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In many cities around the globe, a rainy day can be a total drag. However, that is 110% NOT the case here since it’s easy to find some of the best indoor activities in NYC!

But, because not ALL indoor things to do in NYC are created equally (aka some are way lamer than others), I decided to whip up this nifty local’s guide to some of the best things to do in NYC in the rain. 

This way, you can quickly and easily create a fantastic, stress-free, 4 day NYC itinerary – even if the weather doesn’t fully cooperate with your best-laid plans. 

And if you dare to read any further, you’ll discover a wealth of secret. insider tips and tricks, from a 30+ year local, all about the absolute best indoor activities in NYC. 

Yessiree, this post will be a veritable cornucopia of hidden gems that extend well beyond Manhattan’s well-trodden streets. 

So, what are you waiting for? Strap on your finest pair of galoshes and let’s swam dive into this post all about some of the best indoor activities in NYC! 

Dear wonderful, beautiful, and oh-so-amazing reader (Yup, I lay it on thick for my dozens of fans). Since I am incapable of making it rain money, there’s a high probability (like 99.999%) that this post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more information. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.

***Not sure where to stay in NYC or what the best areas in NYC are? Then check out 414 Hotel (Rooms at this chic, Hell’s Kitchen hotel start at $159 per night and include fridges, flat-screen TVs, and iPod docks. There’s even a working fireplace in the lobby!), The James New York (Chic, modern rooms at this Soho hotel start at $177 per night and feature high ceilings, floor to ceiling windows, glassed-off bathrooms, plush linens made from natural materials, and more), The Bowery Hotel, (Rooms at this 5-star, Nolita hotel start at $300 per night and are cozy, but stylish, with free Wifi, free bike rentals, exquisite city views, and more). and Pod 39 (Located in Murray Hill, this pod hotel sits inside a residential home from 1918. Rooms here start at $120 per night and are cozy and outfitted with queen-size beds or stainless-steel bunk beds with individual TVs and bedside shelves).***

Best Indoor Activities in NYC – Brooklyn

1. Escape Rooms (locations across NYC)

Escape Room Graphic

Real talk? I am hardcore obsessed with escape rooms, even when I’m not looking for the best indoor activities in NYC. 

That’s because not only are they super fun (since you get to solve uber-cool, time-sensitive puzzles with ten of your closest friends) but they come designed around pretty much every topic imaginable. 

So, whether you’re into zombies, vampires, or Harry Potter, you can easily find the perfect escape room for you and your family/friends. 

Plus, you know roughly what to expect since they all follow the same general formula. Yup, you’ll all be “trapped” inside of some room and will need to solve the clues to get out of the room before time on the clock runs out (you usually get 60 minutes). 

FYI, there are also different “generations” of escape rooms for you to enjoy. And they are::

  • Gen I – Very hands-on puzzles that aren’t really tech-heavy
  • Gen II (most escape rooms will be Gen II) – Puzzles will be a combo of traditional, tech-free riddles and more video-game-like activities. 
  • Gen III – Think of this as like a video game…but in real lise. So, pretty much all of the puzzles you encounter will have a big tech component and will feature lots of interactive screens.

All in all, just a super rad activity that is easily one of the best indoor things to do in NYC – especially since kids and adults alike will LOVE trying to figure how to get out in time (eek!). 

And some of my personal faves in NYC are:

  • BRAINXCAFE, Flatiron
  • Mission Escape Games, Midtown West
  • Beat the Bomb, DUMBO Brooklyn
  • Escape Games NYC, Tribeca
  • The Escape Game, Midtown (I’ve heard REALLY good things about this escape room and they have locations all over the country)

Pro Tip: Try and go with a group since it’s way more fun when everyone knows one another you can easily work together to solve a series of interactive puzzles, riddles, and clues in your surrounding environment. 

2. Enjoy Some Skeeball at Full Circle Bar in Williamsburg (Brooklyn)

Skeeball ramps

Ready to harken back to yesteryear when fanny packs were all the rage, when sequin leg warmers were super chic, and when skeeball was the defacto game of champions? 

