Top 10 Things To Do In New York On Rainy Days

Ok, so you can’t always hit perfectly good weather when you’re on a trip on vacation.

The weather can turn on you and New York rainy days will surely happen.

Of course you want to have a good time. So why not just plan for those days when the weather gets wet. There’s plenty of things to do indoors in New York City. Let those New York rainy days make you explore options that you might not consider.

You just got to be open minded about it and allow yourself to have fun NO MATTER what. That’s the mark of a great travel experience!

So I’ve listed these, not in any particular order, but as the ideas came:

1. Shopping. There’s tons of shopping you can do in New York, but you can wander around for hours in New York’s massive Macy’s department store. Or visit the Shops of Columbus Circle, near central Park, where you can spend the day indoors, shopping and eating. Great to do when New York rainy days hit your vacation!

2. Chelsea Market. It’s completely indoor with unlimited entertainment, between the Artists & Flea market, the bookstore, and the home goods shops.

3. Fat Cat in the West Village. You can drink beer while playing ping pong, shuffle puck, Scrabble, or pool. And they have live jazz too later in the day!

4. Museums. Most of these places take a day to go through anyways! So for rain days, check out The American Museum of Natural History – which is good for the kids and adults alike. There’s the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art to name just two.

5. Afternoon tea. You might not associate New York with afternoon tea, but one of the places you can find it is at the Ritz Carlton Central Park. Delicious teas and finger sandwiches. Makes my mouth water while writing this!

6. New York Aquarium. Ok, so it’s wet OUTSIDE, but let’s go visit some creatures that don’t mind living in water all the time. Love this place. Rain or Shine!

7. Baked in Brooklyn. This is a pottery studio which is also family-friendly. Located in Williamsburg, you can paint bowls, mugs, plates, piggybanks and more! NOTE: The pieces take a week to to be glazed and fired, so Baked in Brooklyn is a good stop if you’re going to be in town for an extended vacation.

8. New York Public Library. Not just for the books – look for some of the 90,000 events they hold every year in various locations. Events posted daily.

9. Sports. Depending on the time of the year, you can take in NHL games with the New York Rangers (September to April), NBA games with the New York Knicks (October – April), NWBA games with the New York Liberty (May – September) or the Millrose Games, the world’s longest-running indoor track & field meet (February). Sports venues make a lot of sense when New York rainy days happen. Enjoy!

10. The Strand. For book lovers – and I’m one of them – a gigantic book store that offers 18 MILES of new, used, and rare books. Talk to the most knowledgeable staff in the city if you can’t find something!

Top 10 FREE Things to do in New York!

New York City is one of my favorite cities to visit.

And it’s especially great when you can find some little gems that people might not think about.

So here are my top 10 free things to do in New York City! This news will make you happy.

Let’s start with #10:

10. Upright Citizens Brigade

New York has produced and attracted many of America’s great comedians. From Jack Benny to Jerry Seinfeld, there’s always stand up comedy.

And at select nights during the week, you can get in free. Just go to ucbtheatre.com to find out what’s going on when you’re in town.

9. El Museo del Barrio

Every third Saturday of any month, El Museo del Barrio celebrates Super Sabado, showcasing 800 years of Latino art and culture.

8. New York Public Library

This library hosts many free lectures and readings. Look it up for their schedule.

7. Want a free beer?

The Brooklyn Brewery has free tours on the half hour every Saturday and Sunday and you can get a sample of their brew during the tour too!

6. Open House New York

Experience some of the finest architecture in the city including churches and government buildings, held in October every year.

Now let’s explore the top of the list of top 10 FREE things you can do in New York City.

5. Chelsea Art Galleries

Over in Chelsea many art galleries have FREE entry on Thursday nights.

There are often free openings with free refreshments and little nibbles to enjoy along with the art. Take advantage of the art and a drink too!

4. Downtown Boathouse Kayaks

You probably wouldn’t think this was possible, but you can get a kayak for FREE at certain locations along the Hudson River and also Governor’s Island.

I know some of you would really love some water sports.

3. TV Shows

Guess what?  You can be part of a TV show audience for FREE at one of the famous TV shows that are produced in New York City.

Click here to get pick a show and get tickets! Pretty cool huh?

2. New York Philharmonic in the Park

The city’s Philharmonic orchestra appears in Central Park during the summer months and in all five boroughs of the city.

Bring a blanket to sit on, some drinks and snacks and enjoy an evening of beautiful music.

And finally the NUMBER ONE thing in our top 10 FREE things is …..

1. Staten Island Ferry

This is such a pleasant surprise and it’s FREE!

The ferry will take you past many landmarks including New York Harbour, the Statue of Liberty and the magnificent New York skyline. Plus many others.

And you don’t pay a thing for the tour. No wonder it’s a top #1 choice of many tourists and residents alike.

If YOU LOVE New York City and you’d love to visit it either the first time or as a repeat visitor, ENTER our contest for a 3 Day Free Vacation in New York City right here.

Imagine yourself at various times of the year, being there.

