The Best Virtual Things to Do in Charlotte
With the following Charlotte-area online classes and other virtual things to do, you can learn to cook, sew and exercise all from the privacy of your own home.
by Heidi Billotto May 28, 2020
While we stay at home and practice keeping our distance, we know all of us are looking for something interesting to do.
The good news is we live in a digital world, so social distancing doesn’t have to be dismal. Time to get creative, not only about what we learn, but how we learn it.
With the following Charlotte-area online classes and other virtual things to do, you can learn to cook, sew and exercise all from the privacy of your own home.
We’ll update and add to this listing of classes as needed. And, if you know of something fun or interesting going on or are teaching an online class, please share. You can send your updates and links to your favorite online classes directly to HeidiBillotto@gmail.com.
Wake Up and Smell the Coffee
Every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, join the talented team of baristas and coffee experts at Pure Intentions Coffee for a 90 minute webinar on all that goes into the coffee you drink. Topics range from how to hone your latte art skills to how to critically taste, and what to really look for in a great cup of coffee. Cost for each class is $30 or you can buy them by the bundle for $150.
Get Inspired in the Kitchen
There's no better time than now to sharpen up your skills in the kitchen. Learn from one of the most influential chefs in Charlotte: Chef Alyssa Wilen. She'll be hosting live classes from her home kitchen for just $15. Make reservations here. Participants will receive recipes via email after registration is confirmed. If you missed a favorite you may purchase the video link to any of Chef Alyssa's previously offered online classes.
Here’s what’s coming up on the menu for Chef Alyssa’s virtual cooking classes:
June 3, 4-5 p.m. - Grilling Your Big Green Egg and other Gas Grills
Charlotte-based food, restaurant and travel writer, Heidi Billotto takes her popular series of At Home with Heidi and On the Farm cooking classes online for the next several months. Billotto will be preparing three to four different dishes in her cooking classes, which will all be hosted on Zoom. For the On the Farm classes, area farmers will join in to share local proteins and products they grow, raise and produce. Class participants will receive recipes, a link to the recorded video for after-class review and a shopping guide of ingredients with a list of local resources.
Make your reservations now. Cost for the live class is $25; if the date and time don't suit, you may purchase the replay for $16.
On the schedule:
June 9, 5:30-7 p.m. - Summer Seafood - At Home with Heidi
While many popular restaurants remain closed until we are safely on the other side of COVID-19, area chefs are spinning their creative juices to make sure we're still eating local and eating well throughout the process.
So far, chefs Vince Giancarlo of Zeppelin and Sam Diminich of Upstream have partnered with local farms represented by the Charlotte-based FreshListCLT and Reel Talk Media to create informative, step-by-step instructional videos to help you cook local products like a pro. Each week, Giancarlo, Diminich or another talented Charlotte chef will put together a printout of instructions plus a video version for a specific recipe. Order the Recipe Kits from Saturdays at 9 a.m. through Mondays at 11:59 p.m. each week. Then, you'll be able to pick up your Recipe Kit from a specified location between 2-4 p.m.
Chef Jim Noble
Chef Jim Noble of Noble Pursuits, Rooster's Wood-Fired Kitchen, Noble Smoke and Bossy Beulah's has launched a cooking series on YouTube. His first episode shared how to cook herb-roasted chicken with seasonal vegetables. The second episode teaches you how to prep and grill ribeye steaks served with farm fresh field peas.
Chef Mark Allison
Tune in to Chef Mark Allison's cooking classes on Cabarrus County Health Alliance's Facebook Live every Wednesday at 10 a.m. for easy to make and healthy recipes that you can make for your entire family. Recipes range from mushroom stroganoff and coffee walnut cake to carrot soup and breakfast in a cup.
Chef Jossie Lukacik has a lot of online classes you and your family can take part in like a French macaron class, "The Garden Party" cookie decorating class, and a "Harry Potter" cookie decorating class. Each class is prerecorded so you can watch when and as your time allows. And, if you have questions, Chef Jossie will be available to help with the answers and offer guidance via text, calls, FaceTime and Facebook Messenger.
New class videos are expected to be available each week. For more info or to register for a class, visit Sweet Spot Studio's website.
Mara Norris, director and chef instructor at Whole Foods’ Salud! Cooking School in Charlotte, is posting daily recipe videos on her Instagram Story. Tune in to cook fun and delicious recipes while you’re finding new ways to keep yourself busy at home. Follow her on Instagram at @ChefMaraNorris.
You can also check out additional video classes from the team at Salud for the following free instructional videos: How to Make Pasta Dough; How to Make Marinara Sauce; How to Make A Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette and How to Make An Olive Oil Cake.
