10 Rainy Day Activities in Manhattan Teenagers Will Love

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New York City, and specifically Manhattan,  is a magical place any season and in any weather and for any age. But our recent storms in the Northeast inspired a reader to ask us for recommendations for rainy day activities in the Big Apple. And knowing that she has teen-aged kids, we offered suggestions that we thought would be most engaging for that age. This week, we’re sharing those 10 activities that will (in theory) especially appeal to the teenage crowd.

Our Manhattan City Guide includes many of these locations, plus other attractions that everyone will love (although some are better suited for nicer weather). And if you’re looking for a great spot for a good meal, check out our top 10 list here.

10 Rainy Day Activities in Manhattan Teenagers Will Love

  1. Play video games at the Paley Center for Media.The fifth Floor GX Gaming Studio at the Paley Center has 20 individual stations that feature XBox Series X, PlayStation 4s, PS5, and Nintendo Switches. There’s also the VR room with Oculus beat saver and the ability to try out one of three VR games. After getting hooked into a set of goggles and hand sticks, players can experience a thrilling VR simulation, including a Star Wars lightsaber activity.
    Travel Tips: The Paley Center is located in Midtown Manhattan and is open Wednesday through Sunday from 12pm to 6pm; info on tickets here; The Center has amenities but no dining facilities; Plan on 60 minutes to explore the full Center, and time to play all the games in the Studio. 
    Read our full post here.
  1. Sing Broadway show tunes while touring the Museum of Broadway. The new museum (opened in late 2022) is designed to take guests through a chronological history of “the Great White Way” with three major segments: The Map Room, The Timeline, and The Making of a Broadway Show. All three parts include tons of original costumes, scripts, daily itineraries, mock ups of sets, film footage of interviews with casts and crews, awards, and highlights of popular shows from each era. Each chronological era includes a list of shows and the casts with separate displays for some of the groundbreaking shows of that time. There’s also trivia on opening dates, the number of Tony Awards each show received, and short bios on the cast. There are several interactive components to each era and tons of Instagram-worthy photo shots. 
    Travel Tips: The museum, located in the heart of Times Square,  is open seven days a week from 10am-10pm; Information on admission fees and tickets here; Amenities and a gift shop on site, but no dining facilities; See the full exhibit map here; Plan on two hours to explore all the exhibits.
    Read our full post here.
  1. Learn how to make pasta at Eataly.  Eataly is the mecca for Italian food lovers. There are two locations in Manhattan: Downtown (in the World Trade Center) and the Flatiron District (on Fifth Avenue). Each spot has several dining options including full service restaurants, a market with tons of quick service cafe and bar options and a massive grocery store. However, Eataly also offers a wide variety of cooking classes (and wine pairing workshops for adults) with themes such as pasta, dessert, gnocchi. 
    Travel Tips: Classes are a little pricey for the average teen’s budget, and will sell out, but with a little planning and perhaps as a birthday or special event gift, they would have a ton of fun going with family or friends. Classes do include samplings, but leave room (and bring money) to shop after the class! Teens might also enjoy “just” going to some of the cafes within Eataly and creating their own mini food tour.
    Read our full post here
  1. Complete missions at Spyscape. The spy themed museum includes many interactive exhibits, including Encryption, Deception, Surveillance, Hacking, Special Ops, Cyber Warfare, and Intelligence.  A huge highlight is the Special Ops challenge and the various Questions Stations.
    Travel Tips: Spyscape is located in Midtown Manhattan and open seven days a week; information on reserving tickets here; the museum is handicap accessible; There is a small cafe (mainly drinks and pastries) and a large gift shop on the second floor; Plan on two hours to complete all missions and exhibits.
    Read our full post here.
  1. Eat lots and lots of candy at M&M’s in Times Square, and Hershey’s Chocolate World, located across from one another in the heart of Times Square. M&M’s offers dozens of colors and milk, peanut, and specialty candies, plus the chance to personalize candies on site. Hershey’s Chocolate World has candy machines to customize your own chocolate bars (including filling a one POUND Reese’s Peanut Butter cup) and a massive gift shop with brand specific apparel and home goods,. There are tons of Instagram worthy spots within each location and special holiday events and Meet-and-Greets with characters.
    Bonus: Dylan’s Candy Bar, in Hudson Yards, is another great spot for a sugar fix and offers a wide selection of nostalgic brands.