If so then let me introduce you to your new best friend…Full Circle Bar.

Because as you probably already ascertained, this is a skeeball-themed bar in Williamsburg that is perfect for anyone who needs a bit of nostalgia in their lives. 

So, if you’re looking for some of the best indoor activities in NYC and are totally okay with boozing it up amidst a whole lot of kitsch, then enjoy one of five beers on tap or one of over 40 different canned beers…that not-so-swankily sit in coolers behind the bar. 

Yeah, not gonna lie, this is definitely a total dive bar and the perfect place to go if you’re in the market for indoor activities in NYC for adults.

Because they’re all about “the game” here and even have a TV up-front that features a live feed of people playing skeeball on one of three ramps in the back. 

Although, you could really go for the glory and order a $4 beer and hot dog combo if you need something to absorb all that alcohol. 

Address: 318 Grand St, Brooklyn, NY 11211

Hours: Open daily from 4:00 pm to 12:00 am, except on Saturday and Sunday when the bar opens at 2:00 pm. 

Price: Skeeball games are $1 each and you can get a beer and hot dog combo for $4. Otherwise, you can order a six-pack of beer for anywhere between $9 and $24 each (Go with the Montauk Pale Ale or the 6-point Pilz since those are both delicious craft beers from some of the best breweries in NYC). 

How to Get There: Take the L train to Bedford Ave station and walk to the bar from there. 

3. Go Indoor Rock Climbing

rock climbing wall

Are you an adrenaline junkie to the extreme? If so then one of the best indoor activities in NYC for you is rock climbing. 

And although there are tons of different places in the city where you can indoor rock climb until your arms beg for mercy, the Brooklyn Boulders outpost in Gowanus is definitely one of the best!

Because in total, they have more than 18,000 square feet of rock walls for you to climb on – a fact that should make your spidey senses tingle with delight. 

And if you’ve never been climbing before, then you can always opt for their 60-minute intro to climbing class (same price as a day pass) or try one of their pilates/yoga fitness classes instead.

Otherwise, if you’re a total climbing badass, then you can always do a bouldering class (climbing without ropes), a top-rope class (climb with a rope from above), an auto-belay class, and a lead class (you set the rope as you go and someone else acts as your belay). You know, just in case you really want to channel your inner Bear Grylls. 

What? Want a truly unique experience while taking in one of the things to do in NYC in the rain? If so, then why not scale up the Brooklyn Bridge?

No, it’s not the REAL Brooklyn Bridge, The gym just features a 30-foot replica of one of NYC’s most iconic structures that you can totally make your way up should you ever get bored of climbing regular old rock walls. 

And if you’ve already been here, then some other fantastic indoor climbing facilities in NYC are:

  • Cliffs at LIC – larger top rope section
  • Steep Rock Bouldering
  • GP81 – it’s small but all the serious climbers go here 
  • Metrorock – Also in Brooklyn and features super-tough grading

Pro Tip: Although Gowanus is their original location, this indoor climbing company/fitness brand now has a location in Queensbridge too (randomly enough, there are also outposts in Massachusetts and Illinois too). They also have an indoor workspace so you can always bring your laptop and get some work done too. 

Address: 575 Degraw St, Brooklyn, NY 11217

Price: Day passes are $36 for the day.

Hours: Open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 12:00 pm to 9:00 pm, Tuesday/Thursday from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm, and Saturday/Sunday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. 

How to Get There: Take the N/Q train to Atlantic Avenue/Barclay’s Center and walk to the rock climbing gym from there. 

Best Indoor Activities in NYC – Manhattan

4. Channel Your Inner “Crazy Cat Lady” at Meow Parlour Cat Cafe

cat resting at Meow Parlour cat cafe

Unless you’ve been living under a rock of pop culture isolation, then you KNOW that cat cafes have been all the rage for the past couple of years. 

Therefore, it should come as a surprise to exactly no one that New York City has several cat cafes for you to choose from – easily making this one of the best indoor activities in NYC (perfect rainy day activities in NYC). 

