31 Fun Indoor Activities to Do in NYC
When summer fades, city dwellers start turning to fun indoor activities in NYC. As the long, hot days of barbeques, strolls in parks and visits to the beach come to an end, it’s time to don a sweater and find something to do inside. But how do you choose? How to spend time indoors depends on your interests.
New York City offers a rich variety of things to do indoors when the weather turns rainy and cold. Head to a museum, bookstore or café. Sign up for a cooking class and explore new dishes. Play a round of virtual golf. Explore some of the world’s most treasured artworks in an online tour of the Louvre. Visit one of the many local tourist attractions that you’ve always meant to see. The list goes on!
Below you will find lots of ideas for indoor activities to do in NYC.
Jump to Section
- Indoor Activities in NYC for Foodies
- Indoor Activities in NYC for Bookworms
- Indoor Activities in NYC for Garden Lovers
- Indoor Activities in NYC for Art Lovers
- Indoor Activities in NYC for Media Mavens
- Indoor Activities in NYC for Fun and Games
Indoor Activities in NYC for Foodies
1. Take a Cooking Class
When the temperatures drop, the kitchen beckons. What better way to spend a chilly, rainy day in New York City than taking a cooking class? There are plenty of choices for cooking classes in NYC, from sushi rolling to artisan pizza, to warm up your autumn. Learn about a new cuisine or brush up on culinary techniques with a world-class chef when you sign up for cooking classes near you. If you prefer to stick close to home, you can also take online cooking classes from your own kitchen. Spending time in the kitchen together can be one of the best indoor activities for adults as the weather turns damp and chilly.
2. Have Dinner In
Hiring a private chef is the perfect way to elevate dinner at home on a romantic night in. For a truly special indoor activity in NYC, look up private chefs near you and hire one for an evening. Choose your date, time and menu, and the chef will arrive with ingredients and tools to cook and serve you a restaurant-quality meal. With private chefs in NYC, you don’t even need to clean up after the meal!
3. Try a Virtual Tasting
When you don’t feel like slogging through the rain, why not fix yourself a drink and put your feet up? Try an online mixology class to explore new flavors and concoctions. Explore specific libations with virtual whiskey tastings or virtual wine tastings. If caffeine is more your thing, sign up for online coffee classes. Exploring the drinks of the world is a fun indoor activity in NYC.
4. Go Out to Dinner
One of the most romantic indoor activities in NYC is an intimate dinner, and there are so many places to eat in NYC that are as unique as they are delicious. From the three-starred Masa, one of the only sushi restaurants to earn Michelin stars, or fine dining at Per Se in the Time Warner Center, to Frenchette contemporary bistro or seasonal American cuisine at the Gramercy Tavern, you can find whatever you're in the mood for to have the perfect indoor date night in NYC.
5. Head to a Food Market
The Dekalb Market Hall in Brooklyn offers international culinary delights from more than 30 different local and regional purveyors making this a fun indoor activity in NY. It is the largest indoor market in the city and offers daily entertainment and a demonstration kitchen. The Dekalb Market is a great place for street food enthusiasts who enjoy offerings like kebabs, tacos and crêpes. This is one of the most popular fun indoor activities for adults who love food, and one of the best food halls in NYC.
6. Check out a Former Factory
The Chelsea Market in the Meatpacking District is one of the best-known indoor food markets in the world. Located in the former Nabisco factory, this is another fun indoor activity in NY on a rainy afternoon. Start with coffee at Ninth Street Espresso and stroll among the vendors, from fresh seafood at the Lobster Place, to Italian specialties at Buon Italia. Don’t forget to pick up a bottle of wine at the Chelsea Wine Vault.
7. Enjoy a Classic Afternoon Tea
When you are facing a gray, rainy day, afternoon tea can be just the ticket. There are many options for tea, but a few of them are classics. The Plaza Hotel, the Russian Tea Room and the Ritz Carlton Central Park all offer the perfect setting for a sophisticated indoor activity in New York City.
8. Grab a Cuppa
New York is home to many coffee shops, some quirky and some classics, and meeting friends for coffee is one of those traditional indoor activities in New York City on a rainy day.
9. Treat Yourself to Dessert
Whether it’s the matcha white chocolate cream puff at Bibble & Sip, The Harvest — a grown-up twist on worms in dirt — at Spot Dessert Bar or bubble waffles at Eggloo, New York offers all kinds of sweet treats to enjoy on a rainy afternoon.
Indoor Activities in NYC for Bookworms
10. Support Housing Services
This is an indoor activity in NYC you can feel good about. Stocked with donated titles and staffed by volunteers, 100% of profits from the Housing Works Bookstore and Café go to fund Housing Works services.
11. Browse Miles of Books
This famous bookstore on Broadway offers 18 miles of new and used books, including rare novels and music LPs. A trip to Strand Bookstore is definitely a fun indoor activity for adults in NYC.
12. Go Back in Time
Enter an enchanted library at the Argosy Bookstore. From the elegant wooden shelving to the rare books and ornate maps, at stop at this store is like going back in time and is a great indoor activity in NYC on a rainy afternoon.
13. Take a Trip to the Library
A trip to the New York Public Library is one of the best indoor activities in NYC if you love reading. Plus, it’s free! Relax with a book in the Rose Reading Room. Check out the ornate art and architecture, especially in the Map Room.
Indoor Activities in NYC for Garden Lovers
14. Visit a Garden Under Glass
There are public gardens with conservatories throughout the city, so if you love plants this is a perfect indoor activity to do in NYC. The New York Botanical Garden is a Victorian-style conservatory housing 11 different microclimates.
