America’s Favorite Indoor Attractions

Baby, it’s cold outside. Whether you’re looking to escape the rain, stay warm or just cool down, America’s diverse selection of indoor museums, waterparks, aquariums, and a number of others, are sure not to be a disappointment. Our attraction guide is jam-packed with ideas for where to go and what to do when the weather outside is frightful. You’ll find loads of free places to discover, to one of a kind experiences that’ll leave you wishing you would’ve come sooner. Rainy days might just become your favorite days with all of these options.

1. Hit Up Your Local Museum – Of course cities like NYC have practically a lifetime supply of museums to discover and revisit for changing exhibits, but you’d be surprised to see how many other cities have such cool out of the ordinary types of museums. Just check out my list of the 27 Coolest Museums In America and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about. Our nation is also home to over 200 children’s museums that are just waiting for your child’s attention. We list the best in our listing of the 10 Best Children’s Museums In America.

2. Find The Nearest Heated Pool or Indoor Water Park – It never fails to amaze me how the indoor water park has quickly taken off in such few years, though many still don’t realize how many there truly are. The Great Wolf Lodge has a dozen locations throughout the country, offering an indoor water park, a scavenger hunt, a kid’s spa, and even laser tag! But let me warn you, the Great Wolf Lodge is not for everyone, check out my post about five reasons why I, personally, would not return to their Charlotte, NC location. Those with kids who are visiting or passing through any of the cities that have one are really missing out if they don’t let the kiddos partake in all of the fun. Adults, especially, who are in the NYC area will want to consider heading to the New York Spa Castle to spend $35 per guests to enjoy this Korean-run spa in Flushing, Queens; this price gives you unlimited access to a foot and body massage pool, Hinoki Bath, sauna, indoor, outdoor, and kiddie pools, and an aqua bar.

3. See A Live Performance – Though this is something that typically has to be planned in advance, there’s always the chance that you can snag one of those last minute front row tickets that someone just gave up. Or those visiting somewhere like LA or NYC will want to consider seeing a live performance. Just see how much free last-minute fun I had at Jimmy Kimmel Live and The Chelsea Lately Show and I promise you’ll want to hit one of these yourselves. After all, there’s nothing like seeing and hearing it all live and in person and you may even get a book signing or a little meet and greet as an added bonus. You never know.

4. Go Behind The ScenesIn my podcast on visiting Atlanta, I learned that there are Behind The Scenes tours nearly everywhere you look. From baseball stadiums to historical theaters to aquariums to The Top 10 Chocolate & Beer Tours In America, pretty much every city has some sort of indoor tour that’s sure to knock your socks off.

5. Hotels or Atriums – One thing I love doing is going and touring hotels that I would like to stay at, but simply don’t have the time or don’t want to fork up the loot. Just like how it’s fun to see the differently themed hotels in Vegas, it can also be fun to do this in other places. Those at Disney World can take the [indoor+free] monorail from the Magic Kingdom and tour the lavish 4.5 star Grand Floridian Resort while getting wined and dined by the nightly entertainment. At Christmas time in New orleans it’s always fun to get in off the street and see how each hotel tries to outdo their neighbors by building an even more impressive tree. Other’s have dozens of trees throughout the properties.

6. Shop ‘Till You Drop – This one sort of goes without saying, yet it never fails to amaze me how many people will try to avoid them. Whether you’re a local coming by for an early morning jog or a tourist looking to try shops you don’t have back in Kansas, it’s always fun to discover a new favorite store. Those with children will want to be sure to check out our article on 9 of the Coolest Toy Stores In America.

7. Bowling Alley or Movie Theater Madness – Those on a roadtrip, simply taking a nice staycation, or perhaps passing by some grandiose new state of the art theater or bowling alley may just want to head on it. The TLC Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles is home to the single largest IMAX® auditorium in the world and The Splitville Luxury Lanes bowling alley at Orlando’s Downtown Disney are both examples of some of the nation’s coolest.

8. Get In The Know – Why not use this precious vacation time to be constructive? How about trying a cooking class and getting a little bit out of your element. Spicing things up in the kitchen is long overdue anyway, so why not embrace your inner Top Chef at the nearest cooking class? It may actually be a lot of fun!

9. Take A Spa Day – Ahh you should’ve seen this one coming, right? You don’t have to be in Beverly Hills to unwind like a superstar. From cruise ship spas that help rid seasickness to extraordinary spas that really set the standards for the industry, to one right at your Four Seasons Hotel, spas are undoubtedly ubundant. One of the nation’s coolest is in Chicago; it is like a psychedelic candyland invented by Tim Burton, but the Galos salt-iodine caves is a resort that provides guests with an authentic sea microclimate. The healing effects mimic that of the Black Sea. Low levels of iodine in parts of the US made Chicago a perfect spot for the pastel spa.

10. Dine The Night Away – Anyone can simply go somewhere and just eat, but I’m talking about really finding a way to live it up. From eating at your favorite celebrity chefs local hot spot, to finding a one of a kind themed restaurant to going somewhere that’s owned by your favorite celebrity, there’s plenty of off the wall restaurant concepts that will leave you hanging around for hours.

What’s your favorite thing to do on a sour day? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!

Taylor Goldblatt

After years of research, travel, and dreams, I have created this website for people like you who want to experience the things that only America can offer. My passion is to explore and share America's greatest destinations and attractions. Follow me on Twitter @USCityTraveler for additional travel tips and ideas.

Are you ready to getaway...

Enter your email, and we will send you a free copy of Travel Tips:

Hacks from a Seasoned Traveler to start planning your vacation today!