Hang-out. Get-together. Party. Virtual gathering. We use all these terms for social affairs that are, in most cases, presumed to be in-person events. Yet, nothing in these words suggests social events require “physical in-personness.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has spawned countless negatives most people never thought they’d encounter in day-to-day life. However, it has revealed some bright spots of human resilience. The ability to connect, bond, laugh, and experience joy with one another through 100% virtual means is one of those bright spots.
What Is An Online Social Event?
An online social event is a gathering that takes place in a digital space, involves two or more people, and allows guests to communicate interactively, smile, laugh, have fun, and bond across absolutely any distance.
These events matter in 2021 and always, because as Tom Rath states in his book Life’s Great Question: Discover How You Contribute To The World,
“There is no greater predictor of human well-being than the amount of social time we spend with one another.”
Are you ready to have some fun?
Maybe you’ve been missing the unique smile of your work spouse or that feeling of communicating completely (well, basically) non-verbally with your BFF across the country. No matter what you’re missing, you can find it during one of these events.
Online Event Ideas for Virtual Social Gatherings
1) Virtual Murder Mystery
Rekindle your passion for life through the online intrigue of catching a killer.
During a virtual murder mystery, you and your event attendees don your best detective hats to scour evidence, crack cryptic clues, and put your deductive reasoning powers to the test to catch the ultimate bad guy. Best of all, you get to do it all from the safety and comfort of your own home—snacks (thanks to Caroo), drinks, pajamas, and all.
Try out a theme with this online event: Hawaiian luau. (Cross genres by pairing this characteristically dark event with the maximally cheerful luau.)
How to get started: Get your first case assignment.
2) Virtual Escape Room
Do you have what it takes to escape?
A virtual escape room is so much more than escaping a room. During an online escape room, you and your fellow captives will explore your environment, find clues, examine leads, and unravel the entire enigma to create a path to freedom.
Try out a theme with this online event: Coachella
How to get started: Put your escape artist skills to the test, Houdini.
3) Virtual Scavenger Hunt
Experience the thrill of the chase with a virtual scavenger hunt.
A virtual scavenger hunt will have you and your faraway friends and colleagues chasing clues, messaging and collaborating in real-time, and drinking up that thrilling sense of getting closer and closer to your goal.
Try out a theme with this online event: Video game characters
How to get started: Hunt down your perfect remote adventure.
4) Virtual Trip to Paris
Find those rose-tinted shades and prepare to live la vie en rose.
Maybe this virtual event will have you seeing life through a rose-colored computer screen instead of glasses, but it still provides memories for a lifetime. Whether you long to sample local delicacies or stroll around the city, you can find your way to Paris through the magic of the internet.
Try out a theme with this online event: Favorite movies (So many stories lead to Paris. *Le sigh*.)
How to get started: Find your way to Paris.
5) Virtual Guess Who
Play a getting-to-know-you-guessing game that confirms what you know about your co-workers and reveals what you still need to learn.
Can you match your co-workers with clues from their past and present? You might think you know everything there is to know about your teammates, but when you’re dealing with interests and passions that exist outside the office, you might be in for many delightful surprises. Up the stakes of each guess with some gift cards to hand out as prizes.
Try out a theme with this online event: People who speak in hashtags
How to get started: Let the guessing games begin.
6) Virtual Homebrewing
Ferment your years of beer-drinking experience into beer-brewing gold.
Perfect for any beer connoisseur—that person who knows what glass (and cheese) to pair with every single brew, that person who can name hop varieties by smelling them, that person who takes enough notes during beer tastings to have plenty of intel for a home-brewing adventure.
Virtual home brews often feature live instruction that helps aspiring brewmasters of all levels use ingredients and materials (that could have escaped from any high-school chemistry classroom) to create their very own beer.
Try out a theme with this online event: Favorite scientist
How to get started: Pour your own homebrew experience.
7) Virtual Chocolate Tasting
Chocolate-covered fun to delight anyone.
Bond with absolutely any personality through a shared love of chocolate. During the event, you’ll basically just sample, discuss, and repeat. (No fancy event planners or event platforms required.)
Talk about the fantastically bitter nuances of the deepest dark bars. Sing about the smoothness of milk and white chocolate wonders. Weigh the pros and cons of an added crunch.
