The sun is bright in the sky most days in Los Angeles, and even gray days rarely have much precipitation—but even on those days when the rain patters against the window and you just want to feel cozy, there are still a host of indoor activities. Here are 10 suggestions for those rare rainy days in L.A.
Perhaps the rain would feel more appropriate with a new-to-you record from The Cure to put on. Idle away at the massive Amoeba Music in Hollywood, or check out one of L.A.’s many indie music shops, like Atomic Records in Burbank or Mono Records in Echo Park. To find rare cuts, try Mount Analog in Highland Park, which is sure to carry an appropriate industrial album.
Excuse the obvious “raining cats and dogs” joke dangling just out of grasp. Los Angeles has both a cat and a dog café where guests can enjoy a cup of coffee while playing with some new furry friends. Crumbs & Whiskers on Melrose lets guests reserve for 75-minute cat cuddling sessions for $22–$25; coffee, tea, and sweets are available. Meanwhile, the Dog Cafe is $15 per hour and includes a beverage. Should you fall in love, the animals in both cafés are available for adoption.
Stay dry and learn something at the same time (maybe at one of L.A.’s 20 free museums?). LACMA and The Broad always have excellent modern art exhibits, ranging from sculpture to photography to virtual reality. Though smaller and partially outdoors, Hauser & Wirth‘s restaurant, Manuela, offers a safe haven from the rain in between darting to and from sculpture galleries. For less art and more science, check out the Page Museum, located at the La Brea Tar Pits, or the California Science Center. For something stranger, there’s the Velveteria, home to some 3,000 velvet paintings, or the grisly Museum of Death on Hollywood Boulevard. Significant cultural museums include the Italian American Museum, the Japanese American National Museum, and the California African American Museum.
Rain means it’s time for some indoor sports, so why not hit the lanes? Highland Park Bowl is a gorgeously restored historic bowling alley complete with cocktails and food—predominantly wood-fired pizzas with perfectly chewy crusts. There’s also Koreatown’s Shatto 39 Lanes, where food and drinks are cheap and the video games are classic. For a modern experience, try Little Tokyo’s X Lanes, where the robust arcade features brand-new games and machines in addition to private karaoke rooms.
Speaking of video games, there are quite a few arcades around town, many of them with full bars. Koreatown has Blipsy, which is always quite warm and toasty inside, thanks to the many machines, and the cocktails are some of the most reasonably priced in town; it also has an eclectic jukebox that plays several songs for only a couple bucks. The Arts District has the hipster-friendly EightyTwo, serving up craft beer and cocktails to enjoy while aiming for the high score on a mix of new and classic arcade and pinball machines. Up in Sherman Oaks is The One Up, where patrons can enjoy free arcade games with purchase of food or drinks; the menu skews towards American bar food with a few creative twists, like Cap ‘n Crunch chicken wings and goat cheese tots. Family Arcade in East Hollywood is an old school, family-friendly option, and Echo Park’s Button Mash is all ages before 9 p.m., with a menu of craft beers and Asian fusion food; it has a mix of games, including some unique offerings.
The arcade’s analog counterpart can be found in board game cafés. Koreatown’s Art Major is a gallery and bar that serves beer, wine, and snacks for guest to enjoy while partaking in their stock of coloring books and board games. For a small cover ($5 on weekdays, $7.50 on weekends) guests of Glendale’s Gamehaus choose from one of over 1,400 games and hang out as long as they like. Food, desserts, and non-alcoholic beverages are available, and reservations can be made for a slightly higher rate of $10 on weekends.
A steaming bowl of pho is the perfect rainy day food. Top spots to enjoy this Vietnamese soup include Chinatown’s Phở Hoa or Pho 87, Highland Park’s Good Girl Dinette (vegetarian options available), or Culver City’s Phorage (vegan available).
Movie theaters are great for climate-controlled comfort. For a luxury experience, try iPic in Westwood and order drinks and food while reclining in plush seats. Or head up to Universal Citywalk and check out Universal Cinema, where guests of any of the second-floor theaters may also enjoy a cocktail with their film. Bonus: the rain may thin out the usual Universal crowds. For a more unique experience, there’s Arena Cinema, which plays new indie and experimental work not found elsewhere in L.A. There’s also no going wrong with Cinefamily, a beloved and quintessential L.A. theater that plays a host of new, classic, and just plain weird films. For a cheap movie, swing by Highland Theater, where tickets to first-run films never exceed $9.
Rainy days provide a perfect occasion to visit the library, choose a book, and curl up in a corner for some light reading. The sprawling Central Library is gorgeous, with plenty of spots to tuck away into. For a bookstore, The Last Bookstore downtown has a wide selection of books and magazines—definitely go upstairs to check out the gallery space. Stories Books and Cafe in Echo Park offers a space for visitors to browse a selection of new and used books then visit the café serving breakfast items, pastries, coffee, tea, beer, and wine.
Watch the rain while staying dry at 71 Above, a restaurant and lounge on the 71st floor of the U.S. Bank Tower in downtown Los Angeles. It’s not the cheapest bar in town, but you’re also paying for that gorgeous view. Craft cocktails are about $16, and range from classics to unique concoctions inspired by L.A. neighborhoods. No reservations are required for the bar, though do note their dress code. Prefer feeling toasty? Check out Pour Vous on Melrose, a French-themed bar with a fireplace and live burlesque or vaudeville performances. Or try Tom Bergin’s, an Irish pub on Fairfax; not only does it have a fireplace, but nothing warms you up like a whiskey and Shepherd’s Pie.