Food & Home

11 Things to See and Do—from Home—on the Weekend

Courtesy of the Monterey Bay Aquarium

11 Things to See and Do—from Home—on the Weekend

11 Things to See and Do—from Home—on the Weekend

There are still ways to make it feel like a weekend, even when you’re spending most of it in the exact same surroundings you spent the rest of the week in. From a night at the opera to a journey through an Alaskan fjord, here are eleven ideas for making the most of your downtime…without ever leaving the house.

But first: There are a few tools that will enable or enhance many of these experiences.

Video chat options abound. These three work well for large groups, and you can connect to all of them from your phone or your computer. Zoom and Google Hangouts allow you to chat face-to-face with up to twenty-five people, and both allow you to share your screen (helpful if you’re playing a board game). FaceTime allows you to video chat with up to thirty-two other people.

No more squinting into a 9:16 screen to watch the free concerts (thanks, John Legend), mocktail master classes (see below), and daily episodes of Bradbucks (if you don’t know, check out @bradgoreski). IG Stories for Instagram and IGTV for Instagram are Chrome extensions that allow you to view Instagram Stories and IGTV, respectively, on your computer.

  • A Night at the Opera

    A Night at the Opera

    New York City’s Metropolitan Opera is streaming a different opera from the company’s Live in HD series—which has brought the company’s performances to movie theaters for the last fourteen years—every day during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each complete production is available for twenty-three hours, and the upcoming schedule is available online.

  • Mocktail Hour

    Mocktail Hour

    The nonalcoholic cocktail brand Seedlip is hosting Instagram-based mocktail master classes. Each week, the mixologists give you a how-to on making a different nonalcoholic drink. New episodes launch every Thursday, and they live on IGTV (@seedlipsocial), so you can access them whenever you’d like to. And the recipes involve ingredients you likely already have on hand. (For experimenting with nonalcoholic spirits, we also like Kin Euphorics, which is stocked in the goop shop.)

  • DJ D-Nice’s Virtual Dance Parties

    DJ D-Nice’s Virtual Dance Parties

    There is still a way to get FOMO during quarantine, and it’s missing one of DJ D-Nice’s Instagram dance parties. In March, he played a nine-hour set and hosted a dance party with Michelle Obama to help register people to vote (and more than 400,000 people texted Obama’s voter registration tool When We All Vote as a result). Besides the calorie-busting beats, a voyeuristic perk of the parties is seeing who drops in—IG Live partygoers have included Oprah, Amy Schumer, David Beckham, and Tracee Ellis-Ross, among others.

  • Zoom Brunch

    Zoom Brunch

    If you are missing getting together with friends over a big, elaborate meal: Try organizing a virtual version. Everyone prepares a dish of their choosing and shows off their handiwork over video before all sitting down to eat together (or at least concurrently). Afterward, everyone can send their recipes, to alleviate any cooking boredom and keep the camaraderie going via shakshuka or sticky buns.

  • Visit the Aquarium

    Visit the Aquarium

    If you’re craving salt spray and fresh air, well, we can’t help you there. But the Monterey Bay Aquarium does have several live animal and open-sea cams that stream footage that’s nearly as relaxing as the real thing. The cameras are live from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. or 10 p.m. Pacific. (Outside of those hours, you can view prerecorded video of each subject.) The sea otter cam and the penguin cam are both—unsurprisingly—adorable, but we also love the kelp forest cam, the shark cam, and the jellyfish cam.

  • Museum Tour

    Museum Tour

    There are over 2,000 collections that offer online tours via Google Arts and Culture. Among them: The Getty, which has a collection spanning fourteen centuries; the Rijksmuseum, home to Dutch Golden Age pieces by Rembrandt, Vermeer, and more; South Korea’s National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, whose online exhibits draw from the contemporary works in the museum’s four branches; and the Guggenheim Bilbao, for postwar European and American paintings and sculptures. Truly, whatever you are looking for, chances are it is here.

  • Take a Hike

    Take a Hike

    Since 2011, Google Arts & Culture has been a way for people to digitally visit hundreds of museums and galleries around the world. Now, in a special series, The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks, it’s Planet Earth meets Google Street View. And it’s insanely cool: Follow park rangers as they take you on 360-degree tours of five national parks, where you can look deep into an ice fjord in Alaska or fly over the volcanoes of Hawaii. Headphones are a must.

  • Movie Screening

    Movie Screening

    If you want to host a movie night, the Netflix Party Chrome extension lets you link up with long-distant (and socially distant) friends so you can watch movies and TV shows simultaneously. Once the host starts the party, your friends can join in whenever they want. And you can pause or rewind for everyone at once, so you’re all watching the same thing at the same time.

  • Wine Tasting

    Wine Tasting

    A step up from an ordinary virtual cocktail party is a virtual Napa wine tasting: Many of the region’s wineries are now offering exactly that. Whether you pick something like St. Supéry Estate Vineyards & Winery’s weekly tastings, a Jessup Cellars custom tasting, or Round Pond Estate’s chef-plus-sommelier pairing consultation, all you need to do is choose a winery experience, preorder the wine, and join the sommelier at your scheduled tasting time. For information on virtual wine tastings, specials, and educational wine opportunities via Facebook Live, Zoom, YouTube, among others, visit Napa Valley’s blog.

  • Game Night

    Game Night

    Social distancing is critical during this time. Socially connecting: also essential. Playing a game virtually with friends is a great way to spend time together focused on something fun and distracting. Try an online game, like Quiplash; use a video chat to adapt a board game like Codenames for virtual play; or try one of the analog games that’s now offering a virtual version, like Actually Curious.

  • Virtual Concert

    Virtual Concert

    Virtual concerts of every stripe are available to stream live or watch at your leisure on YouTube, on Instagram, and elsewhere. For classical music lovers, the Fondation Louis Vuitton and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (among others) have been releasing archival concert footage that can be streamed on their websites or on YouTube. For theatergoers, Broadway World has launched a series of living room concerts featuring Broadway stars singing songs from different shows (including Lin-Manuel Miranda singing from Hamilton). And if it’s rock or pop you are interested in, everyone from John Legend to Debbie Gibson (wearing the same outfit she wore back in 1987!) has been performing for fans on Instagram. Image courtesy of The Fondation Louis Vuitton.

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