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Rainy Cities: Ways to Have Fun and Stay Dry

Rain, rain, go away… especially during my vacation! While that’s a common lament, it’s important to understand that, into each getaway, a little rain might fall. And when you visit certain cities, you’re more likely to encounter inclement weather. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make hay while the sun isn’t shining. Here are some rainy day suggestions for having fun in some of America’s soggier cities:

  • Fort Lauderdale – Despite being a prime beach destination in “The Sunshine State,” Fort Lauderdale averages approximately 64 inches of rain each year… so showers are to be expected. If you’re visiting the “Venice of America” with children, check out Monster Mini Golf (an indoor glow-in-the-dark course with a state-of-the-art arcade), Laser Quest (which combines hide-and-seek and tag with a high-tech twist) or Funderdome (a ginormous playground with climbing walls, ropes course, obstacle course, slides and much more). You can also spend a day of discovery exploring two floors of fascinating interactive exhibits at the Museum of Discovery and Science. If it’s just adults seeking shelter from the storm, there’s the NSU Art Museum, with more than 6,000 pieces, including works by Diego Rivera, Candido Portinari and Francisco Toledo. You can bowl a few frames at Manor Bowl, or stay dry while playing the ponies (they’re called “mudders” for a reason) at Gulfstream Park.
  • Houston – Space City does have a capacity for downpours, with nearly 50 inches of rain per year. But that doesn’t mean you have a problem when in Houston… not when there are plenty of indoor activities to keep the family occupied. For instance, iFLY Indoor Skydiving lets you experience the thrill of free-falling, without having to jump out of a plane. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston offers an exceptional selection of exhibitions, installations and masterworks. Take a trip back in time at Joystix Classic Games and Pinballs, a throwback arcade. Track 21 Indoor Karting and More lets you indulge a need for speed. And the Dark Side of the Moon laser light show at the Houston Museum of Natural Science is definitely worth the “Time” and “Money” (that’s Pink Floyd wordplay, folks).
  • New Orleans – In the Big Easy, the weather can be a bit tricky. It doesn’t rain all that often (only 56 days with precipitation each year), but when it does, it pours (64 inches per year). Fortunately, the Crescent City gives you plenty of ways to occupy your time when the weather outside is frightful. You can take a dance class at Dancing Grounds, Dance Quarter, NOLA Jitterbugs or Crescent Lotus. You can work with your hands, taking a class at New Orleans School of Art and Craft, New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts or New Orleans School of Metalsmithing. You can get into the cuisine of things with a cooking class at New Orleans School of Cooking or New Orleans Cooking Experience. Expand your mind at one of the city’s museums (such as the National WWII Museum, or the Ogden Museum of Southern Art), or hang out with the animals at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas.
  • Orlando – When you’re ready for a run at the theme parks, rain does tend to present a snag. And it does indeed rain in O-Town (more than 50 inches a year). But your journey to this family-friendly destination doesn’t have to be dampened by the weather. The Orlando Science Center provides educational fun for all ages. The Artegon Marketplace offers the Gods and Monsters comic store as well as an indoor ropes course and glow-in-the-dark mini-golf. Whirlydome is a huge indoor arena that offers “whirlyball,” a unique sport that combines hockey, basketball and bumper cars. “Titanic: The Experience” lets you explore full-scale re-creations of the luxury ship, including the grand staircase and authentic items that were on board. The interactive and diverse exhibits at Wonderworks teach while they entertain. And you can savor a sweet and satisfying ending at the World of Chocolate Museum & Café.
  • Portland – While the Pacific Northwest doesn’t truly get all that much rain, it does rain in Portland quite a bit (154 rainy days per year). Fortunately, “Stumptown” offers an array of indoor activities to keep everyone from getting waterlogged. There’s the Oregon Coast Aquarium, where you’ll gawk your way through an underwater tunnel, and marvel at jellyfish and outdoor puffins. There’s the Tillamook Cheese Factory, a place to learn how cheese is made and sample the deliciously addictive curds. There’s Distillery Row, a collection of five distilleries that offer walk-in tastings on the weekends. There’s the Evergreen Aviation Museum in nearby McMinnville, which is home to the Spruce Goose – the largest airplane ever constructed, made out of wood. And there’s the Oregon Historical Society, which will tickle your love of history and showcases some fascinating features of modern Oregon.
  • Seattle – The Emerald City has gotten a bad weather reputation, despite getting the least rain of any city on this list! However, it does rain often (154 days per year), and continues to be presented as a drizzly destination in movies (“Sleepless in Seattle”) and TV (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “Frasier”). So, the city keeps its visitors (and residents) happy with a plethora of places to discover without getting wet. Kids will love the Seattle Aquarium, the Pacific Science Center and the indoor exhibits at the Seattle Zoo. Want a more intense animal experience? Head to the Reptile Zoo in Monroe. Traveling couples should check out the Space Needle, the Experience Museum Project (a must for music lovers) and the Center on Contemporary Art. Other museums to explore include the Duwamish Longhouse Museum (displaying the cultural and social traditions of the Duwamish tribe), the Museum of Flight, the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum, the Seattle Museum of the Mysteries and the Museum of Doll Art.

With a little research, you can let creativity be your umbrella – staying dry while on vacation, even if the weather is less than cooperative. To plan a trip to any of our dynamite destinations, drop us a line at or visit To learn more, or to find out about travel specials, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.