Keep up-to-date with some pretty neat ideas and events at our Facebook page as well as come back for more in-depth news in our blog.

WIN a holiday in New York city!

Manhattan Island: Walk it. Know it.

A lot of people live on Manhattan Island. A lot of people visit it too every year. An estimated average of FIFTY MILLION (50,000,000) visit every year. In 2015 a record number of 60 million visited. So of course there will be people around all the time. Around the clock.

It seems more true than ever that this city never sleeps, even more than Las Vegas. In Las Vegas there are the casinos that keep all those people off the streets and inside. In New York people like being outside, and watching other people.

So if you’re planning a vacation in New York, then make sure you’re prepared.

You can take several walking tours through Manhattan Island. What we’ve done is figure out the subway system. So we found the closet subway station with the help of our concierge at the hotel and took it down to one of end or one side of the island and then walk back.

New York Stock Exchange Manhattan Island
New York Stock Exchange Manhattan Island

Walking is made easy here in on the island compared to other American cities I’ve visited. So bring a good sturdy pair of walking shoes. You can stop anywhere along the way to eat, order tea or coffee, or shop.  Sometimes there are even street benches for you to rest in between attractions.

I always enjoy walking and taking public transit wherever I am visiting. It’s good to get a feeling of the place. I’ve traveled to Australia, Italy, Holland, Belgium, England, and walked through the cities we visited there. I’ve visited several American and Canadian cities for business and walked through parts of them.

Walking is slower, yes, but you SEE so much more of a place when you do.

And interacting with the “natives” is a good thing too. It really is safe to just stop and try to strike up a conversation or say hello when you’re on the streets. This may work better on jogging paths when you briefly acknowledge fellow runners and walkers.

I love mingling with mankind, even though my husband is a bit shyer and more uncertain in crowds.

But I digress.

In New York, we walked past Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange.

There was the Court house.

There was the Empire State building. I love the Art Deco era of art and architecture.

We walked through SOHO.

And of course Central Park.

We visited the impressive New York Apple Store.

Apple Store Manhattan Island
Apple Store Manhattan Island

We used the subway to get to the Statue of Liberty and then walked back to Times Square where we were staying.

Manhattan Island has lots to offer and the best way to see it is to walk it. So be prepared to walk, rain or shine, depending on the time of the year. You’ll get a real feeling for the place!

Here are some great walking tours: https://manhattanwalkingtour.com/

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Times Square: Love the Crowds!

Iconic Times Square used to be called Longacre Square, but in 1907 The New York Times moved its headquarters into the area and so the rest is history! Times Square is a major commercial hub on Manhattan Island with millions visiting every year. In fact, a whopping estimated 50 million visitors annually!

It’s busy on Times Square with pedestrians all the time. But the Square wasn’t always a pedestrian plaza. In fact it’s only a very recent development. It just seems so natural that you’d never think that there were ever any cars allowed on it.

But in 2009, Mayor Michael Bloomberg transformed Times Square into a pedestrian plaza as we know it today. He had very good reasons to experiment.  He had two goals:
  • Ease traffic congestion.
  • Cut down on pedestrian accidents.

It worked! The trial was so successful that it became a permanent pedestrian plaza in 2015. I was surprised that it took so long, but on the other hand I know it takes courage to make changes, even when it’s obvious. It would never have occurred to me that it already wasn’t  a welcoming and safe place for people, judging by the throngs who attend the New Year’s Eve celebrations every year. It’s got to be a lot easier to police!

That’s why it’s a great place for people watching. Mind you, you must tolerate crowds because it will be CROWDED all day and even all night long. The last time I was in New York I stayed at one of the hotels right by the Square and with all the lit signs, it looked like it was daylight. Crazy. Incredible.

On one trip, I was taking an airport shuttle and it arrived at like 4 AM for me to make a 6 AM flight back to Calgary, Alberta. I was amazed at how bright all those billboards made the sky. I can see why no one sleeps in New York! Especially around Times Square.

Here’s a picture I took on one of my trips there.

Times Square New York City
Times Square New York City

Here are some of the attractions around Times Square:

  • 5th Avenue shopping district
  • Broadway Theatre district
  • Carnegie Hall
  • MadameTussauds at 234 West 42nd Street between 7th and 8th Avenues
  • Restaurant Row – West 46th Street between Broadway and 9th Avenues
  • Billboards on Broadway (as you can see in my picture.)

Enjoy a walking tour around Times Square. Here’s a link to some:

22 Things to Do in Times Square

 

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Central Park

Central Park and Lake, The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir
Central Park and Lake, The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir

Green space is a premium in New York City, so Central Park is definitely a wonderful space that is well used by New Yorkers and visitors alike. And it’s designed to be used ALL year round, in snow in the winter, falling colourful leaves in the fall, beautiful spring blooms in the spring and hot steamy hikes and runs in the summer.

