The virtual bucket list: unique experiences online

Estrella, a Yucatan-inspired restaurant on the BeltLine in the Old Fourth Ward, serves up tacos and margaritas that will virtually transport you to the Gulf of Mexico. Contributed by Bazati

From international cuisine to world-class art, you can find many interesting things to do online.

We’ve all made up bucket lists, and of course, they change over time; we sometimes check items off our lists. But with the current carefulness because of the pandemic, many of those dreams and adventures may be halted, at least temporarily. But that doesn’t mean your adventure-seeking, goal-making and learning journey have to stop. Atlanta is loaded with experiences that can fill any bucket. Here are a few ideas from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution to spark inspiration.

Dinner with a celebrity chef is a bucket-list must. Fred Castellucci, president and CEO of the Castellucci Hospitality Group, enjoys bringing the tastes of Spain and Portugal at the Iberian Pig. If he were virtually ordering dinner, he says he would start with “a selection of meats and cheeses. Whole muscle cuts are my favorite, the Jamón, the Paleta, and the Lomo (leg, shoulder, and loin). These pair best with a selection of cheese, including a soft cheese, like the Monte Enebro, an aged cheese, the one-year Mahón, and if you are feeling funky, add the Valdeón Bleu.”

Although sherry is an option, he sticks with red wine. “The classic Tempranillo wines from Rioja and Ribera del Duero are the most popular for a reason,” he says. “I like wines typically in the five to 10 year age range, with less than 18 months of oak.” He would choose the Vina Bujanda Reserva (Rioja) and the Vizcarra Senda del Oro (Ribera del Duero). For a sherry, he would go with an Oloroso or Amontillado.

Next up are tapas. Castellucci would start with bacon-wrapped dates, pork cheek tacos and coca. Then move on to more substantial items like the pulpo, lomo and hanger steak.

View world-class art

Since you cannot easily make your way to the Louvre, remember that Atlanta is full of art museums and galleries.

Jackson Fine Arts, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary, hosts virtual open houses every Friday. “You can go look at an exhibit, and do a 360-tour with the online viewing room,” says owner Anna Walker Skillman.

The High Museum of Art has also gone virtual with several offerings, including “Ask Me Anything,” featuring curators and staff members, as well as a video series, exploring artworks with the curators, and even blogs, on providing hands-on art activities while homeschooling. Soon, they will carefully reopen, with the public being able to visit in-person on July 18.

An image from Stephen Wilkes’ Day to Night series at Jackson Fine Arts. Contributed by Jackson Fine Arts.

Take in a show

Broadway’s lights may have dimmed, but theatre is still available. Try the Strand Theatre’s productions at When the show is over, stay for a post-show virtual hangout with the Strand hosts.

The Theatrical Outfit wants people to continue to enjoy theater and performing arts, so they offer a variety of entertainment on their Facebook page, such as the Broadway Digital Cabaret, where talent performs memorable Broadway tunes, and the Our Luckie Stars Virtual Gala is Saturday.

Improv company Dad's Garage is still performing live, with digital shows including Improvisers in Dungeons Getting Dragons. or

Kevin Gillese (second from left) will continue to perform with Dad’s Garage and explore other artistic roles after transitioning out of the role of artistic director.

Be a lifelong learner

Now is the time to gain insights from the world's best minds. Head over to where more than 80 instructors will impart wisdom (for a fee), many of whom have local ties, including Spanx founder Sara Blakely, director Spike Lee, Usher, former WAGA-TV reporter Robin Roberts and former Atlantan RuPaul.

At Emory Goizueta Business School, the 14-day training program Start:ME is intended to help small businesses. Two experts, Brian Goebel and Amelia Schaffner, offered an online Facebook Live segment, "Resilience for entrepreneurs amidst COVID-19."

Get glammed up

A day of pampering is very needed these days. Beauty expert Alyson Howard-Hoag, CEO and founder of Authentic Beauty Makeup Salon & Brow Studio, created a virtual salon via Zoom that is full of expert-level videos and how-tips on topics ranging from skincare to makeup, as well as group classes. The chair virtual services are $39 a month until July 1.

Anisa Telwar Kaicker is another local entrepreneur and beauty expert. She owns Anisa International, a company that designs and manufactures ethically produced cosmetic brushes for brands such as Laura Mercier, Smashbox, La Mer and Shiseido, as well as her own product, Anisa Beauty. Telwar Kaicker does tutorials on how to use the proper brushes to apply makeup.

Anisa Telwar Kaicker, president and CEO of Anisa International, shows how to use her brushes. Contributed by Jennifer Young Studio

Enjoy live music

Yes, the Sweetwater 420 fest in Centennial Park is idyllic, but since it’s postponed until 2021, you can look for music festivals and concerts online. Log on the Atlanta Jazz Festival’s Facebook page, and watch Atlanta Jazz Festival sessions, featuring such artists as Julie Dexter and Cleveland P. Jones.

Atlanta is fortunate to have a world-class symphony. While staying close to home, shut your eyes and hear the sounds of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra on

And, Ed Helms' Whiskey Sour Happy Hour had its final concert recently, but the online variety show, which benefits MusiCares'COVID-19 Relief Fund and Direct Relief, can still be streamed at Among the performers are Decatur's Indigo Girls.

Up your cooking game

Some are able to poke their nose in the pantry and whip up a meal worthy of a king; others, not so much. Who wouldn’t want to be the star of the kitchen who can throw a few ingredients in a pan and create a culinary masterpiece to great applause? Carolyn O’Neil, a lifestyle writer, started an Instagram IGTV program called “What’s in Your Fridge? Fridge Styles of the Not So Rich and Famous!” and teaches viewers how to stock up pantries, freezers and refrigerators for yummy home cooking, as well as how to use foods to reduce food waste. For those who would like to be creative in the kitchen with basic ingredients, log onto

Learn about media and binge-watch movies

Want to be the next Monica Pearson? Well, VOX, an after-school program for Atlanta teens, is starting a Virtual Vox Media Cafe with three two-week sessions. Teens will create multimedia reporting packages, practice interview skills and learn from the pros. Best part? It's free.

There’s no need to go to Hollywood because Hollywood comes to Atlanta. Stream movies that were filmed locally like Stuber, “Bad Boys for Life,” “Jumanji: The Next Level,” “A Madea Family Funeral” and “Like a Boss.” Oh, and just about every Marvel movie. Hollywood magic comes to town and can be found at Blackhall Studios, Tyler Perry Studios and Pinewood Studios.

Eat international cuisine 

Who hasn’t dreamed of sitting in a charming French café feasting on bread, wine and cheese? Or indulging in Indian street food? Dream no more because the world’s kitchens are right here in Atlanta.

Estrella, a Yucatan-inspired restaurant on the BeltLine in the Old Fourth Ward, serves up tacos and margaritas that will virtually transport you to the Gulf of Mexico. Contributed by Bazati

Estrella, located on the BeltLine in the Old Fourth Ward, serves up authentic cuisine from the Yucatan region. Order some tacos and the margarita kit (take-out or curbside), and you'll be transported to Mexico. However, if you're at Estrella yet have a hankering for French food, then remember its sister restaurant, Brasserie, a Parisian '20s eatery, is downstairs, and its patio is open.

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