It’s no secret that we are living in a crazy world right now, and things are changing faster than we could even imagine. But while the travel industry is struggling and many of us are stuck at home, that doesn’t mean we should stop dreaming and learning. Because as the saying goes, “this too shall pass,” and everyone will be itching to get out and adventure! In the meantime, virtual tours from around the world are opening up to online visitors. From museums offering virtual tours to theaters streaming performances, I’m here to help you see the world from home.
This list will continue to be updated as I discover more virtual tours and webcams from around the world. A huge thank you goes out to the family, friends, and fellow travel bloggers who have shared links for this list.
A huge thank you needs to go out to Google Arts & Culture for their initiatives in bringing many of these museums to life online. Google has over 1200 museums archived from around the world. Many of the virtual tours also allow you to go up-close on some of the exhibits to learn more about them. You can easily get lost in the online exhibits for days!
One of the best art museums in the country, and I still haven’t gotten inside. Despite visiting Chicago twice! Nonetheless, we can all enjoy the gorgeous artwork from the comfort of our own homes with the virtual tour of The Art Institute of Chicago. Highlights: Water Lilies by Claude Monet & American Gothic by Grant Wood
Baltimore Museum of Art
Baltimore, MD, USA
If you can’t make your way to Charm City, you can still stroll the halls of the Baltimore Museum of Art online. The museum is over a century old and houses the largest collection of Matisse paintings in the world. Pro tip: If you get a chance to visit in person, admission is free! Highlights: Flower, Fish and Fruit by Louis Comfort Tiffany, A Wild Scene by Thomas Cole, & The Watering Place by Theodore Robinson
Belvedere houses an impressive collection of Austrian art, including the largest selection of work by Gustav Klimt in the world. The online tour takes you through these pieces as well as other artwork by European artists. Highlights:The Kiss by Gustav Klimt & Death and Girl by Egon Schiele
Corning Museum of Glass
Corning, NY, USA
Are you interested in learning about the history of glass in different cultures around the world? The Corning Museum of Glass offers a virtual tour with up-close views of several pieces of art. And let me tell you- I’ve been to the museum. The pieces of glass artwork are incredible!
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
Bentonville, AR, USA
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art has both 3D videos about the artwork that is housed there and virtual tours of the property. In addition, you can virtually “walk through” Bachman-Wilson House, designed by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The house was originally located in New Jersey until it was moved to Arkansas in 2015. The virtual tour even allows you to see inside rooms typically closed to the public!
Guggenheim’s famous spiral staircase is available via Google Streetview. You can pretend you’re meandering around the spiral and enjoy all of the artwork along the way! Highlights:Woman with Yellow Hair by Pablo Picasso & Before the Mirror by Eduoard Manet
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Boston, MA, USA
Inspired by the Venetian Palazzo, the Isabella Gardner Museum in Boston houses an impressive collection of artwork. The online tour allows viewers to take a peek at the art as well as the garden view in the courtyard. Highlights:Europa by Titian & Pieta by Michelangelo
J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, CA, USA
Here you’ll find artwork from the 8th century through modern times, from Europe, Asia, and the Americas. The J. Paul Getty Museum also has an extensive collection of photographs to browse. Highlights: Irises by Vincent van Gogh & The Rue Mosnier with Flags by Eduoard Manet
One of the most famous museums in the world – and a personal favorite – has a few of its collections available online. While it’s nowhere near the millions of pieces of art you can see in person, it’s free and available from home! Check the Louvre website to find virtual tours of the Egyptian Antiquities, the Louvre moat, and the Galerie d’Apollon. Highlights: Venus de Milo, Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, & La Liberté Guidant le Peuple by Eugene Delacroix
The first view of the virtual tour of The Met is stunning. The online collection holds an unbelievable 200,000+ images of artwork, including paintings, sculptures, vases, fashion, and more. Highlights:Study of a Young Woman by Johannes Vermeer & Self Portrait with a Straw Hat by Vincent van Gogh
Once you’re done exploring the wonders of the Louvre, a virtual visit to the Musée d’Orsay is a must! Here you’ll find even more pieces of artwork by world-renowned artists. And the architecture is incredible to admire. Make sure you take alook up at the intricately carved rounded ceiling. Highlights: The Evening Air by Henri-Edmond Cross, & Self Portrait by Vincent van Gogh
Musée de Beaux-Arts, Lyon
The Musée de Beaux-Arts not only contains gorgeous pieces of art and history, it is a masterpiece all its own. Housed in a centuries-old building and garden, it truly is one of the best museums to explore online. Visitors can explore both the hallways of the museum, but also the views of Lyon from the rooftop, and the sculptures in the garden. This is a virtual tour not to be missed! Highlights:Nave Nave Mahana by Paul Gauguin & Egyptian sarcophaguses
Museo Frida Kahlo
Mexico City, Mexico
