronto to Anywhere

grand room with fireplace, high ceilings and lots of bookshelves
The Morgan Library

The Morgan Library and Museum is a quaint yet impressive museum in the heart of New York City, close to Grand Central Station. Once the home of prominent banker J.P. Morgan, the museum now houses an impressive collection of historical books, manuscripts, and artefacts.

While this museum has several galleries, it’s the main library that visitors come to see. The library was built in the early 1900s to house Morgan’s extensive private collection of rare books, manuscripts, prints, and drawings. Examples include handwritten pieces by Jane Austin, Charles Dickens, and Mozart, to name just a few! 

The library itself is a majestic yet intimate room with three-story-tall bookshelves, ornate murals and tapestries, a painted ceiling, and stunning stained glass. The first time I entered, I was mesmerised by the beauty of the library and the attached rotunda. Also found within the library is one of the Morgan’s three Gutenberg Bibles, displayed in front of the room’s vast collection of printed books.

In addition to the library, the museum also holds special exhibitions that highlight and display some of the historical pieces that are part of the museum’s collection. And when you are done exploring, there is a bright, modern café, perfect for a break from all the New York sightseeing. Finally, if you happen to be in New York on a Friday night, the museum offers free admission from 5 to 7 p.m. (reservations required).

Overall, the Morgan Library and Museum is an architectural treasure with a fascinating history and houses one of the world’s most famous libraries. It is an ideal place for a short escape from the rain during your next visit to New York City.

13. Met Cloisters

Recommended by Laura, Hi Friends It’s Laura

old church interior with stained glass windows
Inside The Met Cloisters

When caught in a deluge in New York City, find a break from the rain at the Met Cloisters.

Having experienced this museum of medieval art myself, I can confirm that it’s a respite for art enthusiasts and rain-dodgers alike. Nestled in Fort Tryon Park, this branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art transports you to medieval Europe with its exquisite architecture and serene gardens.

Wandering through the cloisters, I was mesmerized by the intricate tapestries, illuminated manuscripts, and medieval artefacts. My favourite activity was the outdoor gardens that cover the types of herbs, flowers and vegetables found in a Medieval hamlet. While not the best activity to do in the rain, it’s worth it if you can run between the raindrops.

The journey to the Cloisters is part of the charm, as it’s on the very northern edge of Manhattan and will give you scenic views of the Hudson on the bus ride there. The Cloisters are a 45-minute subway ride or 2.5-hour walk from the main Met museum.

If you buy a ticket to the main Met museum, you can visit the Cloisters on the same day for free. This will limit your time at each, so it may be worth it to visit them on separate days for the full experience. My tip: grab a coffee at the Trie Café and wander through the gardens, not caring if you get a little wet from the rain.

14. National Museum of the American Indian

Contributed by Mayra Carvajal from Life On The Roam

round museum interior with columns and frescoes
Rotonda inside the National Museum of the American Indian

On a rainy day in New York City, learn about the different cultures of the first inhabitants of the Americas at the National Museum of the American Indian.

The artifacts created by the talented indigenous artists represent all regions: from Canadian villages in the Arctic Circle to the desert in Chile. The display includes polychrome vases (some more than 1,400 years old), traditional clothing and jewellery, along with metal, clay and stone ceremonial objects.

I loved the colourful carved painted gourds from Mexico and Peru and the live demonstrations performed by artisans.

You may run into live events, such as the celebrations of the Day of the Dead or the Native Market in December. The exhibit also addresses the impact of colonization on the indigenous people, the resilience of their culture, and how they influenced aspects of our daily lives, such as language.

The museum is located across from the Bowling Green subway station at One Bowling Green, inside the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House. The former customs building is a National Historic Landmark built in 1907 and it’s an attraction in itself.

Allow at least one hour to see the exhibits, plus some additional time to admire the beautiful architectural details.

