45 things to do when you're stuck at home in Doha

Bored at home? Then get stuck into our epic list of streaming culture, movies, podcasts, games, workouts and learning – plus some curveballs

45 things to do when you’re stuck at home in Doha

A quarter of the world’s humans are at home right now. If you’re reading this, chances are you’re one of them. Yes, it’s important to stay safe indoors to protect ourselves and others – but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a good time. Time Out may have changed its name to Time In (for now, but our mission to bring you the best culture, entertainment, food and fun from around the world hasn’t changed. So naturally, we wanted to create the ultimate list of things to do indoors – from curated lists of the best movies and greatest podcasts to indoor fitness, online learning, games to play, amazing live-streams to tune in to, and some offbeat activities dreamed up by creative people around the world.

As time goes by we’ll be updating, evolving and extending this list of fun things to do while you’re at home, so check back soon for more great indoor activities and streaming culture. You may be stuck at home, but stick with us and we promise you won’t be bored for a second.

45 actually fun things to do at home

Bake a hilarious quarantine cake

Some people eat in times of crisis, and other people bake. Based on what we’ve seen on the internet in the last few days, lots of people fall into the latter camp. These stressed, intrepid, creative pastry wizards have really found a way to make this whole isolation thing more entertaining with their clever cakes. Want some inspiration for your own? These are some of the funniest quarantine cakes we’ve found online.

Gawp at abandoned tourist spots on live webcam

Usually, you’d have to wade through crowds upon crowds to get within even queuing distance of the Doge’s Palace in Venice or Prague’s Old Town Square. But with curfews and lockdown measures being enforced throughout Europe, things are looking very different – as these live webcam feeds of tourist hotspots show. You do wonder who the odd straggler is and why they’re still knocking about, but mainly it’s made us even more impatient to get back out and explore.

Get lost in a new podcast

Completed Netflix? Struggling to concentrate on a book? Podcasts might be the answer. Pop one of these amazing podcasts in your earholes and you’ll be immediately transported from your poky apartment to somewhere much more interesting. Tune into anything and everything from uplifting tales of human connection on Modern Love to 25 years’ worth of the inspirational This American Life.

Catch up on literary classics

You know that pile of books that you haven’t ever quite managed to get into? There’ll never be a better time to conquer it.  And if you’ve already exhausted your library, you can now access loads of books, podcasts, newspapers and magazines for free online as part of Qatar National Library’s online resources. So you can just dip into whatever you want, whenever.

Scope out the world’s major cities looking like ghost towns

It’s a ghost town out there. As we all hunker down at home and learn how to effectively social distance ourselves (lots of food delivery and a well-stocked drinks cabinet seem to be the first steps), the busiest places in our cities have emptied out. Just take a look at these photos of eerily quiet streets across the world.

Party at home with our ultimate playlist

Thanks to Spotify and other streaming services, everyone’s a DJ these days. But this doesn’t mean it’s acceptable to cobble together dodgy party playlists filled with soggy bops. To help you make sure your (very exclusive, residents-only) house party goes off like a frog in a sock, we’ve put together this ultimate list of surefire floor-fillers. Just remember to think of your playlist like a spag bol: a little bit of cheese is a fine addition, but too much can be overpowering.

Tour Japan’s most spectacular cherry blossom displays

Hanami flower-viewing parties and sakura festivals have been cancelled all over Japan – but that doesn’t mean you can’t still get your fill of beautiful cherry blossom. The country’s Weather News channel has released 50 VR videos that explore the best blossom spots throughout Japan, with stunning 360-degree views and some very soothing background music. Bliss.

Take an Instagram baking class

Being stuck inside has its upsides: namely that you’re never far from your kitchen. This definitely is not the time to worry about waistlines, and baking has all sorts of therapeutic effects (seriously – google it). But if your repertoire doesn’t go beyond chocolate fridge cake, don’t worry: ace London bakery Bread Ahead is streaming baking classes via Instagram. From doughnuts to brownies, there’s no limit to what these pros can help you create. Take their ingredient list on your next shopping run before tuning in.

Join a virtual choir

If the videos of cities in lockdown coming together to sing on their balconies left you with a lump in your throat, here’s your chance to add your vocal cords to one of several online choirs popping up around the world. The Sofa Singers is a free online singing event that aims to ‘bring people together from around the world to spark joy and human connection’. It involves hundreds of singers joining a Zoom call and learning a new song together. Lifefullness Live also runs a sing-a-log every weekday. You can either join a video call near you to sing with your neighbours, or stream the event on Instagram or Facebook.