Try out a theme with this online event: Pirates
How to get started: Say “cheers” with chocolate.
8) Virtual Game Show
If you’ve ever watched an audience member run down the aisles after their name was called on the Price is Right, then you know exactly how much fun this event can provide.
A virtual game show covers all the bases you want in a night of fun, whether you’re planning virtual birthday parties or filling programming holes in your virtual webinars. You can pack your virtual game night full of activities that create just the effect you’re looking for—competition, laughter, bonding, and more.
Try out a theme with this online event: Disco (Get that retro game show vibe and more.)
How to get started: Let the games begin.
9) Virtual Improv Night
Grab a front-row seat for your own comedy show.
You may not be able to share the hot, hazy atmosphere of a basement comedy club, but you can still share all the laughs. Get the kinds of laughs that make you spit out your drink as you work through improv exercises that require no stage experience or stage presence.
Try out a theme with this online event: 1920s
How to get started: Book the belly laugh of a lifetime.
10) Virtual Drag Bingo
Not your grandpa’s bingo.
All the excitement of bingo—hearing your number called and slowly piecing your way to victory—is amplified by dressing up to challenge established gender norms and stereotypes. (Any of these care packages full of snacks and swag would make delightful prizes.)
Try out a theme with this online event: Roller derby
How to get started: Make your first move toward bingo.
11) Virtual Mixology Class
Stir like you’re serving James Bond himself.
Learn the extra flick of the wrist that perfectly whisks cognac and cherry juice. Find out how to not muddle your mint muddle. Absorb the art of the perfect proportion while flashing that bartender smile. (Also, you might want to send some snacks in case all that mixing works up an appetite.)
Try out a theme with this online event: Miami Vice
How to get started: Start shaking up your elixir of choice.
Tip: If you don’t yet have a favorite cocktail or liquor, start with a virtual alcohol tasting.
12) Virtual Museum Tour
Enjoy the quiet reflection of a virtual museum tour.
A virtual museum tour means no crowds. It means no noise from groups of kids on field trips. It means you can experience masterpieces from artists and exhibitors in new ways, taking advantage of the virtual format to explore and reflect on everything you see.
Try out a theme with this online event: Silly accents
How to get started: Find a museum to explore.
13) Virtual Cooking Class
Enjoy a chef-prepared meal. (Just don’t tell yourself the chef is you.)
Virtual cooking classes usually feature live stream instruction, delivered ingredients, and fancy tips and tricks you once thought you could only learn as a sous chef in a top French kitchen.
Try out a theme with this online event: Professional food photographer
How to get started: Your next virtual event is going to be delicious.
14) Virtual Team Hunt
Like a scavenger hunt for getting to know your team.
Enjoy chasing all the clues and mysterious leads you get from a murder mystery or scavenger hunt, but get a more fulfilling reward for all your sleuthing: understanding your teammates. Plan this as a standalone event or as a pre-show for your next virtual meeting.
Try out a theme with this online event: Famous couples
How to get started: Uncover more reasons to love your teammates.
15) Virtual Magic & Mentalism Show
Send your mind far, far away without ever leaving your couch.
Watch—and in some cases learn how to do—dazzling tricks based on slights of hand, loopholes in perception, and the wonderful art of misdirection.
Try out a theme with this online event: Retro carnival
How to get started: Make some magic.
16) Virtual Beer and Cheese
Grab the IPAs, the ambers, the witbiers, and the stouts—they can all be friends for one night.
Experience the flavor explosion of bitter or malty brews colliding with the rich brininess of cheese. During a virtual beer and cheese tasting, you’ll reflect deeply on the magical interactions between two amazing flavors.
Try out a theme with this online event: Shakespeare
How to get started: Put your beer-and-cheese face on.
17) Virtual Mardi Gras
Put that Big Easy spin on social distancing.
The parades, the fanfare, the costumes, the food—especially the food—and the fun of the New Orleans mardi gras are famous the world over. You and your remote team can enjoy an event that brings all this right into your own homes.
Try out a theme with this online event: Sports teams
How to get started: Get your virtual mardi gras on.
