We may be stuck indoors for the foreseeable future, but thanks to some generous cultural institutions and artists, we can enjoy our favorite museums, musicians and shows — virtually.
We’ve curated a list of free virtual tours, sites and experiences to enjoy from the comfort and safety of your couch.
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Museums & Zoos
Whether or not you’re an avid museum-goer, you may want to take advantage of the 2,186 free museum, galleries and zoo tours available on Google’s Arts and Culture page. You can tour the Solomon R. Guggenheim museum in New York City, the National Gallery in London or the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington, DC without leaving your home. If you’re more of an aquarium-goer, you can virtually visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California.
New York stages may have closed the curtain in the beginning of March, but the shows will go on via Broadway’s HD streaming service. You can watch classics like Kinky Boots, Les Misérables and The Phantom of the Opera. The site is offering a free seven-day trial and $8.99 monthly subscriptions thereafter.
Concerts & performances
With in-person shows and festivals cancelled, many musicians have performed free virtual concerts.
Some of the highlights include Keith Urban’s YouTube live stream (with a guest appearance from his wife, the actress Nicole Kidman) and John Legend’s YouTube live stream as a part of the #TogetherAtHome virtual concert series, and Fox’s one-hour special iHeart Living Room Concert stream hosted by Elton John and featuring the Backstreet Boys and their at-home rendition of “I Want It That Way.” You can also check out NPR's keeping running list of upcoming virtual concerts.
If you prefer classical art, you can catch one of the Metropolitan Opera’s nightly streams or watch an archived performance by the Paris Opera Ballet. You can also enjoy virtual performances by the Berlin Philharmonic or the Vancouver Symphony.
Virtual amusement parks
While Disney Parks remain closed indefinitely, you can still explore the rides virtually. More than 62,000 people subscribe to the (unsanctioned) YouTube channel Virtual Disney World, which includes real 360-degree footage from park-goers of popular rides like Expedition Everest, Frozen Ever After and Splash Mountain. For a more official experience, the Disney Parks blog features a series of virtual tours, including looks behind the scenes.
If you have a local library card, there’s a good chance your branch has resources online, likeebooks, audiobooks, magazines and more. Many libraries have also brought storytime online, including the Library of Congress. If you're looking for more kids conetent, Timeout has compiled a list of virtual storytimes for children.
Even if you’re not enrolled in a college or university, you can still sign up for free courses from Harvard, Princeton, Yale and more via Coursera and edX. Here's a running list of additional free lectures and courses.
Virtual site tours
Travel the world (and beyond) without leaving your couch. You can take a virtual walk through Washington D.C.’s cherry blossom paths, admire the Great Wall of China, tour Versailles’ vast gardens or Hall of Mirrors, explore Yosemite National Park or take an interstellar trip to Mars.
Free children's programing
Amazon is offering free shows for kids on Prime Video streaming service — even for non-subscribers.
Another option is the original free children's programming network, PBS Kids. You can give your kids access to stream videos, play games and watch live TV.
Image: MoMo Productions (Getty)