Elms House
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19 Virtual Tours of Famous Homes

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Elms House
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Explore Homes From Home

Even if you feel trapped at home, it's possible to get away and even travel to fabulous, famous houses and castles all across the world — using your computer and a little imagination. And when stay-at-home orders are lifted? Consider checking out even more famous homes, some of which you might remember from the movies. Here are some famous homes you can visit just by firing up the computer and logging on. Most tours are free or far cheaper than visiting in person.

Related: 18 National Park Webcams Where You Can See the Wilderness from Home

Mark Twain House & Museum, Hartford, Connecticut
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Mark Twain House | Hartford, Connecticut

Take the virtual tour here
The esteemed humorist spent his most prolific years working and living in Connecticut. He and wife Ivey moved into the house in 1874, but poor investments forced them to relocate to Europe in 1891. Still, this was his favorite home, and more recently it's been restored right down to the nursery where his children grew up as well as the book-lined rooms where Twain wrote his most famous works, including "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court," and "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn."

George Washington's House in Mount Vernon, VA
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Mount Vernon | Virginia

Take the virtual tour here
Just 13 miles south of Washington, D.C., sits the bucolic estate of George and Martha Washington. The extensive online tour shows the expansion from responsibly-sized home to mansion, and explains details such as the process of rustication, by which Washington directed his manager to create a beveled wood exterior that looks like stone. Those needing a nature escape will want to follow the arrows toward the East Piazza, which overlooks the Potomac River all the way to the Maryland shore. Note: Other than a discussion of a painting, there is notably little attention paid to the slaves who were kept on the property.

Paisley Park
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Paisley Park | Chanhassen, Minnesota

Take the virtual tour here
Six months after his death, Prince's estate opened for public tours. You can explore in 360 degrees the recording studio, rehearsal studio, editing room, and grand entrance where the great musician not only recorded his own prolific output, but also produced other artists such as Sheila E., George Clinton, and Mavis Staples. Sadly, a tour of the closet is not included.

Molly Brown House
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Molly Brown House Museum | Denver

Take the virtual tours here
Perhaps you'd prefer a tour guide on your virtual visit? The Molly Brown House Museum offers narrated videos taking you on a tour of the house belonging to this Denver legend. Born in Missouri, Brown struck out with her brothers for Leadville, Colorado. She and her husband made good in mining and bought an 1887 stone mansion in Denver. Years later, she gained fame as a Titanic survivor who demanded her lifeboat return to look for the survivors. After your virtual tour, enjoy Debbie Reynolds in the musical "The Unsinkable Molly Brown," available for streaming on several sites.

George Vanderbilt II's Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC
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Biltmore Estate | Asheville, North Carolina

Take the virtual tours here
For more than half a century, visitors have flocked to tours of the largest privately-owned home in the United States, originally built in the 1890s for George Vanderbilt II. On the Biltmore website, you can visit a few of the more than 30 acres of gardens designed by the great Frederick Law Olmstead. Don't miss this YouTube video for a "Downton Abbey"-style tour of the recently opened upper floors, including the linen closet.

CA D’ZAN
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Ca D'Zan | Sarasota, Florida

Take the virtual tour here
You wouldn't expect a circus impresario to have a garden-variety house, and with its outlandish Venetian Gothic architecture, the 1924 mansion of John Ringling doesn't disappoint. The Ringlings entertained luminaries such as Will Rogers in the 36,000-square-foot waterfront building. This is the rare tour that offers a glimpse of the private quarters. Look elsewhere on the site for tours of the Asolo Theatre, the circus school and the Ringling Museum of Art.

Monticello
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Monticello | Charlottesville. Virginia

Take the virtual tour here
With an online tour of Monticello, you can explore the neoclassical architectural designs of the third U.S. president, Thomas Jefferson. The main house on Jefferson's plantation, Monticello reveals his neoclassical architectural plan. Its decor features a mix of American history and the decor he collected while ambassador to France. Examine such innovations as a wine dumbwaiter and revolving service doors, as well as triple-sash windows that could convert into doorways. The tour also allows a peek at the Hemmings cabin on Mulberry Row, where slaves were housed out of sight of the main mansion.

Winchester Mystery House
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Winchester Mystery House | San Jose, California

Take the virtual tour here
Shortly after her husband's death in 1881, Sarah Winchester, heir to the rifle fortune, moved to California. She immediately began expanding an 8-room farmhouse into the 24,000-square-foot mansion that today draws tourists both for its extravagance and for the mystery of how it came to be. Legends abound of it being haunted, but even non-believers will be drawn into this behemoth built without a master plan, resulting in unevenly spaced stairs, interior windows, and dead-end doors and staircases. (Immersive 360-degree tour is $9 for unlimited access; the video tour is available for $6 for 72-hour rental or $14 to buy.)

London Buckingham Palace
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Buckingham Palace | London

Take the virtual tour here
You will not get to see the queen's bedroom, or any of the other 188 staff bedrooms and 52 royal and guest bedrooms. Nor will you see the 78 bathrooms in the Neoclassical building, which has been the royal residence since Queen Victoria. However, you can virtually wander through the gilt-and-carmine Throne Room, climb the Grand Staircase, and sip some tea (virtually, of course) while in the White Drawing Room.

