25 Enjoyable Issues to Do Indoors in NYC for Wet and Chilly Days
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As we sat inside listening to the news of the bomb cyclone and how the temperatures will dip into single digits, we knew it was going to challenge our spirit of adventure the next couple months. While it’s easy to stay cooped up inside waiting for spring to arrive, we didn’t want the weather to keep us from going out, especially with this city’s endless options for things to do.
We’ve also had quite a few visitors asking us for recommendations on what to do indoors, so here’s a comprehensive list of fun things to do indoors in NYC for those rainy and cold, winter days.
25 THINGS TO DO INDOORS IN NYC FOR RAINY AND COLD DAYS
1. Escape Rooms
Get a group of friends together and see how good your teamwork is in an escape room. So far, we’ve been to Beat the Bomb, which is a fun new spin on an escape room where you try to defuse a bomb before it explodes paint all over you. As you can see in the video below, we didn’t beat the bomb, but we had a lot of fun trying. We’ll be visiting several more in the coming weeks and will let you know what else we like!
2. Learn a New Skill and Find a New Hobby
Learn a new skill and maybe find your next hobby by taking a class.
- Brooklyn Shoe Space, Williamsburg (Shoe Making)
- Textile Arts Center, Park Slope (Weave, Knit, Crochet)
- The Arm, Williamsburg (Letterpress)
3. Play with Cats at a Cat Cafe
Enjoy the company of furry friends at a cat cafe. We visited Koneko (Lower East Side), which is America’s first Japanese cat cafe. They have 18 adoptable kitties and serve Japanese-influenced food along with beer, wine, and sake. If you’re in Brooklyn, check out the Brooklyn Cat Cafe.
4. Afternoon Tea or High Tea
If you’re looking for a sophisticated way to spend a few hours, have afternoon tea or high tea at The Plaza Hotel, The Russian Tea Room, Ritz Carlton Central Park, or the Mandarin Oriental.
5. Spend the Day at a Coffee Shop
Enjoy a hot cup of java, bring a book, or chat with your friends. Coffee Project in East Village has great nitro coffee, and you can make it an experience by getting a deconstructed latte or nitro flight (pictured below). Other popular coffee spots are Toby’s Estate Coffee and Birch Coffee.
6. Cheer on an Iconic Franchise
NYC has some of the most iconic sports franchises like the New York Knicks (or across town cheer on the Brooklyn Nets). Go enjoy a game and stay warm inside. Though hockey isn’t the best if you’re trying to escape the cold, you can go watch the New York Rangers.
7. Play Sports
If you rather be a part of the action, head to one of these indoor spots to play sports.
- CityView Racquet Club, Sunnyside (Tennis)
- The Complex Astoria, Astoria (Soccer)
- The Gold Club at Chelsea Piers, Chelsea (Golf)
8. Rock Climb at one of the Top Gyms in America
Rock climbing is a growing sport and some of the top climbing gyms are in New York. We like to check out different climbing gyms while we travel, and Brooklyn Boulders by far had some of the most creative and fun routes we’ve seen. We loved it so much that when we decided to move to NY, we actually picked our apartment location to be walking distance from their Queensbridge location. It’s part workspace, so you can bring your laptop and work there too.
We’ve also climbed at Cliffs at LIC, which has a bigger top rope section, or if you’re in the city, you can check out Steep Rock Bouldering. If you’ve never been climbing before, check out our climbing tips for beginners.
9. Ice Skate Indoors
There are a few indoor and covered Ice-Skating rinks around town to enjoy!
- Aviator Sports and Events Center, Brooklyn
- City Ice Pavilion, Sunnyside
- Riverbank State Park, Harlem
10. Try a Unique Fitness Class
We’re not keen on working out the normal way, so we like dabbling in unique fitness classes. At the very least, you’re trying something new.
- Punk Rope, Stuyvescent Town (jump rope)
- Sword Class NYC, East Harlem (Learn to Fight with Swords)
- JuggleFit, Flatiron (Learn to Juggle and Exercise)
11. Bury Your Nose in a Book
Head to the New York Public Library, the Strand Bookstore, or Housing Works Bookstore Cafe to pick up a new book or peruse a magazine.
