What to Do in NYC When It’s Raining
Rainy days in New York can be a special treat. Let loose from the pressure of hanging out in parks or doing outdoor exercise, you are free to while away the day in an underground movie theater, eat around the world in a food hall or have a pensive afternoon watching the puddles from the window of a cozy Manhattan bar.
Throw on your rain boots and pull up your hood (but leave your umbrella at home, they are a menace on crowded sidewalks!) and enjoy these activities perfect for imperfect weather.
Enjoy Manhattan’s Most Comfortable Theater
The Regal Battery Park (102 North End Avenue) is low-key one of the city’s best theaters: its entryway takes you through the spacious, modern-art filled lobby of the Conrad New York Downtown, and the climb to the theaters themselves makes you feel like ascending to Hollywood heaven. The best part: all the seats are squashy, leather recliners, replete with snack trays, for maximum moviegoing comfort.
Or Have A Burger In An Underground Cinema
Instead of ascending Regal’s heights, you can descend to the newest theater in the neighborhood. Manhattan finally has its own Alamo Drafthouse, and the new 14-screen cinema at 28 Liberty Street — named in honor of Ivan Reitman — is underground, giving you a break from annoying weather updates throughout the day. Alamo is big on comfort: large seats, an expansive food and drink menu for in-seat dining and strict rules about talking and cell phone use during the movie. Here’s a rundown of what to order while you’re there.
Get Lost In The Stacks
The McNally Jackson bookstore at the Seaport only opened in 2019, but it could pass for a store that’s been there for 100 years. The local chain is known for immersive design and the 4 Fulton Street location really highlights the beautiful architecture of its space, with exposed wooden roof beams, brick archways, a handsome staircase and long stretches of dark wood bookcases. It’s got places to sit and read, and a great cafe, too.
Learn The History Of The Seaport
The Seaport’s history is the history of New York City itself, where the world came to Manhattan through ships carrying goods, labor and travelers. Learn about the origins of the port, and its impact on the city’s growth at the free South Street Seaport Museum (12 Fulton Street), which is open on weekends. Current exhibits include one about class differences on ships arriving at the Seaport, and one on the Seaport’s role in the rise of New York.
Look Up At The Skyline’s History
Consider this one of Manhattan’s lesser-known museums that covers one of its most-known features. The Skyscraper Museum (39 Battery Place) traces the height of tall buildings, from pyramids to the current impossible-seeming constructions in Dubai. A current exhibit covers the “supertall” skyscrapers that are popping up around the city and the never ending race to construct the world’s tallest building.
Drink Like George Washington
A few spots claim to be the oldest bar in New York City, but only one can claim George Washington as an original customer. The Fraunces Tavern (54 Pearl Street) and its accompanying museum is a good place to check out when hiding from the elements — where you can sip on themed cocktails and craft beer, nosh on hearty food and bask in the rustic surroundings without having to worry King George barging in trying to shove you around.
Hide Out In The “World’s Best Bar”
Sometimes you need a proper Irish pub to wait out properly dour Irish weather. The Dead Rabbit (30 Water Street) has been called the World’s Best Bar; it’s definitely a warm, cozy place full of hearty drinks and food to spend a day.
Go On A Food Haul
Instead of using a year’s worth of lunch hours to try out all the food halls across Lower Manhattan, take yourself on a rainy day tour and you’ll have a selection of diverse nibbles to keep you busy. The Gansevoort Liberty Market (in the Oculus at 101 Liberty Street) features nine different vendors, from Korean chicken to Peruvian octopus. Brookfield Place (230 Vesey Street) has more than 20 food vendors, including city favorites Parm, Umami Burger, Black Seed Bagel and P.J. Clarke’s. Eataly NYC Downtown (101 Liberty Street, floor 3)
has restaurants, groceries and snacks for every appetite, including a Made In Eataly counter.
Learn About The Original Manhattanites
A rainy day is as good a day as any to decolonize your mind. The National Museum of the American Indian (1 Bowling Green) is an offshoot of the Smithsonian museum of the same name in Washington D.C. Manhattan’s version currently includes exhibits about native New Yorkers — as in, the actual native population — along with Native Americans in the armed forces and lots of art from around the Americas.raining in nyc