And of those super snazzy cat cafes, I’ve visited Meow Parlour (and Koneko) and had one hella epic time. Even though, full disclosure, I’m totally a dog person and am not super into cats (yeah, no Egyptian-level cat worshipping here).

But I mean, really, what’s not to love? You get to relax in a nice plush chair and then just pet all of the uber-cute kitties you want.

AND, if you should happen to fall madly and deeply in love with one of them, then you can always bring the cat home with you since all the cats here are up for adoption.

Because yes, Meow Parlour really is all about trying to find these kitties a solid home. Just do yourself a favor and make a reservation online since time slots tend to fill up fast. 

But, once you do arrive, just check-in at the front desk, sign a waiver, take your shoes/coat off, go over the rules, and sanitize your hands.

Afterward, enjoy the veritable bonanza of cat-related awesomeness that lays before you for about a half-hour (Or up to an hour since time slots vary by cafe).

Just be sure to keep track of the time though since employees won’t remind you when your half an hour is up. So, if you go over your time limit, you will be charged an additional $7.25 per half hour.

Pro Tip: Meow Parlour has a ton of cat-erific packages for you to choose from, including Yoga and Kitties (For $22 you get 30 minutes with the kitties, a 45-minute, beginner yoga class, and a 15-minute cool-down sesh), Drag Bingo (For $25, guests 16 and older can enjoy free pizza and 2 hours with the cats while playing up to 6 rousing games of drag bingo), and a Snack Time with Cats Package (For $35 you get 1.5 hours with the cats, 1 baked good, 4 macarons (or an ice cream sandwich), and one beverage).

***Meow Parlour is temporarily closed but there are some other cool, NYC cat cafes like Koneko (in LES = lower east side) and The Brooklyn Cat Cafe (right on Montague Street near the Brooklyn Promenade).***

Address: 46 Hester St, New York, NY

Hours: Open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 12 pm to 8 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 11 am to 8 pm.

Price: For one adult, 30-minute, cat petting sesh, you’ll pay $7.25 for an adult or $18 for a child (under 16) and their chaperone,

How to Get There: You could either take the F to East Broadway Station or take the Q to Grand Street Station.

5. Golf it Up at Chelsea Piers

View of the Manhattan skyline from Chelsea Piers.

I cannot tell a lie. And the truth is…I’m not really into golf. Like, not even a little bit. 

But, if you wanna get all Bagger Vance up in here while enjoying some of the best indoor activities in NYC, then golf it up at Chelsea Piers! 

Sure, there are other places in NYC where you can indoor golf like a champ, but this place does NOT require you to become a member – something that I for one think is pretty dang cool. 

It’s also conveniently located in Chelsea and has more than 52 stalls for you to enjoy that are spread all across four separate floors of the building.

If you can, swing by (see what I did there?) during off-peak hours since you can get 170 balls for $35, as opposed to $50 for the same number of balls during peak hours.  

And if you’re up for something a smidge more exciting, you could also give one of their simulators a whirl. They’ll basically whisk you away on a virtual tour of some of the most epic golf courses in the world. And all for the bargain-basement price of $45 per hour.

You could also get REALLY fancy and enjoy a private golf lesson on the facility’s very own driving range. And yes, it really does overlook the picturesque Hudson River. 

But wait, what if you’re not into golf? Well, no worries because Chelsea Piers is a HUGE sports complex where you can do other fun things like work out at Chelsea Fitness, sign up for an adult gymnastics class, go ice-skating at Sky Rink (it’s an indoor ice rink that is open year-round), go bowling at Bowlmor, or embark on a Hudson River cruise from the Maritime Center. 

Because, per usual, there are a lot of indoor activities in New York and there is just so very little time. 

Address: 59 Chelsea Piers, New York, NY 10011

Hours: Varies by facility but the golf club is open daily from 7:00 am to 12:00 am. 

Price: Starts at $30 for 170 balls during off-peak hours. 

How to Get There: Take the M23 bus across town to the stop at 12th Avenue and West 23rd Street and walk from there. 