Live-stream the Northern Lights

Just because you're stuck at home, doesn't mean you have to miss out on some of the world's most beautiful natural wonders. Thanks to Explore.com, you can now live-stream the Northern Lights straight into your front room. The live cam is located at the Churchill Northern Studies Center in Manitoba, Canada, directly underneath the aurora oval. With the arctic dark most of the day and the skies clear, now’s the perfect time to tune in.

Learn how to make people laugh

Apart from paracetamol, laughter is still the best medicine. If you’ve always dreamed of performing at your local stand-up night, now’s the ideal time to hone those gags. Chicago’s legendary Second City Training Center may be closed, but it’s offering an expanded series of classes online covering everything from performing voiceovers to writing for TV. Most affordable, though, are its $25 drop-in improv and stand-up classes. Sign up and give those one-liners a test run.

Ride a roller coaster

Right now, as the majority of us stay at home all over the world, what we're able to do is pretty limited. But you know one thrill-inducing thing we can do, wherever we are? Ride Universal’s Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey roller coaster. The ride, at Universal Studios Hollywood, has been recorded by Undercover Tourist, and thanks to them we can now get a little adrenaline rush from our living rooms. Here are ten more rollercoasters you can ride virtually online.

Go on a ghost tour

California's most famous haunted home, the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, is offering free video tours while the mansion is closed. The bizarre tale began when the lady of the house, Sarah Winchester, inherited a vast fortune from her father-in-law, Oliver Winchester, manufacturer of the famous rifle. Winchester came to believe her family were haunted and built this house as a way to elude the ghosts of all those who had fallen victim to the Winchester rifle. Follow the house’s Facebook page to tune in to a walkthrough, which will stream on select days. Enjoyed that? Next, take a virtual tour through the Paris catacombs.

Raise a new family of Sims

Staying in can get really boring, really fast. You binge-watch a Netflix series or four, eat even though you’re not hungry and discuss ridiculous hypotheticals with your housemates. After a while, frankly, you’re definitely going to need a brain-stimulating escape. That’s where the world of video games totally comes into its own. Our absolute fave is The Sims, mainly because it’s a massive power trip. You rule the roost: controlling your virtual characters’ personalities, the environment and pretty much everything else. Not your thing? Here are some other fab time-wasters for these self-isolating times.

Book a holiday for once all this has blown over

Cooped up inside with cabin fever? Had all your spring holiday plans ruined? We’re right there with you. But there’s no time like a lockdown to dream about your next extravagant getaway. We’ve rounded up the best places to visit in October, November and December this year: fingers crossed we’ll all be able to go travel-crazy by then.

Watch penguins, elephants and belugas live from the zoo

Missing that cat you always say hello to on the way to work? Frankly, animal-assisted therapy is just what we need right now. So let’s hear it for the zoos. Many are streaming real-time feeds of their most popular attractions. From baboons to beluga whales, here are six incredibly soothing live-streams from zoos and aquariums around the world. You can also watch some penguins adorably explore a Chicago aquarium, or tune in to an Australian zoo broadcasting live koalas, 24/7. You’re very welcome.

Unwind with some sublime YouTube ASMR

Having a little trouble unwinding at the moment? YouTube is our go-to source for all kinds of soothing content. ASMR communities have quietly been setting up camp in this corner of the internet for years now. These are the chillest channels and most blissful standalone clips we’ve found online.

Learn Japanese for free

No Nihongo? No problem. Learning Japanese has never been easier thanks to a vast array of online resources including websites, videos, podcasts and even apps to help you speak and understand it. There’s something out there for everyone, whether you're a beginner looking to pick up a few useful phrases for your trip to Tokyo, or just looking to brush up on your rusty command of the language. Here’s a list of apps to help you out. You can learn loads of other languages, too.

Clear out some stuff – and give it away to charity

What about using all this free time you suddenly have to give your pad a thorough spring-clean? It may not sound like fun, but there’s nothing like a freshly Marie Kondo’d apartment to put the spring back into your step – particularly since you’re spending a little more time there than usual. And if you turn up plenty of clothes and other objects in good nick that you don’t want any more, make sure to start a giveaway pile to donate to a charity shop when this is all over. There are loads of charity boxes located across Qatar to drop your clothes into or you can directly donate to Qatar Charity through their TAYF programme.

Hit the gym in your living room

Doing a daily workout during lockdown has suddenly become a whole lot easier. Classpass, the fitness-class app that previously allowed you to book into sessions in bougie gyms across the world, has just released 2,000 fitness video and audio tutorials for free. The sessions span yoga, HIIT, boxing, strength training, barre and loads more – all you have to do is sign up via the app or website.

