7 Things That Are Now Free Because of Coronavirus

High art, great music, classic sports, and more are now free during the pandemic.

Almost overnight, the coronavirus pandemic has changed the daily routines of millions of Americans who are quickly settling into new self-isolation realities. Some are passing the time the old-fashioned way: reading books, taking long walks, or hovering over puzzles and board games. But many are spending more time than ever trying to soothe themselves with screens. Companies and artists have responded by bringing their content to the virtual space, making the work they do accessible while respecting our social distancing. It's the little things that help make these uncertain times more bearable, and if one of the bright spots is free access to high art, great music, classic sports, and much more, we'll take it. Below is a sampling of what's newly free.


Dave Matthews online concert
Image via Verizon

From Coachella to SXSW to Bonnaroo, global music festivals have been canceled or postponed due to COVID-19. Into that gap step major city orchestras like the Seattle Symphony and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, which are offering free broadcasts via their YouTube and Facebook pages.

In addition, musicians including Dave Matthews, John Legend, Keith Urban, Trisha Yearwood, and Garth Brooks have begun staging their performances from the safety of their homes, taking them directly to similarly homebound fans via their respective social media platforms.


Newsies musical
Image via YouTube

Attention theater lovers! Monthly magazine and theater news site Playbill is here for you with these 15 offerings it calls "some of the best filmed Broadway shows to know about and where to find them."

The list includes Rent, Cats, Billy Elliott, and Into the Woods, all of which are viewable via streaming platforms like BroadwayHD (currently offering a seven-day free trial period), YouTube, and Amazon Prime Video, among others.


Metropolitan Opera production of Siegfried
Image via Metropolitan Opera

Every day, the New York Metropolitan Opera is now streaming a different encore Live in HD performance. With a daily curtain time of 7:30 p.m. ET, each performance remains available for streaming for 20 hours. You can view the stream in a browser, or through the Met Opera on-demand streaming app, available for Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku devices.


At home online workout

Tired of engaging your brain and ready to engage your body? While gym chains nationwide have shuttered, many are offering free access to online classes.

In addition, home-cycling giant Peloton may have closed their brick-and-mortar doors, but the company is offering new users a 90-day trial on their app, featuring new content from their New York studios. Planet Fitness is offering "Home Work-Ins" streamed live at 7 p.m. ET daily on their Facebook page. And Gold's Gym is offering free access to the Gold's Amp digital personal trainer app through the end of May, with more than 600 audio and video workouts to challenge you to work up a sweat.

Classic sports

2020 superbowl
Image via NFL

The major sports leagues may have ended or canceled their respective seasons, but some are dropping subscription fees to their paid streaming services.

And even if you can't access your current fave teams, you can absolutely relive (or get caught up on) classic games and rivalries. Last week, the National Hockey League made all games played during the suspended 2019-2020 regular season available for on-demand streaming. On its website and YouTube channel, the league also launched "NHL Pause Binge," where fans can view documentaries and "full-length classic NHL games dating from the 1950s to present day." Similar offerings are available from the NBA and NFL via NBA League Pass and NFL Game Pass.

Guitar lessons

Man taking online guitar class

Have a guitar you still haven't learned to play? Take advantage of all the time on your hands and Fender's new three-month free online subscription service. The Fender site offers classes for electric and acoustic guitars as well as ukulele. But do it now: The promotion is limited to the first 100,000 sign-ups!

Ivy League classes

Girl taking an online class

Is your brain craving more than endless COVID-19 news? The Ivy League has you covered: All eight schools are now offering hundreds of online courses free to the public.

Class Central founder Dhawal Shah compiled a list of over 450 classes that are available, with subjects as eclectic as Dartmouth's Linux Basics, Harvard's Religious Literacy, Yale's The Global Financial Crisis, and the University of Pennsylvania's Gamification.

Educational publisher Scholastic also announced its rollout of a free digital learning hub geared to "support virtual learning plans." It says that in addition to grade-based programs, the curriculum covers English language arts, STEM, social studies, and science.

Tracy Collins Ortlieb
Tracy Collins Ortlieb is a lifestyle writer. Read more
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