Welcome to Lithuania, the country of rain. Even the name Lithuania (Lietuva) comes from the word “rain” (lietus). Most likely it will be rainy here during your stay in Vilnius or anywhere else in Lithuania. My first suggestion would be to join our Vilnius city tours, because rain or shine, we wait for you every day! But if you can’t stand the wet weather, here are a few recommendations on what to do in Vilnius on a rainy day:
1. Visit Vilnius Museums
2. Visit Vilnius Shopping Malls
3. Catch a movie at the cinema
4. Enjoy other indoor activities
5. Discover Vilnius through food
6. Relax at Vilnius spa
7. See a play in the theatre
8. Attend a concert
9. See a basketball game
10. Enjoy a quiet afternoon at the library
11. Meet Locals
12. Take a day trip
Visit Vilnius Museums
Visit museums in Vilnius for history, culture lessons or even for fun without getting wet! There are a lot of them and they are really cheap. Prices vary from 2 EUR to 10 EUR. But if you're a student, bring your ISIC card - it gives you 50% discount for almost all museums! You can also consider getting a Vilnius Pass card, which helps save money if you plan to visit lots of museums. If you happen to be in Vilnius on the last Sunday of any month, most of the public museums are free to visit for everyone. Keep in mind that most of them are closed on Mondays though.
Now you know we have a lot of cheap museums in Vilnius, but which one to choose?
For history lovers we recommend Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania to learn more about the old history of Vilnius and Lithuania from the very beginning till the end of 18th century.
Another museum for travellers who are more interested in recent history - museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights (also known as KGB museum). It is located in the former headquarters of KGB. You can visit the former prison where KGB used to torture "enemies of the people" and learn more about the cruel Stalinist regime and what was going on in Lithuania after WWII under Soviet rule. This museum is closed not only on Mondays, but also on Tuesdays.
For art lovers we recommend MO museum - one of the newest and most popular museums among Vilnius locals. This museum holds temporary modern and contemporary art exhibitions. What makes it special is the way they present the art in those exhibitions. Even if you do not know much about art you feel welcome here.
If you are not into usual museum stuff and looking for fun things to do in Vilnius, you can check a private VILNIL - museum of illusions. The price is 11 EUR, so it is a bit more expensive than most of the museums in Vilnius, but it is perfect to have a laugh with friends or enjoy a family time with you kids.
Check the list of the other Vilnius museums, if you have more time in Vilnius.
Visit Vilnius Shopping Malls (for shopping and entertainment)
Wondering what to do in Vilnius, if you are not so much into museums? In Lithuania shopping malls are one of the top places for having fun and staying dry when the weather outside is not very pleasant. They serve not only as shopping places but also centers of entertainment.
The biggest mall in Vilnius is called Akropolis, just like the famous ancient citadel in Athens. Inside you can find many shops and restaurants, a bowling alley, a cinema (most movies are in English) and even an ice skating rink! One session of 45 min costs around 4 EUR. Akropolis is easy to reach by public transport, just catch the bus No. 53 in the city center and get off at "Šeškinės kalvos". Find Akropolis on Google maps.
Panorama is another big shopping mall in Vilnius closer to the city center and Vilnius Old town. You can find a very cool shop over there called LOCALS LT. They sell cool stuff made by Lithuanian designers only. From clothing, accessories, jewellery to home essentials and souvenirs. Definitely check it out if you want to buy something special from Lithuania. Some cool brand admired by Lithuanians: labàdienà, shmutke, Solidu. You can also find LOCALS LT in smaller shopping malls GO9 and EUROPA in Vilnius city center.
Check other Vilnius shopping malls.
Catch a movie at the cinema
A brand new boutique cinema in Vilnius - Pasaka at Paupys neighbourhood
Good news for you - most of the movies are not dubbed in Lithuania. You can enjoy movies in the original language with Lithuanian subtitles. There are two great small cinemas in Vilnius Old Town and city center:
1 - Pasaka is a small cozy boutique cinema in two locations of Vilnius Old Town. Recently (September 2020) Pasaka opened its second location in the new hip neighbourhood Paupys. You can watch the trending movies here as well as lesser known but pretty cool ones.
2 - Skalvija is the oldest operating cinema in Vilnius. It is quite small (has only one hall) and focuses on non-commercial cinema. Every September Skalvija organizes international documentary festival. So if you are looking for different movies, this is the best place to go in Vilnius.
The biggest and the most popular cinemas are a bit out of the city center in the major shopping malls (Multikino, Forum Cinemas Akropolis). There is a big cinema 15 min walk from Vilnius Old Town - Forum Cinemas Vingis (Savanorių pr. 7). Go there if you want to catch most popular Hollywood movies. Just note, if it is a rainy day in Vilnius, locals will flood the biggest cinemas and might be hard to get a ticket to a premiere of popular movie last minute ;)
Enjoy Other Indoor Activities
If, on the other hand, you don't feel like hiding from the rain at the mall or watching a movie at the cinema, there are plenty of other perfect activities to do in Vilnius, especially if you're travelling with a group of friends:
- test your patience at escape rooms. There are plenty of them in Vilnius Old Town and city center: InsightOut escape room on Totorių st., ExitRoom on Žemaitijos st., Wrong escape room on Geležinkelio st. by the train and bus station;
- compete in a game of laser tag. There is a laser tag arena in the city center on Goštauto st. Megazone. Their website is only in Lithuanian, but you can drop them an e-mail to learn about availabilities, prices and conditions;
- feel as though you're on a tropical island by going to the Vichy Water Park. Bus No 53 will get you the closest if you're departing from the station. Or just simply use Trafi app to plan your route by setting the destination as "Vichy Vandens Parkas";
- race your friend at indoor karting track. There is a huge indoor karting track at Parodų g. 1. Again, there is no English version of Kartlandas website, but you can send them an e-mail to learn more;
- do some bouldering. Even if you did not bring your friends to Vilnius, you can do some activities just by yourself. Climbing or bouldering is getting quite popular in Lithuania. You can find climbing gym Montis Magia quite close to the city center on Vytenio st. 46B.