Check out live videos from all three locations of Flour Power in Charlotte. Recipes require minimal ingredients and will include ideas for substitutes.
Each studio has different classes lined up to air online at different times. Live demos from the Rea Farms studio will air at 3 p.m. and include a new theme and recipe each day. Videos will remain in the feed so you and your kids can refer to them at any time. Follow the Rea Farms location on Facebook.
Time to Make a Quaran-tini
From time to time, Unpretentious Palate offers online classes on how to craft a cocktail, or cook something tasty, with a different guest mixologist or chef. Kristin Wile and her team are well known for hosting events that promote local restaurants and bars. Subscribe to Unpretentious Palate to be among the first to get all the info on future events.
Gather around the virtual table to explore new culinary experiences with FEAST Food Tours' Workshop Livestreams. Local chefs, farmers and food producers will discuss everything from gardening techniques to how to roll dough for homemade pizzas.
The Wine & Cheese Tasting Livestream occurs every Wednesday at 6 p.m. The 1.5 hour class includes wine and cheese knowledge from Josh Villapando, owner of Assorted Table Wine Shoppe, and Rachel Klebaur, owner of Orrman's Cheese Shop. For more info.
Additionally on Mondays at 6 p.m., and in collaboration with Brett Faldstein, executive chef at Sea Level NC and ACE No. 3, and Paul Manley, partner at Sea Level NC, The Waterman and ACE No. 3, you can explore the world of oysters in their Oysters 101 class. This workshop package includes a prepared appetizer, four courses of Sea Level oysters with toppings, choice of canned beer or wine and a shucking knife.
On Fridays at 6 p.m., go behind the scenes to explore the cheese-making process and enjoy a cheese tasting with Rachel Klebaur, owner and head cheese-monger at Orrman's Cheese Shop and a local North Carolina or regional cheesemaker.
Also, on Fridays at 6 p.m., get into the kitchen with Alex Piatt, executive chef of Aria Tuscan Grill & Cicchetti, and Brion Cephus, retail manager of Cicchetti, for a hands-on workshop and cooking experience with traditional Italian pasta dishes.
Music Soothes the Soul
#CSOatHome, is a great opportunity to connect with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra until we are all able to experience the joy of live music together. Listen to past performances like Mozart's Symphony No. 41, and check out the educational materials and listening guides here.
Music Everywhere CLT
Music Everywhere CLT is a long-term initiative from Charlotte Center City Partners designed to support Charlotte’s multi-faceted music scene. Looking for a listing of all the musical talent in the Queen City? Start here. Then plan some time to sit back, relax and listen to virtual concerts happening around the city. Check out the Concert Calendar here.
By the Book
Although all branches of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library are closed for now, you and your family can still get an online library card, which feature free digital opportunities, daily story-time events, archived story-time videos and access to e-books, magazines and music.
Charlotte blogger Tiffany Dahle hosts a great online book club for moms. In addition to her fun and informative blog with recipes for kids, she also has tips for families to celebrate each season and lots of ways to help moms incorporate more rest into their busy lives.
The book club was launched six years ago. The Peanut Blossom Book Club now has a staggering 4,700+ members in the group.
Together, they read one fun and light-hearted book each month and chat about it in a private Facebook group. Members are encouraging, supportive and overwhelmingly positive. Need a new book recommendation? Just ask these awesome ladies for their favorite picks and you’ll be bombarded with options. Join the group here and learn more.
Find Your Inner Artist
Instructors here teach adults, teens and children ages 8 and up, how to build a foundation of basic art skills needed to draw and paint. This spring and summer, Holt's online offerings include drawing, pastels and watercolors for beginners, as well as advanced oil painting techniques.
McColl Center for Art + Innovation
Make artistic connections and expand your creativity from home with the McColl Center’s Connected Art Workshops, all taught live online by local artists. Topics for May include Tapestry Weaving, Acrylic Painting, Drawing, Photography and more.
Health, Exercise and Self Care
Take the historic Fourth Ward walking tour in person by strolling around the 30-block neighborhood, taking in all of the sites at your own pace. Before you get to stepping, learn about the neighborhood's history online.
To commemorate and celebrate the original race date, May 31 at 9 a.m., the race has decided to create Around the Block 10K, a "virtual run" where you'll go on a 10K run, walk or skip, on this day at the same race time. Registration is $10, and there will be a drive-thru packet pickup at NoDa Brewing. If you'd rather volunteer, the race team is encouraging you to hold up signs along the course.
From now until the end of May, Yoga For Life will be offering online yoga classes via Zoom. In times of uncertainty and challenge, meditation, breath work and mindful movement practices are important to de-stress. Sign up for virtual classes, like Deep Stretch and Gentle Yoga, here.
