27 Rainy Day Activities in Newport
April showers can bring May flowers, but that’s little consolation when you’re stuck indoors on a drizzly spring afternoon. Even when the city by the sea is a little underwater, intrepid explorers can find plenty of indoor activities to brighten the day.
Here are more than two dozen rainy day suggestions that sprinkle local history and culture with opportunities for learning, self-care, and even a chance to warm up the day with some cold cash.
Visit a museum: Whatever your interests – art, history, cars (especially cars) – you can probably find a museum in Newport that will educate and entertain you. Located in the historic 1762 Brick Market, the Newport Historical Society Museum features exhibits covering more than three centuries of Newport history. The Newport Art Museum hosts permanent and rotating exhibitions of regional, national and international artists, as well as an ongoing lecture series and art classes. The National Museum of American Illustration showcases the works of such illustrious illustrators as Norman Rockwell, Maxfield Parrish and Howard Pyle in an equally eye-catching setting: the 19th-century French chateau-style Vernon Court Mansion.
You wouldn’t know it from the traffic along America’s Cup Avenue, but one of America’s first auto races took place in Newport in 1900, and two automobile museums continue the long history of love of the city with the automobile. The Audrain Motor Museum on Bellevue Avenue has access to over 350 cars and motorbikes (some with historic links to Newport), while the Newport Motor Museum in Portsmouth displays 85 automobiles from the 1950s to today.
Newport is also the Cooperstown (or Canton, if you prefer) of tennis, with the interactive International Tennis Hall of Fame museum set among the grass courts of the historic Newport Casino. Another sport sanctuary will make its debut in May 2022 when the Sailing Museum opens in the Armory Building on Thames Street.
Head to Redwood Library: curling up with a book might be the ultimate rainy-day activity, and Redwood Library has an impressive collection, plus rotating art exhibits and expert-led programs and lectures about the history, music and nature of Newport.
Be active at Longplex: The Longplex Family & Sports Center in Tiverton is known for its indoor sports leagues, such as inline hockey, soccer, football, etc. But you can also use the batting cages, play in the game room and bouncy house, or grab a bite to eat in the Sports Kitchen.
Try your luck at the Casinoo: Open 24/7, rain or shine, the new Bally’s Tiverton Casino has over 1,000 video game machines, 32 live table games and 18 stadium-style seats offering blackjack, roulette, baccarat, craps and other games. There’s also a modest sportsbook, restaurant, and bar with occasional DJs and live music.
Chase away the blues with some tunes: COVID permitting, Johnny’s Restaurant at the Wyndham Newport Hotel in Middletown offers live jazz on Sundays from 3-7pm, while Narragansett Cafe in Jamestown offers a weekly blues brunch with live bands on Sundays.
Breweries and wine tastings: You can sample local beers and wines every day of the week at Newport Vineyards and Taproom Brewery in Middletown, do some tastings at Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyard in Little Compton and Greenvale Vineyards in Portsmouth, and shoot some drafts at Newport Craft Brewing, General’s Crossing Brewhouse in Jamestown, Rejects Brewing Co. in Middletown and the Ragged Island Brewing Company in Portsmouth.
Movie night (or day): Island Cinemas in Middletown is the go-to spot for first-run films (all seats are $6.50 on Tuesdays), while the Jane Pickens Theater mixes current indie films with revivals of classics, plus performances live occasionally. The Bit Players bring live improv comedy to the Firehouse Theater in Newport every Friday and Saturday night.
Painting lessons: Check the weather report to see if a gloomy day coincides with a painting class such as those run by Newport’s Mermaid Masterpieces – or get a group together and plan one of your own.
Swim at the Bodhi Spa: Getting wet may seem counter-intuitive as a rainy activity, but the Bodhi Spa watercourse is (literally) an immersive experience that will alternately stimulate and soothe your body with cold and warm dips, as well as passages in a hammam and a sauna. Add a relaxing massage to extend your day of pleasure.
Get salty in Middletown: Gather three friends for a salt cave exploration at Island Wellness, which offers Himalayan halotherapy sessions designed to improve breathing and alleviate stress and anxiety through inhalation of salty air. A 45-minute stay in a cave costs $35 per person (less for members), and the wellness center also offers a variety of other treatments for the body and mind, including a sauna, cryotherapy , hydromassage and stays in a sensory deprivation capsule.
Meet the mansions: Just like New Yorkers who have never been to the Statue of Liberty, there are plenty of Newporters who have never set foot in one of the city’s famous Golden Age mansions . A soggy spring day, before the summer crowds arrive, is the perfect opportunity to check a mansion visit on your to-do list: The Breakers and Marble House are both open from mid-February.