13 Indoor Activities To Do In Cologne on a Rainy Day

Updated on October 18, 2023  


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Don't let a rainy day in Cologne dampen your spirits, because there are plenty of exciting indoor activities to do here.

There's tons of exciting attractions, restaurants and shopping options to keep you dry and entertained on those wet days.

We've got you covered with this ultimate guide for things to do in Cologne on a rainy day!

Indoor Attractions In Cologne For A Rainy Day

Explore History And Art At The Wallraf-Richartz Museum

A rainy day in Cologne is the perfect opportunity to explore history and art at the famed Wallraf-Richartz Museum.

Not only is entry very affordable, the museum is HUGE. 

You can spend hours admiring impressionist and neo-impressionist paintings by the likes of Monet and Renoir to Baroque, and 19th century collections including artists like van Gogh, Bonnard and Munch. 

It also home to some of the world's most famous medieval paintings, including Stefan Lochner's famous Madonna of the Rose Bower. [1]

Discover Modern Art At The Museum Ludwig

Just a short walk from the Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Museum Ludwig beckons visitors with its unique classical modernist works and Russian avant-garde art.

It also possesses one of the largest Picasso collections in the world! My wife enjoys art, so she says she can spend three hours there very easily (a steal for just a €12 ticket).

best for rainy days in cologne museum-ludwig cologne things to do

This intriguing museum opened its doors in 1976 after receiving an impressive gift of around 350 pieces from Peter Ludwig, a chocolate magnate. [2]

It's conveniently located near the Cologne Cathedral, Hohenzollern Bridge and public transportation, so it's very easy to plan a strategic itinerary that hits all three attractions at once.

P.S. You can get 20% off your tickets for the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum and Museum Ludwig if you have the KölnCard!

Learn About Local Beer And Pub Culture At A Brewery Tour

In Cologne, many locals frequent breweries and they're so ingrained in Cologne culture that breweries have their own special traditions and practices.

For example, in Cologne, Köbes (waiters) have a unique way of serving Kölsch beer. They bring you refills unless you signal them to stop by placing a coaster on top of your empty glass.

If you want to try different types of Kölsch beer, learn more about local drinking culture, AND avoid the rain, you may enjoy a brewery tour.

We had a great time on this tour, which included three tastings of Kölsch beer - and who knows? Maybe you'll want to pack a bottle or two home!



Kölsch Brewery Tour & Tasting!

Hilarious, fun & exciting, this guided tour takes you to the best 3 breweries in town. Meet other travelers on this wacky Cologne pub crawl, and learn to drink Kölsch like a local!

Discover The City's Grim Past At The NS Documentation Centre

This is an engrossing activity that will take up a couple hours, perfect for a rainy day.

As one of the city's top museums, it tells a grim history about Cologne's past during World War II and its role in National Socialism. The exhibits span from the 1920s to WWII's end and beyond. [3]

Definitely go down to the basement cells (where the prisoners wrote messages), visit the bomb shelter, and the courtyard, now a memorial.

At just €4.50 per adult, it's a bargain. For children under 6, it's FREE! The English audio guide for an extra €2 is a must if you want to get the most out of your trip too.

Indulge In The World Of Chocolate At The Chocolate Museum

When it's raining outside, sometimes you want to go indoors and have some hot chocolate... Well, this museum makes it fresh from a 3-meter-high chocolate fountain!

If you're a chocoholic, then the Cologne Chocolate Museum is going to make you forget about the rain!


Here are thousands of exhibits that cover the history of chocolate over 3,000 years. There's even a tropical greenhouse where you can see and learn about cocoa plants.

Plus, you can watch chocolate being made in real time, and design your own chocolate bar to bring home to!

Skip The Queue & Reserve Early!

Race Cars At Le Mans Indoor Karting

Get your heart racing at Le Mans, an indoor karting circuit in Cologne. Zipping around the 400-metre long track is where you'll want to be on a rainy day! [4]

Found in Ossendorf, a short bus trip from the city center, this is Cologne's longest karting track. It's also well-known in town for having a reliable go-kart track and reasonable prices.

If you want a change from the usual tourist spots, Le Mans will turn a dreary day into a total blast!

