Originally posted on April 29, 2020
Here are just a few ideas of how you can have fun affordably during the coronavirus pandemic.
It most likely goes without saying that pretty much every streaming service offers free trials. If you have been on the fence about trying out a new service, now is an excellent time to redeem those free trials. But what about new offers? HBO is offering several hundred hours of content, absolutely free.
Favorites like the Sopranos and Silicon Valley are completely free for a limited time, as well as some of their better-known documentaries such as McMillion and the Inventor. Check them out here. Even if you have not been thinking about cutting the cord, you probably have heard of SlingTV. Currently, the company is offering a limited portion of its catalog, completely for free. Once again, there are some real gems here, such as The Quiet Place, and no signup or credit card is required. Check it out here.
While most museums are closed during this time, that does not mean you can’t still visit them--virtually of course! Head over here for a list of hundreds of exhibits that you can visit from your couch. Many of the most famous museums in the world are offering their exhibits for free during this time--be sure to look online at your local museums as well and see what they are offering during this time.
Many artists are offering free virtual concerts during this time. After all, many of them are just as bored as you and have nothing better to do. NPR has compiled an excellent list of upcoming virtual concerts here. Additionally, the Metropolitan Opera is offering free viewings of many of their opera shows. If you’re an opera fan or someone who is looking for a cheap way to try it out, take a look at their offerings here.
Even gaming platforms are offering freebies and cheap games during this time. For PC gamers, be sure to take a look at Humble Bundle, which has new deals every week on bundles of excellent games for a low price. The divisive Epic Games Store is continuing to offer a free game every week, as they have been doing for the past year. Keep an eye out here for frequent sales as well! If you have never heard of GOG, now is a great time to check them out. They are currently offering a list of 27 classic games for free.
If you’re a retro gamer, be sure to take a look at the list of games on offer here. Finally, Steam is also offering the occasional freebie on games as well. Recently, they have offered the 2013 reboot of Tomb Raider for no cost, as well as a few others. They also offer an extensive catalog of free games all year round, and many games are frequently on sale, with their prices slashed in half or sometimes even more. Be sure to keep an eye out here.
If you are a sports fan, this is undoubtedly a boring time. Fortunately, many networks are airing old games that defined their eras. For instance, ESPN is continuing to air old Monday night football games, and a list of games you can find here. For baseball fans, Bradford William Davis over at New York Daily News has compiled a list of classic MLB games from the last decade to rewatch, all available for free on YouTube.
Or, if you have never seen some of the classic sports movies, be sure to look them up to your favorite streaming service (perhaps activate that free trial, eh?). These classics include movies such as Moneyball, Friday Night Lights, and 42. Grab some popcorn, and check them out.
If you haven’t already been initiated to online libraries, now is a perfect time. Many public libraries are part of a network that uses Overdrive, a massive online library that you can access for free using your library card. Visit here to learn more about it. Or, if you are a fan of the classics, you can find many books that have moved into the public domain online for free as well.
Project Gutenberg offers an excellent compilation of these free eBooks which you can read right from your browser, or download them and take them on the go with you (not that you should be going anywhere, right?) Check them out here. Maybe you have always wanted to start writing. Now is the perfect time to get that novel you have been thinking about out of your head and onto a sheet of paper.
If you are trapped inside, it’s the perfect time to teach yourself something new. To name just a few places to go, check out coursera for free online university courses, Khan Academy for learning everything from math to science to coding, and Rosetta Stone, who is offering their language courses to students for free for a limited time. If you’ve been interested in learning to code, check out Free Code Camp. It is entirely free with no gimmicks, and a wonderful community. We also recommend MIT Open courseware and Harvard’s CS50x Intro to Computer Science Open courseware.
Are You A Socialite?
Staying inside does not mean having to be alone. There has really never been a better time to keep connected with your friends and family. Download Google Duo for free on any device you own, or open a web browser and go to https://duo.google.com/ to video chat with anyone you know, regardless of what phone or computer they have. Or, if you and everyone you know have Apple products, fire up FaceTime and enjoy each other’s company.
Well, no one really does (except FloatMe’s COO). But hey, if you have been putting off your taxes, now is a great time to do them (and hopefully get some money back in your pocket.)
Just because you’re cooped up does not mean you can’t have fun!