6. Enjoy a Luxurious Afternoon Tea

One of the best indoor activities in NYC is enjoying a traditional afternoon tea service.

Pinkies up b*tches. Because we’re about to get fancy AF while enjoying one of the best afternoon teas in NYC.

And no, I’m not talking about the one at the Plaza since I think it’s SUPER overrated and one of the biggest NYC tourist traps around. 

No, if I had to pick one place to go for afternoon tea in NYC, it would be Kings’ Carriage House. I mean, it’s an absolute TREASURE on the upper east side where the only thing better than the old-world, chandelier studded, townhouse decor is the price of a classic, three-tiered, afternoon tea service.

Because an afternoon tea here costs just $29.95 per person and includes delicious things like smoked salmon tea sandwiches, sesame chicken salad, goat cheese tartlets, fresh scones with jam/clotted cream, raspberry ginger tartlets, apricot coconut tea cakes, chocolate pistachio tea cakes, lemon curd squares, and, DUH, tea!

However, if you REALLY want to go elsewhere for afternoon tea and enjoy one of the best indoor activities in NYC, then try:

  • Alice’s Tea Cup – Great for kids since it has Alice and Wonderland-themed decor. The price is also reasonable but I wasn’t overly impressed by the quality of the food when I went.   
  • BG Restaurant – Aka Bergdorf Goodman, this is THE place to go for a classic, high-end afternoon tea experience. It’s also pretty reasonable at around $45 per person. 
  • The Whitby Hotel – Even if you can’t stop by for their fancy AF afternoon tea, get a carrot cake sticky bun and chase it down with an English Breakfast blend (it’s a drink). Yup, you’re welcome in advance. 
  • Blue Box Cafe – This place is owned by Tiffany’s and has a Tiffany’s theme going. That’s why it’s SUPER popular and perhaps a bit overrated IMHO. Reservations are also a must since tables get booked months in advance. 
  • Baccarat Hotel – A great place in mid-town where you can go for a delicious Turkish afternoon tea service. It’s a bit more on the savory side of things though and features things like chicken pastilla. Really flipping delicious and well-done since this place is opulent beyond belief,

Pro Tip: Really want to live the HIGH life while you’re here? Then opt for their new High Tea service for just $39.95 per person. It’s just as delicious as their afternoon tea but comes slightly more substantial food items like baby truffled grilled cheese sandwiches (YUM). 

Address: 251 E 82nd St, New York, NY 10028

Price: Starts at $29.95 per person for afternoon tea. 

Hours: Closed Sundays and open Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm and Thursday through Saturday from 12:00 pm to 9:00 pm. 

How to Get There: Take the Q to 57th street station or the 4/5/6 train to 86th street station and walk from there. 

7. Eat All the Feels at Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market sign

Are you a hardcore foodie desperately seeking some of the best indoor activities in NYC?

If so then you should 100% run, don’t walk, to Chelsea Market. It’s located in the trendy Chelsea neighborhood of NYC and is a glorious indoor food/retail market that sits inside an old industrial factory. 

However, the assembly lines of old have long since been replaced by an awesome selection of independent boutiques and delicious eateries – vendors with an array of products that are sure to satisfy the tastes of anyone and everyone who decides to stop by. 

It’s popular though, so don’t expect to have this place all to yourself on a rainy Monday in NYC. Although, I can’t really blame anyone for hardcore loving this place since it’s home to amazing vendors like:

  • Artists and Fleas – It’s like this trendy flea market where local artists sell an eclectic assortment of super cool wares.
  • Bar Suzette Creperie – One word…crepes. So good. Yeah, I’m drooling IRL right now. 
  • Doughnuttery – Delicious freshly made mini-doughnuts.
  • Mok Bar – Korean-style ramen for the win!!! Gotta love ramen
  • Takumi – Japanese + Mexican food = heaven in my mouth
  • Very Fresh Noodles – Hand-pulled noodle dishes from Northern China. 
  • Ninth Street Espresso – Epic coffee
  • Num Pang – Cambodian style sandwiches
  • Fat Witch Bakery – You cannot leave Chelsea Market without getting one of their brownies. 