Cozy Cafes And Restaurants on Rainy Days

Enjoy A Warm Drink & Meal At Gaffel am Dom Or Gilden im Zims

When it's raining in Cologne, there's nothing better than finding a nearby restaurant to park, dine and chill out.

Gaffel am Dom and Gilden im Zims are both great eateries conveniently located in the city center, and accessible by public transport.

cafe-in-germany cosy rainy day activities

At Gilden im Zims, they're best known for their amazing crispy pork knuckle, which you wash down with a glass of Kölsch beer. Their Himmel und Äd is paired with Blutwurst, which is worth trying if it's your first time!

Gaffel am Dom is another excellent option, just a few steps from Cologne Cathedral. Look forward to a cozy interior and English-speaking staff, popular for serving up generous portions of German food, like the classic schnitzel.

Try Traditional Cologne Cuisine At Restaurants Like Malzmühle

If you're searching for a traditional Cologne meal to warm you up on a rainy day in Cologne, look no further than Brauhaus zur Malzmühle.

Located in the city center near the famous Cathedral, this brauhaus serves authentic Cologne dishes along with its signature Kölsch beer brewed on-site. Lots of locals come here and if the locals enjoy it, you know you'll get good food.

The menu features classic Rhineland dishes like Sauerbraten, pork knuckle, and hearty potato dumplings. Their Kölsch beer is also said to be "is one of the best that Cologne has to offer"!

Enjoy Indoor Sports Like Rock Climbing Or Ice Skating

If you're looking for a way to get active on a rainy day in Cologne, why not try indoor sports like rock climbing or ice skating? Here are some options to consider:

  •  Head to the Kletterfabrik Cologne, an indoor rock climbing gym with over 3000 square meters of climbing surface. There are routes for all skill levels, and equipment rental is available if needed. [5] Prices start from €4.50 for children under 5, €8.00 for children under 13, €9.00 for children under 20, and €14.50 for adults.
  • Lace up your skates and hit the ice at Lentpark, an indoor ice skating rink located in the Ehrenfeld neighborhood. Public skating sessions are offered throughout the week, and there's also a hockey rink and curling facilities. [6] Prices start from €0.50 for children under 6, €4.10 for children under 18, and €5.80 for adults. A steal!
  • For something a bit different, check out BoulderPlanet Cologne, an indoor bouldering gym with over 2500 square meters of space! Bouldering is similar to rock climbing but involves shorter routes that don't require ropes or harnesses, which is great for kids. Prices start from €8.50 for children and €13.50 for adults.

No matter which option you choose, these indoor sports offer a fun and active way for the whole family to spend a rainy day in Cologne. Plus, entry is very affordable.

Enjoy A Relaxing Spa Day At Claudius Therme

If you're looking for a way to warm up indoors in Cologne, Claudius Therme should be at the top of your list. Its main attraction are its thermal pools, filled with warm, mineral-rich water sourced from a natural thermal spring.

Nothing beats taking refuge from the rain by slipping into a warm pool of thermal spring water.

One highlight is the spa's free water gymnastics and underwater music sessions which are held in the evenings and on weekends. These classes are perfect for those who want to get some exercise while having fun at the same time.


FYI - Thermal baths are a big part of German spa culture, as these natural mineral springs are believed to have therapeutic properties.

Foreigners tend to be surprised that there's nudity in German spas, especially inside the saunas. Don't worry though - while it's customary to be nude in certain areas, you have the option to wear a towel or a swimsuit if you're uncomfortable!

Shopping Malls In Cologne On A Rainy Day

If you enjoy shopping, there's no reason to stop because of the rain in Cologne. The city has a decent variety of indoor shopping malls like Rhein-Center or Neumarkt Galerie and Köln Arcaden to keep you busy (and dry) for a day or two!

Find Everything Under One Roof in Rhein-Center Köln

On a rainy day in Cologne, shopping indoors at Rhein-Center Köln might be the safest choice if you're traveling with a group. It's a big, bustling mall with a little something for everyone. 

When you step inside, you'll find nearly 200 stores to explore, from clothing shops, electronics, toy stores and more.

And when you've shopped till you drop, there are loads of dining options, including restaurants, cafes and a McDonald's. The large food court also has a kids' play area for the little ones!

