Few days ago some young foreign couple rented an apartment in my neighbourhood, and since couldn't find a place where they were supposed to spend their vacation, they stopped me for assistance. We got into a conversation, and since rain just started at one point they asked me inevitable question: "what can we do in Split these days?" Fortunately for them, weather got better very same day, and they probably enjoyed some Indian summer swimming. In a meantime, autumn did arrive to Split, and same question came up again: What can one do in Split on a rainy day?
Actually, same as you would do in any other city. After all, Split IS a city, not just a vacation hub, and recipe is simple: do what locals do.
Let's say, you can always go shopping. There are two major shopping malls, Joker and City Center One, the third one Mall of Split is on its way. Of course there are lot of out-of-malls stores, ranging from souvenirs to fashion to jewellery. There, you will also help keeping city centre alive, and have a post-shopping drink in the shadow of history. That also includes browsing bookstores, like Morpurgo opened in 1860, or some of the used-books stores. Speaking of books, why not visiting City Library?
How about watching movies? There are two multiplexes, Cinestar in Joker, and Cineplexx in CCO, with excellent and comfortable theatres, and all the big hits. Beside them, there are two independent cinemas in the old town, Central and Karaman, cheaper and with better position. The third solution is cinematheque Zlatna vrata, with more artistic program. Important fact: movies in Croatian cinemas are subtitled, not dubbed.
Next stop, theatre. It's hard to follow drama performances if you don't speak Croatian, but Croatian National Theatre offers also opera, ballet or concerts. Other, smaller theatres are mainly oriented to drama. There is also a City Puppet Theatre.
Museums are always excellent choice, regardless of weather. Most of them are included in usual tours or guide books, so it's easy: Meštrović Gallery, Split City Museum, Gallery of Fine Arts, Archeological Museum, Ethnographic Museum, Croatian Maritime Museum, etc.
Why only visiting different venues? Why not walk around? Rain in Split is usually not some kind of monsoon, so just enjoy nature, city, and history. Here is a little confession - I love photo sessions on rainy days, because that's when I think Split is the most photogenic, especially with strong southern or southeast winds. Put on some proper clothes and shoes, grab your camera and go to Marjan hill or along the waterfront.
Rainy days can be excellent day trip time. Explore Split vicinity, like Solin, Omiš, Trogir, Klis, Sinj, Makarska, Kaštela, Imotski etc. There are endless choices, from natural wonders to wine and food tasting. It's not just beaches that are worth of visiting.
Probably the best way to spend time is blending in with local community. Check about daily events. Browse around fish and green market and buy something. Or have a coffee (or whatever you drink), as you probably noticed that hanging out in cafés and bars is the way most of "Splićani" (local name for Split residents, or anyone related to Split) spend their free time. Adjust, it's not hard, and it's enjoyable. Complaining about pressure brought by "južina" (pron. yoozheenah, meaning southeast wind) is preferable.