25 Fun Things to Do Indoors in NYC for Rainy and Cold DaysPin

25 Fun Things to Do Indoors in NYC for Rainy and Cold Days

As we sat inside listening to the news of the bomb cyclone with temperatures dipping into single digits, we knew it was going to challenge our spirit of adventure.

To help inspire you (and ourselves) to get out, here’s a comprehensive list of fun things to do indoors on a cold or rainy day in NYC.

Yes, it’s easy to stay cooped up inside waiting for spring to arrive, but think about the city’s endless things to do.

25 Things to Do Indoors in NYC When It's Raining and Freezing OutPin

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Last Updated: September 4, 2021


We’ve had quite a few visitors asking us for recommendations on what to do in New York City in the rain or snow. If you know of any other things to do indoors in NYC, please let us know.

Get a group of friends together and see how good your teamwork is in an escape room. So far, we’ve been 9 and have rated them from best to worst. It’s one of our favorite things to do in NYC on a rainy day or when it’s too cold to explore outdoors.

Next on our list is The Escape Game. We’ve been to the Vegas location and love their rooms. Also, check out their remote adventures while things are still closed. You can do an escape room with your friends over zoom and they’ve put together an amazing experience.

The Escape Game // Indoor Hangout Spots NYC and Best Things To Do Rainy Day NYCPin

Learn a new skill and maybe find your next hobby by taking a class.

  • Brooklyn Shoe Space, Williamsburg (Shoe Making)
  • Textile Arts Center, Park Slope (Weave, Knit, Crochet)
  • The Arm, Williamsburg (Letterpress)

3. Play with Cats at a Cat Cafe

26 Clinton St, 10002​, map

If you’re looking for things to do indoors in NYC, why not enjoy the company of furry friends at a cat cafe while you’re at it too?

We visited Koneko (Lower East Side), which is America’s first Japanese cat cafe. They have 18 adoptable kitties and serve Japanese-influenced food along with beer, wine, and sake. If you’re in Brooklyn, check out the Brooklyn Cat Cafe.

Koneko Cat Cafe + 25 Best Things to Do Indoors in NYC // Indoor Hangout Spots NYCPin
Koneko Cafe, America's First Japanese Cat Cafe + 25 Best Things to Do Indoors in NYC // Indoor NYC ActivitiesPin

4. Afternoon Tea or High Tea

If you’re looking for a sophisticated way to spend a few hours, have afternoon tea at The Plaza Hotel. It’s one of the most iconic New York attractions and was my favorite afternoon tea experience in the city so far. Other options are the Russian Tea Room, or Ritz Carlton Central Park.

Afternoon Tea at the Plaza Hotel NYC // New York in the RainPin

5. Spend the Day at a Coffee Shop

If you find yourself searching for fun indoor places to go near me, look for a coffee shop. It should be easy to find one near you a great activity on a rainy New York City day.

Enjoy a hot cup of java, bring a book, or chat with your friends. Coffee Project in East Village has great nitro coffee, and you can make it an experience by getting a deconstructed latte or nitro flight (pictured below).

Other popular coffee spots are Toby’s Estate Coffee and Birch Coffee.

Coffee Project in East Village + 25 Best Indoors Things to Do in NYC // Things to Do in NYC Rainy DayPin
Coffee Project + 25 Best New York Indoor Activities // Things to Do in NYC When it RainsPin

6. Cheer on an Iconic Franchise

NYC has some of the most iconic sports franchises like the New York Knicks (or across town cheering on the Brooklyn Nets is one of the best indoor things to do in Brooklyn). Go enjoy a game and stay warm inside.

Though hockey isn’t the best if you’re trying to escape the cold, you can go watch the New York Rangers.

7. Play Sports

If you rather be a part of the action but the New York weather isn’t letting you spend time outside, head to one of these indoor spots to play sports.

  • CityView Racquet Club, Sunnyside (Tennis)
  • The Complex Astoria, Astoria (Soccer)
  • The Gold Club at Chelsea Piers, Chelsea (Golf)

8. Rock Climb at one of the Top Gyms in America

Rock climbing is a growing sport and some of the top climbing gyms are in New York.

We like to check out different gyms while we travel, and Brooklyn Boulders by far had some of the most creative and fun routes we’ve seen. We loved it so much that when we decided to move to NY, we actually picked our apartment location to be walking distance from their Queensbridge location.

It’s part workspace, so you can bring your laptop and work there too. As far as indoor activities in NYC, we probably spent most of our time at the climbing gym.

It’s definitely one of our favorite indoor NYC activities. We’ve also climbed at:

  • Cliffs at LIC, which has a bigger top rope section
  • Steep Rock Bouldering if you’re in the city
  • Brooklyn Boulders in Gowanus if you’re in BK
  • GP81, a small but fun gym started by climbers. All the really good climbers go here.
  • Metrorock in BK was also a lot of fun. The grading was way tougher than any of the other gyms.
Ashima at Brooklyn Boulders Queensbridge NYCPin

9. Ice Skate Indoors

There are a few indoor and covered Ice Skating rinks around town to enjoy! It’s a great activity if you have kids.

  • Aviator Sports and Events Center, Brooklyn
  • City Ice Pavilion, Sunnyside
  • Riverbank State Park, Harlem

10. Try a Unique Fitness Class

We’re not keen on working out the normal way, so we like dabbling in unique fitness classes. At the very least, it’s one of the productive things to do on a rainy day and you’re trying something new.