  1. Go behind the stage of a famous theater. There are several theaters throughout New York City which offer backstage tours. Two of our favorites include Radio City Music Hall and Carnegie Hall. Radio City Music Hall, home to the famous Rockettes, is a 6,000 seat performance center that hosts thousands of musical, comedy, and theatrical performances and welcomes over two million visitors each year. Tour stops include the Grand Lounge, Costume Shop, Rehearsal Hall, Screening Room, and Private Reception Hall. Carnegie Hall, considered the finest acoustics concert hall in the world, hosts over 250 seasonal concerts and 500+ independently produced events each year. The Hall has three total stages, two of which are included on the tour: Isaac Stern Auditorium/ Perelman Stage (5 tiers and 2,800 seats), and the Zankel Hall (located two floors below ground with 600 seats). Other stops include sitting in the front row and exploring the Rose Museum.
    Travel Tips: Pay attention to the calendar for each theater; tours are scheduled around performance schedules (aka don’t try and tour RCMH during Rockettes’ Christmas Spectacular); Tours are handicap accessible, but do often require going up and down stairs and walking through tight spaces or under sets; Dining options are not typically available during tours. 
    Read our full post on Radio City Music Hall here and Carnegie Hall here
  1. Check out the views of the whole city from the 69th floor of the Comcast Building at Top of the Rock. Guests can check in at the street level and take an elevator to the 67th floor, which has both indoor and outdoor spaces to see the views of the city and as far as neighborhood states. On the 69th floor there are short flights of stairs to unobstructed views.
    Travel Tips: Many visitors take the Rockefeller Center Tour and then take the elevator to the “Top of the Rock”- information on tickets and reservations here; Many amenities are available inside the lower levels of the Comcast Building, including restrooms, dining options, and retail stores; Tours usually last 60- minutes and another 30 minutes to explore the Top of the Rock. 
    Read our full post here.
    The Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building also offers great views and tons of history. Read our full post on the Statue of Liberty here.
  1. Go behind the scenes of some of your favorite sets on the Tour of NBC Studios. Most people are familiar with the crowds that stand outside the Today Show every morning, but NBC also hosts daily tours led by the famous “Pages” (famous past Pages include Regis Philbin and Ted Koppel). The tour includes the Production Gallery, a peek inside two studios (options vary from day to day, but on the day we visited we saw Saturday Night Live
    Travel Tips: Tours are temporarily suspended in the winter and spring of 2023, but we included the tour on our list in hopeful anticipation it will return shortly; Photography is not allowed on tours; no dining options while on the tour, but plenty of choices in the Comcast Building; Tours last 70 minutes.
  1. See diplomacy in action at the United Nations. The United Nations is a meeting place for all members to “settle disputes, prevent future conflicts, find solutions to global issues, and protect all humanity”. New York became the permanent home of the 193 nation member United Nations in 1949 and construction on the complex was finished two years later.  Public tours include opportunities to visit three or four of the six main organs of the UN, as well as many displays and art installations.
    Travel Tips: It’s worth it, but there are a lot of “hoops” to jump through to get on a tour. Order tickets ahead of time here. They do sell out quickly, so order as soon as you pick a date. Most tours, including the Children’s Tour, last 45- 60 minutes and are capped at 20 guests. Tours are offered Monday through Friday. 
    Read our full post here
  1. Explore a popular museum exhibit at any of the dozens of museums throughout Manhattan. The American Museum of Natural History, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, and the National Museum of the American Indian all have permanent and rotating exhibits that age younger and budding art enthusiasts.
    Travel Tips: Most museums have pay-what-you-wish days or hours; most museums also have cafeterias or full service restaurants on site; be sure to check online for special, themed events or children/teen focused activities.

If you’re looking for more activities for ALL ages in ALL weather, check out our full Manhattan City Guide here. And follow along on our adventures on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.

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  1. 60 years ago I and my cousins and friend used to go to New York with very little money to see the MMOA and to walk in Central Park and along 5thAvenue, an inexpensive way to enjoy the day and look at all the sites. Now you have such wonderful, exciting, interesting, educational, and fun Places to explore and things to learn. Wonderful blog.

  2. As a parent of two teens, these suggestions are spot on. My kids would love all of these activities. We are planning a trip to New York next year for college tours, and I’ll save this post just in case we need some rainy day activities.

  3. Great suggestions for rainy day activities in New York City. These look like fun activities for people of any age too! I have several of these museums on my NYC wishlist and now I’ve added a few more activities as well.

  4. I’m not a teenager nor do I have any myself, but I’d still love to do some of these activities, haha, especially checking out the city views from the Comcast Building! I definitely need to make it back to NYC someday. Xx Sara

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