When visiting New York City you might think about strolls through Central Park and other outdoor activities, but thankfully, if rain gets in the way of your plans, you’ll still find plenty to do. In this so-called “city that never sleeps,” the options are practically endless indoors and out. These are just a few of the things you can do on a rainy day in the Big Apple.


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The Metropolitan Museum of Art Metropolitan Museum of Art
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Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

What Is It? The Metropolitan Museum of Art, or The Met as it’s more often called, is the largest museum in the Western Hemisphere, with a collection of over two million that spans the entire globe from antiquity to present. All are housed in a massive, gothic-style building that opened its doors in 1872 with many expansions taking place over the years since.

Why Do It? While anytime is a great time to visit, a rainy day is a perfect opportunity. Even if it rains every day for a week you might not see all that it has to offer.

Good to Know: Some of the not-to-be-missed works and exhibits include the Egyptian Collection with its circa 23-10 BC Temple of Dendur and circa 2440 BC tomb of Perneb. Be sure to see European paintings that include works by Rembrandt, Rodin, Vermeer and Botticelli and Italian artist Caravaggio’s The Musicians.

Shopping on Fifth Avenue Fifth Avenue
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Fifth Avenue

Shopping on Fifth Avenue

What Is It? Fifth Avenue is renowned as one of the best places for shopping in the world, located in the center of Manhattan, with the best stretch between 39th and 60th Street at NYC flagship stores.

Why Do It? This is a shopping haven, the home of everything from Tiffany and Louis Vitton to Gucci and Saks Fifth Avenue – if you can’t find it here, you probably won’t find it anywhere. While you may have to get a little wet while walking in between stores, bring an umbrella, it’s sure to be worth it.

Good to Know: One of the best ways to cap off a shopping extravaganza here is to head to the 7th-floor eatery at Bergdorf Goodman’s where you can gaze out at Central Park while sipping champagne.

Ellis Island Ellis Island
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Ellis Island

Ellis Island

What Is It? The Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration sits next to the Statue of Liberty and tells the story of Ellis Island as well as immigration from the colonial era to today via multiple galleries with photographs, artifacts and taped oral histories.

Why Do It? For millions of immigrants, their first glimpse of America was the Statue of Liberty followed by a visit to Ellis Island, the busiest immigrant inspection station from 1892 to 1954.  You can join a park ranger on a walking tour, or take a self-guided tour through the island’s historic halls, following the footsteps of the millions of immigrants while learning about their journey to a new life in America.

Good to Know: If you have an ancestor that came through Ellis Island, or aren’t sure if you do, you can search the database that contains the repository for over 22 million passenger records for those who arrived into the Port of New York between 1892 and 1924.

9/11 Memorial Museum 9/11 Memorial
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9/11 Memorial

9/11 Memorial Museum

What Is It? The 9/11 Memorial was completed just before the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and features 30-foot waterfalls that fit in the footprint where the Twin Towers once stood.

Why Do It? The pools measure nearly an acre in size and are said to be North America’s largest manmade falls. At the edge of the pool, you can read the bronze panels that are inscribed with the names of the 2,983 people who died in the terror attacks at the World Trade Center site as well as at the Pentagon and in Flight 93’s crash in Pennsylvania.

Good to Know: In addition to the memorial, you can visit the memorial museum which tells the story of the tragic day through multimedia displays, narratives, archives and a collection of authentic artifacts. It also provides details about the lives of the men, women and children who died.

Broadway Broadway
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What Is It? Part of Broadway between 42nd and 53rd streets, including Times Square, there are over three dozen Broadway theaters that put on some of New York’s, and the entire country’s, greatest shows.

Why Do It? You’ll be out of the rain and immersed in the home of the American theater industry. Broadway offers something for just about everyone from big-budget musicals to stage debuts featuring Hollywood stars.

Good to Know: Here you might have the opportunity to meet the actors afterward. At minimum, you’ll be a lot closer than you would have if you’d just gone to a movie.

Grand Central Terminal Grand Central Terminal, New York City
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Grand Central Terminal, New York City

Grand Central Terminal

What Is It? Grand Central Terminal is not only the world’s largest railway station at 76 acres, but it’s also the nation’s busiest. Every day nearly 700,000 subway riders and commuters use it – and it’s truly a living temple to the city’s illustrious past.

Why Do It? When you step inside, you’ll be stepping into a bygone era, with the elaborate celestial ceiling mural soaring above the stunning main concourse that was modeled after an ancient Roman public bath.