Exercise with the entire family with YMCA 360: ON-DEMAND VIDEOS. YMCA 360 is platform that is open and accessible to all. Enjoy group exercise classes, youth sports classes, well-being classes and more to serve you wherever you are.
Follow along with your favorite local trainers as they livestream a wide range of different workout classes. Get access to their entire platform, including their livestream classes and their entire video library, for free for an entire month.
Central Piedmont Community College is taking their June schedule of Summer Camp experiences to a virtual level. Registration is now open online for 1st-5th graders.
Charlotte Ballet invites you to watch their new series of digital performances, @Home with Charlotte Ballet. Four individual replays of original performances and behind-the-scenes footage of rehearsals are available for complimentary viewing.
Take a thrilling virtual ride on Carowind's rollercoasters and enjoy the rush of adrenaline right in your own living room. When you're ready for some downtime, follow the AirTime blog for family activities and recipes from the park's executive chef, Mitch Weaver.
Cancel your plans for Thursday evening (kidding, we know you don't have any) and tune in to this new, weekly virtual series. CLT After Dark is an interactive, virtual variety show featuring music, comedy, theater, dance and will be hosted by local musician, Noel Friedline. Expect fun segments and games like Quarantine Bingo, Celebrity Late Night Snack, Living Room Dance Break, Bartender Corner and more. Former Carolina linebacker, Luke Kuechly, is even slated to make an appearance for the premiere episode. The show airs every Thursday evening at 10 p.m. via Vimeo Live Stream and Facebook Live. Recorded shows will be available on demand through YouTube and on the CLT After Dark website.
Levine Museum of the New South
Known for its exhibits that highlight the history, culture and celebration of the South, the museum is now helping parents teach their children the stories of current and past exhibits through online activities and lesson plans — from Nuevolution: Latinos and the New South to Cotton Fields to Skyscrapers.
Charlotte’s well-known Mint Museum believes that art is for everyone. While the museum is temporarily closed, you and your family can still enjoy all that it has to offer with a virtual tour of art and exhibits. Enjoy regularly updated content including curators' picks and the stories behind the art from the artist’s perspectives. Or, check out the Uptown location's current exhibit, Constellation CLT, created to connect the public with the universe of talent in the Charlotte community.
For updates, subscribe to the Mint's email list at the bottom of their website homepage here.
Talk to the Animals
It’s all for the birds at the Carolina Raptor Center, a wonderful Charlotte-area resource teaching adults and children alike about birds of prey and their importance to our ecosystem. Located in Huntersville, NC, at Latta Nature Preserve, The Raptor Trail is now closed to the public until further notice. But, for a fun Avian Home Adventure, tune in to the center’s Facebook page at 11 a.m. each morning. This nose-to-beak look at Raptor Center residents will be an adventure to brighten your day.
And if you should find an injured bird of prey, call the center at 704.875.6521 for directions on what to do. The hospital continues to accept patients.
Science for Kids
Since we can’t go in person, experience everything this hands-on children’s science museum offers in videos online via the museum’s Facebook page. You can also learn how to create your own table-top foosball game and understand how surface tension works with a penny. Check out the museum’s blog for more.
WCNC Charlotte's First Warn Storm Team, including meteorologists Brad Panovich and Larry Sprinkle, is helping parents, students and teachers learn about atmospheric science lessons from home. Classes can be viewed on WCNC's streaming platforms at 1 p.m. each day.
How Does Your Garden Grow?
UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens
The At Home in the Garden Series offers gardeners and the gardening-curious a wide range of stand-alone short workshops throughout the year. Upcoming classes include:
June 11 and June 20, 10 a.m.-noon - Botanical Macrophotography with Your Smartphone
Click through to view the list of opportunities and to register for individual classes.
Make Your Voice Heard
There’s no doubt you’ve heard about the Friday afternoon climate change protests that take place at the Government Center. Made popular here by a group of conscientious Charlotte high schoolers who wanted their voices to be heard, they even got the attention of internationally known youth activist Greta Thunberg. Thunberg connected with the teens via social media feeds and came to Charlotte to join the local group in solidarity last fall.
Now, families can join activists of all ages who care about the effects of climate change in a virtual protest and make your voice heard. Here’s how to get started: make a sign about saving or helping the earth or the environment, and take a selfie with your sign. Post it in your Instagram feed and or Instagram Story on Friday afternoons starting at 3 p.m. Use the hashtags #CharlotteDigitalStrike #ClimateStrikeOnline #FridaysForFuture #SchoolStrike4Climate and help make a difference.
This post was last updated on May 28, 2020.