Fans of the famous Mexican painter can celebrate with the virtual tour of the Museo Frida Kahlo. The museum was created in La Casa Azul (The Blue House), where Frida lived her entire life. It’s a unique tour embracing the true essence of the artist. Highlights: The Alarm Clock & Viva la Vida
Museum of Art Sao Paulo (MASP)
Sao Paulo, Brazil
One of the most interesting art museums I’ve ever visited is available online. That’s right, you can explore the unique layout of the masterpieces at MASP from your couch. Instead of wide open rooms with artwork on the walls, these pieces are displayed throughout the room on clear surfaces. It’s a true modern art museum. Bonus tip: if you’re visiting in person, MASP is free to visit on Tuesdays! Highlights: Girl with Flowers by Pierre Auguste Renoir, The Canoe on Epte by Claude Monet, & Four Ballet Dancers on Stage by Edgar Degas
Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
If you’re looking for a different style of art, check out the virtual tour of the MOCA BANGKOK. The walls are filled with colorful artwork from Thailand’s best artists. Highlights: The Blessing of Lord Buddha & Spiritual Eye both by Chalermchai Kositpipat
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Boston, MA, USA
The Boston Museum of Fine Arts houses an impressive collection of paintings from some of history’s most famous artists. In addition, you’ll find Egyptian mummies and unique sculptures from around the world. Virtually climb the stairs and view the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston online. Highlights:Helen Sears by John SInger Sargent, Enclosed Field with Ploughman by Vincent van Gogh, and several pieces by Claude Monet.
Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest
Like most other European art museums, the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest is filled with works from the most famous painters. Click through their online tour and see the sculptures and artwork that make up the cultural history of Europe. Highlights:Virgin and Child with the Young Saint John the Baptist by Raphael & The Penitent Mary Magdalene by El Greco
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Houston, TX, USA
The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston is the largest cultural institution in the area and over a hundred years old. It continues its excellence online with several virtual tours available to view their artwork and several collections. Highlights: The Windmill on the Onbekende Gracht by Claude Monet & Girl Reading by Auguste Renoir
The National Gallery in London contains several centuries worth of painting from the best European artists in history. Yes, all of the names you’ll recognize – Degas, Monet, Van Gogh, Botticelli, and so many more. Explore these treasures of European painters online by ‘walking’ through The National Gallery. Highlights:The Water Lily Pond by Claude Monet & Bathers by Paul Cézanne
The National Palace Museum houses one of the largest collections of Chinese art and artifacts in the world. Their online tour shows both interior and exterior views. Highlights: Ch’ing furniture & ancient pottery
Explore the museum with the largest collection of artwork in Google Arts & Culture. In addition, you can also wander the halls on your own in the virtual tour of Rijksmuseum. Highlights: The Milkmaid by Johannes Vermeer & The Night Watch by Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn
Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery
Washington DC, USA
While free to visit in person, just like all the Smithsonian museums, The National Portrait Gallery also offers virtual tours of the galleries. Explore the artwork portraying the people who made American history, including the presidents and their families. Highlights:President Barack Obama by Kehinde Wiley, Abraham Lincoln by George Peter Alexander Healy, and George Washington (The Athenaeum Portrait) by Gilbert Stuart
This research museum houses art and artifacts from Japan and other Asian countries. The virtual tour of the Tokyo National Museum highlights folding screens, sculptures, and paintings of Japan’s people and landscapes. Highlights:Maple Viewers by Kano Hideyori & Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji by Katsushika Hokusai
One of the oldest and most famous art museums in the world is available to explore online. The Uffizi Gallery has one of the largest collections of Renaissance paintings and sculptures in the world. Highlights: The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli & Annunciation by Leonardo da Vinci
Van Gogh Museum
Van Gogh has always been one of my favorite painters. I was crushed when some of his paintings were off-display when I visited MASP in Sao Paulo. I’ve spent most of my life dreaming about visiting the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. And while I haven’t made it to the Netherlands yet, I’m happy to be able to explore the Van Gogh Museum through a virtual tour. Highlights: Sunflowers & The Harvest
Vancouver Art Gallery
The Vancouver Art Gallery holds a collection of some of Canada’s best modern art, including a large selection by Douglas Coupland. The online tour takes you through the colorful galleries of Canadian art. Highlights: Pop Head Series by Douglas Coupland
Anne Frank House
In the darkness of World War II, there was a glimmer of hope. Young Anne Frank kept a diary of her time spent hiding in her house with her family, avoiding Nazi persecution. Nearly a century later, visitors can see her secret annex for themselves. Be sure to click the bubbles to learn more about the features of her home and their significance.
