A Big List of Things To Do in L.A. When It Rains [2023]

Rainy morning on First Street bridge. Photo by Christina Champlin.

Is wet weather really bad weather? There’s a myth about Los Angeles and the rain. The thinking goes that when we get even even a hint of precipitation the city descends into a state of mass hysteria. But isn’t that a bit dramatic?

Sure, nobody likes driving in the rain. Slick roads raise the chances of an accident. Flooding makes pot holes a nuisance. Mud slides are a real danger in some areas. And yet, people still go out. The world goes on (caveat: If L.A. County issues a flash flood warning, then you probably want to stay home. Turn around, don’t drown, as they say).


In terms of socializing, that means putting L.A.’s indoor activities in focus. The rain becomes the perfect excuse to peruse a museum, check out a new art exhibition, catch a movie at an old school theater, or cozy up at a nearby coffee shop. And if you”re reading this article, it’s probably those exact type of activities you’re looking for as you stare at the drops dripping down your window.

So next time it’s raining and you’re planning a date night, a hangout with friends, or a solo adventure, consider the below rundown. Rain or not, there’s lots to do in the city of angels. Now let’s prove it.

Free Museums & Museum Days

The Broad
The Broad. Photo by Christina Champlin.

Museums offer a natural refuge from inclement weather. There’s the chance to stay inside for a few hours, admire creativity, consider history, and hopefully gain some some cultural insight. And if it’s free (or at least low cost), then all the better. We’ve got a big list of free museums and museum days you can scope out, but for quick reference below are some favorite options:

  • The Broad always offers one of the best collections of contemporary art you’ll find on west coast, free admission never hurts! Just keep in mind you’ll probably need an advanced reservation (unless you do the standby line) and parking will add to the cost. To maximize the spend, remember you can skip across Grand Ave to visit the MOCA campus (also free) just across Grand Ave on the same day if the spirit moves you.
  • If you’re a local with a free rainy afternoon, consider that both LACMA and Natural History Museum offer free museum admission to L.A. County residents (with i.d.) every weekday after 3 p.m.
  • A rainy day might be a great chance to check out one of L.A.’s smaller cultural institutions, like the Torrance Art Museum, the El Segundo Museum of Art, or The Wende Museum.
  • Both the California Science Center and the California African American Museum are located on the Exposition Park campus near NHM, and they both offer year-round free admission, no reservation required.

Art Galleries

“The New Bend” exhibition at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles. Photo by Brian Champlin

If it’s art you seek but without the museum hassle, L.A. boasts a bevy of galleries both big and small for you to peruse. Start with a few of our favorites below.

  • Hauser & Wirth already has a massive complex (100,000 square feet of total space) in the Arts District that includes its own restaurant and several large scale gallery spaces. Starting in February 2023, H&S adds a West Hollywood location to their worldwide portfolio. Both are free to visit.
  • Venice’s L.A. Louver is a multi-level space featuring contemporary artists in a variety of mediums. The layout also offers glimpses of the outside through thoughtfully placed windows and skylights. 
  • Located in the Mid-Wilshire neighborhood, the Fahey/Klein Gallery is dedicated to 20th century and contemporary fine art photography. So why does it bare mention? Well, it also happens to be around the corner from one of L.A.’s best classic movie theaters, The New Beverly, which we discuss further below. If you plan right, you can make it the perfect art and a movie day!
  • The Bergamot Station Art Center in Santa Monica is home to a cluster of galleries all on one campus making it the perfect spot to discover art. It’s also on the doorstep to the 26th St. / Bergamot Metro Station, so if you’re riding through the rain on public transit, this is a great stop.
  • Nestled between Culver City and West Adams on La Cienga Blvd you’ll find Blum & Poe, an O.G. Los Angeles gallery (est. 1994) representing an impressive roster of seriously influential local and international artists. It’s also adjacent to a string up galleries along the boulevard, so with a little planning, you hit up a few stops in one afternoon. Just bring your umbrella, and make sure to check opening hours.

Arcades + Pinball

Neon Retro Arcade. Photo by Christina Champlin.

For any 80s or 90s kids out there, the thrill of pumping quarters into cabinet arcade games at malls and convenience stories is a foundational memory. Ring any bells? If so, maybe your ideal rainy day outing includes a nostalgic kick of 16-bit graphics and coin-operated fun. L.A. has more than a few options to fit the bill. Here are couple of our faves.

