There’s no better way to beat the gloom and doom of gray skies than a few shared smiles and laughs. So, if you’re looking for a cure to end your rainy day blues, then it’s time to get up, get moving and hit the road for some on-the-town adventures. Remember to pack an umbrella. Things are bound to be a little wet!
Here are our favorite things to do on a rainy day in the Northeast.
Things to do on a rainy day
Go to the movies
The movies are the perfect way to get lost in another world. And during a rainy day, that’s exactly what you need! Head to the local cinema with family for a kid-friendly outing or find an action packed, R-rated flick for some adults-only fun.
Trying to save a little money? Go to a matinee showing. Tickets are always cheaper and the theater will be less crowded.
Visit a museum
Visiting a museum is another excellent way to get lost in different worlds and it’s educational, too! You can learn about new cultures, delve into various histories or gaze at mesmerizing paintings from the past. There are so many to choose from, but here is a selection of some of our favorite museums in the Northeast for a rainy day trip.
Museum of the Moving Image
This museum is dedicated to the art, history, technique and technology of the moving image. You can explore everything from 19th century optical toys to old film tech and video games. The exhibits are highly interactive and lots of fun for the whole family. You can even catch film screenings and live events.
Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum
Travel back in time and experience the Boston Tea Party through an amazing multi-sensory adventure. At the museum, you can experience this famous event through amazing holographic displays and re-enactments. You can even throw tea over authentically restored tea ships!
Create colored shadows in the Light & Color Gallery, perform a shadow puppet show by lanternlight in the Backyard at Night exhibit, explore acres of forest and much more! This museum invites little kids, big kids and adults of all abilities to come and have fun, all while learning about STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) concepts. Plus, get $2 off admission for up to four people in a party with a valid AAA card.
The RISD Museum
The RISD Museum has an impressive art collection that expands from ancient times to the present. You can find everything from paintings and sculpture to textiles and costumes – plus an enormous wooden Japanese Buddha from the 12th century, a mummy, and artifacts from ancient Greece, Rome and Pompeii.
Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History
New Haven, Conn.
Dinosaurs, woolly mammoths, birds and fossils of human origin – this museum does a great job at recording the history of the Earth, its life and its cultures. Visit different exhibits and explore the world from its beginnings.
Silverball Museum Arcade
Asbury Park, N.J.
The Silverball Museum Arcade is a loving tribute to our video-gaming past. At this pinball hall of fame you and your family can experience what life was like before handheld video games and Xbox 360s. It’s the perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon and a whole lot of fun.
Take a workshop or class
Taking a workshop is another fun and educational option for things to do on a rainy day trip. You can drop in on a class and try something completely new or learn more about a hobby you already love. Here are a few workshops and classes offered around the Northeast to help you get inspired.
You’ll forget all about the weather as you tango, hustle or ballroom dance the night away at the Westchester Ballroom. They host a variety of workshops and dance parties each month, including a weekly Tango Tuesday, where experienced dance instructors will guide you through the moves as you enjoy refreshments and wine; pay per class, workshop or Molinga (aka dance party) or pay one price for the entire evening. For a fun night out (rain or shine), dinner and dancing events with table seating are also offered several times a month but require advance reservations. See event listings for all classes and skill levels. Your “Dancing With the Stars” moment is just a reservation away!
Diablo Glass School
This school offers one-day workshops on glassblowing, flame working and more. Work with experts to take home your very own beautiful glass paperweight and other souvenirs.
Old Bridge, N.J.
At this recreational cooking school, you can master pasta, elevate seafood, cook your steak with old-school flair and much more. Experience cooking a variety of dishes using fresh food that goes straight from the farm to the table and brush up on your basic skills. The food is bound to be great. Find more cooking classes throughout the Northeast.
Studio 550 Art Center
Studio 550 offers a range of art classes, including pottery, painting, bookbinding and stained glass. And while there’s plenty of ways to experiment with your artistic side, there are also kid’s classes, dance and movement classes, and other one-day workshop and date night opportunities. You can even sit down with friends for a nice warm cup of tea before or after class in the studio’s tea room.
