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 in NYC for those rainy and cold, winter days.
Yes, it’s easy to stay cooped up inside waiting for spring to arrive, but think about the city’s endless things to do.
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Last Updated: Aug 28, 2019. First Published: Jan 15, 2018
25 THINGS TO DO INDOORS IN NYC FOR RAINY AND COLD DAYS
We’ve also had quite a few visitors asking us for recommendations. 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. Beat the Bomb was a fun new spin on an escape room where you try to defuse a bomb before it explodes paint all over you.
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
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.
5. Spend the Day at a Coffee Shop
6. Cheer on an Iconic Franchise
NYC has some of the most iconic sports franchises like the New York Knicks (or across town cheer on the Brooklyn Nets). 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, 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.
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.
9. Ice Skate Indoors
There are a few indoor and covered Ice-Skating rinks around town to enjoy!
- 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, 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)
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.
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.
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.
Speakeasies are popular in the city, 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.
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
22. Go on a Tour
There are some spots in New York that you can only see through a guided tour.
- Federal Reserve Bank, Financial District
- Rockefeller Center Tour, Midtown West
- Radio City Music Hall Stage Door Tour, Midtown West
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. You can easily spend a whole day at some of the larger ones. Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA, and American Museum of Natural History are touristy but for a reason.
Go to Gulliver’s Gate (Miniature World), Brooklyn Art Library (Art Sketchbook Library), City Reliquary Museum (NYC ephemera) for something more offbeat.
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
What to Pack for Winter in NYC
Where to Stay in NYC
- The Plaza, Central Park South / Midtown East (luxury) – for your classic NYC experience since it’s an iconic part of the city.
- Four Seasons NYC, Midtown East (luxury) – the nicest hotel we’ve stayed at as far as amenities go.
- Library Hotel, Murray Hill (luxury) – most memorable and our all time favorite out of all the hotels we’ve stayed at. Try to get the corner room. There are only a few of them, and they are always sold out.
- The Frederick Hotel, TriBeCa (mid-range)
- Hostelling International NY, Manhattan Valley (budget)
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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“Discovery consists not of seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes” – M. Proust