Get us in your inbox

Search
Shutterstock

The best rainy day activities for kids in NYC

Rainy day activities for kids in NYC just might make your little ones cross their fingers for grey skies and clouds

Allie Early
Written by
Danielle Valente
&
Allie Early
Advertising

The sun can't always shine in NYC, but luckily these rainy day activities for kids will keep your youngsters occupied when storms roll in. 

From a trip to stellar kids' museums to a playdate at our favorite indoor playgrounds for kids, venues across the city make the most out of a dreary forecast, so don't fret when a trip to the nearest water playground isn't in the cards. Trust us, there are still plenty of summer adventures to be had indoors! 

Next time the raindrops trickle in, suit up in those galoshes and find an umbrella big enough for your brood. No one will want to miss out on the best rainy day activities NYC kids love. 

The best rainy day activities for kids

  • Shopping
  • Shopping & Style

Attention little villains and vigilantes: Ready your capes! There's a new spot in Gotham that requires your attention. Allow the Bat-Signal to guide you toward Loot, a kid-centric comic book shop and creative space that just debuted in Carroll Gardens. Joseph Einhorn, the founder of Fancy.com, is the mastermind behind the Brooklyn hotspot. Loot is certainly one of the coolest stores in NYC, but it is more than making purchases. Part shop, part activity center, the Court St outpost operates like a membership service in which youngsters receive unlimited access to over 3,000 bagged and boarded comics (one at a time) for $30 per month. If pint-sized patrons prefer, they can also snag a comic for $5. Classes for young comic enthusiasts will begin this August, so mark your summer calendars.   "We are hoping to promote reading and creativity with the kids and a little bit of nostalgia for the parents," Einhorn says about his business.  In order to inspire entertaining alternatives to screen time, Loot offers a comic book-inspired barter system. Kiddos can accumulate "loot" by purchasing or borrowing comics. They can also make and sell their own comics to earn loot (the shop only keeps 10 percent of sales for expenses such as credit card processing). Consider your little ones readers and creators!

  • Attractions

Don't miss new and upcoming exhibits at the very best NYC museums for kids. There are so many great things to see, including art exhibits, interactive exhibits and nature-inspired exhibits. Here in the city, we have access to the coolest stuff. Don't miss out!

Advertising
  • Things to do

Indoor playgrounds make a great rainy day activity for kids when a trip outdoors isn't possible. Pint-sized visitors can expect awesome features such as activity tables, mini slides and plenty of cool toys to share with new friends. No need to worry about the temperature—an adventure still awaits inside, regardless of the weather forecast. 

  • Things to do

Rain or shine, summer or winter, indoor pools in NYC offer families a chance to (quite literally) dive into a fun activity. Do you have your goggles ready? From open lap sessions to swimming lessons for kids, these venues cater to all members of the community who are looking to keep active. As much as we enjoy visiting water playgrounds for kids and scoping out the best beaches for kids in the area, these spots keep the fun going even when grey clouds roll in.  

Advertising
  • Attractions

Think sightseeing's just for tourists? These family attractions will have you thinking otherwise—they're too good to pass up, even if you're a local! Whether you're seeking mild adventures, like walks through the New York Public Library, National Geographic: Encounter or a ride on Seaglass Carousel, or you're after more thrill-focused experiences, such as loops around Coney Island's Cyclone, rest assured: There's something for everyone on our list. Here are 50 the best family attractions NYC has to offer (in no particular order!). For even more family fun, browse our roundups of the 101 best things to do with kids in NYC, our favorite free activities for kids and our monthly kids' events calendar that'll clue you in to all the best family events happening around town.

  • Museums

Sure, you've probably frequented the American Museum of Natural History, Children's Museum of Manhattan and the Metropolitan Museum of Art by now, at least we hope, but have you explored these fascinating underrated museums too? While you're on the hunt for the best indoor activities for kids and you're cruising our guide to the best museums for kids, don't forget about these educational under-the-radar NYC museums.

Advertising
Trampoline park spots
  • Things to do
  • Play spaces

Even the most energetic kids will meet their match at these trampoline park hotspots for families! They’ll bounce to their heart’s desire on trampolines big and small, even getting in on age-specific playtimes and glow-in-the-dark games. Many have cool features such as adjacent basketball hoops and massive foam pits. Just make sure you don't forget to bring socks (most spots require them).