Baseball Hall of Fame
Cooperstown, NY, USA
The Baseball Hall of Fame is definitely the shining star of Cooperstown, New York – and for good reason! Baseball fans – or fans of any sports- can appreciate all of the history and memorabilia that is housed here. And while the virtual tour is from before their recent renovation, the exhibits are still pretty neat to look at!
The largest collection of Israeli art and artifacts can be found at The Israel Museum in Jerusalem. For those that can’t make the journey in person, the museum can be toured virtually.
Strong National Museum of Play
Rochester, NY, USA
While the Strong Museum is definitely a lot more fun to visit in person, there are still some cool perspectives that you can see from the comfort of your own home. Strong is one of the most interactive museums I’ve ever been to, and taking a 360-degree tour shows you why. Adults can reminisce about games from their childhood while kids can get excited for an upcoming trip to Rochester. Win-win!
The Wild Center
Tupper Lake, NY, USA
It’s no secret that The Wild Center is one of my favorite places. Located in Tupper Lake in the Adirondacks region of New York state, you can now experience the wonders of mountains from your own home. There are two virtual tours of The Wild Center – one for inside the museum, and the other for their famous Wild Walk. These tours offer 360-degree views of the Adirondack landscape as well as the uniquely designed museum showing both the history and wildlife of the mountains.
SCIENCE & HISTORY MUSEUMS
The Acropolis Museum in Athens is devoted to archaeological finds from the Acropolis. Sculptures and carvings of limestone, marble, and other forms of stone fill the museum. Glass exterior walls provide visitors, both in person and online, gorgeous views of the surrounding Greek landscape.
American Museum of Natural History
New York, NY, USA
One of the most famous historical museums in New York City, the American Museum of Natural History is incredible. And speaking from experience, you could easily spend an entire day here. Luckily, you aren’t limited on time with the virtual tour of the museum. Spend as much time as you want – even pretend you’re Ben Stiller in Night at the Museum!
Insect Museum of West China
Looking for something a little different? How about the Insect Museum of West China? Yep, you can tour it online! Definitely a fun option for the kids, and I can’t help but think that Max from the tv show Parenthood would be in complete awe!
So a little known fact about me: I find learning about World War II and the Holocaust fascinating. Not in a morbid way, but in a historically and culturally important way. Plus, my ancestors were Polish and my grandfather served in the Army and saw the atrocities. With that said, the fact that POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews has an online tour makes me very happy. It obviously goes well beyond the realm of the Holocaust, and I can’t wait to spend some time strolling through the halls!
National WWI Museum and Memorial
Kansas City, MO, USA
Online visitors can check out memorabilia from World War 1 in the virtual tour of the museum. Both interior and exterior views of the WWI Museum are included in the tour.
Ford’s Theatre will forever be known as the place where President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. While you can tour the theater if you’re visiting DC, you can also check it out from home. The virtual tour includes views from the stage as well as exhibits throughout the museum.