Pro Tip: If you can, try and visit during the week (not the weekend) when this place isn’t as packed with people. 

Address: 75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

Hours: Open daily from 7:00 am to 2:00 am and on Sundays from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm.

Price: It’s free to walk around but you’ll obviously have to pay if you want to buy anything.

How to Get There: Take the A/C/E from Port Authority, get off at 14th Street, and walk to Chelsea Market from there.

8. Bowl it up at Bowlmor

Bowling lanes

Looking for fun things to do in NYC in the rain? If so then bowling is always a solid choice since it takes you out of the elements and is a classic activity that can be enjoyed by adults and kids alike. 

And while there are tons of different bowling alleys throughout NYC, one of my all-time faves will forever and always be Bowlmor. 

Yeah, they basically completely changed the entire bowling game when they first opened their franchise and now have locations scattered all across NYC.

Although truth be told, their Times Square location is probably the most centrally located outpost for anyone visiting NYC from out of town. 

But, wait, why Bowlmor specifically?

Well, it’s basically part entertainment center and part bowling alley. Plus, they have a grand total of six different alleys (or 48 lanes in total) that are spread throughout two floors – lanes that each have their own individual decor “theme”, including Central Park, Chinatown, Coney Island, Times Square, etc.

Now, is it a little bit over the top and ridiculous? You betcha! But who cares? That’s all part of the appeal and that’s something that any potential children you have will totally ADORE.

And if you and your fam aren’t super into bowling, then you can always make use of their two different bars (FYI, Budweisers are around $9 each), arcade, billiards tables, and lane-side snack areas that serve iconic treats like nachos, French fries, chicken wings (not great IMHO)- easily making this one of the best bowling alleys in Manhattan.

But if you just can’t get past the whole, “it’s in Times Square” thing then you can always hit up Frames Bowling Lounge (midtown West) or Lucky Strike (also Midtown west) instead. 

Address: 222 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036

Hours: Open daily from 4:00 pm to 11:00 pm, with extended hours until 12:00 am Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. 

Price: It’ll probably cost you around $60 per hour, per person when you factor in games and shoe rentals. 

How to Get There: Take basically any subway line to 42nd Street and Times Square and walk from there. 

9. Hang Out at Fat Cat

Located in NYC’s always hoppin’ West Village, Fat Cat is a cheap, super, informal, low-key bar/hang-out spot where you can spend hours enjoying some of the best indoor activities in NYC. 

Because regardless of what indoor activities you’re into, Fat Cat probably has something that will appeal to you, including ping-pong, shuffleboard (between $6/$7 per hour), checkers, chess (play as much as you want for $1), and foosball ($1 per game). 

Afterward, grab a drink and spend your time chillaxing on one of their uber-comfy, slightly worn couches as you listen to a local jazz band jam out well into the evening. 

Whatever you do though, do NOT come here on a romantic date since this place has a distinct frat house vibe to it a la Animal House

You also will have to pay a cover to get in here but it’s totally worth it for the games, live music, and the fact that this place is regularly open until 5:00 am. 

Pro Tip: If you can, stop by on a Friday evening since the last time I was here, soul artist Naomi Shelton was performing here with the Gospel Queens up until 4:00 am. Trust me, this is easily the cheapest place to listen to great jazz music and enjoy some of the best indoor activities in NYC. 

Address:  75 Christopher Street, New York City, NY

Hours: Open Monday through Thursday from 2:00 pm to 4:00 am and Friday through Sunday from 12:00 pm to 4:00 am. 

Price: It costs around $3 to get in and then everything else is extra. 

How to Get There: Take the 1 train to Christopher Street Station and walk to Fat Cat from there. 

10. Catch a Movie at Metrograph

Metrograph NYC Commissary Bar

Okay, you know how I told you NOT to bring a date to Fat Cat? Well, feel free to ignore that sage advice when it comes to Metrograph.

It’s basically this plush AF, lower east side movie theater that has made itself an indispensable part of the movie scene in NYC. 