Shop At The Beautiful Neumarkt Galerie

Look out for the building that looks like a 12-meter tall ice cream cone was dropped on it, that is Neumarkt Galerie!

Located near the Belgisches Viertel, this area is known for its vibrant mix of boutiques, art galleries, cafes, and bars.


Stepping into the shopping center you'll notice a mix of upscale brands, independent boutiques, and yes - some of the best ice cream in town!

The Neumarkt Galerie also serves as the entrance to Cologne's biggest shopping streets, Schildergasse and Hohestraße.

Discover Discounts At Köln Arcaden

Located in the heart of Cologne's Kalk district, on the "wrong" side of the Rhine, you can spot Köln Arcaden by its large glass dome.

There are 128 stores where you can find famous brands and smaller ones, and because it's located further from the city center, prices are more budget-friendly.

If you're a fan of the 1. FC Köln football team, you'll be happy to know that there's an official store here.

I think Köln Arcaden is particularly great for travelers. There's free Wi-Fi, water fountains, lockers and even a place where you can exchange currency. There's also a special kids area, which is perfect for families.

Conclusion: Rainy Day Activities in Cologne

Rainy days in Cologne don't have to be a drag, and I can vouch for that! There's plenty of indoor things to do that can keep you entertained for hours.

Perhaps you like art, then Wallraf-Richartz Museum and Museum Ludwig are conveniently located at the city center. The popular Chocolate Museum is also just a few minutes away.

Similarly, restaurants that serve some of the best local food, like Malzmühle, are easily accessible at the Old Town.

Want to get some shopping done? Malls such as Rhein-Center or Neumarkt Galerie, are right next to public transport. Easy to find!




Get unlimited free tram & bus rides, and up to 50% discount on Cologne's attractions (including most museums) and restaurants with the KölnCard!

Key Takeaways

  • Rainy days in Cologne give tourists the chance to explore indoor attractions such as the Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Museum Ludwig, NS Documentation Centre, Chocolate Museum or Le Mans indoor karting for adrenaline junkies.
  • For food lovers, cozy eateries like Gaffel am Dom and Gilden im Zims serve traditional Colognian dishes and provide comfortable seats to chill out and have a drink or two.
  • You can also enjoy indoor sports like rock climbing or ice skating at Kletterfabrik Cologne or Lentpark, while shoppers will feel at home at the Rhein-Center or Neumarkt Galerie malls.


1. What are some indoor activities to do in Cologne on a rainy day?

Indoor activities in Cologne on a rainy day include visiting the Wallraf-Richartz Museum, exploring Kölsch breweries, or relaxing with a spa or massage at Claudius Therme.

2. Are there any outdoor attractions worth visiting in Cologne during rainy weather?

Yes, you can still explore outdoor attractions when its raining, like the Cologne Cathedral or the Rhine River promenade with an umbrella and a rain jacket.

3. Is it recommended to bring waterproof gear when touring Cologne on a rainy day?

It is highly recommended to bring waterproof gear such as umbrellas and jackets to Cologne, especially to keep yourself dry while moving between indoor and outdoor attractions.

4. What food options are available for tourists seeking warmth from the rain?

Rainy days offer opportunities to try local food in cafes or restaurants like traditional German dishes such as Sauerbraten and Schweinshaxe accompanied by Kölsch beer while enjoying the cozy indoors.


1: The Highlight: Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, retrieved from https://www.wallraf.museum/en/collections/middle-ages/masterpieces/stefan-lochner-madonna-of-the-rose-bower/the-highlight/
2: History of the Museum Ludwig from 1976 to the Present, retrieved from https://www.museum-ludwig.de/en/museum/the-museum/history.html
3: museenkoeln.de | NS-Documentation Centre, retrieved from https://museenkoeln.de/portal/NS-Documentation-Centre
4: Start - Le Mans Karting - Die Kartbahn in Köln Ossendorf, retrieved from https://www.lemanskarting.de/kartbahn/die-strecke
5: Kletterfabrik Indoor Climbing, retrieved from https://www.kletterfabrik.koeln/
6: LentPark, retrived from https://www.koelnbaeder.de/eis/lentpark/info/

About the Author

Stephan Drescher, founder of germanytravel.blog, is a German travel expert and insider, providing trusted tips and advice for a perfect trip to Germany. Born & bred German.