  • Neon Retro Arcade in Old Pasadena is where you can play classic pinball and video games on an hourly basis for $15 or all day long for $25. The space is colorfully lit up in neon lights and the front desk sells snacks and candy.
  • Button Mash is an arcade bar in Echo Park that offers old school games, local beers and next level comfort food in a retro setting.
  • If Pinball is your passion, consider Walt’s Bar in Eagle for a stellar lineup of classic machines plus draft beers, wine, and hot dogs (sounds like a good combo, right?).
  • Explore a number of virtual games, story rooms (mini escape rooms) and game machines at Two Bit Circus in DTLA. The warehouse sized space also has a bar and food kiosk.

Movie Theaters

New Beverly Cinema
New Beverly Cinema. Photo by Brian Champlin.

Rainy days and movie theaters go together like butter and popcorn. If that means heading to the cineplex that’s geographically closest to your home or apartment, that’s totally understandable. But if you want to put a unique spin on the outing, maybe consider one of these options.

  • For the old school 35mm experience, the Quentin Tarantino-owned New Beverly Cinema boasts arguably the best schedule of classic films in the city. Tickets run $10-$15.
  • For the complete dinner-and-a-movie experience all in one, consider the Alamo Drafthouse location in DTLA. The Austin-based chain offers stylish accommodations for new releases paired with a wide range of apps and entrees to order, all delivered right to your seat. Also: Tickets are Tuesdays are just $9.
  • If you’re on a budget, matinee tickets (before 6 p.m.) for the Regency Academy Cinemas in Pasadena are $5.50, and that includes assigned seating. Woot!

Cozy Coffee & Tea Shops

The Cloud Latte at Valentine Sweets Organic Bakery & Café. Photo by Christina Champlin.

Coffee is so highly personal than it seems criminal to declare the unqualified “best” when it comes to local coffee and tea spots. Nonetheless, we do have our favorites that combine both quality sips and an inviting ambience. Some options below.

  • The Downtown Inglewood location of Hilltop Coffee & Kitchen offers locally roasted gourmet coffees and an all day food menu. The space is inviting with lots of tables on the ground floor and couches upstairs.  Hilltop also has locations in Windsor Hills, DTLA and Eagle Rock.
  • Maybe what you really want is a bit of color to brighten up your rainy day. Valentine Sweets Organic Bakery & Café in Old Pasadena offers coffee as well as tea drinks including an eye catching baby blue Cloud Latte. Pair your drinks with Valentine’s specialty tea cakes or savory pirogies.
  • Modern tea house Steep is a calming, minimalist space in Chinatown that brews teas on the spot. Head in for the Steeped experience where you can select a tea to be brewed in a teapot for up to four people plus pastries and dried fruit. 
  • Pasadena’s Jameson Brown has been serving small-batch coffee roasted in-house since 2006. They make strong espresso drinks and the space is filled with plenty of tables. The lavender vanilla breve here is a must-try.
  • Need more caffeinated ideas? Of course you do. Well, the L.A. Times recently lauded Los Angeles as a “world class coffee destination” (clickbaity, but ok…) and singled out a selection of cafes that prove the claim. Scope out their list here.

Indie Bookstores

The Last Bookstore. Photo by Christina Champlin.

Bookstores are a close cousin to the coffee shop, but brick-and-mortar sellers are, sadly, a bit of a dying breed. Thankfully, L.A. still has a few stalwarts that have stood the test of time. Here are couple of ideas.


  • The Last Bookstore in Downtown Los Angeles is the largest new and used bookstore in California. Two floors of books all segmented by topics fill up the space and a very Instagram-able book archway can be found upstairs.
  • Skylight Books & Arts Annex in Los Feliz carries a curated inventory of exceptional books for adults, teens and children. The Arts Annex next door focuses on books for creatives (art, film, design etc.) as well as zines, comics and graphic novels.
  • Located in North Hollywood, Iliad Bookshop is one of the largest used bookstores in Los Angeles. They have a wide selection of books specializing in arts, literature and graphic novels.

Indoor Food Halls

Interior of Blossom Food Hall. Photo by Brian Champlin

Food halls are fun to explore and most can get pretty busy. Visiting on a rainy day might help you cut down the wait time and easily snag a table. 