18) Virtual Trivia Night
The ultimate trivia showdown.
Bring the excitement of your local pub trivia to the computer screen with a night of trivia. Award the person with the highest score “King/Queen of Trivia” and test your knowledge of all those little things you learn and then somehow remember for the rest of your life. If only you could remember your father’s birthday! Ahhhg!
Try out a theme with this online event: Music videos
How to get started: Pick that outfit and get your event date locked down.
19) Virtual Tarot Card Reading
Channel the mysterious powers flowing through the universe.
Find a professional tarot reader or get yourself a book and do a ton of research and prepare to reveal to friends, colleagues, and family members what the cards have in store for them. This event will be as gripping for observers as it is for the volunteers having their fates read over Zoom.
Try out a theme with this online event: 1950s. (Think: an episode of I Love Lucy where the ladies consult an oracle.)
How to get started: Find out what’s in your cards.
20) Virtual Sand Art Workshop
You can’t control the sands of time, but you can make beautiful sand art.
You don’t need artistic skills or really even steady hands to make a sand art workshop an unforgettable virtual team-building activity. Have someone who knows what they’re doing demonstrate the craft, or simply send out all the materials and see what sort of carte blanche sand magic everyone on your team has up their sleeves.
Try out a theme with this online event: Deserted island
How to get started: Put on your artsy hat and start playing in the sand.
21) Virtual Sound Bath
Let waves of sound and good vibes wash your troubles away.
This delightfully immersive, but relaxingly passive, event will have you and your guests connecting over the shared experience of sound. You won’t have to talk at all as meditative sounds wash over you and open your mind and senses to new delights. (This replenishing event is perfect for anyone with video meeting fatigue.)
Try out a theme with this online event: Rock show
How to get started: Plan an escape into the soothing world of sound.
22) Virtual Watercolor Class
Wash away your cares as you wash a canvas with muted layers of color.
The fluid nature of watercolor painting is famous for its forgiveness and flexibility. Hazy lines and an ability to create multiple layers empower novice artists with the pleasure of experimenting while still creating something beautiful.
During this virtual event, you and your guests will explore your hidden artist talents together and then show off the fruits of your labors.
Try out a theme with this online event: Emo artists (Hello, Van Gogh.)
How to get started: Create a multi-layered masterpiece.
23) Virtual Meditation
Experience the present on a whole new level.
A virtual meditation will help you unlock deep inner reserves of zen. Whether you choose breath work, classic mindfulness, or posed-based meditations, you’ll use your internet connection to find an inner connection with the present being within.
Try out a theme with this online event: Space opera
How to get started: Give virtual meditation a try.
24) Virtual Origami Class
Bring paper to life through the ancient art of origami.
The satisfaction of folding smooth lines and hearing the light crinkling sound of paper makes this event both active and soothing. During this virtual experience, you get to transform matter. What was once just paper can become cranes, frogs—anything you want.
Try out a theme with this online event: Vow of silence
How to get started: Start folding your way to fun.
25) Virtual Pumpkin Painting Class
Turn a pumpkin into your blank canvas.
Explore and practice the techniques of pumpkin painting while bonding and chatting with your guests. Your parting prize is a uniquely festive piece of art that’s ready to show off.
Try out a theme with this online event: Social media stars
How to get started: Pencil in your pumpkin painting event.
26) Virtual Happy Hour
Happy hour can finally be wherever you want it to be.
A virtual happy hour is all about connection, camaraderie, and lots of laughter. Just like the in-person versions, virtual happy hours can be as structured or as impromptu as you want. Pick games and activities for breakout rooms, or simply play it by ear. Get cocktail kits or challenge everyone to work with whatever is in the fridge.
Try out a theme with this online event: Disney characters
How to get started: Plan your perfect virtual happy hour.
27) Virtual Learn To Play Chess
Enjoy the quiet strategy, pristine focus, and understated thrills of chess.
The ultimate game of strategy, chess is as fun and nuanced to learn online as it is in person. During a live event, you’ll learn all the nuts of bolts of piece names, movements, and basic strategies. You’ll also start learning how to anticipate moves, picturing possible outcomes.
Try out a theme with this online event: Wild West
How to get started: Fulfill your long-lost dream of joining the chess club.