The park covers, if you can believe this, 843 acres, a vast stretch of lively greenery in a sea of concrete. No wonder people cherish it so much. There is a society that raises funds for the upkeep and preservation of Central Park, which was first built in 1857. Since green is so precious, it’s not a wonder that up to 75% of total funding is provided by those who understand the value of its green spaces. Its annual budget of $65 million is responsible for all basic care of the park.

The park contains seven bodies of water, including a large lake and several ponds. They were all artificially constructed. The Lake was named in 1994, after one of America’s well known first ladies: The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. I definitely enjoyed my walk around this lake. It is vast and lots of wild life congregate there as well as people to enjoy the scenery. Watch the ducks swim by while you picnic or eat lunch from a food truck nearby.

Central Park is a community park and is well used by the community.  It’s also called the People’s Park. Pedestrians hike and run through it. It’s designed with meandering pathways and many pathways that go through the park.

Since the summer of 1965, the New York Philharmonic holds their annual summer event, New York Philharmonic Concert in the Park which is a free performance. The concert attracts thousands of spectators to the Great Lawn every year.

You might also want to visit the Central Park Zoo which is managed by the Wildlife Conservation Society. It is the home of an indoor rain forest, a leafcutter ant colony, a chilled penguin house and a polar bear pool.

Take your time when visiting the park. The park alone will provides hours and hours of enjoyment. If you visit the zoo, definitely plan for a day trip too.

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American Museum of Natural History

The American Museum of Natural History is a favourite hangout for me. I love to revisit this place over and over. Of course what I love most about it is the dinosaur display.  Many of these dinosaur bones come from Alberta, Canada, from an area called the Badlands and also further south from Montana and Utah. Most of these were transported out of Canada in the 1800s, so the collection of dinosaur bones is one of the oldest in North America.

What kid doesn’t love dinosaurs? Many adults are just as fascinated by these incredible animals. The dinosaur exhibit is a perennial favourite at the American Museum of Natural History.  Because it’s always there. This is one of their staple exhibits.

Here are some highlights for you. The museum is always on the lookout to add to their normal display. So stay tuned for exciting additions!

Youth Plaque at American Museum of Natural History
Youth Plaque at American Museum of Natural History

Be sure to look for and read the Youth Plaque. Let it inspire you.  And be the good person that you know how to be!

Exceptional Dinosaur Specimen American Museum of Natural History
Exceptional Dinosaur Specimen American Museum of Natural History

The American Museum of Natural History continues to update their display. They recently added a Titanosaur. (Watch the video below. ) Pretty cool – this animal is more than 120 feet long. What you’ll see is a cast of the Titanosaur.  This dinosaur is a new species found in Argentina.

The reason why casts are taken of these huge animals is because the fossilized remains have accumulated minerals over millions of years, turning natural porous bones into HEAVY stone. They’re just TOO heavy to hang the original specimen.  So relatively light casts are made and displayed instead.

Watch the video about the museum’s latest addition to their dinosaur collection:

Hope you will visit this museum on your next trip to New York City. The dinosaurs are well worth seeing. Be sure to plan an entire day just to view the entire museum since the dinosaur display is just one of many displays!

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Hello New York City

New York Twin Towers 1970s
1970s image of Twin Towers, New York City credit to http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=21249&page=14

My first trip to New York City was when I was a 20 year old university student and I was visiting friends of the family with my parents. This goes way back to the late 1970s. I was wearing peasant tops and skirts in those days along with espadrilles. I loved the look. My hair was also very long, thick and black.

Our friends lived in Queens in a nice quiet neighbourhood. They took us to downtown Manhattan. However, we didn’t go to Times Square that trip. We did go on the famous subway though.

It was an adventure riding on that subway. It was very noisy. At one point, a woman got on our train and after a while, she began to yell and talk, to no one in particular.

We were from Montreal, Quebec, Canada and we had a nice subway system. But observing someone behave that way was a unique experience for us. My friends simply looked at us and signaled for us to be quiet and actually look away. But I never forgot how this stranger acted out.

Today, as a Doctor of Chinese Medicine, I still wonder how she got that way. She definitely suffered. But I did not judge her. I do not judge her today. It just makes me realize that suffering is displayed in many ways.

Well, we continued with our trip tn New York City.  Our friends had planned for us to spend the day in the American Museum of Natural History. It did not disappoint. I’ve always LOVED the natural sciences – in fact I was studying engineering at the time – so I took to it naturally.

I loved every minute in one of New York’s most iconic attractions.

I would later learn that many of the dinosaur bones displayed there had been taken from the province of Alberta in Canada back in the 1800s before our borders were patrolled they way they are now. I must not have read the information cards under each display or I wasn’t thinking about it.

Little did I know that I’d be moving there, after graduating with my engineering degree in civil engineering, living and working in that same province by August of 1979.

Anyway, we also visited New York’s famous Chinatown and ate in one of the restaurants there. On another day, we went all the way up to the top of one of the Twin Towers. I remember gripping the railing firmly in my hands and despite my fear of extreme heights, I dared to bend and look over the railing at the tiny specks on the ground below!

What a THRILL!

That’s how I remember my first trip to New York, New York. Very fondly.

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