  • Located in the historic Mission District of San Gabriel, Blossom Market Hall houses a diverse line up of food vendors. You can find oxtail with rice and beans at Caribbean Gourmet, Armenian khorovats kabobs from Piccadilly Grace and freshly shucked oysters at Oy, Oysters. Additionally, the hall includes a wine & beer bar, coffee roaster and tea bar.
  • The biggest and most famous food hall in all of L.A. is Grand Central Market in Downtown Los Angeles. The historic venue boasts over 40 vendors to cover any food and drink cravings you can imagine. Golden Road Brewery is also there if you feel like having a beer or two. 
  • A South L.A. culinary gem, Mercado La Paloma is where you can find excellent mariscos from Holbox, succulent cochinita pibil tacos from Chichen Itza and tasty oxtails from Gusina Saraba. The “Power Juices” from Oaxacalifornia pair well with any vendor you decide to try out. If you decide to visit one of the museums at Expo Park (see above), this is a great lunch or dinner option afterwards.
  • Culver City’s Citizen Public Market is home to a handful of vendors including Chef Brandon Kida’s GoGo Bird and local seafood specialists The Jolly Oyster. After a meal, head upstairs and pull up a seat at the bar for cocktails at Bar Bohémien.


All Season Brewing. Photo by All Season Brewing Instagram.

Stay dry while sipping on suds at one of L.A.’s many great breweries. Just make sure if you plan to imbibe you game plan for a designated driver, use public transit, or catch a rideshare. A few options below.

  • Housed in the Firestone tire station in Mid City, All Season Brewing has a lengthy beer list, skee-ball machines and Chicas Tacos on-site.
  • Filipino and Japanese-owned Brewyard Beer Company in Glendale has a spacious indoor space and unique beers on tap. The Jewel City lager has won six medals (so far) and is inspired by the type of beers made in California during the Gold Rush. 
  • Tucked away in a San Gabriel warehouse is Ogopogo Brewing. The first ever brewery in the city, Ogopogo (named after the Canadian version of Loch Ness) names each beer after some sort of mythical creatures like a Boeman (Boogey Man) Belgian and Peryton Hazy IPA.
  • The Chinatown location of Homage Brewing’s taproom boasts two levels of seating, a kitchen menu, featured wines plus a guest beer and of course Homages signature lagers, ales and saisons.


Pasta making class with IMPASTIAMO.

Maybe your rainy-day goal is to learn a skill or take on a hobby. If so, think on the ideas below:


  • The cooking classes provided by IMPASTIAMO are first rate. Every month a schedule of diverse classes are released and each are lead by some of the most experienced cooks in the city. They make it so easy for guests to follow along and drinks are usually involved.
  • Cocktail classes at The Association are on going every Friday and Saturday from 8-9 p.m. Each one hour session highlights a certain spirit and includes a tasting of three to four craft cocktails for $45 a person and access to social hour from 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. with special cocktail pricing.
  • When you crave an outdoor activity but the rain ruins your plans, head to L.A. Boulders and pretend your’e “Free Solo.” The in door climbing space has obstacles for both adults and kids making this place the perfect choice for families. First-timers can book a class for just $30.

Trivia Nights

Idle Hour Old Fashioned
Old Fashioned at Idle Hour. Photo by Lesile Rodriguez.

Trivia nerds don’t need a rainy day excuse to rally for a raucous pub quiz, but if you’re a complete newb looking to assemble a team with friends, here are some locales where you can find a game:

  • On Tuesdays Roguelike Tavern in Burbank hosts trivia where the winning team gets a $50 credit at the bar. The best team name wins a round of mystery shots too.
  • Geeks Who Drink runs trivia games around L.A. county., including at The Blind Donkey, Big Foot Lodge (West and East), Red Lion Tavern, The York, and more.
  • Every Wednesday join the patrons at Scum & Villainy Cantina in Hollywood for Trivia Quest. Topics lean heavy on nerdy news and geek history.
  • Angel City Brewery hosts a Tacos & Trivia night every Tuesday at their Arts District tap house.
  • Win beers during a King Trivia night event, which like GWD host at pubs and bars throughout the county, including The Cat & Fiddle, Tam O’Shanter to Idle Hour.

More Random Ideas

Entrance to the Jurassic Museum of Technology. Photo by Brian Champlin. Feb. 1, 2022

Maybe you hear the rain pelting pavement and you think to yourself… “You know what, let’s get a little weird.” If so, here are a few unique options.

  • Check out the Jurassic Museum of Technology in Culver City, which is really more of a meta art experience than a museum. But you be the judge.
  • Smell your way over to The Institute for Art and Olfaction in Chinatown, which boasts a packed calendar of online and in-person events for you to nose around.
  • Shop oddities at Wacko Soap Plant, then when you’re done browsing peep what’s on view at the La Luz de Jesus Gallery at the back of the store.
  • Check out Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre in North Hollywood to see what’s weird, shocking, and delightful programming ZJ and his team have on the schedule.

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