15. 9/11 Memorial & Museum

Contributed by Sydney from A World in Reach

remains of the World Trade Cetre towers inside the 9/11 Museum in New York City
The Last Column – 9/11 Museum

New York City is home to dozens of museums, but none are more moving than the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum.

The museum, located in Lower Manhattan on the site of the World Trade Center, shares the story of what happened before, during, and after that tragic day in 2001. The stories are told through artefacts, media displays, and personal recollections of those affected. 

If you’re interested in history or just want to learn more about the most sombre day in US history, visiting the museum is a must. It’s especially moving for those who can remember the events that unfolded that day and is a great learning experience for those too young to remember or understand.

My visit lasted about two to three hours, but it’s easy to spend more time absorbing the detailed exhibits.

If you’re planning on adding the 9/11 Museum to your 2-day New York City itinerary, book your tickets online for an off-peak time to avoid the crowds.

After you visit the museum, step outside to view the memorial: the two square reflecting pools marking where the Twin Towers stood and featuring the names of the 2,983 victims.

16. The Met

Contributed by Cate from Intentional Traveling

large grand atrium with people milling around
The Met is a great place to escape from the rain in NYC

A rainy day in New York is the perfect time to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art (commonly known as the Met).

The Met is the largest and most famous art museum in New York (and one of the best in the US!). Here, you will find everything from ancient Egyptian artefacts to Greek and Roman sculptures, European paintings, American artworks, and everything in between.

While you could easily spend an entire day trying to see everything at the Met, we would recommend spending around two or three hours on your first visit. Any more than that and you will probably need a break!

The Met is located at 1000 Fifth Avenue. To get there, you can take the 4, 5, or 6 subway train to 86th Street and walk west three blocks to Fifth Avenue.

The Met is open Sunday to Tuesday and Thursday from 10 am to 5 pm, and Friday and Saturday from 10 am to 9 pm. It is closed on Wednesdays.

When you arrive, be sure to grab a map at the entrance and decide which galleries and exhibits interest you the most. Try to see those first while you have the most energy! The Met is huge, and it can be draining to try to see everything in one visit.

Alternatively, consider taking a guided tour of the Met to see the highlights of the museum and to learn more about the history behind the art.

Indoor Landmarks In NYC

17. New York Public Library

Contributed by me, Martha from MayCauseWanderlust.com

grand room with high ceilings, tall windows, chandeliers and a fresco on the ceiling
The Rose Reading Room, NY Public Library

If it starts to rain and you want to find somewhere sheltered but also peaceful, why not dip into the New York Public Library?

This Manhattan landmark is free to visit and offers a tranquil, reflective space; offering a respite from the hubbub of the city.

It was built in the Beaux-Arts style in 1911 and guarding the entrance are two marble lions, named Patience and Fortitude. The internal stairways are very attractive, but the best feature, in my opinion, is the Rose Reading Room. This grand room had large arched windows, elaborate chandeliers and rows of classic lamp-lit tables.

The New York Public Library is a National Historic Landmark and you can visit it by following my free self-guided walking tour of Manhattan.

18. Grand Central Terminal

Contributed by me, Martha from MayCauseWanderlust.com

train station concourse with a green vaulted ceiling and high windows
Grand Central Terminal

Another great indoor landmark, which can provide shelter on a rainy day in NYC, is Grand Central Terminal.

On my last visit to New York City, I was keen to see the grand Main Concourse after seeing it in New York movies like Hitchcock’s classic North By Northwest (1959). I love the high vaulted ceiling and Beaux-arts style friezes, as well as some of the old-style décor and signage.

If you want to hang out here for a while, there’s a nice bar & restaurant up the steps near the big windows, called Cipriani Dolci.

Grand Central Terminal is in midtown at 42nd Street and Park Avenue, near the Chrysler Building (which is another place to see on your NYC bucket list – but unfortunately, you can’t go inside this one).

