A Comprehensive Guide to What to Watch, Read and Listen to During Quarantine

9 minute read

As quarantine has become a necessary part of daily routines due to the spread of coronavirus, many people are looking for ways to pass the time while practicing social distancing and self-isolation. While this is a moment filled with anxiety and uncertainty, we also seek joy, comfort and distraction where we can find it while doing our part to help flatten the curve.

Some may find they have less time on their hands — thanks to new childcare demands, or performing an essential service on the front lines — but those who’ve ended up with more can consider this a chance to dabble in all of the things they’ve never quite gotten around to — like diving into books you’ve been wanting to read for years, re-watching all eight seasons of Game of Thrones or brushing up on history with an engrossing podcast. For guidance on where to start, look no further than our list below, where we’ve rounded up the best activities and entertainment to keep you busy while staying at home.

What to Watch

All the new (and early) movie releases streaming now

Birds of Prey
Claudette Barius—Warner Bros.

With movie theaters shut down across the country, many distributors are releasing their movies early on digital platforms. With the early releases of films like Emma, Birds of Prey and Frozen 2, there’s something for everyone to watch. Plus, several indie streamers are offering discounts and trial runs. Read more.

A movie about social distancing

2014: GravityWarner Bros.

They may have done it for different reasons, but Reese Witherspoon, Sandra Bullock, Macaulay Culkin and many others have played characters who’ve taken some time away from humanity. Read more.

A movie people looked to during the Great Depression

Top Hat, 1935Everett Collection

“In the 1930s, if you had a nickel left to your name, you might have spent it on a movie; that’s how much these pictures meant to their audience,” TIME’s film critic Stephanie Zacharek writes in her round-up of movies, like those featuring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, that helped Americans through another challenging period. Read more.

An extremely relaxing TV show

Planet Earth II travels around the globe—this time with a more urgent environmental messageBBC America

From heartwarming comedies like Parks and Recreation to soothing nature docs like Planet Earth, TIME has rounded up the content that will slow you down and help you take your mind off of reality, even if it’s for just 22 minutes. Read more.

A romance movie on Netflix

"The Notebook" New Line Cinema Los Angeles Premiere
WireImage/New Line Cinema

Whether you’re in the mood for a rom-com to bring a smile to your face or a tearjerker that will reaffirm your belief in true love, there’s a film for every kind of romantic in our guide to the 15 best romantic movies on Netflix. Read more.

All eight seasons of Game of Thrones

Game Of Thrones what to watch at home during coronavirus
Getty Images/Tim P. Whitby

If you’ve ever wanted to re-watch all eight seasons of Game of Thrones, now’s your chance. Lucky for you, we’ve got the ultimate guide to binge-watching all 73 episodes of the series from start to finish. Read more.

All of the Spider-Man movies

Spiderman movies what to do at home coronavirus
Columbia Pictures/Getty Images

Since Spider-Man made his debut in 1962, many have donned the skin-tight suit of the friendly neighborhood superhero. If you’re looking to find the best on-screen Spider-Man, you’ll need to review all the films, which we’ve handily ranked for you here. Read more.

All of the Star Wars franchise

star wars what to do at home coronavirus
Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

Some might see self-isolation as a lonely time, while others may see it as the best method to determine what is the best and most accurate order to watch all of the Star Wars films, from the original trilogy to the newer Anthology series. While some people choose the chronological route, others have opted for the theatrical release method or the popular “Machete Order;” we consider the pros and cons of each in our guide to all the movies. Read more.

Revisit the vast entirety of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

THE AVENGERS, l-r: Robert Downey Jr., (as Iron Man, Chris Evans (as Captain America), 2012, ©Walt Di
Walt Disney Co.

If quarantine has left you at a loss for what to do with mandated time at home, consider a thorough review of all 23 movies in the Marvel Cinematic universe. We’re not ones to brag, but we’ve got the definitive ranking of the MCU movies right here. Read more.

Embrace the miniseries


Sometimes, less is more — such is the case with the miniseries, where some of TV’s best stories have been told in their entirety in just one season. Here are TIME TV critic Judy Berman’s picks for the best miniseries of the last decade. Read more.

Watch the most popular movies and shows on Netflix

orange is the new black what to do at home coronavirus
JoJo Whilden/Netflix

Refresh your Netflix queue with the most popular shows and movies that the platform has to offer — at least, according to Netflix itself. Read more.

Revel in the art of a short sitcom

NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Sometimes there’s nothing better than watching an episode that’s 30 minutes or less (or five in a row). Great for a break or for a binge, these beloved shows are guaranteed to make your quarantine a little more entertaining. See TIME’s recommendations for the best 30 shows under 30 minutes. Read more.