So, if you’re imagining old-school Hollywood style decor (think wood-backed seats) that is perfectly complemented by employees who look like they’ve just hopped off the cover of Vogue, then you know exactly why catching a film at Metrograph is one of the best indoor activities in NYC. 

And after you catch a chic, indie, 35mm flick here on one of their two screens, you can always check out their bar, order something from their quaint little on-site restaurant, or check out a bookstore that is devoted to all things cinema. 

Whatever you do though, just don’t come here to see the latest Hollywood blockbuster since that’s really not what this place is all about.

That being said though, I saw Casablanca here and it was flipping awesome.

Pro Tip: The actual movie theater is still closed, although the restaurant is definitely open. So, if you need to catch a flick, you can also try AMC Magic Johnson (Harlem), Alamo Drafthouse (City Point, Brooklyn), The Paris (midtown), and AMC Loews Lincoln Square (Upper West Side).  

Address: 7 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002

Hours: Open Monday through Wednesday from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm,  Thursdays and Fridays from 11:00 am to 2:00 am, Saturday from 10:00 am to 12:00 am, and Sunday from 10:00 am to 11:00 pm. 

Price: Movies start at $12 for non-members. 

How to Get There: Take the F Train to East Broadway station or the B/D train to Grand Street station and walk from there. 

11. Hang Out at the Russian and Turkish Baths

Sign for the Russian and Turkish Baths

Okay, so under NORMAL circumstances, I wouldn’t recommend spending time in any NYC spa. 

I mean, they’re usually expensive beyond belief and just not worth your time since there are a bunch of other, infinitely more cool things to do in NYC

But, since you’re obviously here looking for some of the best indoor activities in NYC, I cannot in good conscience forget to mention the city’s one and only, Russian and Turkish baths. 

Especially since (insert feigned shock and awe here) they’ve been around for well over 125 years and routinely cater to local celebs like Robert De Niro.

And I don’t know about you but if this place is good enough for De Niro then it’s good enough for me.

Plush, in addition to one hella refreshing detox sesh, you’ll also get to step inside one of the oldest remaining bathhouses in New York City. 

You also know that it’s pretty damn authentic since it’s owned by two Russian immigrants named Boris and David – both of whom routinely refer to the baths as a  ‘Schvitz’.

So, stop by today and enjoy some supremely authentic spa treatments, like a traditional Russian Platza leaf massage. Yeah, sign up for this and you’ll get smacked with branches that have been dipped in olive oil.

What, need a treatment that’s a bit less unconventional? Then enjoy one of the spa’s many pools or saunas. Also, be fully prepared because these baths are definitely co-ed. 
.
Although, they do set aside time on Wednesday, between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm, for women only if a sauna sausage fest isn’t your idea of a hopping good time. 

Address: 268 E 10th Street, New York, NY 10009

Hours: Open Monday through Tuesday and Thursday through Friday from 12 pm to 10 pm, Wednesday from 10 am to 10 pm, Saturday from 9 am to 10 pm, and Sunday from 8 am to 10 pm,

Price: Tickets are $48 per person, with some services requiring an additional fee.

How to Get There: You can either take the L train to 1st Avenue station or the 4/5 train to Astor Place station.

12. Enjoy a Coffee at Felix Roasting Co.

Felix Roasting Co.

Read my blog even a little bit and you know how hardcore obsessed I am with coffee, aka the nectar of the Gods. 

That’s why, one of my favie fave indoor activities in NYC is to sit in a charming little coffee shop, drink copious amounts of delicious java, people watch, and just generally be a beyond happy human. 

And while there are a ton of amazing coffee shops in NYC (so much so that I wrote an entire post about them), none of them have the ability to effortlessly transport you to the charming streets of Vienna quite like Felix Roasting Co. 

Because as you can see from the above photo, it’s a beyond opulent, plush pink coffee shop on Park Avenue South that is worth a visit for the decor and photo ops alone.  

Plus, I mean, hello, they actually have MILK on tap here and even serve a ton of specialty coffees that I didn’t even know existed. 