19. Radio City Music Hall Tour

Contributed by Ada of Beyond the Yellow Brick Road

exterior of Radio City Music Hall neon sign
Radio City Music Hall is an iconic New York landmark

When it’s raining in Midtown, consider popping inside Radio City Music Hall for a tour. Despite being one of the best-known theatres in America, if you’re anything like me, you don’t know that much about this Art Deco theatre which opened in the 1930s as part of the Rockefeller Center building project. 

The Radio City Music Hall Tour Experience is the perfect way to learn about the theatre’s construction, history, and architecture. These tours are offered 7 days a week and last about 60 minutes. On the tour, you’ll start in the Grand Foyer, continue into the lounges, and then go behind the stage to visit the VIP Room known as the Roxy Suite. You’ll even meet a Rockette!

I didn’t grow up going to the annual Christmas Spectacular Performance at Radio City Music Hall, so I was a little surprised by how much I enjoyed touring the theatre and learning about its famous dance company: the Rockettes. Our guide was so engaging and we learned all sorts of fun facts about the theatre such as which instruments are hidden in the carpeting. Since we were visiting New York during the holidays we even got to peek in on the Christmas Spectacular from a special viewing window. 

Food & Drink For Rainy Days In NYC

20. Eataly

Contributed by me, Martha from MayCauseWanderlust.com

fresh fish on a market counter
There are so many food counters to browse in Eataly

Eataly is an authentic Italian market / retail experience which started in Turin, Italy, as a place to find the best local products from all over Italy.

There are now Eatalys in dozens of places around the world, including three in Manhattan.

I’ve been to the Flatiron branch, which is close to the Flatiron Building and opposite Madison Square Park. It’s an extensive space, featuring market counters for fresh foods, plus restaurants, cafes, bars and food-to-go counters. They also do classes, so if you fancy learning how to make pasta or other Italian goodies, check out their schedule of classes and events.

On rainy days in NYC, you could browse and graze on food here for hours and I suggest it as somewhere to eat during my 4-day New York itinerary

21. Chelsea Market           

Contributed by Carrie Green-Zinn of CarrieGreenZinn.com

The iconic Chelsea Market, located on Ninth Ave between 15th & 16th Streets, is right under the High Line, in the hub of NYC’s Meatpacking District, Lower Manhattan.

Formerly home to the National Biscuit Company, the beautifully renovated factory is filled with some of the best food and hip retail shops in the city.

I love spending a few hours in the market grabbing a coffee or lunch and getting lost among all the pastries, cheese, and boutiques. There are often special events going on, as well, like live music, and fun seasonal attractions such as the famous Gingerbread Lane.

If you’re with a group, I recommend you choose a meeting time and spot because there is so much to explore in there, everyone might want to go their separate ways for a bit.

Take the Subway to the 14th St. Station, or park in the lot on 15th St and expect crowds! It is always busy there and you may need to wait in some lines for your purchases. Chelsea Market is open daily 7 am – 10 pm and is a great place to come in from the wet and cold to warm up with excellent gourmet food and drinks, shop a little, and be part of New York’s signature, lively marketplace.

You can also do guided tours of Chelsea Market, together with the High Line

22. Afternoon Tea Plaza Hotel

Contributed by Kayla of The Stickered Suitcase

Escape the rain in style by indulging in over a century of tradition by enjoying afternoon tea at The Plaza hotel.

This iconic Manhattan landmark exudes elegance and charm with a beautiful domed stained-glass ceiling, floor-to-ceiling arched mirrored windows, and lush greenery. Throughout the two-hour experience, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a scene from The Great Gatsby! 

Afternoon tea is served on a traditional tiered tray featuring an array of items from the prix-fixe menu of your choice which will include sandwiches, warm scones, and pastries ranging from macarons to mini cakes. There is an extensive selection of teas to choose from – a personal favourite that we enjoyed was the Rooibos Des Vahinés.

If your travel companions include younger children, they will enjoy this experience too, as The Plaza is the setting for the beloved children’s book series Eloise. The hotel sprinkles nods to the series throughout, but the Eloise-themed kid-friendly menu makes tea time an enjoyable experience for the whole family. 