Catch a streaming gig by one of the world’s biggest artists

With music festivals and venues closed for the foreseeable future, artists are doing what we’ve all been doing – that is, taking to the digital realm and essentially living there for the time being. And lucky for us, they’re putting on some pretty rad shows on a host of streaming services, everything from bedroom-pop gigs (captured in literal bedrooms) and band practices to virtual DJ nights and request-heavy sets by heavy hitters. Check out this regularly updated page of live-streaming gigs for more.

Adopt an adorable new pet

Self-isolating? Why not make it a little cuddlier? With many people across the country practising social distancing, you can take on pets in need of a temporary home during the pandemic or just give them a forever home. Head over to Canadian Vet or contact PAWS Rescue Qatar.

Stuff your face (and support local restaurants)

Got cash to spare? Now is a good time to invest in your favourite restaurants – either by ordering food delivery or getting takeaway. We’ve got an extensive list right here.

Cook something new

If there was ever an opportunity to spend more time experimenting in the kitchen, this is it – after all, you’re likely to be pretty much stuck there for the foreseeable. We’ve rounded up some ace recipes from culinary superstars, websites with great recipes and, of course, a list of dishes that you can whip up with store-cupboard staples.

Get smart with a free, online Ivy League course

Why not use all that time we usually spend socialising to learn something new? And you might as well learn from the best, we say. The eight Ivy League colleges across the US – Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Pennsylvania, Princeton and Yale – are offering 450 free online courses that are just the right amount of challenging to take our minds off the current state of affairs.

Stream a thought-provoking documentary on Netflix

Netflix has revitalised the documentary industry. ‘Making a Murderer’ became a global talking point overnight, followed by exclusives like ‘13th’, ‘Amanda Knox’ and now ‘Tiger King’, while the streaming site’s archive of great docs has proven enormously popular. But which of these true tales are worth 90 or more minutes of your precious time? From genre-defining classics to intimate personal studies, these are the best documentaries to stream right now on Netflix MENA.

Play Pictionary with a robot

Need a break from reality? Try Quick, Draw!, a free-to-play game that doubles up as an AI experiment to see if a ‘neural network’ can learn to recognise human doodles. It’s basically playing Pictionary with a robot, and is stupidly addictive and weirdly mindful. We’re hooked.

See 800 Frida Kahlo paintings in a virtual exhibition

Since you can’t go traipsing around your favourite museums right now, here’s an incredible online art exhibition dedicated to everyone’s favourite monobrowed modern art master: Frida Kahlo. For Faces of Frida, Google Arts and Culture have brought together 33 museums from around the world to share their Kahlo archives. You can browse 800 works by the Mexican artist, but also lots of biographical elements (personal objects, letters, journal extracts).

Catch up on all the hyped movies you missed

You know those films you’ve been meaning to watch for years? The iconic ones you kinda pretend you’ve seen, the really long Oscar-worthy ones, the difficult watches you were never quite in the mood for? Now’s the time. No excuses: check out our picks of the best movies and TV shows to watch right now.

Take up painting with help from the masters

If you’ve been itching to stretch your creative muscles, now is most certainly the time. You can easily order art materials online. But you’ll also need some inspiration – and we’ve got a list of that. Check out these online art classes from famous illustrators and Disney artists.

Get some fuzzy vibes going with a feel-good movie

As we know pretty well by now, real life and current affairs can really get you down. For many of us, Netflix is the antidote and escapism we need from daily life. However, with so many titles to choose from, it can be hard to know which films will leave your spirits high. From wild action comedies such as Charlie’s Angels to classic romcoms like Four Weddings and a Funeral via movie musicals like La La Land, here’s our guide to the best feel-good films to check out today.

Learn to play guitar (like, properly)

Remember when you promised yourself you’d learn to play that guitar that ended up gathering dust in the corner? Here’s your chance: Fender is offering three months’ free online lessons. The guitar maker has even got high-resolution videos with IRL teachers, and you can track your progress online. You can follow along to videos or practise at your own pace, with adjustable scrolling tablature and a metronome.

Daydream about being somewhere totally different

If you’re anything like us, you’re already thinking about all the places you want to visit once this is all over. And who better to ask for tips than than a set of award-winning travel writers? We spoke to five of the winners of this year’s Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards to get their top travel recommendation: their favourite place on the planet. Just the stuff for a post-isolation bucket list, if you ask us.

Calm down with a meditation app

Serenity seems pretty hard to come by right now, but you can breathe a sigh of relief: whether you’re a fully-fledged meditation guru or totally new to it all (and, tbh, a bit confused by the hype), we have a plan. Flick through our choice of the best meditation apps and find your favourite – because an app can put you in the right frame of mind when a stick of nag champa just won’t cut it.