15. Take a Trip to Brooklyn
The Brooklyn Botanical Garden encompasses 52 acres with a beautiful conservatory. It is right next door to the Brooklyn Museum, so this is a convenient indoor activity in NYC.
16. Visit the Tropics
The Tropic Zone at the Central Park Zoo is one of the most intriguing indoor attractions in New York City. Enjoy tropical temperatures, vegetation and animals on a chilly, rainy day.
Indoor Activities in NYC for Art Lovers
17. Enjoy American Art
The Whitney Museum of American Art features more than 350 works by modern American artists including Andy Warhol for a fascinating indoor activity in NYC.
18. View Modern Architecture
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum has exhibits of modern and contemporary art in an iconic building. This is an indoor activity in NYC for fans of modern architecture.
19. Travel the World
With two locations, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is a great indoor activity in NYC. The Met offers exhibitions of works from all over the world and through many periods of history. One of the most popular is the Temple of Dendur, which is lit from above.
20. Get Modern at MOMA
Another interesting indoor activity in New York City is a visit to the Museum of Modern Art. MOMA focuses on exhibits of modern and contemporary art. Start at the top of the six-floor building to take in the many exhibits that include Vincent Van Gogh’s The Starry Night.
21. Take a Virtual Tour of the Louvre
Enjoy a virtual tour of one of the world’s best-known art collections without leaving your home. Go to the Louvre — virtually — and experience more than 500,000 items in the collection in this fascinating indoor activity in NYC.
Indoor Activities in NYC for Media Mavens
22. Watch a Movie in a Museum
The Museum of the Moving Image follows the history of cinema and includes gallery space, film-making exhibits and vintage video games. The museum screens more than 400 films a year, and film fans will find this a fun indoor activity in NYC.
23. Study the Power of Images
The International Center of Photography focuses on photography, how it has changed through time and how it has changed the world. From sepia to selfies, this is an educational indoor activity in NYC for amateur and professional photographers alike.
24. Check Out the History of Television
The Paley Center for Media offers over 150,000 TV and radio programs, as well as internet content. The center is dedicated to preserving broadcast media and making it accessible to the public. This is a perfect indoor activity in NYC for fans of old-time television.
Indoor Activities in NYC for Animal Lovers
25. Go to the Dogs
The American Kennel Club’s Museum of the Dog celebrates the human-canine connection through artwork and exhibits. Dog lovers will enjoy this fun indoor activity in NYC.
26. Cuddle With Some Cats
Check out one of New York’s cat cafés for an afternoon of feline fun. Whether you are there just to visit or would like to meet a cat who is looking for a home, this is a fun indoor activity in NYC. Two of the city’s most popular cat cafés are in the Lower East Side: Koneko, a Japanese cat café featuring sake and Japanese food, and the Meow Parlor. The Brooklyn Cat Café is in Brooklyn Heights.
Indoor Activities in NYC for Fun and Games
27. Play Games in a Bar
New York has some great places to get a drink or listen to music, but why not tweak the experience and go to a bar that offers games? You can play Skee-Ball at Full Circle Bar in Williamsburg. This establishment is full of kitschy nostalgia, offers 40 types of canned beer and the bar is made of parts from old Skee-Ball machines. If you are in the mood for music, try Fat Cat for jazz and games like pool, ping pong, shuffleboard, foosball and chess. This is a combination of some of the best indoor activities in NYC.
28. Get Moving
New York offers loads of places where you can play sports indoors. Play indoor golf at Chelsea Piers on more than 55 virtual courses with no membership necessary. Then take a break for pizza and beer at the Chelsea Brewing Company downstairs. Give bowling a try or go rock climbing at Brooklyn Boulders, which features a 30-foot replica of the Brooklyn bridge. Try out one of New York’s many skating rinks, some of which are indoors. For the more adventurous, try indoor skydiving at iFly New York for an exhilarating indoor activity in NYC.
29. Take a Class
A great indoor activity in NYC when the weather turns cold is to take a class. There are many different craft classes to choose from, including shoemaking, knitting, weaving, bookbinding and more. If a fitness class is more your style, there are plenty of spinning and yoga classes to choose from, but what about something like sword fighting, jumping rope or juggling?
30. Take a Tour
New York offers many attractions that draw tourists from around the world. Tour the historic Grand Central Station for an experience out of the golden age of railroad travel. The Oculus at the World Trade Center is a white building that Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava designed to suggest a dove flying from a child’s outstretched hands. This transportation hub is part of the rebuilding of the area after 9/11 and was designed to bring people back to the area to reclaim it. Another great indoor attraction is the Federal Reserve Bank. The tour includes a visit to the underground vault where $200 billion in gold is stored. Take the Stage Door tour of Radio City Music Hall and learn the history of this city landmark. Even if you live here, play tourist for a day when the weather turns bad with some of these indoor attractions in NYC.
31. Hop on the Subway
To New Yorkers, the subway is an everyday experience, and it can sometimes be annoying; but if you look, you can find some real gems. Stéphane Tonnelat and William Kornblum wrote a book called International Express, New Yorkers on The 7 Train. The 7 line runs from Time Square to Flushing, Queens, and travels through many neighborhoods that represent different cultures from all over the world. Another fun thing to do on the subway is to check out Life Underground. This is a collection of tiny bronze statuary in the 14th and 8th streets station that depicts a fairytale version of life in New York. This is one of the most fascinating indoor activities to do in NYC.
From restaurants to museums, skating rinks to a trip on the subway, New York City offers many different ways to spend a rainy afternoon indoors. Which will be first on your rainy-day bucket list?
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