Afternoon tea at The Plaza Hotel is a classic and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience with my mom during a mother-daughter NYC weekend trip.

23. Dim Sum

Contributed by Eleanor of Elevate Your Escapes

several small dishes of dim sum
Dim Sum

Dim sum is a Chinese cuisine of small dishes, such as dumplings, buns, and pastries. It’s a delicious and cosy way to spend a rainy day in New York City. You can enjoy a variety of flavors, textures, and shapes of dim sum, and share them with your friends or family. In more traditional Chinese culture, patrons will go to dim sum on the weekend to socialize with friends and the community or read the paper. It can be an hours-long activity!

There are two ways to experience dim sum in NYC: formal with a cart or fast-casual.

  • Formal with cart: This is the traditional way of eating dim sum, where you wait for the servers to push carts of different dishes around the restaurant. You can point at the dishes you want and they will serve them to you. There are also menu items that you can order specifically. While there are dim sum restaurants all over the city, the most authentic offerings like Jing Fong, Dim Sum Palace, and Dim Sum Go Go are in Chinatown.
  • Fast-casual: This is a more modern and convenient way of eating dim sum, where you order at the counter and get your food in a few minutes. You can choose from a menu of popular dim sum items. One of the best places to enjoy this style of dim sum is Awesum Dim Sum with locations in both Midtown and Flatiron.

Some tips for experiencing dim sum: go early or late to avoid the long lines and waits. And bring cash, as some dim sum places do not accept credit cards or have a minimum charge.

24. Fraunces Tavern & Museum         

Contributed by Francesca of Homeroom Travel

red brick building
Fraunces Tavern & Museum

Fraunces Tavern is one of the best things to do on rainy days in NYC, especially for history lovers, because it is one of the coolest historical sites in NYC.

Fraunces Tavern was established in 1762 and is one of NYC’s oldest and most historic bars. It was once the hangout for many of the founding fathers, including George Washington. It is the place where George Washington said farewell to his troops after the American Revolution. 

First of all, Fraunces Tavern is a delicious restaurant and bar. Visitors can peruse their awesome menu and grab a drink or two. This will take at least an hour to enjoy a delicious meal. The dining area is large, so there is usually no problem getting inside quickly. 

After grabbing a delicious meal, head upstairs to the historical museum. It is open from 12 pm-5 pm daily and admission costs $10. On the weekends, they offer guided tours. Once inside, visitors can see a ton of Revolutionary and historical relics. Make sure to check the website for historical events! 

To get here, visitors will need to head to Downtown NYC and get off in the Wall Street/South Ferry area. Once there, it is just a short walk from the subway to Fraunces Tavern. 

Overall, plan to spend at least 3 hours at Fraunces Tavern enjoying a nice bite to eat and learning about the Revolutionary past of the USA.

Shopping In NYC

25. Saks Fifth Avenue

Contributed by me, Martha from MayCauseWanderlust.com

new york city street with a yellow taxi outside a department store on fifth avenue
Saks Fifth Avenue (building with the flags)

On a rainy day in NYC, you might want to spend a little time browsing the fancy stores of Manhattan. And a good one to start with is the famous high-end department store, Saks Fifth Avenue.

It’s of the most luxurious and it’s right in the middle of things – occupying a whole block on Fifth Avenue opposite the Rockefeller Centre and next to St Patrick’s Cathedral (it’s another stop on my free self-guided walking tour of Manhattan). The Fifth Avenue store was founded in 1924, so 2024 will be its centenary.

It’s known for designer fashion and exclusive collections and with 600,000 square feet of store, you could escape the rain here for quite a while.

Despite not being a big shopper myself, I enjoyed simply walking around its elegant interior. I didn’t buy anything (I was priced out, to be honest!) – I just browsed and wandered.