Listen to a free audiobook or short story

If you’re the kind of person who likes to disappear from reality into an audiobook, you’re in luck. To help those in self-isolation, Audible has just opened up a huge chunk of its collection to readers/listeners for free. All you have to do to get access is visit their website, where you’ll be met with classics (various Brontës, Jane Austen, Chaucer, Shakespeare and F Scott Fitzgerald – a real all-star squad) as well as less highbrow reads. Who couldn’t use a comforting night in with Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, right now?

Take in the view from Rio’s Sugarloaf Mountain

All our travel plans have been scrapped and we're staying home, but that doesn't mean you can’t explore the wonders the world has to offer – you’ll just have to do it from our sofas while wearing your pyjamas. We’ve trawled Google Street View for the most incredible 360-degree views of some of the world’s greatest cities. Happy travels!

Host a digital Netflix party

We don't need to tell you that streaming service Netflix is your friend during this crisis – you’ve probably got half an eye on it right now – but did you know you can have a Netflix party with your mates? The Netflix Party app, available on Chrome, lets you stream Netflix in unison with your pals. Anyone can play and pause the video for everyone else, and there’s a chat window so you can all wittily discuss what's happening on screen in real time. It’s a pop culture podcast waiting to happen.

Play a nostalgic board game

There are certain classics (Scrabble! Monopoly!) that we think every household should own. These are the games that never fail to tug at our heartstrings: they are culture-defining, nostalgic go-tos that always deliver come game night. Looking to take a trip back in time? Bored of charades? Here’s our guide to the best board games of all time and you can play them virtually.

Do that DIY project you’ve been putting off

It’s time to face the cold, harsh light of day: you are an adult now, and you need to know how to do things. Things involving hammers. Just got an exhibition poster framed and want to put it on my bedroom wall? Want to feel more capable next time your sink backs up? Do some googling. After all, there’s nothing to make you feel more productive than a bit of DIY – and we’ve got loads of tips on how to spruce up your space.

Get physical with superstar PT Joe Wicks

Suddenly found yourself trying to work from home and home-school your kids? Here’s a thing that might help. Personal trainer Joe Wicks, aka The Body Coach, is live streaming daily PE (Phys Ed) lessons to keep little ones active (and let’s be honest here, tire them out for the rest of the day). The 30-minute lessons are being live-streamed on YouTube every day at 9am GMT, and are suitable for ‘kids of all ages’ according to Wicks.

Project AR animals into your living room

Chit-chat with the flatmates wearing thin? At this point of the global lockdown, we reckon it’s time to play Big Brother and bring a troublesome new contestant into the house. How about a life-size lion, tiger or giant panda? Yep: thanks to Google’s augmented-reality animals tool, you can choose from a range of furry new residents and view them in 3D within the confines of your own home.

Learn Korean with K-pop megastars BTS

Bored of Duolingo? Into K-pop? Then we’ve a suggestion. BTS, aka ‘Bangtan Sonyeondan’, aka one of the biggest boybands in the world, have launched a new language-learning platform that aims to help their fans better understand Korean-language tunes like Boy with Luv, I Need U and Fake Love. And frankly, even if you’re BTS-ambivalent – merely a keen linguist looking to add a new vernacular string to your bow – what better way to learn Korean colloquialisms than through the medium of TOTALLY MASSIVE bangers?

Host a Houseparty on this viral social app

Think living life in lockdown means you can't host a banging house party? Think again, people. You might not be able to be in the same room as your pals right now, but thanks to the Houseparty app you can still hang with all your mates, and even play games like Heads Up.

Catch up on your sleep

Remember when you thought you were sleep-deprived because of your busy social schedule? Well, now there’s no excuse not to at least try and catch some Zs. But if you can’t sleep, don’t fret: a whole bunch of us are struggling to get our eight hours in during these strange and stressful times. Here are some tips on getting great sleep every night while you’re on lockdown – and they go way beyond counting sheep.

Do nothing

Here’s the thing. At Time Out, we’re normally all about helping you squeeze the absolute best out of city life. We want every second you spend to be spent well: eating the best food, soaking up the best culture, dancing at the best parties. But right now, things have been turned on their head a bit. Everyone is having to stay in and do less. We’ve even renamed ourselves Time In. And actually, we’re kind of relieved at having a bit more time on our hands. Time to dream, doze and do absolutely nothing. So by all means try and pack as much into your lockdown time as you can. But don’t forget to take some time, every so often, to switch off and drift – at least until we’re all out in the world again.

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