  • Punk Rope, Stuyvescent Town (jump rope)
  • Sword Class NYC, East Harlem (Learn to Fight with Swords)
  • JuggleFit, Flatiron (Learn to Juggle and Exercise)

11. Bury Your Nose in a Book

Head to the New York Public Librarythe Strand Bookstore, or Housing Works Bookstore Cafe to pick up a new book or peruse a magazine. You can spend hours at any of these spots and it’s perfect way to spend the afternoon in New York in the rain.

Bury your nose in a book at New York Public Library + 25 Things to Do in New York Indoors // Local Adventurer

12. Have a Spa Day

If you’re going to stay inside, you might as well pamper yourself at Aire Ancient Baths, the Great Jones Spa, or most of the high-end hotels in NYC have spas.

13. Go Out to a Multi-Course Meal

NYC is home to some of the best restaurants in the world. Enjoy a pre-fixe meal that is truly an experience. Our all time favorite prefixed meals were in this order:

  • Masa had the best food if you like more traditional Japanese. No photos are allowed there.
  • Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare – had a lot more cooked fish and it was more fuion.
  • Per Se – we love Thomas Keller, so we had go for my birthday. Food was good, service was pretty good.
  • Eleven Madison Park had the most exceptional service out of all the fine dining restaurants we’ve been to.
  • Le Bernardin is the last of the Michelin starred restaurants we need to check out.
99 Best Places to Eat in NYC Food Bucket ListPin
Eleven Madison Park + Best Indoor Activities NYCPin

14. Take a Cooking Class

If you love to cook or want to get into it, sign up for a cooking class at the Institute of Culinary Education, Murray’s Cheese, or Mille-Feuille Bakery.

There are plenty of shows and plays on or off Broadway that keeps you warm and cozy inside for several hours. So far we’ve seen 10, and we’re currently working our way through them all. It’s the only time we walk through Times Square.

Hamilton the Musical + Your Guide to the Best Broadway Musicals and Shows in NYC + How to Get the Best Deals on Broadway Show Tickets + A Complete List of Current Broadway Shows, Off-Broadway Shows, and Off-Off Broadway ShowsPin

16. See a Comedy Show

If you love a good laugh, drop into any of these venues to see a comedy show: Comedy Cellar and Gotham Comedy Club for standup and Upright Citizens Brigade for improv, sketch, and standup.

17. Speakeasy

If you’re looking for indoor things to do for adults, speakeasies are popular, all you have to do is find them. PDT (Please Don’t Tell) is the most popular and touristy one, but you should also check out Attaboy and Angel’s Share.

18. Head to a Unique Bar (with Games)

There are plenty of bars in NY, but some of them also have games to help you pass the time. Kick Axe (Gowanus, Brooklyn) is a bar with axe throwing. At first, it might sound alarming mixing drinks and axes, but it was a lot of fun and had a lot more of a controlled environment.

You also always have an Axe-pert with you making sure you are being safe. Full Circle Bar (Williamsburg, Brooklyn) has Skeeball. Barcade is the original arcade bar that now has several locations. The original is in Williamsburg, but they’ve expanded and have several locations in the city and in Jersey.

Local Tip: If you want to try climbing too, Kick Axe is right next to the main Brooklyn Boulders. You’ll work out all sorts of muscles doing both.

Kick Axe Bar in Gowanus Brooklyn with axe throwing + 25 Best Things to DO in NYC in the Rain // Local Adventurer

19. Listen to Jazz

Enjoy an evening of jazz at Birdland, Blue Note, or Fat Cat.

20. Go to a Concert

There are a ton of concert venues in NY and you’ll most likely be able to find a show every night of the week at Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, and Music Hall of Williamsburg.

21. Explore an Indoor Tourist Landmark

There are plenty of NYC landmarks that keep you indoors yet offers great photo ops. Most of them are touristy, but they are still beautiful spots to check out.

The Oculus, World Trade Center's Transportation Hub, New York City + 25 Most Instagrammable Spots in NYCPin

22. Go on a Tour

There are some spots in New York that you can only see through guided tours.

23. Go Shopping

It’s no secret that NYC has amazing shopping. Although the main shopping districts are outdoors, there are some indoor shopping areas too.

  • Brookfield Place, Battery Park
  • Shops at Columbus Circle, Midtown West
  • Chelsea Market, Chelsea

24. Go to a World Class Museum

New York City has some of the best museums in the US and world where you can learn about all kinds of topics. You can easily spend a whole day at some of the larger ones. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art / MoMA, Guggenheim, Whitney Museum of American Art, and American Museum of Natural History are touristy but definitely some of the best Museums in NYC.

Go to Gulliver’s Gate (Miniature World), Brooklyn Art Library (Art Sketchbook Library), City Reliquary Museum (NYC ephemera) for something more offbeat. Or visit the Staten Island Museum at Snug Harbor to see the oldest cultural institution in New York City.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art + Top 25 Indoor Attractions NYC // Local Adventurer

25. Go to a Movie

Whether you want to see a major blockbuster movie or look for an indie film, there are plenty of theaters to choose from in the city.

  • Landmark Sunshine Cinema, Lower East Side (Indie Films)
  • Nitehawk Cinema, Williamsburg (Dinner & Movie)
  • AMC Empire 25, Midtown West (Dolby)

More Things to Do Indoors in NYC

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Where to Stay in NYC

How do you stay motivated to explore on rainy or cold days? Can you think of any other things to do indoors in NYC?  

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Esther + Jacob

Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, which is one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found both near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in NYC.

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Love the ideas! I want to go for afternoon tea in Ritz Carlton, but not sure it worth it

    1. Esther loves afternoon tea, so she always enjoys the experience :)

  2. This is a superb list. I often have my plans ruined by rain (especially in the UK)! I usually head to a museum, but some of these ideas are amazing! I like the thought of a cooking class!

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