Looking for the best things to do indoors in NYC? Save these activities for cold and rainy 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.
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Last Updated: March 1, 2023
25 Things to Do Indoors in NYC for Rainy and Cold Days
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.
1. NYC Escape Rooms →
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 absolutely love their rooms. Some of the best and consistent escape rooms we’ve done.
BONUS: If you want to transform your home into an escape room, check out Escape Kit. They provide everything you need including printable puzzles, simple instructions, posters + invitations, and even a YouTube playlist.
See More: Your Guide to the Best NYC Escape Rooms
2. Learn a New Skill and Find a New Hobby →
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)
See More: 101 Hobbies to Start This Year – Organized by Types of Hobbies
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.
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.
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).
Birch Coffee is another popular spot. Should we do a full NYC coffee guide?
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 picked our apartment within walking distance from their Queensbridge location. Unfortunately, the gym scene has changed significantly since we moved.
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:
- Vital Climbing Willy is the largest bouldering gym (they acquired Steep Rock in 2021).
- Cliffs at LIC, which has a bigger top rope section
- Brooklyn Boulders in Gowanus if you’re in BK
- GP81, a small but fun training gym started by climbers. All the strong climbers go here.
- Metrorock in BK was also a lot of fun. The grading was way tougher than any of the gyms in the area.
See More: 7 Best Climbing Gyms New York City
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)
- JuggleFit, Flatiron (Learn to Juggle and Exercise)
- Forward Space, SOHO (Dance, Music, and Wellness)
11. Bury Your Nose in a Book
Head to the New York Public Library, the 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.
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. We might have to do this on our next visit.
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 was the best if you like traditional Japanese food. No photos are allowed there.
- Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare had a lot more cooked fish and it was more fusion.
- Per Se – We love Thomas Keller, so we went for my birthday. The food was good, service was surprisingly mediocre.
- Eleven Madison Park had the most exceptional service out of all the fine dining restaurants we’ve been to. The food wasn’t as memorable, but we had nothing to complain about. They also have changed menu to entirely plant based since we visited.
- Le Bernardin was our least favorite Michelin three-star restaurant.
See More: The Ultimate NYC Food Bucket List
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. We recently took our first cooking class and it was so much fun!
15. Watch a Broadway Show on Broadway →
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.
See More: Best Broadway Musicals in NYC + Tips to Get the Best Prices
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.
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 Brooklyn Bouldering Project (formerly 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 Cellar Dog (formerly 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.
- Grand Central, Midtown East
- Oculus, Financial District
- One World Observatory, Financial District – the highest building in the western hemisphere
- Summit One Vanderbilt, Midtown – one of the newest observation decks and mostly indoors
There are plenty of great spots to get amazing views of the city too, like Top of the Rock, The Summit, and The Edge.
See More: 11 National Parks to Visit in NYC
22. Go on a Tour
There are some spots in New York that you can only see through guided tours.
- 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 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.
See More: Free Museums and Museum Free Days in NYC
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)
Where to Stay in NYC
- Get comprehensive insurance for your trip.
- Find a great deal on NYC hotels.
- Arrange a rental car for your trip.
- Book a tour for your visit.
- Get airport lounge access.
- Buy a travel charger to keep your devices charged.
- Get a new backpack for your trip.
- Buy a NYC travel guide.
- Pack the appropriate shoes for your trip.
- Don’t forget your in-flight essentials.
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
Esther + Jacob
Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found 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 Las Vegas.
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