Iolani Palace
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Iolani Palace | Honolulu, Hawaii

Take the virtual tour here
A source of pride and grief for Native Hawaiians, this 1879 estate was the official royal residence of Hawaii until it became a prison for Queen Liliuokalani. Her attempts to strengthen the monarchy led to her being overthrown in 1893 by American sympathizers and, finally, the U.S. Marines. She was imprisoned in the palace for one year until she was pardoned, living the rest of her life as a private citizen. A 3D self-guided online tour reveals the grand staircase and piano, both made of native koa wood.

Henry C. Frick House on 5th Avenue in New York, today contains the Frick Collection.
Henry C. Frick House on 5th Avenue in New York, today contains the Frick Collection. by Gryffindor (CC BY-SA)

Frick Collection | New York

Take the virtual tour here
Built in the pre-income tax Gilded Age, the 1914 Henry Clay Frick mansion is on the still-ritzy Upper East Side of New York. Today it serves as a museum housing Frick's sizable collection of Old Master paintings and fine furniture. While examining masterworks by Vermeer and Fragonard online, you can also take in 360-degree views of the house and its gardens and imagine how the other 1 percent lived.

EUSTIS ESTATE
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Eustis Estate | Milton, Massachusetts

Take the virtual tour here
Travel back to a gentler era — at least, gentler for the wealthy — by visiting the 1878 home of William Ellery Channing Eustis. The house reflects several architectural styles and was built from local stone with red and yellow brick accents and a red-tiled roof. Fans of woodworking will enjoy the detailed carvings throughout the house. Today, they reflect the warmth of natural wood, but originally were painted white. The kitchen features the latest conveniences, including a new-at-the-time stove, a dumbwaiter, speaking tubes and an in-house telephone.

Versailles
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Versailles | France

Take the virtual tours here
No one ever said Versailles was subtle. The formerly modest French chateau was expanded into the opulent royal residence for those pompadoured kings, Louis XIV and Louis XVI. The living was good, if not particularly subtle, until intellectuals had enough and sent Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette to the guillotine in 1793. You can tour the palace and its enormous gardens online or download the VR app.

the Elms
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The Elms | Newport, Rhode Island

Take the virtual tours here
The summer playground of the Gilded Age is rife with American palaces, including the stone behemoth of Philadelphia coal baron Edward Julius Berwind. The Elms was modeled after an 18th-century French chateau and completed in 1901. The home and furnishings were designed by a French firm, and the art collection includes a painting by John Singer Sargent. On the website, you can tour three other Newport mansions, although the most famous, the Breakers, is not available.

Morgan Library
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J.P. Morgan Library | New York

Take the virtual tour here
Designed by Charles McKim in 1903 to hold the financier's massive library, this stone building originally stood next to Morgan's home, since destroyed. This is no ordinary library, though. Outside, a facade of Tennessee marble and sculpted lions show just how seriously Morgan expected to be taken. Inside, the ornately decorated library shows off an enormous medieval tapestry, stone fireplace, and books rising three stories high. The collection includes multiple medieval and Renaissance illuminated manuscripts, including the 13th-century Morgan Bible, three Gutenberg Bibles, and many original manuscripts and drafts by artists and writers from Honore de Balzac to Bob Dylan.

glass house
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The Glass House | New Canaan, Connecticut

Take the virtual tour here
he great modernist architect Philip Johnson based his 1949 home is a national landmark for its early industrial style. Johnson was influenced by the Farnsworth House, and his personal home reflects the nature surrounding its lush New England setting. The rectangular prism is an open space, punctuated only by the brick fireplace (and bathroom) column in the middle.

Blue House
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Casa Azul | Coyoacan, Mexico

Take the virtual tour here
In an elegant suburb of Mexico City sits the home where painter Frida Kahlo was born and died. The online tour takes visitors through nearly every room of the house as well as the gardens. Kahlo spent much of her life in pain as the result of a streetcar accident, and the home shows the set-up engineered to allow her to paint on her back in bed.

GLESSNER HOUSE CHICAGO, IL
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Glessner House | Chicago

Take the virtual tour here
Designed by architect Henry Hobson Richard and completed in 1886, Glessner House represents a break from traditional Victorian architecture, and inspired modern architects including Louis Sullivan, Mies van der Rohe, and Frank Lloyd Wright. The virtual tour takes you throughout the hulking granite-clad building, even going so far as Mrs. Glessner's dressing room.

Betsy Ross house
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Betsy Ross House | Philadelphia

Take the virtual tour here
Both Betsy Ross and her home are subject to dispute, as historians suggest that she did not sew the original flag, and that this may, in fact, not have been her home. Still, this 360-degree tour gives viewers a close look at a modest Colonial home. In there, you can see the Delft tile fireplace in her tiny parlor, with pride of place given to the walnut chest inherited by Betsy from her father.