If you’ve been itching to tour some of the most popular destinations in the world—and even off planet—but are stuck in COVID-19 quarantine, Google Street View has compiled a directory with close-up access to magical and historical locations. Here are some of our favorites plus a few bonus spots.
If you want a fantastical reprieve from COVID-19 and happen to be a Potterhead, Google Street View can transport you to Diagon Alley—if you remember, this is where audiences took their first steps within the magic-filled world of Harry Potter in 2001’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The main avenue of Diagon Alley is as memorable as Hogwarts. Before leaving for the school of witchcraft and wizardry, Harry gathered supplies for the year ahead in Diagon Alley, kind of like a magical Wal-Mart.
In only a few years of operation, CERN’s Large Hadron Collider has given us a more complete understanding of how the universe works, especially with the confirmation of the Higgs boson in 2012. Still, it’s hard to really picture just how massive a machine needs to be to create black holes and investigate the very fabric of the universe. Google’s Street View team toured the Swiss facility and explored the metal corridors along with the colossal collider and made them available for all to see.
Well-known as one of the world’s architectural wonders, and where Russell Crowe finally bit it in Gladiator, the Colosseum has stood for almost 2000 years and is a pretty popular tourist spot. Google allows you to skip the transatlantic flight and experience the Roman death pit up close and personal. Users can wander around the stone perimeter and even get a glimpse of the interior, but the camera doesn’t explore the sprawling stone labyrinth once hidden under the Colosseum’s floor. Still, it’s definitely worth an e-visit.
Google Data Center
The search engine giant even turns the mirror on itself, allowing users to peruse one of its data centers, in Lenoir, N.C. You’ll get a look at the office spaces awash in primary colors as well as the networking room, which allows all data centers to communicate globally. Next stop is the server floor, and then on to the tape room, where data copies are made. (If you keep your eyes open, you might also see one cool Easter egg: a Google-employed stormtrooper walking the grounds.)
Everest Base Camp
Climbing Everest is one of the hardest feats a person can take on—many have died trying to reach the mountain’s summit. Google didn’t make the nearly 30,000-foot ascent, but one adventurous trekker did get as far as the base camp, more than halfway up the mountain. The rocky and seemingly inhospitable camp is covered in prayer flags from previous climbers, and low-hanging clouds obscure Everest and the looming challenge ahead. Conquering the world’s highest summit requires a lot of experience and time-consuming preparation, but Street View presents the next best thing.
The Sistine Chapel
The virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel offers an intimate look at the incredible space and provides the ability to zoom in and out for an up close and personal look at the detail within the art covering the walls and ceiling.
The International Space Station (ISS)
Ever feel like just leaving the planet? This virtual tour doesn’t quite physically get you aboard the ISS, but the super close look at the interior of the station and the sweeping views of Earth from its windows kind of makes up for it.