10 Best Boston Activities for Rainy Days

What to do in Boston in the rain

Downtown Crossing Boston in the rain / Boston Activities / www.boston-discovery-guide.com
Boston's pedestrian-friendly Downtown Crossing on a rainy November morning - that's the Old South Meeting House on the Freedom Trail toward the back

Don't let rain dampen your Boston travel plans! 

Our list of best Boston activities for rainy days will get you happily through the wettest weather, and you'll still get to see some wonderful parts of the city that you might otherwise miss.

This list of the 10 best Boston activities for rainy days will give you plenty of suggestions so that drizzles or downpours won't turn your weekend in the city into a wash-out.

Best of all, these rainy day activities in Boston are also fun things to do on sunny days . . . and even those other "s-word" weather days that we don't like to use . . . snow, sleet, and worst of all, slush.


Boston activities for rain (and snow, sleet, and slush)

1. Spend a day at a museum

Boston's Museum of Fine Arts - painting in Arts of the Americas WingSpending a day in a museum is a time-honored way of avoiding bad weather - rainy days, steamy days, snowy days.

With over 30 museums to choose from, finding one to fit your interests shouldn't be a problem.

But if you're dealing with a bone-chilling drizzle or soaking downpour, consider 2 additional criteria:  1) size (seek out bigger museums where you can happily spend and hour or more), and 2) proximity to a subway (or "T" as we call it) stop to avoid getting drenched in transit.

Our suggestions fit both criteria:

Don't forget to check savings with Boston discount cards - for example, cardholders can get free admission to the Aquarium, Children's Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, and Museum of Science.

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2.  Get some indoor exercise

One of Boston's best kept secrets are our bowling alleys.  Easiest to get to by T in the rain is Kings (50 Dalton St), close to Prudential Center in Back Bay.  Great for family fun before 6pm, and then strictly 21+.  The big screens, drinks, and food will add to your enjoyment. 

More about Kings

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3.  Go to a movie

Loew's Boston Common Movie Theater - 19 screens!Even if you're normally addicted to Netflix when you're at home, going to a movie on a rainy day can be a lot of fun, especially if you're traveling. 

For movie theaters showing first run commercial films, check Loew's Boston Common 19 (very close to the Park St T station).  Thanks to the theater's 19 screens, you're likely to find something of interest.

But for indie films, foreign films, and repertory film series that defy description, see what's playing at the Brattle Theatre near the Harvard Square T station in Cambridge, and also grab a bite to eat.

On-site Café Algiers serves excellent casual Middle-Eastern fare such as hummus and baba ganoush - but chocoholics won't want to miss Burdick's famous hot chocolate almost next door (52 Brattle Street).  Crema Cafe (around the corner at 27 Brattle Street) is locally renowned for its coffee and baked goods, but the sandwiches and salads are also good. 

Find out more about Boston's wide range of movie theaters

Boston Movie Tours provide a great way to see the city - choose the bus tour on a rainy day!

Boston Movie Tours - Get Discount Boston Whale Watching Tours - Discounts Boston Ghosts and Graveyard Tours - Not just for Halloween Complete Guide to Boston Tours


4.  Watch a game or concert at the Garden . . .

TD Garden, home to the Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins, and frequent site of star-studded concerts, ice shows, and occasionally even the circus, is right next to North Station (Orange and Green T lines). 

Check Ace Tickets to find out what's scheduled and get tickets.  Also, be sure to check for half-price tickets, sometimes available for events at the Garden such as Celtics games and Disney on Ice through Goldstar

Half price tickets to Boston events, shows, cruises, games


5.  . . . or go to the theater or a comedy show

Boston's Theatre District in the rainBoston theaters present everything from Broadway musicals to cutting edge drama.  Going to a show is a favorite Boston activity - you'll find a huge number of choices!  The most convenient locations for staying dry in the rain are the downtown Theatre District and the Huntington Theatre in Fenway. 