  • Things to do

Every kid, no matter how tech-obsessed, loves an old-school game of bowling. These family-friendly bowling alleys in NYC are the perfect spot for a cheap playdate, though with way-cool aspects like glow-in-the-dark lanes and NYC-themed decor, mom and dad might want to jump in for a few frames too! If you're looking for things to do with kids when its raining in NYC, bowling is one of our absolute favorite indoor activities.

Advertising
  • Things to do

Looking for the best arcades in NYC? We've got you covered. These kid-friendly arcades are perfect for families with kids in tow! Many of the picks on our list also have accompanying activities, like spots to eat, bowl, play a game of laser tag and other cool stuff—the perfect place to visit when it's cold, rainy or you just don't feel like playing outside.

Laser tag
  • Things to do

Game on! We found epic spots for laser tag NYC families will love, so now's the time to suit up and claim victory! Planning fun things to do with kids? Many of these venues are part of larger indoor amusement parks! After battling zombies, racing around a NYC-themed arenas and ducking behind cool glow-in-the-dark features for safety, kids can continue the fun with other games. For those families who find themselves in Brooklyn, the newly opened Area 53 laser tag is conveninetly located near Time Out Market New York. After your family competes against one another, make a pitstop to our new attraction to refuel. If youngsters are still looking for ways to burn off that pent-up energy after laser tag in NYC, head to our favorite indoor playgrounds for kids. 

Advertising
  • Things to do

These fantastic escape rooms for kids offer themed challenges that no kid—even your teens—can resist! New York's biggest new family entertainment trend lets you, your kids (and their friends, if you're brave enough to invite even more adventurers) strategize to escape from a thief's house, help a space ship make its way home and even basically pretend to be Indian Jones right here in the city. While some escape rooms are better suited for an older crowd, these picks are perfect for visitors of most ages. Read on for our recommendations! 

  • Attractions
  • Arcades and amusements

Practice your Pac-Man, Donkey Kong and Street Fighter skills, try your hand at Skee-Ball or hop in some go-karts at these indoor amusement parks and fun zones near New York City. Some spots are specialized and focus on games while others offer a variety of fun attractions for all ages. 

Advertising
  • Things to do
  • Classes and workshops

Lace up those sneakers! Kids' fitness classes in NYC are here to keep junior athletes active and engaged.  Visit the city's best indoor playgrounds for kids, kids' rock climbing walls and local parks for great offerings, from typical sports—basketball, tumbling and more—to the unexpected choices such as circus arts and gaga (no, not the pop singer).  From toddlers and teens, kids' fitness classes across the five boroughs cater to all ages, interests and skill levels. If you're in search of things to do with kids, give our list a look and feel confident that your kiddos are staying entertained and healthy in the process.  What classes will you book for your brood?  

Advertising
  • Shopping

Beat the rainy day blues with a trip to your neighborhood's local bookstore. With events, readings and plenty of shelves to explore, your little ones are bound to find a bunch of great new reads. Chances are, you'll find a novel or two for yourself while browsing an indie. 

  • Things to do
  • Literary events

Storytime for kids will allow your child's love for literature blossom one picture book at a time.  Make your way to the best bookstores, most engaging libraries for kids and charming toy stores in NYC for fun read-alouds and interactive activities. Children will meet new friends and explore a wide variety of tales, from the latest bestseller to classic stories.  

Advertising
New York Public Library
  • Attractions
  • Libraries, archives and foundations
  • Midtown West

What better way to wait out the drizzle than with a good book? The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building—the most magnificent of all NYPL branches—hosts family-friendly read-alouds and craft workshops for little ones. Make sure to check out the dedicated section of children's books and the calendar for detailed information on upcoming story times, projects and writing workshops. If you want to see the origins of your favorite character, the original Winnie the Pooh and friends are on display in the Children's Room. Consider their residence a taste of the Hundred Acre Wood right here in NYC.  