26. The Oculus & Brookfield Place

Contributed by Hanit of Gotta Love New York

red and blue lights and a tall triangular ceiling at Oculus in New York City
Stunning indoor view of The Oculus

The Oculus and Brookfield Place are located right next to the World Trade Center and offer a wide range of indoor options for a rainy day in NYC. The Oculus is connected to the subway, and to Brookfield Place by a passageway.

The Oculus is a transportation hub and a shopping centre designed by the famous architect Santiago Calvatara. Looking like soaring white ribs from the outside, it is a very popular spot for photo ops.  The Oculus houses a shopping mall on multiple levels and has many options for food and drink.

Brookfield Place is located on the Hudson River and has a mix of upscale shopping stores such as Louis Vuitton and Ferragamo, a food court with amazing options, a French marketplace called Le District, as well as multiple restaurants.

Both Oculus and Brookfield Place hold events throughout the year and often have public art installations. They are always sparkling during the holiday season with free activities and holiday decorations.

The WTC subway passageway that connects the Oculus to the E Subway Train has been preserved from the original World Trade Center and is a poignant reminder of the events of 9/11 which happened at this location.

27. Macy’s

Contributed by Merry Allison of Virginia Vacation Guide

Macy's department store exterior with Christmas lights
Macy’s is a great place to escape the rain in NYC, especially in the holiday season

If you happen to be in New York City on a rainy day, there aren’t many better ways to spend your time than by shopping till you drop in one of the world’s largest department stores.

The flagship Macy’s store is located right in the heart of Manhattan at 34th Street and Broadway at Herald’s Square. It can easily be reached by subway at the 34th Street Herald Square station.

The store is the largest Macy’s in the world, encompassing an incredible 11 floors and 2.5 million square feet. This also makes it the largest department store in the U.S.!

I’ve spent many cold and dreary New York afternoons escaping beneath the iconic Macy’s sign and wandering the different floors and departments. 

Imagine visiting a regular Macy’s, but magnified by about a 100! You’ll find women’s fashion, ranging from formal, to sportswear, to work attire, boots, dresses, coats, purses, sunglasses, jewellery, and anything else you could be looking for. You’ll also find home decor covering everything from the smallest kitchen utensils to the largest furniture, curtains, rugs, and everything in between. 

Even if you’re not in the mood to shop (and I’m not a big shopper myself), it’s still a blast to experience the classic labyrinthian department store, which features some fascinating historic touches like wooden escalators!

And if you happen to be in town around Thanksgiving or Christmas, you’re in for the added treat of seeing the iconic Macy’s holiday window displays, which feature whimsical scenes filled with elves, reindeer, snowmen, Santa Claus, and more. 

It’s the perfect way to escape a rainy day in New York!

28. Hudson Yards

Contributed by Mayuri of Fernwehrahee

honey-comb like building surrounded by skyscrapers
Hudson Yards is famous for The Vessel, but also has great indoor shopping

There are so many malls in New York, but Hudson Yards is one of the best. There are more than 100 shops inside the Hudson Yards Mall, which should keep you busy during a rainy day.

If you feel hungry, treat yourself to a fine dining lunch/dinner at top restaurants in the Hudson Yard. If it’s clear enough to see the stunning skylines of New York with cocktails in hand, head to PEAK Bar (101st floor of 30 Hudson Yards). If you are done with shopping, you can have fresh coffee at Blue Bottle Coffee.

Even if you are not into shopping at all, you must visit this space for a notable building, The Vessel. This honeycomb-like structure is the main attraction of Hudson Yards. It consists of a network of staircases and platforms, providing you with different viewpoints of the surrounding area. 

If you are visiting New York during Christmas, it is illuminated with 2 million lights every year – it’s one of the best places to see Christmas lights in NYC.

Hudson Yards is at 33rd Street and 10th Ave in Midtown Manhattan – you can easily reach it in 10 minutes via subway from Penn Station.

The Last Word

I hope this post has given you plenty of ideas for things to do on rainy days in NYC.

And if you need any more ideas for exploring New York, check out my posts on NYC bucket list ideas and unique things to do in NYC.

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