Virtual classes and online events are the new norm. COVID-19 has changed so much of our lives. It is truly overwhelming to think of the effect the pandemic has had on our communities. We all have new normals now so, during this time we need to find ways to stay stimulated and engaged. Virtual and online events and classes have been my lifesavers!

I am a true lover of learning. Besides just through living my life every day, I love to learn through travel, people, classes, books, and events. I miss all of these so much. Fortunately, I’m not alone. In order for businesses to survive, they had to adapt. So many have transitioned from face to face offerings to virtual classes.

These virtual classes and online events have kept me engaged and active. They are highly interactive, where people come together to learn and find some comradery. No matter what you’re looking for, there’s are virtual events and classes just right for you.

Here are some of my favorites.

Where to Find the Best Virtual Classes and Online Events

1. Eventbrite Events

Sounds crazy right… But if you have an account on Eventbrite and use them for other event registrations, they will start to get you and suggest events. In addition, they make it very easy to search for events you might like. What we really love is the diversity of programs you can attend. There is everything from like-minded people meeting to wine tastings to yoga classes and music events. While it is free to set up an account, many of the courses do charge a fee. 

If you’re so inclined, you can even do your own online events on this site and earn some money!

2. Cooking Classes 

There are endless possibilities when it comes to finding virtual classes for cooking. In addition, the number of free classes available that are pre-recorded and available allow you to have a lot of flexibility.

Let’s first talk live classes. These classes allow you to participate in real time. We highly recommend the small and interactive types of live classes. You will get so much more out of the experience. Otherwise, only do ones that you really want to do and would not be available otherwise. These include celebrity and professional chefs and special events.

virtual events and classes such as podcasts from America's Test Kitchen

Photo credit America’s Test Kitchen.

Besides the live classes, many are available free or for a fee that are pre-recorded. A few that we suggest you check out are – The Kitchn , American Test Kitchen and Top Chef University 

3. Author Book Events

The other day I attended an event online for a new book by Ronny Lvovski of The Primal Gourmet. I found out about the event from Teri Turner of nocrumbsleft who was virtually hosting, so I signed up. It was an inspiring, fun and informative hour and almost as wonderful as a live book event.

virtual events and classes at Anderson's Bookshop

Photo credit Anderson’s Bookshop.

What I really enjoyed was that we were literally in each of their kitchens. The event was put on by Anderson’s Bookshops based in Chicago. I was not just able to sign up for the event, but I was also able to order a book. They have multiple events happening each week and there is truly something for everyone! I am sure there are other bookshops doing the same.

4. MasterClass

I was so iffy about MasterClass with all the advertising and then I looked into it! Wow, I am super impressed by the format and quality of offerings. For $180 a year or $15/month, the cost of a movie or 3 fancy coffees, what you get is incredible. The $15/month gives you an all access pass to all that MasterClass has to offer.

You can learn anytime at your own pace from over 85 of the world’s best minds like Annie Leibovitz, James Patterson, Howard Schultz, Serena Williams, and Ken Burns. The instructors come from areas including business, sports, entertainment, science and technology, and culinary arts. And since these are online events and virtual classes, you can take them from anywhere!

virtual events and classes offered through MasterClass

Photo credit MASTERCLASS.

Each class consists of about 20 video lessons that are 10 minutes long and include a pdf workbook. You can watch them on your phone, computer, and even Apple TV. Couldn’t be easier.

5. Smithsonian Classes

For many years when the kids were young, we were Smithsonian members. We enjoyed the museums and the magazine, and felt the membership gave us so much. I do not know what happened, but we dropped the membership over time and it was not until recently that I saw the benefits of it. And no, you do not have to be a member to have access to the Smithsonian Associates offering. But over time, the membership pays off with the discount and you are donating to a greater good.

virtual events and classes offered through the Smithsonian

Learning about T-Rex 3D Digitalization. Photo credit Smithsonian.

The class offerings change about four times a year and there are a wide variety. I have thoroughly enjoyed the travel and culinary arts lectures and classes. There are wonderful history, personal development, and cultural offerings as well. Classes usually start at about $15 and members typically get $5 off on an average class.

6. Fundraisers

I am loving this idea so much. I have always been a big advocate of staying home and donating to all the fundraisers that happen throughout the year. But with Covid and many events being canceled, it’s become my only option. And, organizations have had to get creative to survive and make the online offering interesting and fun.

Recently, I attended the Niman Ranch Farmer’s Appreciation Dinner which was raising money for the Niman Ranch Next Generation Foundation. They sent a box with the ingredients ahead of the event and then one of my favorite chefs, Thomas Keller, did a live hands on cooking demonstration. But wait…Jacques Pepin popped in, too! It was a wonderful event for a good cause.

virtual events and classes through fundraisers at Niman Ranch

Photo credit Niman Ranch.

So, where can you find out about these fundraisers? First, I would check what the organizations you currently support are doing. Then, you can check Eventbrite. Just type in Fundraisers in the search bar.

7. 92nd Street Y Events

We have always enjoyed the events and classes we have taken at the 92nd Street Y. One thing we just love about 92nd St Y is that there is truly something for everyone in the family. Everyday there are up to 7 different offerings and they range from book talks to climate talks to comedy. Check out their events page here, but do not stop there. Head on over to their classes page to see all that you can do from your home, from hip hop and writing to cooking. No flight to New York required!

92 street Y hosting Ruth Bader Ginsberg

and in honor of the amazing RBG…Photo credit 92 Street Y.

We suggest you do not stop at these 7 online events and virtual classes, but check out the organizations and places you regularly attend classes. Many gyms, schools, community centers and stores are offering virtual options now, so take advantage of them all.

What are some of the best virtual classes and events you’ve discovered during COVID?