Frederick Douglass National Historic Site
Washington DC, USA
In case you aren’t aware of who Frederick Douglass is, he was an important figure in the Civil Rights movement in the United States. He led the charge for equality. While he lived and is buried in Rochester, NY, he spent the last few years of his life in Washington DC. And now you can tour his home online and learn all about the honorable man.
Have you ever dreamed of walking through the Hall of Mirrors in the famous Parisian palace? Retrace the footsteps of Kings Louis XIII and Louis XIV? Well, if you can’t make it there in person, the second best option is to tour Versailles online. Missing Versailles is one of my biggest regrets from my only trip to Paris. Getting to see it virtually helps to make up for it!
Deserts are one of the most difficult places to visit in person. The literal nature of the landscape makes it incredibly difficult to trek across due to the heat and lack of water. Luckily, you can see the incredible views of the Sahara Desert online.
If you haven’t gotten your fill of castles just yet, check out the stunning interior of Skoklosters Castle with their virtual tour. The castle is a few hundred years old and embraces the Swedish culture through its art and architecture.
Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel
Whether religious or not, no one can deny the grandeur and beauty of Vatican City. Several of the museums at the Vatican – including the Sistine Chapel – offer virtual tours for you to browse from home. Honestly, the Sistine Chapel shouldn’t be missed. It’s absolutely incredible. Don’t forget to scroll up to see the famous ceiling!
Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild was at the height of society in the late 1800s, and his manor exemplifies just that. Built as a place to house his growing collection of artwork and host elaborate parties, present day visitors can view Waddeson Manor online. The virtual tour offers clickable spots to learn more about the artwork and architecture of the home, and even allows viewers to see places that are closed to the public.
The White House
Washington DC, USA
Easily the most famous – and most difficult to visit – house in the United States, you don’t need to be elected to do a virtual tour of the White House. Pretend you’re a guest in the Oval Office and check out the artwork of former presidents.
The Winchester Mystery House
San Jose, CA, USA
The Winchester Mystery House is an architectural oddity in San Jose originally purchased as an eight-room farmhouse in the late 1800s. Following the purchase, 36 continuous years of construction were done on the house. The Winchester is known for its 10,000 windows, countless rooms, and staircases that lead to nowhere. It’s often featured on lists of the most haunted places in the world. And while it’s currently closed to the public, you can take the virtual tour of this mysterious mansion online.
Live Webcams at Zoos & Aquariums
While zoos and aquariums around the world are closing to the public, many have set up webcams so animal lovers can check in on their favorite creatures. These virtual tours come from all around the globe, so no matter what time you’re looking, you’re bound to find some animals that are up and active!
Animal Adventure Park got famous because of April the giraffe, who was famously pregnant with thousands of people watching her live stream waiting for her to go into labor. Giraffe lovers will be happy to know that her webcam is still live and viewers can watch her and her son Tajari at any hour of the day. A second webcam checks in on father Oliver and another female, Johari.
Atlanta, GA, USA
Who doesn’t love pandas? That’s right – no one. Pandas are a favorite worldwide for their cuteness and gentle nature. Atlanta Zoo’s panda cam lets you sneak a peek at their pandas during the day!
Chattanooga, TN, USA
If you’re looking for some more unique animals to watch, check out the Chattanooga Zoo webcams. Choose from the meerkats, snow leopards, tamarins, or the spotted genet!
A variety of animals are waiting to say hello to you on the Dublin Zoo’s webcams. Choose from the elephants, penguins, or animals of the African savannah.
The cuteness continues at the Edinburgh Zoo. Their webcams provide views of the giant pandas, penguins, tigers, and a personal favorite – Tanami the koala.
Atlanta, GA, USA
One of the biggest aquariums in the world – and a personal favorite – Georgia Aquarium has several webcams for your viewing pleasure. The worst part? Having to choose between watching the belugas or the sea otters! Or the sea lions. Or the jellies…
Houston, TX, USA
The webcams at the Houston Zoo offer creatures both tiny and large. Choose from the leaf cutter ant colony, giraffes, elephants, chimps, rhinos, or gorillas.
