Keep Calm and Creative at Home with These Cool Activities from L.A. Spots and Makers

From the Getty's portrait challenge to virtual meditation and crafting classes and more.

Idle hands are the devil's workshop, but being bored as hell can also spark creativity and invention. You can take advantage of the privilege of boredom by tackling unread books on your to-do list and picking up new hobbies — or you can also something absolutely frivolous with your newfound time and be totally satisfied with the results (or lack thereof).

As many Angelenos are coming up on a month of self-isolation at home (or getting fresh air whenever we safely can), there are plenty of local institutions, designers, and brands that are conjuring up ways for us to kill time. Whether you're aiming for maximum or bare minimum productivity, we've rounded up things to do from L.A. museums, nonprofits, and makers. Finish whipping up that homemade yeastless bread and keep reading below, and stay tuned as we'll be adding to this list.

Stage a Getty-Worthy Photo Shoot

In addition to raising money for relief efforts and offering up plenty of online resources for family-friendly activities, L.A.'s Getty museum has taken challenged art lovers across the world on Twitter to recreate their favorite masterpieces at home. The kicker: You must use found objects around your casa — bonus points if you can do it with just three items.

Speaking of L.A.'s art institutions, museums like LACMA, MOCA, Craft Contemporary, Japanese American National Museum, and others are offering online classes, workshops, and book clubs; Instagram takeovers; virtual gallery walkthroughs; and other quarantine-friendly activities.

Join a Beauty Bootcamp

Stylish L.A. nail salon Olive & June's Mani Bootcamp will give you a whole new appreciation for your go-to manicurist. While the current session has nearly wrapped up, you can shop the brand's customizable Everything Box ($80) now, and grab a free seat at the Olive University to catch up on the basics watch video tutorials.

Get Crafty with L.A. Creatives

Made Solid leather tray at-home workshop kit, $40

Made Solid is bringing its people-pleasing workshop to your home with its popular leather tray kits ($40). You'll get everything needed to craft your own catch-all, and you can also join the virtual DIY session via Zoom and hang out with fellow crafters. While you're shopping, don't forget to pick up more goodies from the globally-inspired brand, such as rugged-chic home decor and indigo tie-dye bandanas (perfect for your homemade face masks!)

In addition to offering at-home craft kits for adults and kids, Silver Lake-born creative studio Makers Mess has a full schedule of online workshops, including live Zoom sessions ($25 per spot) and classes ($20) that you can join on your own time. From punch needling and calligraphy to weaving and macrame, there's something for every DIYer. You'll get a discount on classes when you buy the brand's kits, too.

Enjoy a Star-Studded Storytime

If you've ever dreamed of getting tucked into bed by Rami Malek, Justin Theroux, Kristen Bell, Rashida Jones, Chris Pine, or Oprah, then SAG-AFTRA Foundation's Storyline Online is here to make that a reality. The award-winning children's literacy program's video series will entertain pop culture junkies and bookworms of all ages as a starry lineup reads aloud classics such as Stellaluna, Brave Irene, and The Rainbow Fish alongside newer favorites.

Explore the Iconic Hollyhock House

Screenshot: Hollyhock House

Sheltering in place doesn't mean you can't explore L.A.'s architectural wonders in virtual form. Recently declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Hollyhock House's online tour will have you eagerly waiting to see the Mayan Revival manse in real life. For now, gaze upon its stunning Arts and Crafts interiors — it'll all be waiting atop Barnsdall Art Park when the monument (and the rest of the city) is allowed to reopen its decadent doors.

Take a Walk Through K-Town's History

Screenshot: Google Poly

Throw on your comfiest slippers and stroll through Koreatown's cultural and architectural history in the L.A. Conservancy's virtual tour. Delve into the stories behind the neighborhood's Art Deco and Rennaissance Revival wonders along Wilshire Boulevard, including the Wiltern Theatre, The Line Hotel, Southwestern Law School, and other landmarks.

Spend Your Time Mindfully

Here's one way to ditch the guilt over screen time: Log onto L.A. meditation studio Unplug's 45-minute online classes ($24; memberships and packages also available) and learn to breathe, heal, and reset. You can take a crystal healing session with former NFL player Devon Cajuste, learn to de-stress through deep breathing, connect with your intuition, and more. There's something for every skill level — just be sure you sign up at least 10 minutes before class starts to get your Zoom link.

UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center has held weekly meditations at the Hammer Museum since 2010, and now they're offering the classes for free online "as a refuge for you in challenging times." The virtual classes take place 12:30 p.m. every Thursday and you can join via Zoom or phone; the audio will also be posted to UCLA's MARC website and Mindful app (downloadable on iTunes and Google Play).

Play Bartender or Join a Virtual Happy Hour

It's always 5 p.m. somewhere — and for some of us "somewhere" is starting to mean "right now at home." If social distancing is giving you booze-fueled blues, drink responsibly and join a virtual happy hour as DoLA suggests. Or, you can earn your bartender stripes and learn how to craft cocktails like a pro — it'll come in handy when you throw that end-of-quarantine party.

Converse Over Coffee in a Virtual Café

Graphic: Coffee Break

More of a social java drinker? For those missing their a.m. coffee spot, morning meetup group Coffee Break is here to help you support small roasters and cafés being affected by social distancing. Founded just last month by coffee industry insiders in San Francisco, the virtual café has since expanded across the land to Nashville, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and beyond — but you can join any city hangout from wherever you are. (Hint hint: It's about time L.A. gets its own dedicated hangout, right?) In addition to offering face time with fellow been devotees, the group will link to an independent business to donate to or buy beans and merch from.

Watch the L.A. Opera at Home (for Free!)

Yes, the show will go on. From sing-alongs to serenades, the L.A. Opera's #LAOatHome series is bringing live performances, lectures, and more to music lovers' living rooms. A new schedule is posted each week; check LAO's website for the latest lineup that'll be streamed on its Facebook Live and elsewhere online.

Keep Calm with the Kids

"I'm booooored," said every kid ever — ditto for all of the grown-ups right now. WFH/SAH parents can tune into Santa Monica Place's recently-opened Cayton Children's Museum on IGTV for afternoon recess every weekday at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., when little ones can enjoy book readings, music, art lessons, and more.

Main photo: Makers Mess

Proud Member Of FFC
Get Our Newsletter