Virtual Tours
Visit the world from the safety of your couch. (Illustration by Sezi Kaya, Parsons School of Design)

Add These 10 Virtual Tours to Your Stay-At-Home Bucket List This Summer

Visit Paris, Machu Picchu and the International Space Station — no physical travel required.

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Virtual Tours

Visit Paris, Machu Picchu and the International Space Station — no physical travel required.

If you have a bad case of wanderlust, your problems are solved. Whether it be museums, landmarks or simply exploring a city, look forward to checking out some of the best virtual tours this summer. Just because you’re cooped up inside doesn’t mean you still can’t see the sights.

1. The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

The National Museum of Natural History, located in Washington, D.C., offers the most extensive option for virtual tours out of all the Smithsonian museums. The museum offers easy navigation through its rooms full of fossils and minerals. On the website, you can also take a closer look at past and current exhibits.

2. The Hammer Museum

The Hammer Museum of Los Angeles, California, boasts a YouTube channel with a 77-video playlist of exhibitions and art lectures. One such lecture includes their series, “Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1985,” and recorded conversations between creative thinkers with topics ranging from “Social Justice in Church and State,” to “A Revival of the Religious Left?” to “Drones and Robotic Warfare.” Out of all the virtual tours on the internet, the Hammer Museum offers some of the most compelling.

3. The National Women’s History Museum

Located in Alexandria, Virginia, the National Women’s History Museum features an online gallery of their many female-centered exhibits. I explored two of the virtual tours in depth:

The first is “From Ideas to Independence: A Century of Entrepreneurial Women,” an exhibit on women in business, and the growth and evolution of female-owned companies. Its images tell the stories of Rebecca Lukens, who inherited her family’s ironworks and transformed it into Lukens Steel Company, which still exists today; Carrie Crawford Smith, whose employment agency provided jobs within the black community during the Jim Crow era; and women, including Mrs. Estée Lauder, who joined the workforce during the Great Depression and World War II.

The other is “Women in the Olympics,” which documents the history of female athletes in the worldwide competition from 1900 to 2016. Some interesting facts from the captions include: there were only 22 women in the first games that allowed female participation; golfer Margaret Abbott, the first American woman to win an Olympic competition, was awarded with a porcelain bowl instead of a metal; and in 2012, there were more women than men on Team USA and women represented 44% of all Olympic athletes.

These two exhibits are only two of the many interesting and informative virtual tours on the museum’s website.

4. NASA at Home

NASA offers virtual tours of research centers , observatories, the Hubble Space Telescope mission operations center and the International Space Station, as well as an exploration of the TRAPPIST-1 star system and its seven Earth-sized planets.

5. Google Arts and Culture Museums

Thanks to the Google Arts and Culture project, virtual tours of these exhibits from world-class museums are available online for free:

La Casa Azul is located in Mexico City, Mexico. This museum is dedicated to the life and works of Frida Kahlo. This location is very fitting because it is also Kahlo’s former residence.

— New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, also known as “The Met,” houses over 2 million works of art from all over the world. The Met is the largest museum of its kind in the Western Hemisphere.

— The collections at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris include the works of Van Gogh, Monet and Renoir.

— The Uffizi Gallery in Florence became one of the first modern museums when it began storing the Medici’s art collection. The Uffizi is known for its Italian Renaissance pieces.

6. Cities and Landmarks — 360 Degree Camera Tours at YouVisit.com:                                                                         

New York City

If you’re taking virtual tours of the Big Apple, look for the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Ellis Island and Times Square. My favorite aspect is the aerial view from the helicopter at the beginning. I find cities beautiful, and New York City proves it.

Austin

At the Austin, Texas location, keep an eye out for the Texas Capitol Building, the Hope Outdoor Gallery, the Congress Avenue bats, Mount Bonell and Hamilton Pool. My favorite part is seeing all the spray painters at the Hope Outdoor Gallery and the bats flying out from underneath the Congress Avenue Bridge — just two examples of what makes Austin delightfully weird.

Paris

When remotely touring the City of Love, look for the Louvre, the Notre Dame, Luxembourg Gardens, the Latin Quarter and Champs Elysees. The Luxembourg Gardens was one of the prettiest places I visited in Paris, along with Montmartre and Versailles.

Rome

Here, find the Vatican, the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, the Colosseum and Piazza del Popolo. The vibrant Piazza del Popolo looks like the best place to relax after a long day of exploring the city.

Barcelona

In beautiful Barcelona, explore the beaches, Guell Palace, La Sagrada Familia Basilica and Montjuïc. The latter is my favorite because it provides a fantastic view of Barcelona.

Hong Kong

Tsim Sha Tsui, Man Mo Temple, the Central Business District and Yuen Po Bird Market are all must-sees in this dynamic city. For me, the Bird Market was such a pleasant surprise. I learned that Bird Market, along with Flower Market, Goldfish Market and Ladies Market make up a lively venue for shopping, walking and socializing.

Rio de Janeiro

Virtual visitors must find Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf, Copacabana and the Steps of Selarón. My favorite is Sugarloaf Mountain because it offers another amazing view.

The Cusco Region of Peru — Machu Picchu

There are several stunning overlooks, along with a couple courtyards and alpacas.

7. Zoos: 

Find scheduled livestreams of zebras, penguin feedings and snow leopard cubs at Melbourne Zoo, Healesville Sanctuary and Werribee Open Range Zoo on this Australian Animals at Home website.

Enjoy the sights of sea creatures like sharks, sea otters and moon jellies through Monterey Bay Aquarium’s webcams located in coral reefs and the open ocean. You can also check out the Bay itself with all its wildlife.

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