12. Have a Spa Day
If you’re going to stay inside, you might as well pamper yourself at Aire Ancient Baths, Great Jones Spa, or the Spa at Mandarin Oriental. Most of the high-end hotels here have spas.
13. Go Out to a Multi-Course Meal
NYC is home to some of the best restaurants in the world. Enjoy a pre-fixe meal that is truly an experience at Per Se, Eleven Madison Park, or Le Bernardin.
14. Take a Cooking Class
If you’re a foodie and love to cook, sign up for a cooking class at the Institute of Culinary Education, Murray’s Cheese, or Mille-Feuille Bakery.
15. Watch a Broadway on Broadway
Or there are plenty of shows and plays on or off Broadway that keeps you warm and cozy inside for several hours. We’re currently working our way through them all, but so far we recommend:
- Chicago has that quintessential Broadway feel and has the catchiest music from all the ones we’ve seen.
- Come From Away is a winner of the 2017 Tony Awards. It’s about 9/11 and what happened to all the stranded travelers. They do a great job in telling the story and bringing a wide range of emotion.
- School of Rock has some of the most talented kids I’ve ever seen!
- Hamilton, obviously, if you can get tickets.
16. See a Comedy Show
If you love a good laugh, drop into any of these venues to see a comedy show: Comedy Cellar and Gotham Comedy Club for standup and Upright Citizens Brigade for improv, sketch, and standup.
Speakeasies are popular in the city, all you have to do is find them. PDT (Please Don’t Tell) is the most popular and touristy one, but you should also check out Attaboy and Angel’s Share.
18. Head to a Unique Bar (with Games)
There are plenty of bars in NY, but some of them also have games to help you pass the time. Kick Axe (Gowanus, Brooklyn) is a bar with axe throwing. At first, it might sound alarming mixing drinks and axes, but it was a lot of fun and had a lot more of a controlled environment. You also always have an Axe-pert with you making sure you are being safe. Full Circle Bar (Williamsburg, Brooklyn) has Skeeball. Barcade is the original arcade bar that now has several locations. The original is in Williamsburg, but they’ve expanded and have several locations in the city and in Jersey.
LOCAL TIP: If you want to try climbing too, Kick Axe is right next to the main Brooklyn Boulders. You’ll work out all sorts of muscles doing both.
19. Listen to Jazz
Enjoy an evening of jazz at Birdland, Blue Note, or Fat Cat.
20. Go to a Concert
There are a ton of concert venues in NY and you’ll most likely be able to find a show every night of the week at Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, and Music Hall of Williamsburg.
21. Explore an Indoor Tourist Landmark
There are plenty of NYC landmarks that keep you indoors. Most of them are touristy, but they are still beautiful spots to check out.
- Grand Central, Midtown East
- Oculus, Financial District
- One World Observatory, Financial District – the highest building in the western hemisphere
22. Go on a Tour
There are some spots in New York that you can only see through a guided tour.
- Federal Reserve Bank, Financial District
- Rockefeller Center Tour, Midtown West
- Radio City Music Hall Stage Door Tour, Midtown West
23. Go Shopping
It’s no secret that NYC has amazing shopping. Although the main shopping districts are outdoors, there are some indoor shopping areas too.
- Brookfield Place, Batter Park
- Shops at Columbus Circle, Midtown West
- Chelsea Market, Chelsea
24. Go to a Museum
New York City has some of the best museums in the US and world. You can easily spend a whole day at some of the larger ones. Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA, and American Museum of Natural History are touristy but for a reason. Go toGulliver’s Gate (Miniature World), Brooklyn Art Library (Art Sketchbook Library), City Reliquary Museum (NYC ephemera) for something more offbeat.
Also Read: Free Museums and Museum Free Days in NYC
25. Go to a Movie
Whether you want to see a major blockbuster movie or look for an indie film, there are plenty of theaters to choose from in the city.
- Landmark Sunshine Cinema, Lower East Side (Indie Films)
- Nitehawk Cinema, Williamsburg (Dinner & Movie)
- AMC Empire 25, Midtown West (Dolby)
How many of these have you done? How do you stay motivated to explore on rainy or cold days?
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“Discovery consists not of seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes” – M. Proust
ESTHER + JACOB
Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, which is one of the top 50 travel blogs in the world. They believe that adventure can be found both near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city every year and are currently in NYC.
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