30 Rainy Day Activities in New York City for Kids

Play the rainy day blues away at the Legoland Discovery Center in American Dream Mall. Photo by Diana Kim
Play the rainy day blues away at the Legoland Discovery Center in American Dream Mall. Photo by Diana Kim

When it’s raining outside, it’s time to bring the fun indoors. Our list of 30 rainy day activities brightens up even the dreariest day. We've included picks for NYC's most kid-friendly museums, fun stores where kids can play, and plenty more parent-tested picks. Of course, if you'd rather stay cozy at home, we’ve got you covered there, too, with creative indoor ideas in our Guide to Boredom Busters for Kids.

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1. Go Bowling

Challenge your kids to a friendly game or two of bowling—bumpers optional—at one of the many kid-friendly bowling spots throughout the five boroughs.

2. Immerse Yourself in a Good Book

Reading is a great way to spend a rainy afternoon. Head to your local "kindie" lit store to pick up a new book and support a local business in the process.

Climb the warped wall at New York Ninja Academy
The New York Ninja Academy offers group classes, birthday parties, and more. Photo by Sara M.

3. New York Ninja Academy

Expend some high energy with a visit to New York Ninja Academy, where kids can live out their American Ninja Warrior dreams.

4. Do a Science Experiment

Why stop there? Turn your kitchen into a laboratory for the day, performing some of these easy science experiments using everyday household stuff.

RELATED: 100 Free Things To Do in NYC With Kids

The Brooklyn Museums welcomes visitors five days a week
Enjoy the exhibits in uncrowded galleries at the Brooklyn Museum. Photo by Diana Kim

5. The Brooklyn Museum

Book a timed-entry ticket, and explore the spacious Brooklyn Museum.

6. Hit the Ice

You don't need to wait for winter to glide on a local ice skating rink. These indoor spots welcome visitors all year round in any weather.

Little girl plays with slime
When boredom strikes, mix up some slime. Photo by Ally Noel

7. Make Slime

Whip up a batch of slime for some gooey fun in the kitchen.

8. Go to FAO Schwarz

Grab your dancing shoes and hit FAO Schwarz to dance on its giant piano.

RELATED: The Best Children's Museums in NYC

Little boy touches a sea star at the Sea Life Aquarium
Dip your fingers into the touch tank at the Sea Life Aquarium at American Dream Mall. Photo by Diana Kim

9. Explore American Dream Mall

Hop across the river to visit the American Dream Mall and its family-friendly attractions, including the Angry Birds mini-golf course, Sea Life Aquarium, and Legoland Discovery Center.

10. Hit The Cliffs

Climb the walls at The Cliffs Harlem or one of these other rock-climbing spots in the city.

Sour Patch Kids Store is filled to the brim with candy
The Sour Patch Kids store has a jaw-dropping array of sweet-and-sour goodies sure to distract you from the gloomy weather.

11. Visit the Candy Store

Head to one of NYC's many candy shops where your kids (and you) can sample something sweet.

12. Head to an Indoor Family Play Space

Peruse the aisles and enjoy a little playtime at family-experience store CAMP, which has locations in Columbus Circle, Hudson Yards, Flatiron, and Downtown Brooklyn. Its Cosmic CAMP theme takes over the flagship store through Halloween.

13. Get Magical at Harry Potter New York

Grab your wand and enjoy a magical journey through the Wizarding World at Harry Potter New York. Toast the day with a frothy mug of butterbeer.

RELATED: 50 Indoor Crafts and Activities To Do With Kids on a Rainy Day

Rainy Day Activities for New York City Kids New York Aquarium sharks
Get up close to sea life at Ocean Wonders: Sharks! Photo by Julie Larsen Maher for WCS

14. Visit the Aquarium

Take the train to Coney Island to the New York Aquarium, where you'll be able to view the awesome Ocean's Wonders: Sharks! exhibit plus the Spineless installation. Both are indoors.

15. Get Creative at Playday

Book a session at creative play space Playday, which has locations in Long Island City and Cobble Hill.

16. Romp in a Play Space

Several of our favorite indoor playgrounds are ready to welcome visitors with safety top of mind.

Rainy Day Activities for New York City Kids Krispy Kreme
Pose for a picture with the stadium-style seating made to look like a freshly packed box of doughnuts before you leave! Photo by Jody Mercier

17. Eat Doughnuts

Warm up with a "hot now" donut at the Krispy Kreme mega shop in the middle of Times Square.

18. Hit a Children's Museum

We can't pick a favorite between the Brooklyn Children's Museum and the Children's Museum of Manhattan, but promise they're both crowd pleasers!

RELATED: 25 Exercise Games and Indoor Activities to Get Kids Moving

Artechouse's installations are mesmerizing for visitors big and little. Photo by Diana Kim

19. Be Dazzled at Artechouse

Immerse yourself in the audio-visual exhibits at Artechouse, a cavernous gallery space in Chelsea Market. Stick around afterward to enjoy the dining and shopping destination.

20. Tour Grand Central

Explore the walkways and hallways of Grand Central Terminal.

21. Take a Trip to the Zoo

Check out the little-known Staten Island Zoo. Many of the exhibits there are indoors, including the aquarium, bird conservatory, and reptile wing.

Familiy views the art at The Met Cloisters
Surround yourself with medieval unicorn tapestries—and more—at The Met Cloisters. Photo by Debra via Flickr

22. See the Met Cloisters

Gawk at the unicorn tapestries at the Met Cloisters, which boasts a trove of Medieval treasures to enchant kids of all ages.

23. Explore Industry City

Visit Industry City, which is jam-packed with things to do, places to shop, and tasty treats to eat.

RELATED: 100 Things To Do With Kids in NYC Before They Grow Up

A head on a platter at the Museum of Illusions
Put your head on a platter at the Museum of Illusions. Photo by Jody Mercier

24. Be Fooled at the Museum of Illusions

Head to the Instagram-ready Museum of Illusions, where every visit lets you experience the impossible.

25. Play for Free

Go easy on the wallet and find an indoor spot where kids can play for FREE.

26. Explore a Specialty Shop

Explore one of our favorite only-in-NYC stores for trains, toys, books, fossils, and more.

Laser maze at the Spyscape Museum
Do you have what it takes to be a spy? Test your skills at Spyscape. Photo courtesy of the museum

27. Play Spy for a Day

Go undercover and explore the daring work of intelligence agencies and spies worldwide at the Spyscape Museum in Midtown.

28. Get Groovy With Tye-Dye

Get crafty with this easy, virtually mess-free, tye-dye technique.

RELATED: Free Times to Visit NYC Museums, Gardens, and Zoos

Rainy Day Activities for New York City Kids shop ar Essex Street Market
Stock up on local goods and specialty items at Essex Street Market. Photo by Jody Mercier

29. Expand Your Culinary Adventures

Pop into the Essex Street Market to explore its specialty shops and support its local purveyors.

30. Embrace the Rain

Who says you have to stay out of the rain? Embrace the raindrops, open the umbrellas, and go puddle jumping.

Originally published in 2018 and updated annually.

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