Kansas City Zoo
Kansas City, MO, USA
The animals just keep coming! The Kansas City Zoo webcams bring you penguins, giraffes, and polar bears. Since their cameras are available 24/7, you can even take a peek at them to see when they are active at night!
There is a lot to choose from in California! Monterey Bay Aquarium has 10 different webcams to let you peek at your favorite sea creatures. Most of them are active between 10am and 10pm PST daily. Choose from the otters, jellies, moon jellies, coral reef, penguins, sharks, and more!
Baltimore, MD, USA
If you can’t decide if you prefer virtual tours or live webcams, you don’t have to choose! The National Aquarium has both. The webcams highlight the Pacific coral reef, jellyfish, and the blacktip reef. The virtual tour lets you guide yourself through the various exhibits, including the tropical rainforest.
Support the efforts of animal conservation and watch the critically endangered macaques (and some meerkats as well) on the Paignton Zoo webcams.
Want to see the northern lights from a different view? No worries, the Aurora Chasers in Anchorage, Alaska also have a live webcam of the lights. I also like to check the daily images of the best of the northern lights from the past few days. It’s incredible!
Their site also lets you check the forecast for the upcoming days, based on solar activity, so you can plan ahead for when might be a good time to watch.
US National Parks
Google has partnered with park rangers throughout the US to provide guided virtual tours of some of the most unique landscapes in our National Parks.
A trip to the Grand Canyon is a must-do on nearly everyone’s bucket list. And it’s no surprise why! It’s a stunning sight to behold, even through a computer screen. Thanks to Arizona State University, you can visit Grand Canyon National Park and several more places through virtual tours.
Son Doong Cave
Quang Binh Province, Vietnam
Thanks to National Geographic, visitors from around the world can take a virtual tour of Son Doong Cave. Located in Vietnam, Son Doong is the largest natural cave in the world. The online tour provides 360-degree photos, a map to guide you, and detailed information at each ‘stop’.
Wild Earth also offers live safaris hosted by expert rangers twice daily – at sunrise and sunset. The rangers provide a variety of footage depending on animal activity from two different national parks. They bounce between Greater Kruger in South Africa and Maasai Mara in Kenya.
A UNESCO World Heritage site located just outside of London is one of the most beautiful gardens in the world. The architecture of the greenhouses is strikingly unique. Enjoy it all in this virtual tour of Kew Gardens.
Huntsville Botanical Garden
Check out this virtual tour of the Huntsville Botanical Garden in Alabama. You can “walk” through the aquatic garden, “stroll” along the nature trail, and “visit” the nature center.
It’s no secret that street art is a personal favorite of mine, and the fact that you can explore many of them with Google Streetview makes my heart so happy! Particularly Hosier Lane in Melbourne – where I fell in love with murals and street art. If you’re feeling adventurous, click through the alley to get a view of Federation Square – one of the most controversial pieces of architecture in Melbourne. Why? The modern design is a stark contrast to the historic St. Paul’s Cathedral and Flinders Street Train Station.
It’s no secret that Broadway is a bucket list destination for people around the world. And I can vouch for it! I’ve seen several shows both off and on Broadway, and nothing compares. The performances truly are the best. Luckily, if you can’t make it to New York in person, you can still find several Broadway shows streaming online.
Broadway HD offers a 7-day free trial. If you’re hooked, there are monthly and yearly plans available to keep you entertained.
The Globe Theatre
The Globe Theatre in London, famous for its history of Shakespearean shows, has an online library of performances to watch. Admittedly, most shows have a rental fee to watch, but there is also a small selection of free content.
Can’t get enough? The website 360 Cities offers exactly that – 360-degree views of cities and locations from around the world. Their database is enormous!
If that’s still not enough, AirPano offers even more 360-degree views of famous landmarks from around the world. Their collection is interactive and provides additional information about each locale. Plus, their photography is absolutely incredible.
So which virtual tour or live web cam is your favorite? I love watching the otter and jellyfish webcams while I work. They are so relaxing! And you have to admit, it’s pretty incredible to have this technology to provide virtual tours from around the world. Should money, health, or safety limit us, we can travel without leaving home.