AMNH's Discovery Room
  • Museums
  • Science and technology
  • Upper West Side
  • price 2 of 4

Sure, you'll certainly want to stop in to see things like the Hall of Ocean Life and say hello to the T-Rex and Titanosaur, but one of the best (and most overlooked) parts of the American Museum of Natural History is right under your nose. Stop by the Discovery Room, a space open to families of children ages 5–12, to get a behind-the-scenes look at the science and research behind the museum. Some of the highlights of your visit will include searching for animals in an African Baobab tree, assembling a life-sized cast skeleton of a Prestosuchus and checking out minerals, skulls and other specimens up close.

Advertising
  • Museums
  • Childhood
  • West Village
  • price 1 of 4

Your kids will never tire of Children's Museum of the Arts, and you just might have to pry them away at the end of the day. (We promise it's for good reason, though.) stARTS Studio for tots 5 and under features Play-Doh, flubber and arts and crafts activities. Kids of all ages will dig sculpting tigers, sea lions and aliens at the Clay Bar, and all you need to do is simply sign up upon your arrival for a chance to participate. There's plenty of other great programming to enjoy, so check the calendar before making a visit. Although CMANY makes for a great rainy day activity, chances are your kiddos will want to return under any weather condition. 

Advertising
Brooklyn Children’s Museum
  • Museums
  • Childhood
  • Crown Heights
  • price 1 of 4

When it was founded in 1899, the BCM was the country’s first museum specifically made for children. Today it’s one of the most comprehensive, with a permanent collection of 30,000 objects, including musical instruments, masks, dolls and fossils. Kids have fun while learning (sneaky!) at interactive exhibits like “World Brooklyn,” a pint-size cityscape lined by faux stores where young’uns can weigh ingredients and knead pretend dough at the Mexican Bakery, or shop for cans of Indian ghee and Turkish candy at the International Grocery.

New York Transit Museum
  • Museums
  • Special interest
  • Boerum Hill
  • price 1 of 4

Located in an authentic 1930s subway station, the New York Transit Museum provides and inside look of the complex engineering and construction feats that helped establish the city’s century-old subway system. The museum also allows visitors to climb aboard an exceptional collection of vintage subway and El ("Elevated") cars and explore a working signal tower. Exhibitions cover the history of the city’s rapid transit system, as well as au courant topics. Don't forget to explore cool seasonal offerings, such as the holiday train show (which could count as either a rainy day or snow day activity). 

Advertising
  • Museums
  • Movies and TV
  • Astoria
  • price 2 of 4

Instead of spending the day watching movies, discover how they're made. Only 15 minutes from midtown, the Museum of the Moving Image is one of the city’s most dynamic institutions that begs for a few visits. Rubbing elbows with Kaufman Astoria Studios, the revamped space features a state-of-the-art 264-seat cinema and expanded galleries. Kids can make a flipbook with their own photographs, create stop-motion animations and more. Don't forget to explore the classes, events and programs held throughout the year. 

  • Museums
  • Science and technology
  • Queens
  • price 1 of 4

Kids can get hands-on with hundreds of interactive exhibits and activities that bring science, technology, engineering and math to life. Built for the 1964 World's Fair, NYSCI is home to a revolving lineup of displays about light, 3-D printing, outer space and robots, plus the Design Lab, where little visitors can tackle activities at five stations: Backstage, Sandbox, Studio, Maker Space and Treehouse. Youngsters will also be able to journey through a variety of experiences during daily screenings of the 3D movies. 

Advertising
  • Things to do
  • Quirky events
  • Midtown West

New York City is going to be treated to a dose of color thanks to "DreamWorks Trolls the Experience." When little visitors enter the 90-minute walkthrough exhibit, they'll fall in love with a bunch of exciting features. Poppy's Party Room will include augmented reality and 3D technology in the midst of musical fun. Before getting wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of Troll Village and playing in the life-size Caterbus, youngsters will want to hit the bright, imaginative Hair-We-Go Salon and Barbershop—which is sure to be an Instagram hit for moms and dads. This will be open until Sept 2, 2019 All ages. 

