A lot of cultural destinations may have closed as COVID-19 spreads across the globe, but many destinations have “opened their doors” like never before. The best part? You can do all your exploration in the comfort of your home

Travelling perhaps isn’t the best idea when the coronavirus outbreak has led to waves of closures and re-closures among destinations across the world. But keep your chin up in this seemingly endless wait, for the virtual world now allows you to journey afar, visit first-rate art venues and see the world's greatest shows – all from the comfort of your own home. 

1. Feast on great reads

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Above Photo: Pexels.com

The suspension of classes doesn’t mean that learning has to stop. Amazon.com has made Audio Stories available for free, allowing young readers to enjoy a wide selection of genres: classics, mystery, Sci-Fi, and many more. They even come in different levels, from little listeners, elementary to teen, and six languages, including English, French, Italian, German, Spanish and Japanese.

For the more sophisticated readers, Cambridge University Press has granted free access to the HTML textbooks from to their reference collection, which comprises Cambridge Histories, Companions and Elements. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Cantab, as long as your university has requested for and been granted access, you’re welcome to read around the previously “Restricted Section”.

See also: Things To Do: 20 Productive And Fun At Home Activities

2. Visit world-class galleries and museums... and more

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Above Photo: Courtesy of Van Gogh Museum

Google Arts & Culture has teamed up with over 2,500 galleries and museums around the world which offer online tours and virtual exhibitions. The Museum of Modern Art in New York, Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Musée d’Orsay in Paris, and The National Gallery in London are only a few on the list.

Further to this mega line-up are places you perhaps never imagined venturing into (not at least without entrance fees!). Look for the president’s seat in the White House, visit a national museum in Mexico dedicated to death, roam around the backstage of Palais Garnier, and isolate yourself in the lonesome Robert Falson Scott’s Hut in Antarctica. Now’s your chance to feast your eyes on these world treasures!

If you aren’t looking for anything adventurous or specific, you can also stroll along streets and alleys in Melbourne, Bueno Ares and many more cities for some really cool street art.

See also: These American National Parks Are Offering Free Virtual Tours

3. Witness the births of artworks

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Above Renowned sculptor Wang Keping was interviewed by Art Power HK (Photo: Courtesy of Art Power HK)

Get behind the paints and strokes of artworks as Art Power HK takes you to the very studios, galleries and workshops where exhibiting artists install their artworks. Art Power HK is a non-commercial, communal effort created to keep the city’s art scene active during the difficult times. While Art Basel and quite a number of art events have been cancelled, the campaign has gone beyond by taking the art viewing experience virtual; it has also prepared a series of interview clips by the artists themselves who invite viewers for a glimpse of their creative processes.

See also: ART Power HK: The New Community Arts Campaign That Celebrates The Arts In Hong Kong

4. Stream art talks

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Above The Art Talk programme

Apart from getting up-close with art, you can also go in-depth. Hong Kong Art Gallery Association collaborates with Asia Society Hong Kong and CoBo Social to bring to you a series of art talks. The Art Talk programme, live-streamed last Saturday (28 March 2020) and is now available online, features a line-up of stellar galleries, including Villepin opened just last month by the former French prime minister Dominique de Villepin and his son, Arthur. The programme covers topics of Hong Kong art, the role of art in politics to art practice of artists including Takashi Murakami.

See also: A Family Affair: Dominique & Arthur De Villepin On Opening A Gallery In Hong Kong

5. Learn how to draw from master artists

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Above Photo: Pexels.com

Getting inspired after the art talks and exhibitions? You can create your own artwork by learning from master artists. Legendary former Disney animator Aaron Blaise, who helped created Brother Bear (2003), Aladdin (1992) and The Lion King (1994), has published lessons on animation and character design. Award-winning children’s book author and illustrator Rob Biddulph, creator of Blown Away, GRRRRR! and Odd Dog Out, is also releasing videos online every Tuesday and Thursday for several months for kids (and parents) to learn how to draw some of their favourite characters.

6. Watch a dance show

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Above Photo: Courtesy of Pina Bausch Foundation

This isn’t any dance show. It’s Palermo Palermo produced by Pina Bausch Foundation, set up by the son of Pina Bausch herself. Pina Bausch was a renowned dancer from the German “workaday” city Wuppertal, where her 36 years of controversial choreography had a fundamental influence on Tanztheatre’s ballet. The Mayor of Palermo, Sicily's capital, invited the neo-expressionist choreographer to create a piece inspired by the city.

Premiered in 1989, Palermo Palermo depicts how Sicily was the crossroads of ancient times, and delves into issues including gender and human degradation. The production was filmed shortly after the premiere, and restored as the debut of the foundation’s film series this year for the world to enjoy for free.

7. Watch musicals

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Above 42nd Street (Photo: Courtesy of Broadway HD)

And if a dance show isn’t enough, you can binge-watch more than 300 musicals and theatre productions from Broadway, The Westend and many more elite venues on BroadwayHD to your heart’s desire.

The Phantom of the Opera, Cats, Kinky Boots, 42nd Street—you name it, they’ve got it. In addition to its preexisting library, BroadwayHD is offering a free 7-day trial to its platform which, lately, has two new playlists. One is a special tribute to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 72nd birthday and Stephen Sondheim’s 90th that features some of their all-time favourites; the other is a selection dedicated to Women’s History Month, with works by all-female theatre-makers or casts down the line.

See also: The Famed Globe Theatre In London Is Streaming Shakespeare’s Plays Online

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