Boston also offers a wonderful selection of comedy clubs.  Stand up, improv, ensembles...whatever your preference, you're sure to find several interesting options.

Remember Goldstar from the previous suggestion?  Check Goldstar to find out what's showing and get half-price tickets for shows and comedy clubs.  You'll be pleasantly surprised by how much they offer.

Half price tickets to Boston events, shows, cruises, games


6.  Try our rainy day walking tour itinerary to explore and shop in the heart of Downtown Boston

Walk through Boston Common in the RainGoing for a walk on a rainy day gives you the chance to see the city from a new perspective. 

This short walking tour itinerary starts in beautiful Boston Common and takes you along one of the most interesting sections of the historic Freedom Trail - and then through the Downtown Crossing shopping area where you'll find fascinating small shops as well as a huge Macys.  

The route covers less than a mile so you won't actually be in the rain very long - plus you can always pop into a store, coffee bar, or restaurant along the way if the rain gets harder.

Try our rainy day walking tour itinerary


7.  Follow in the footsteps of Revolutionary War heroes

Hang out at one of the historic Boston bars where the Sons of Liberty plotted their tea party and dreamed of revolution. 

Or enjoy a leisurely meal in one of Boston's historic restaurants such as Durgin Park and the Union Oyster House, where generations of Bostonians have eaten basically the same traditional New England dishes that you'll be served. 

All of these places are very close to Faneuil Hall / Quincy Marketplace and several T stops - ask at your hotel which will be the most convenient from where you're staying.


8.  Enjoy sweeping views of Boston

Well, the views may not be "sweeping" if the rain is heavy.  On a blue-sky day, you might want to experience the panoramic views of the city from the Prudential Skywalk. 

But don't pay out good money for Skywalk Observatory tickets on a dismal day!  Instead, head up to the 52nd floor - 2 floors above the Skywalk - to the Top of the Hub. 

Sit in the bar or lounge and order one of the specialty cocktails for about the same money you might have spent on Skywalk tickets.

You'll still be able to see some of the city unless the rain turned into a nor'easter.  If that happens, order another drink.  If you stay long enough, you can enjoy the live jazz which begins on most nights after 8pm. 


9.  Tour Boston Harbor

Boston skyline on a cloudy night - photographed from boat on Boston HarborTouring the Harbor is a favorite visitor activity. . . and while most people think of doing this only when the weather is good, you can also see quite a bit in the rain. 

Two of the biggest enclosed dinner cruise boats, the Spirit of Boston and the Odyssey, continue their tours year round, rain or shine.  On cloudy nights, Boston's skyline looks even more dramatic. 

Goldstar often offers deeply discounted dinner tickets for these cruises, so check to see what's available on your target date. 

Several cruises are also available with the Go Boston discount card.


10.  Shop

Shopping can be lots of fun on bad weather days. 

If you're visiting from out of state or another country, remember:  you don't have to pay sales tax in Massachusetts for clothing costing under $175.  So you can save a lot of money by shopping for clothes here.

Three Boston shopping malls are easily reachable by T or on foot - Prudential Center, Copley Place, and Faneuil Hall Marketplace (aka Quincy Market)

For the ultimate experience in designer discount shopping, hope on one of the carefree luxury coach trips to Wrentham Premium Outlets located about 30 miles south of Boston, where you'll find loads of deeply discounted designer brands.  Your savings can easily pay for the car . . . maybe your entire Boston vacation!  

Or consider Assembly Row factory stores - only 5 minutes from Downtown by T (subway).

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Boston Insider Tip:

One last thought:  If you're coming to Boston and know ahead of time that rain is predicted during your stay, a fun option is to make reservations in a hotel offering in-room fireplaces.  Bask in front of the warm fire in your room, and you won't mind the nor'easter raging outside one bit!



More about great rainy day activities in Boston

Rainy day Boston activities - New England Aquarium Wang Theatre in Boston MA Boston Irish Pubs


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Boston in the rain / Boston Activities / www.boston-discovery-guide.com
Photo courtesy of Paul Keleher



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