Legoland Discovery Center Westchester
  • Attractions
This Westchester center boasts a total of 3 million Lego blocks that make up its attractions, from functioning Lego vehicles, interactive displays, and exhibits like Merlin's wizarding workshop to a Lego-themed cinema, where you can catch a 4D movie. Kids can learn how the colorful plastic bricks are made, take classes with master Lego-builders and even go on two Lego-themed rides. The expansive center also houses Miniland, which features replicas of landmarks and buildings in both New York City and the Westchester area.
Advertising
  • Things to do
  • Quirky events
  • Midtown West
New York City is going to be treated to a dose of color thanks to "DreamWorks Trolls the Experience." When little visitors enter the 90-minute walkthrough exhibit, they'll fall in love with a bunch of exciting features. Poppy's Party Room will include augmented reality and 3D technology in the midst of musical fun. Before getting wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of Troll Village and playing in the life-size Caterbus, youngsters will want to hit the bright, imaginative Hair-We-Go Salon and Barbershop—which is sure to be an Instagram hit for moms and dads. This will be open until Sept 2, 2019 All ages. 
  • Movies
  • Family and kids

Grab some popcorn and prepare for the best kids' movies 2019 has on the way! Thanks to an impressive lineup, you'll be treated to retellings of Disney classics, become reacquainted with old friends (hello, Anna and Elsa) and explore new worlds. You'll want to make your way to the theater ASAP—this lineup is bound to produce a few new favorites. Have a look at the top 20 films we can't wait to catch in 2019! 

Advertising
  • Theater
  • Puppet shows

The NYC theater scene is alive and well...but that doesn't necessarily mean everyone on stage has to be an actor. In fact, for the city's younger fan base, puppets are preferred, and thanks to these puppet theaters, we can't blame the kiddos. These NYC venues make perfect outings for families in search of a show with style. From classics to the avant garde, NYC puppet shows have a little bit of everything.

  • Theater

If you’re planning on treating your kids to a special Great White Way outing, then our ranked list of the best Broadway shows for kids is sure to make choosing the plays for kids a cinch. In this selection, you’ll find Tony Award-winning shows, favorite childhood books and films brought to life on stage and stunning displays of puppetry and scenery that will whisk you all away to another world. There's a lot to love: The Lion King, Frozen, Wicked and so much more. 

Advertising
  • Restaurants

Whether you love it decked out in buffalo chicken, cheesy as humanly possible or simply in the form of a classic margherita slice, New York pizza is tough to beat. When you're at the end of a long day after exploring NYC museums or you're burning off energy at some of the city's coolest play spaces, find a slice at one of these epic pizzerias. Fortunately, these picks understand that you're usually traveling with the whole clan—they'll accommodate you and all the little ones, too. 

Eataly
  • Shopping
  • Grocery stores
  • Flatiron
  • price 2 of 4

Young or old, everyone can find something that strikes their fancy at this sprawling Italian food complex. The hard part is deciding what—and where—to eat! Full-service restaurants within the venue serve pizza, gelato and everything in between, but little ones will love chatting up the friendly pizzaiolos turning out nearly 200 pies per hour (boasting such quality topping as fresh tomato sauce and mozzarella, basil, garlic and more) from the resident woodburning oven. Looking to take things to the next level? Sign the kids up for Passport to Eataly, an exciting kids' class open to those ages 8–12. They'll get a "real" passport to stamp as they explore and learn new words, and they'll get to taste classic Italian dishes. During that time, parents can lounge for an hour and enjoy a complimentary espresso at the Lavazza Café.

Advertising
Yoga for kids
  • Things to do

Our rubber-like kids love to bend and twist their way around the city—why not join a class that’s all about it? These yoga classes for kids will help ‘em channel their energy into graceful poses, fun games, teamwork and sing-alongs with other little ones. It's certainly one of the more productive rainy day activities for kids! Namaste! 

  • Things to do
  • City Life

Prepare your taste buds: DUMBO's new, out-of-this-world food hall with spectacular views is the talk of the town! Time Out Market New York, located at 55 Water St within Dumbo's Empire Stores, will keep hungry guests, big and lil', busy. Time Out Market New York's chefs and restaurateurs to join in on the adventure include local favorites such as Juliana's, Bessou, Clinton St. Baking Company & Restaurant, Jacob's Pickles, FELICE, DŌ, Cookie Dough Confections and Avocaderia. The new space boasts 21,000 square feet across two floors and includes three bars plus a scenic fifth floor outdoor roof deck (and plenty of places to munch indoors when the weather's rotten). Say hello to views of the East River, Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge and Lower Manhattan skyline. 

Recommended
    You may also like
      Advertising