Watch the best that Disney+ has to offer


From original content like The Mandalorian to the rich and expansive archive of Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars movies, Disney+ has something for everyone. To help streamline what’s worth viewing, here’s a guide to the best (and the worst) that Disney+ has to offer. Read more.

Get your thrills by watching a horror film

Carrie horror films
Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

It’s scary enough just to read the headlines these days. But for some manageable thrills you can stop, start and pause at will, here are the 10 best horror films you can stream now on Netflix. Read more.

Find the perfect YouTube vlog for your interests

Youtube what to do at home during coronavirus
Getty Images/Anadolu Agency

If spending lots of time at home is inspiring you to embrace your hobbies, there’s no better time than the present to connect with the world of YouTube, where you can find everything from helpful cooking tutorials to hilariously quirky comedy. Here’s a guide to 15 YouTube channels our writers recommend to keep you entertained and educated. Read more.

And a few more things…

The best shows our TV critic watched in March, the 10 best TV shows of the 2010s, the best movie performances of the last decade, the best spring break movies (in case you had to cancel yours), the best and worst of Apple TV+, the best shows you probably missed in 2019, every X-Men movie ranked, the best British TV shows, the most realistic space movies and 35 sequels better than the original movie.

What to Read

Read a great book about a pandemic — or a great book to distract you from one

woman reading
woman reading a book and holding a mug of hot beverageGetty Images/iStockphoto

Staying home is the perfect opportunity to dive into that classic book that you’ve been meaning to read for forever or to revisit an old favorite. If you’re looking for some guidance, here are 30 books and series we recommend reading while social distancing. Read more.

Join a virtual book club — or start your own

virtual book clubs to join during coronavirus
Getty Images

If brushing up on your reading list has got you craving another good read, consider joining a virtual book club or starting your own. Here’s a roundup of 10 great virtual book clubs. Read more.

Read a book with the young ones in your life

Student Reading a Book
Getty Images

While being inside all day might make kids antsy, it’s a great opportunity to spend some quality time reading together — whether you’re isolating under one roof or together virtually. Look no further than TIME’s guides to the best 100 books for both children and young adults. Read more.

Indulge your true crime obsession

True crime what to watch at home during coronavirus
Getty Images

For those who love nothing more than a deep dive into true crime narratives, now’s the time to see the best the genre has to offer. From books to documentaries, we rounded up the best true crime content. Read more.

And a few more things…

Find some great reads on TIME’s list of the best nonfiction books of the 2010s, the best fiction books of the 2010s and the 100 best books of 2019.

What to Listen to

Podcasts about homeschooling, home cooking and more

Podcasts what to do at home during coronavirus
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From podcasts that will give you the news you need to series that will make you laugh, here are 14 recommendations to listen to while self-isolating. Read more.

A playlist of the best songs to wash your hands to

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Washing your hands properly (for 20 seconds or longer) is one of the most important ways to protect yourself and others during this global health crisis — to make it easier (and more fun), we rounded up the best songs to wash your hands to. Read more.

Become a history buff

March On Washington For Jobs And Freedom
Photo by Robert W. Kelley/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

Brush up on your history with our guide to 17 podcasts that run the gamut from Old Hollywood to Supreme Court decisions. Read more.

Listen while you run

running what to do at home coronavirus
Getty Images/Martin Novak

Get some fresh air by going for a run (while staying a safe 6 ft. away from others, of course!). If you’re looking for something to make your run fly by a little faster, check out these 8 podcasts perfect a long run. Read more.

A Few More Ways to Pass the Time

Move your body

at-home workout what to do at home coronavirus
Getty Images/Chutima Chaochaiya

Gyms might be closed, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get your sweat on. Up your endorphins (and your mood) with these at-home exercises and add our 50 best workout songs to your playlist. Read more.

Get creative in the kitchen

recipes to cook at home during coronavirus
Getty Images

Self-isolating is a great time to flex your skills in the kitchen — and with these foolproof tips from chefs, you’ll be turning out delicious and healthy meals like a pro. Read more.

Get your art fix virtually

virtual art what to do at home during coronavirus
Getty Images/DPA/AFP

Despite museums being closed, you can still get your fill of the world’s best art, thanks to virtual experiences offering access to art and culture. From the Louvre to the Smithsonian, there are a bevy of museums showing their collections virtually and offering other kinds of interactive opportunities. Read more.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Write to Cady Lang at cady.lang@timemagazine.com