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6 Virtual Ways to Experience New York City

As government and health officials work to quickly halt the spread of the coronavirus, many of New York City’s best-loved attractions have been temporarily shuttered. But you don’t need to wait for museums and theaters to reopen their doors to experience the city. 

Right now, you can take a virtual tour of an esteemed New York City museum, watch a live performance, and explore the streets of the Big Apple from the comfort of your hotel room or home. Here are six of our favorite ways to discover New York right now. 

Go to the opera

You may not be able to experience The Metropolitan Opera in person at this time, but you can enjoy high-definition performances captured over the last 14 years on your computer or television through the Live in HD program. You can tune in every night at 7:30 p.m., or tune in later for up to 23 hours. April performances include John Adams’s “Nixon in China” from 2011, Verdi’s “Macbeth” from 2014, and a 2017 performance of “Norma” by Bellini.  

Watch a virtual Broadway show

Bummed you can’t see a Broadway show right now? Us too. But thanks to BroadwayHD, a streaming service beloved by thespians all over the world, you can now enjoy iconic Broadway performances and playlists while still wearing your coziest bathrobe. Get the first week free; after that, the service costs $8.99 a month. Our favorite part? You’re guaranteed to have the best view in the house. 

Take a museum tour

There are more than a few ways to tour one of the city’s premier art and cultural institutions right now. Through Google’s Arts & Culture collection, you can take digital tours of the MoMA, The Met, the Guggenheim, the Whitney and the American Museum of Natural History, among others. You can take a virtual tour of the buildings and admire the exhibits—plus, many museums offer their own digital tours and collection. Through Google, for example, you can see The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Breuer building like you’ve never seen them before: Without other visitors. Meander around and then check out the online exhibits, including ball gowns by Christian Dior and even a behind-the-scenes look at the Costume Institute.

Visit a botanical garden

OK, so the New York Botanical Garden is temporarily closed. But don’t fret, because the garden’s current exhibit, the annual Orchid Show, is available for virtual touring online. You may not be able to smell the orchids, but you can certainly appreciate Jeff Leattham’s vision for the vibrant floral display. 

Check out the street art

Head from the Upper West Side to see Keith Haring’s “Crack Is Wack” mural down to the Bowery Graffiti Wall on Houston Street with this street art mural tour in New York City. Also made possible by Google Arts & Culture, travelers can explore some of the most vivid and iconic street artworks in the city through this digital presentation. 

Discover a new landmark

Even frequent visitors and longtime residents overlook some of the city’s best attractions and landmarks. Now, you can tour some of these lesser-known sites—the New York City Fire Museum, the Lefferts Historic House in Brooklyn—through guided video tours created by the New York Landmark Conservancy. Follow Peg Green, president of the advocacy group, on informational excursions to discover new sites through the “Tourist in Your Own Town” series.  

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