Hunker down in the library
This one may come as a surprise, but if you’re looking for a one-stop shop for things to do on a rainy day, then you might want to visit your local library. Not only can you read books and magazines, check out the latest movies and get free internet, but most libraries host free events throughout the month. So if it’s raining, call the library to find out what’s scheduled. Depending on the day, you may find fun games and readings for your kids, or there may be free adult classes like Zumba, yoga and tai chi.
Many public libraries take part in museum pass programs where patrons can reserve free or low-cost tickets to local museums and attractions. Call or visit your local library to see if participates in such a program.
Some libraries like the New York Public Library and the Boston Public Library are almost like museums. You can visit special exhibits and art collections and take tours of the historical buildings that they are housed in year-round.
Head to an indoor sports complex
Whether you’re a kid or an adult, not being able to go outside is arguably the worst part of any rainy day. So, if you’re looking for a way to stay active on days when the sun just won’t shine, try heading to an indoor recreational center. Facilities throughout the Northeast provide everything from indoor tennis to rock climbing and trampoline bouncing. But if you’re looking for a thrilling rainy day trip, then check out the two centers below.
Indoor Extreme Sports
Long Island City, N.Y.
With various laser tag and paintball themes like black ops and a zombie experience, Indoor Extreme Sports takes the game to a whole new level. Battle zombies as you try desperately to escape the asylum alive or join a game of arena laser tag for a team-against-team death match. No matter what you choose, it’s going to be extreme!
At this recreational center, you can shred some manmade waves, free fall with indoor skydiving or ride the Fishpipe (the world’s first rotating barrel ride). There’s a lot to choose from and some crazy thrills are guaranteed.
Bowling is another great indoor activity on our list of things to do on a rainy day trip. Whether you can bowl a perfect game or barely break 100, this activity is fun for everyone. Invite a few friends to come along for games, drinks and fries. Or have a family outing where the kids can enjoy the mini-arcade and a little friendly competition. Either way, you’re guaranteed to be distracted from the gloom and doom outside. Check out our top picks for bowling that goes above and beyond.
Bowlmor Chelsea Piers
New York, N.Y.
With the party-inspired glow of 40 blacklight bowling lanes, massive lane-side video walls, and the flashing lights and sounds of your favorite arcade games, the atmosphere at Bowlmor couldn’t get much livelier. After you’re done bowling, explore NYC’s only indoor ropes course or battle with friends in Bowlmor’s Urban Mission Laser Tag arena. This bowling alley has a lot more to offer then just a few lanes.
Facenda Whitaker Lanes
East Norriton, Pa.
This family-friendly bowling alley is the perfect place for your next rainy day trip. You can enjoy sporting events and music videos on huge TV screens, watch laser shows, and of course knock down some pins at over 50 lanes. And when you’re done bowling, head over to the Game Galaxy Arcade to play over 50 interactive games. Challenge family and friends in virtual car races or play games to save up tokens for fun prizes!
Grab some grub
It’s true. Something about the rain makes us all feel a little bit lazy. While we don’t suggest lying in bed all day, there are other ways to take it easy, like dining out. Instead of cooking, why not head to lunch with some friends or take the family to a nice dinner. Dining out is the perfect addition to any list of rainy day trips, and food always tastes better when you didn’t have to cook it yourself! So sit back, relax, and enjoy the food with great company.
Have a spa day
Get your hair done, get your nails done, literally go to the spa – treat yourself to some luxury and relaxation! If you’re willing to splurge a little, a spa day could be just the rainy day trip you need. Here are some Northeast spa and wellness centers perfect for melting away those knots.
New York, N.Y.
With facials, full-body massages and other luxury spa treatments, this elegant spa has everything you need to de-stress, relax and unwind. Its vast range of spa offerings can be experienced in a soothing atmosphere well above the bustle of NYC. Walk in tired and worn-out, leave balanced and rejuvenated. Not a New York native? Check out the spa at the Boston Mandarin Oriental.
Tucked away in Bliss’ 5,000 square feet of tension-fighting facilities are seven spa treatment rooms, a luxury nail lounge, a retail beauty boutique and separate men’s and women’s lounges. You can experience a variety a facials, massages, body treatments and nail care, all while being soothed by the soft sounds of rhythm and blues. And since you’re relaxing, why not stop by the day spa’s brownie buffet? The spa also has locations in New York.
What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day? Tell us in the comments below!
This post was originally published in 2017 and has been updated.