Discovering Vilnius through Food
You have plenty of restaurant choices in Vilnius - from the ones focused on traditional Lithuanian food to fully vegan restaurants or cuisines of lands as far away as the Caribbean! So if it's raining outside treat yourself to a nice long dinner at a local restaurant or come to our Vilnius Food Tour and have a taste of Vilnius with our professional guides telling you all the weird stories about our food and denying the false myths of traditional Lithuanian cuisine.
A famous Lithuanian summer dish - cold beetroot soup šaltibarščiai
Relax at spa in Vilnius
If you're just too tired to wander around in the rain, take a chill day and have a massage in Vilnius! There are quite a few spa salons in Vilnius Old town like top-ranked Thai Massage salon, You can also relax in the floating studio Only Good Vibes right in the city center or go to the earlier mentioned Vichy Water Park to enjoy many saunas as well as great swimming pools.
Relax time at one of the saunas in Vilnius
See a play in the theatre
For those who like cultural activities, I would definitely suggest going to the National Opera and Ballet Theatre to see opera or ballet performance. If you are worried you will not understand the words, don't be. Most of operas are sung in original languages, so even Lithuanians do not understand a word:) However there are subtitles above the stage in Lithuanian and English to help you understand what is going on on the stage. As for ballets, you do not need words, just watch and enjoy the play. NB! It is a must to get a specialty dessert during the break in National Opera and Ballet theatre - hot chocolate. People in Vilnius talk about it for years!
Lithuanian The building of National Opera and Ballet Theatre in Vilnius
Attend a concert
If opera or ballet is not your cup of tea, you can attend a concert in Vilnius if there are any happening during your visit. You can always check the upcoming concerts and other events on Vilnius events website. If you are into classical music, check the calendar of National Philharmonic Society. A very special place for concerts is the church of St. Catherine. Acoustics are amazing, and you will definitely have chills listening to music inside this baroque pearl.
If you are more into pop or alternative music, check if there are any concerts happening in the alternative music venue LOFTAS.
See a basketball game
As us, Lithuanians, call ourselves crazy for basketball and even consider it our religion, we definitely suggest going to a basketball match in Vilnius. Our basketball club is called BC Rytas and they play their home games at Avia Solutions Group arena, which is the biggest one in Vilnius. Not only are basketball matches held there, but big shows and concerts also happen at Avia Solutions Group arena. But even though we love Vilnius very much, we would recommend going to the bigger Žalgirio arena in Kaunas for a more of a spectacular Lithuanian basketball experience. What to do if you are not into sports? Well, just enjoy, the crazy atmosphere in the arenas.
Lithuanians passion - basketball
Enjoy a quiet afternoon at the library
Our National Library, named after the author of the first Lithuanian book, Martynas Mažvydas, has been recently renewed and the locals couldn't be happier and more excited about it! Grab your book or buy a book about Vilnius (check the recommendations here ↓ below) and hide from the rain at the local library. There is a cafe inside, so you can also grab a coffee.
- Vilnius. Wilno. Vilna. Three Short Stories - a wonderful history and fiction blend by Kristina Sabaliauskaitė;
- Vilnius: City of Strangers - the fascinating history of our capital city by Laimonas Briedis;
- Vilnius Poker - called one of the best Lithuanian books ever, it's a novel about the Soviet era in Vilnius.
Vilnius with Locals tour team in front of the National Library in Vilnius
What to do in Vilnius if you came just by yourself, but want to have some company on a rainy day? Check out Couchsurfing events - every Friday the Couchsurfing community organises meetings in Vilnius and every time they happen in different places.
You can also check out Go Vilnius initiative Meet a Local. You need to fill the form online and a volunteer local will meet you for a cup of coffee and have a chat.
Take a Day Trip
If you don't feel like exploring Vilnius Old Town in the rain, why not consider a day trip, maybe it's not raining in another part of Lithuania? As it is a relatively small country, almost nothing in Lithuania is too far away for a day trip. Visit towns such as Trakai, Kernavė, Druskininkai or Anykščiai, cities like Kaunas or Klaipėda, discover the wonderful nature of our national parks or spend half a day at the Lithuanian seaside. Check our blog post out and choose the best day trip destination for you!
Bird's eye View picture of Kaunas
So, don't get disappointed if it rains during your stay in Vilnius - your trip is far from ruined. Just choose one, two or more recommendations on what to do in Vilnius. Whatever you choose to do on a rainy day in Vilnius, we truly hope it will help you to see our capital city in a different, yet lovely light. As they say, you can't have a rainbow without a little rain! Just grab your raincoat and umbrella and jump to a rainy adventure in Vilnius!