No, seriously. Give their smoked s’mores latte a try and I promise you will NOT regret it since they actually smoke the coffee and torch the marshmallow right in front of you.

A fact that is not all that surprising since Felix Roasting Company is all about unique coffee flavors, no matter how outrageous the combination.

So, stop by today and make sure to bring an open mind because while you’re here, the crazier the latte you order, the better.

You should also be 110% prepared to shell out upwards of $12 on a specialty coffee. But, honestly? It’s totally worth it. 

***PSST…some other great NYC coffee shops to hang out in include Coffee Project (get the nitro coffee), Birch Coffee, Toby’s Estate Coffee, and Ninth Street Espresso.***

Address: 450 Park Avenue South

Hours: Open every day from 7 am to 6 pm.

Price: Lattes here start at $4.75. 

How to Get There: Take the 6 train to the 33rd street station.

13. Shop for Some Used Books at Strand

Strand Bookstore in NYC 

Without a doubt, one of the best indoor activities in NYC of all time is to bury your nose in the stacks and go shopping for some used books. 

And there’s really no better place to engage in this supremely awesome pass time than Strand – one of the most famous and best bookstores in NYC. 

I also love that the staff here are always so friendly and only too happy to help you find any books that you might need.

Something that is mighty important when you’re looking through 2.5 million books that stretch out for a solid16 miles when measured out from end to end. 

It’s also located right near Union Square so definitely expect this place to get more than a little busy on a rainy New York day. 

Plus, fun little factoid for you. Strand was originally started by Benjamin Bass, an immigrant from Lithuania who came to the US and started the bookstore way back in 1927.

And since then, it’s remained in the family and is just one of the many great things to do indoors in NYC. 

Pro Tip: Definitely shop for souvenirs here since they sell some cool, book-related swag. You can also check out the rare books on the third floor or visit the star-studded ceiling of Albertine (another awesome bookstore) on Fifth Avenue if you’ve already been to Strand. 

Address: 828 Broadway, New York, NY 10003 (the main location, but there is also a pop-up shop and two kiosks)

Hours: Open daily from 12:00 pm to 7:00 pm, with curbside pick available daily from 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

Price: Free, unless you want to buy some books or merch. 

How to Get There: Take the 4, 5, 6, L, N, Q, R, or W trains to 14th Street-Union Square Station and walk to the store from there. Otherwise, you can take the M1, M2, or M3 bus to 4th Avenue/E 13th Street.

14. Visit The Morgan Public Library and Museum

The Morgan Public Library

Just a hoot and holler down the road from the New York Public Library is this badass of the NYC museum world. 

And if I’m being brutally honest here, I actually think that it’s infinitely BETTER than its literary cousin. 

That’s because not only does The Morgan Public Library look like a real-life version of the library from Beauty and the Beast (only on roids) but it’s a whole lot less well known.

As a result, it’s still not totally inundated with selfie-sticking wielding tourists. A next-level beautiful fact that allows you to semi-quietly take in the awe-inspiring majesty of an original Guttenberg Bible and an authentic Mozart composition. 

Just sprinkle in some enchanting, old-world architecture, amazing temporary exhibits, and a historically accurate recreation of Mr. Morgan’s personal study (fully bedazzled with plush, red velvet seats), and you have one of the best indoor activities in NYC.

And while tickets can seem a bit steep at $20 a person, you can always save some hard-earned money by visiting on Friday evenings, when admission is free between 7:00 pm and 9:00 pm. 

Plus, you’ll get to see a free, live jazz performance too! So, seriously, what’s not to love?

Pro Tip: After your visit, be sure to check out Grand Central Terminal, the New York Public Library, and Bryant Park since they are all right here. And if you’re hungry, you can also grab some delicious green tea crepe cake from Lady M Cake Boutique near Bryant Park.

Address: 225 Madison Ave, New York, NY

Price: Tickets are $22 for adults, $14 for seniors (65+), $13 for students with an ID, and free for members/kids 12 and under.

Hours: Open Tuesday through Friday from 10:30 am to 5:00 pm (except open late, until 9 pm on Fridays), Saturdays from 10 am to 6:00 pm, and Sundays from 11 am to 6 pm.

