Free Online Virtual Tours Of Landmarks And Museums

Most travel plans are on hold for a while during the coronavirus pandemic. To pass the time after working from home with the kids or for a fun digital happy hour with friends, take a vacation without ever leaving your couch. Numerous world-class destinations and man-made marvels offer virtual tours that you can take online while you are social distancing. The other benefit? It's free.

Taj Mahal (India)

A trip to India's majestic and romantic Taj Mahal is a major money investment. But the Google Arts & Culture app lets you wander all around the stunning structure, built by a 17th-century emperor as a monument and tomb for his beloved late wife. It's a great way to explore the intricacies of one of the most mesmerizing places on earth.

National Aquarium (Baltimore, Maryland)

The National Aquarium in Baltimore is one of the most visited tourist attractions in America, and can still be explored from home. Dodge the deadly teeth in Shark Alley, admire the breathtaking Tropical Rain Forest exhibit, or watch the dolphins and jellyfish bob and swim right on the aquarium's website.

Space Center Houston (Houston, Texas)

It's one small step for man, one giant leap for families looking for things to do at home. Download Space Center Houston's app and you can tour the facility to check out shuttle replicas and rockets, and even take a selfie with an astronaut-helmet filter.

Ellis Island (New York)

Many families began their American adventure when they arrived at New York's Ellis Island. The Ellis Island virtual tour by Scholastic lets visitors follow in those immigrants' footsteps, hear their stories, see their photos and learn about the many challenges they had to overcome in the process. This virtual journey could be a great way to cultivate family relationships while spending more time together in the house.

National Baseball Hall of Fame (Cooperstown, New York)

America's pastime is taking an unexpected seventh-inning stretch. While you may not be able to go to the actual filming location of "Field of Dreams," fans can take themselves out to the ballgame via the Google Arts & Culture virtual tour of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Examine vintage photos, signed baseballs, programs, posters, videos and more.

Museum of Flight (Seattle, Washington)

Fly high at Seattle's Museum of Flight. Virtual online tours let you explore such famed aircraft as the Concorde, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, a NASA Space Shuttle Trainer, and the Air Force One plane from John F. Kennedy's presidency through photos, 360s and history lessons.

National Women’s History Museum (Virtual)

OK, so it might not be a landmark yet, but the House of Representatives voted to establish a comprehensive women's history museum on Washington, D.C.'s National Mall. While you wait for the brick-and-mortar location, you can explore online exhibits that cover trailblazing women in everything from athletics and suffrage to fashion and civil rights.

U.S. Capitol (Washington, DC)

The U.S. Capitol is a striking building that all history buffs should visit. An impressive online virtual tour lets visitors enjoy 360-degree views of the Capitol Rotunda, Library of Congress and more as if they were in Washington, D.C.

Palace of Versailles (France)

The Palace of Versailles in France is one of many enchanting castles around the world that you can actually visit — both in person and virtually. Homebodies looking to discover decadence can tour the grounds both on the landmark's website and through a Google Arts & Culture virtual tour that takes you into the famed Hall of Mirrors, the Royal Chapel and Coronation Chamber, and zooms in on specific artifacts in 3D.

Yosemite National Park (California)

The amazing natural wonders of Yosemite National Park can actually be experienced from anywhere. The virtual Yosemite online tour eliminates the crowds of tourists and offers sumptuous views of El Capitan, Bridalveil Fall, Half Dome, Yosemite Falls and more of the most beautiful places in the national park.

Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China stretches thousands of miles across northern China and dates back as early as the third century B.C. With a virtual tour through travel agency The China Guide, you can zoom in and out, move from section to section and never wear out your shoes. An added bonus: Part of the wall is rumored to be haunted, so you don't have to worry about potential spooky sightings.

Acropolis (Greece)

The ancient Acropolis of Athens in Greece is a place everyone should check out in their lifetime, and an online tour gives modern tourists a rare peek back through the centuries. The technology uses high-resolution panoramic photography to highlight the Parthenon, the Temple of Athena Nike, the Propylaea and other stunning views, with helpful histories provided.

The White House (Washington, DC)

The White House, long home to the U.S. president, is the only private home of a head of state that's free and open to the public. The Google Arts & Culture virtual tour lets the curious explore the White House's elegant rooms, offices and artwork, as well as the manicured grounds. There's also a tour of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, the castle-like building next to the White House that houses many staff offices.

National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC)

Established in 1937, the National Gallery of Art is one of the largest museums in North America. The Google Arts & Culture virtual tour includes more than 46,000 artworks from the collection, covering everything from Rembrandt self-portraits to Mary Cassatt paintings.

Van Gogh Museum (Netherlands)

Sometimes you need a break from looking at weird happenings online and to just go with something classic. Dutch post-impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh is one of the most famous artists in history, and this museum hosts the world's largest collection of his artwork. The Google Arts & Culture virtual tour features his iconic self-portraits and sunflower art and also showcases lesser-known paintings inside the Netherlands landmark.

The Louvre (France)

Paris' spectacular Louvre museum, home to the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and many more art masterpieces, is likely on the international bucket list of many. The museum offers numerous virtual tours online, including a stroll through the marvelous Egyptian Antiquities collection. (Pro tip: the tour requires Flash.)

Pro Football Hall of Fame (Canton, Ohio)

With the election class of 2019, there are 326 members inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. The Hall's website lets visitors search inductees who have endured it all by name, team, year of induction or even jersey number.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum (Cleveland, Ohio)

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum has been rocking Cleveland since 1995. On the website, you can type in the name of your favorite inducted musician or band to see photos, watch videos and read about why they hit all the right notes.

Vatican Museums (Vatican City)

Seeing the Vatican Museums is a travel experience that will change your life, with its wide array of treasures from the extensive collection of the Roman Catholic Church that includes sculptures and Renaissance paintings. The museum's online offerings include numerous 360-degree tours of the legendary Sistine Chapel, Raphael's Rooms, stunning frescoes and more.

New York Public Library, New York

Like museums, many public libraries have closed temporarily due to the coronavirus outbreak. Thankfully, the massive New York Public Library has digitized more than 880,000 items from its collections, ranging from old scrapbooks of New York City to a scanned group of vintage children's books. What better way to escape for a little while than inside the world's most stunning libraries?