Good to Know: There are “secret” elevated passageways where you’ll get an incredible view of the concourse. If you’d like to do some people watching, come during rush hour, but if you’d prefer to admire it in peace, avoid that time of day.

Film Forum Film Forum
Credit: Film Forum
Film Forum

Film Forum

What Is It? New York is home to a number of great independent movie theaters, but the Film Forum is considered the best of the best. It’s also the only autonomous nonprofit cinema in the city and one of only a few in the entire country.

Why Do It? The atmosphere here somehow perfectly matches the mood of the carefully curated film that lights up the big screen every night.  It features two distinct but complementary programs, theatrical premieres of American independents and foreign art films, and repertory selections that include American and foreign classics, genre works, festivals and directors retrospectives. A third screen features extended runs of popular selections from both programs, as well as new films.

Good to Know: House specialties include classics by Orson Welles and international noir from Jean-Luc Godard as well as lesser-known gems.

Grimaldi's Pizza Grimaldi’s

Grimaldi's Pizza

What Is It? One of the best pizza joints, if not the very best, in New York.

Why Do It? New Yorkers love to argue about who makes the city’s best pizza, and it’s hard to go wrong with any of the main contenders, including Lombardi’s, Motorino and Di Fara’s, but if you only have time for one, the rain is a perfect excuse to go into Grimaldi’s and sample a slice with fresh-made dough, fresh house-made mozzarella and crushed tomatoes. It’s large and consistently thin-crusted to nearly the edge of the pizza, though not cracker-thin, with the edges often coming out with glorious, billowy charred bubbles.

Good to Know: Not only will you get a mouthwateringly delicious coal-fired pizza, but you’ll enjoy a fantastic view of Manhattan from one of the oldest and prettiest parts of Brooklyn, right under the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Top of the Rock New York City Skyline
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New York City Skyline

Top of the Rock

What Is It? The Top of the Rock is located 850 feet above street level in the Rockefeller Building.

Why Do It? While visiting the Empire State Building is a must, you obviously won’t be able to see the building itself, but from the Top of The Rock, you’ll get an incredible view of the Empire State Building, even if it’s rainy out. Look for other prominent landmarks too, from Central Park and the Brooklyn Bridge to the Chrysler Building and the Hudson River.

Good to Know: If you arrive shortly before sunset, you can enjoy both the day and nighttime views.

Radio City Hall Radio City Music Hall, New York City
Radio City Music Hall, New York City

Radio City Hall

What Is It? A world-famous entertainment venue known as the “Showplace of the Nation,” and headquarters for the Rockettes

Why Do It? 75-minute tours are available that will allow you to go behind the scenes of this historic venue and enjoy exclusive views of the auditorium while learning more about the history of its iconic Great Stage.

Good to Know: At the end of the tour you can even meet one of the Radio City Rockettes and commemorate the experience with a photo.

 American Museum of Natural History American Museum of Natural History, New York City
American Museum of Natural History, New York City

 American Museum of Natural History

What Is It? Located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, the American Museum of Natural History is the world’s largest natural history museum.

Why Do It? The museum offers plenty to keep you busy on a rainy day with more than 34 million specimens that include animals, plants, fossils, minerals, rocks, meteorites, cultural artifacts and human remains, occupying over two million square feet

Good to Know: There’s a 122-foot-long Titanosaur that will be on display through 2020. Other highlights include Irma the famous giant blue whale among a host of other dinosaur skeletons.

New York Public Library New York Public Library
New York Public Library

New York Public Library

What Is It? The New York Public Library is a public library system with 92 locations and nearly 53 million items as the country’s second-largest public library and the world’s third-largest.

Why Do It? One of the best free activities in NYC, it offers a lot more than books, including more than 90,000 programs each year. Even better, some 67,000 of them are free.

Good to Know: Check its events page to find out what’s going on, you might find everything from author talks and film screenings to poetry readings and concerts.

Chelsea Piers Chelsea Piers, Manhattan, New York
Chelsea Piers, Manhattan, New York

Chelsea Piers

What Is It? A huge sports complex on three piers that sits along the Hudson River.

Why Do It? It’s a great way to have fun while being active indoors. You can hit balls at the driving range, practice puts on FieldTurf, play hockey, bounce on a trampoline, bowl, dance, swim, climb and much more.

Good to Know: If you want to soothe sore muscles or just want to enjoy some pampering, there’s a spa here too.

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