How to Get There: Take basically any subway line in existence to Times Square and walk to the Morgan Public Library from there.

Best Indoor Activities in NYC – Queens

15. Go Ice-Skating at City Ice Pavillion

women lacing her ice skates

As much as I love the ethereal, winter-wonderland feels of NYC’s many outdoor ice skating rinks, it’s sometimes just too damn cold or rainy to go skating in the great outdoors.

And that’s why awesome indoor ice rinks like City Ice Pavillion in Long Island City, Queens can come in mighty handy.

Yup, it’s just a super cool (get my lame pun there?) place where you can totally land that immortal triple axel of yours. 

Or, you could always just leave the Tonya Harting-esp moves to the pros and just come here for a public skate, a birthday party, or a variety of different lessons (daily open lessons are also available too). 

It’s also a relatively short commute from Manhattan and a fairly low-key facility since the rink quietly sits atop a mattress store.

Plus, it’s actually an epic, NHL-size, rooftop rink that is open year-round (it sits under a weatherproof air dome), with an additional, smaller, second rink if you need a quiet place for practice those sweet, sweet skate moves of yours. 

But, if you don’t feel like schlepping all the way out to Long Island City, you could always do an indoor skate sesh at the Sky Rink at the aforementioned Chelsea Piers instead. 

Address: 47-32 32nd Pl, Long Island City, NY 11101

Hours: Open daily from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm. 

Price: 80-minute freestyle skating sessions start at $30 per person and you need your own skates. 

How to Get There: Take the 7 train to 33 Street and Rawson Street station and walk to the rink from there. 

16. Stop by the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens

Just a short 15-minute subway ride away from Manhattan is the uber-fab, Museum of the Moving Image – one of the coolest museums in NYC and one of the best indoor activities in NYC too!

It quietly sits in Astoria, Queens, and is tucked away inside the historic, Kaufman Astoria Studios.

Because before there was Hollywood, California, there was Queens. And FYI, I really am telling the truth since most major motion pictures were actually filmed here prior to that start of the 1930s. 

So, iconic movies like The Return of Sherlock Holmes (aka the first Sherlock Holmes film with sound) were shot right here, in this historic district –  a place that has since been used as the filming location for cinematic masterpieces like Goodfellas, Carlito’s Way, and Sesame Street.

And then, as of 1988, the entire facility was transformed into the modern-day complex that we now all know and love, complete with 130,000+ artifacts that include things like Elizabeth Taylor’s wig from Cleopatra, vintage cameras, optical illusion toys from the 19th-century, and historic arcade games (Ms. Pac-Man for the win. And yes, you can totally play these games). 

So, stop by today, enjoy making your own flipbook at the aptly named DIY flip-book station, try your hand at redubbing some iconic lines from The Wizard of Oz, and learn all about the science behind the art of movie-making at the “Behind the Scenes” exhibition. 

Whatever you do though, don’t leave without visiting “The Jim Henson Exhibition” (gotta love The Muppets) and catching a flick in their 267-seat cinema, which regularly hosts epic film screenings. 

Pro Tip: Stop by on Fridays for FREE admission between 4:00 pm and 8:00 pm. And since you’re in Astoria, get some grub at Ovelia since it’s one of my absolute FAVE restaurants in the area. 

Address: 36-01 35th Ave, Queens, NY 11106

Hours: Open Friday from 2:00 pm to 8:00 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm. 

Price: Tickets are $15 for adults (18+), $11.00 for students/seniors (65+), and $9.00 for kids (3-17). 

How to Get There: Take the N/W train to 36th Avenue station or the R/M train to Steinway Street station and walk from there. 

A Map of the Best Indoor Activities in NYC

Map of the best indoor activities in NYC

Access the full interactive map here.

Additional NYC Travel Resources You’ll Love

Well, there you have it. That just about concludes this epic list of the 16 best indoor activities in NYC.

Tell me, did your fave indoor things to do in NYC make it on this post? If not then let me know in the comments below so that I can check them out. 

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