43 Things To Do on a Rainy Day Indoors in NYC

Diving into the sprinkle pool at the Museum of Ice Cream is a great way to cure rainy day blues. Photo by  Jody Mercier
Diving into the sprinkle pool at the Museum of Ice Cream is a great way to cure rainy day blues. Photo by Jody Mercier
9/15/23 - By Rosalind Muggeridge

Next time it rains, bring the fun inside with one of these 43 indoor activities in NYC. Our list of rainy day activities for kids 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 activities in our Guide to Boredom Busters for Kids.


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Best Indoor Activities in NYC for a Rainy Day

1. 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. Book Stores

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.

3. 81st Street Studio

Duck into the FREE, sprawling play space at The Met. The 81st Street Studio offers seven different interactive stations and is a great jumping-off point for a visit to the museum.

RELATED: Visiting The Metropolitan Museum with Kids

Indoor activities in New York City: New York Ninja Academy
The New York Ninja Academy offers group classes, birthday parties, and more. Photo by Sara M.

4. New York Ninja Academy

Expend some energy with a visit to the New York Ninja Academy, where kids can live out their American Ninja Warrior dreams. There's a Brooklyn location, too.

5. Indoor Swimming Pools

Nab a day pass to one of these local indoor swimming pools where the water is warm no matter the temperature outdoors.

6. Virtual Reality

Hit one of these virtual reality arcades where you can put yourselves in the middle of the action.

7. Science Museums

Activate your child's curiosity at one of these NYC science centers.

RELATED: 100 Free Things To Do in NYC with Kids

Things To Do on a Rainy Day Indoors in NYC: Brooklyn Museum
Enjoy the exhibits at the Brooklyn Museum. Photo by Diana Kim

8. Brooklyn Museum

Explore the spacious Brooklyn Museum.

9. Sloomoo Institute

Enjoy some ooey-gooey fun and make your own slime at Soho's Sloomoo Institute.

10. Museum of Ice Cream

Nothing beats the rotten weather blues better than a scoop of your favorite flavor, and the ice cream is all-you-can-eat at the Museum of Ice Cream.

11. Indoor Ice Skating Rinks

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

RELATEDBest Indoor Playgrounds in Brooklyn

Things To Do on a Rainy Day Indoors in NYC: AMNH Gilder Center
Step into the immersive eye-popping Invisible Worlds exhibit at AMNH's Gilder Center. Photo by Jody Mercier

12. Gilder Center

If you haven't been to AMNH lately, you must go to check out the attraction-filled Gilder Center. You'll forget all about the bad weather when you pop into the Butterfly Vivarium.

13. Trampoline Parks

These local trampoline parks are guaranteed to bring a smile to your kids' faces.

14. Jackie Robinson Museum

Channel the boys of summer with a visit to the Jackie Robinson Museum to school a new generation on this barrier-breaking athlete.

15. 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. Can't get enough Wizarding World magic? Plan in advance and book an outing to Harry Potter: The Exhibition, which runs through the new year.

16. FAO Schwarz

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

RELATED: The Best Children's Museums in NYC

Indoor activities in NYC: Sea Life Aquarium at American Dream Mall
Dip your fingers into the touch tank at the Sea Life Aquarium at American Dream Mall. Photo by Jody Mercier

17. American Dream Mall

Hop across the river to visit American Dream Mall and its family-friendly attractions, including the indoor winter park Big Snow, the Sea Life Aquarium and Legoland Discovery Center, or the always-warm DreamWorks Water Park.

18. High Tea

Whether you're channeling Eloise at The Plaza or Alice in Wonderland, a bit of precipitation is the perfect excuse to have a warm spot of tea in the city at one of these cozy locations.

19. Hit The Cliffs

Climb the walls at The Cliffs locations in Gowanus and Harlem, or one head to of these other rock-climbing spots in the city.

20. Candy Stores

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

21. Arcade

Save your quarters for the next big storm so you can hit one of these family-friendly arcades.

RELATEDCrafts for Kids: 100 Awesome Art Projects

Indoor activities in NYC for a rainy day: Connected Worlds at NYSCI
Kids get a kick out of the Connected Worlds exhibit at the New York Hall of Science. Photo courtesy of the museum

22. New York Hall of Science

From its padded little kid play space to its sprawling exhibits and 3D films, there's always something new to discover at the New York Hall of Science.

23. CAMP

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.

24. Indoor Gardens

Public atriums are a terrific place to pop in and enjoy a little dry warmth on a rainy day. These indoor gardens and atriums are indoor oases all year long.

25. Genius Gems

Drop into this Magna-Tile-filled wonderland for some impromptu playtime and build to your heart's content. Genius Gems also has a slime bar, 3D printer, and plenty more STEM-inspired fun.

RELATED: 30 Exercise Games and Indoor Activities to Get Kids Moving

Things To Do on a Rainy Day Indoors in NYC: Atrechouse
Artechouse's installations are mesmerizing for visitors big and little. Photo courtesy of Artechouse

26. Artechouse

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

27. New York Aquarium

Take the train to Coney Island to visit the New York Aquarium, where you'll be able to view the awesome Ocean Wonders: Sharks! exhibit and much more. Many exhibits are indoors.

28. Color Factory

Pose for photos or romp in the ball pit at Color Factory, NYC's interactive art museum.

29. Playday

Book a session at creative play space Playday, which has locations in Long Island City, Cobble Hill, Park Slope, and on the Upper West Side.

RELATED: 15 Brainy Puzzle Games and Jigsaw Puzzles for Kids

Indoor activities in NYC: The Met Cloisters
Surround yourself with medieval unicorn tapestries—and more—at The Met Cloisters. Photo by Debra via Flickr

30. 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.

31. Indoor Play Spaces

Several of our favorite indoor playgrounds offer drop-in sessions, but check to see if you need to make a reservation before heading out!

32. Children's Museums

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

33. RiseNY

Go soaring over the city on RiseNY's sky-high Times Square flight simulator and explore the adjoining museum.

RELATED: 100 Things To Do in NYC with Kids Before they Grow Up

Things To Do on a Rainy Day Indoors in NYC: The Museum of Illusions
Visit the mind-bending Museum of Illusions. Photo by Sara Marentette

34. The Museum of Illusions

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

35. Grand Central Terminal

Explore the walkways, hallways, and whispering wall at Grand Central Terminal.

36. The Staten Island Zoo

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

37. Ferry Rides

While an NYC ferry ride might not be 100% rain-proof, most of the ride is in the comfort of a covered boat. Along the way, you can see the city sights.

RELATED: 25 Card Games Every Kid Should Know

Indoor activities in NYC: Spyscape Museum
Do you have what it takes to be a spy? Test your skills at Spyscape. Photo courtesy of the museum

38. The Spyscape Museum

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

39. Industry City

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

40. Free Indoor Play Spots

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

41. Specialty Shops

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

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

Indoor activities in NYC: Essex Street Market
Stock up on local goods and specialty items at the Essex Street Market. Photo by Jody Mercier

42. Essex Street Market

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

43. Escape Rooms

Put problem-solving skills to the test and take the whole family to one of these adventurous NYC escape rooms. Forget about the rainy day blues as the mystery unfolds inside.

Originally published in 2018 and updated annually.