28) Virtual Personality Test
Demystify part of the puzzle that is the human personality.
This beautifully simple event gets you and your guests taking online personality tests and quizzes and then discussing them. Explore new aspects of yourself and your teammates. Discuss what surprised you about yourself. Tell everyone what surprised you about their results. Everyone will leave with a deeper understanding of what it means to be human.
Try out a theme with this online event: 1940s pop culture
How to get started: Decode your personality.
29) Virtual Taboo
How well can you really convey thoughts and ideas? Virtual Taboo will reveal all.
Like classic Taboo, the virtual version will get you trying to describe a concept or word within limited parameters. Your performance is measured simply enough: by the ability of your teammates to guess what on earth you’re trying to describe. This game is hilarious and sometimes constructive. You may detect in yourself some communication patterns that explain why people never seem to understand your emails.
Try out a theme with this online event: US Presidents
How to get started: Host your own communication competition.
30) Virtual Wine Night
Pop a cork and let the good times flow—no designated driver required.
Drinking your favorite wines and socializing with your favorite people might be the perfect way to spend an evening. Kick things off with an icebreaker if you want, or even do a formal wine tasting, but to be honest, the drinks and the company usually run this event for you.
Try out a theme with this online event: Famous royals
How to get started: Get wine and snacks in one convenient package.
31) Virtual Mini-Games
Little bursts of gamification make a fast-paced event.
Like all hybrid events, this one is perfect for anyone who can’t or just doesn’t want to commit, mini-games pack your favorite parts of multiple games into one delightful whirlwind session.
Try out a theme with this online event: Monte Carlo
How to get started: Start playing everything now.
32) Virtual Mash-Up
All of your favorite team-building activities mashed up into one unforgettable experience.
Whether you crave karaoke with a side of trivia games or problem-solving with a drawing challenge round, you’ll find exactly what you want through a virtual mashup, the ultimate fusion of team-building flavors.
Try out a theme with this online event: Favorite TV personalities
How to get started: Mashup your favorite games.
33) Virtual Laughter Yoga
A magical combination of laughter and yoga can refill even the emptiest wells.
During laughter yoga, you’ll get in touch with all the muscles and sensations involved in laughter. As you guide your muscles into the physical experience of laughing, your emotions might just take over and flow right into the joy of true laughter.
Try out a theme with this online event: Holi Festival of Colors
How to get started: Try this latest wellness trend.
34) Virtual Blackjack Class
Elevate your Blackjack strategy—not your stress levels.
Social distancing, in many ways, has opened novel avenues for developing new skills. If you’ve always been interested in learning how to play Blackjack in a low-stakes environment, then now is the time. Learn the rules and techniques while you can focus within the peace and quiet of your own home.
Try out a theme with this online event: Grandma’s basement
How to get started: Cross your fingers for the perfect hand.
35) Virtual Poker Class
Perfect your Zoom poker face during an immersive tutorial
Learn all the ins and outs of poker within the context of video conferencing. Discover new social dynamics as you try to find your opponents’ tells from afar.
Try out a theme with this online event: Wall Street
How to get started: Prepare for your inaugural virtual poker night.
36) Virtual Charades
Find out why charades love the virtual space.
When you take classic charades into the online space, you’ll discover some advantageous abilities. For one, you can mute the actor so they can’t cheat when they get desperate and try to bolster their body language with spoken language.
Try out a theme with this online event: Glow in the dark
How to get started: How well can you read your team’s unspoken communication style?
37) Virtual Cookie Baking Class
Share a fun baking experience without having to share the cookies.
Bust out your mixing bowls and find a place where your laptop can stay safe from splatters of dough and clouds of flour. Bond with your fellow guests as you mix, bake and avoid arguing over who gets to lick the spoon.
Try out a theme with this online event: Food Network star
How to get started: Get your bake on.
38) Virtual Donut Baking Class
Donuts take on flavorful new depths when you make them yourself.
Learn all the recipes, techniques, and decorating tricks you need to make your own donuts.
Try out a theme with this online event: Sprinkles
How to get started: Level up your baking resume.
39) Virtual Acrylic Painting Class
Unleash your inner painter.
Take in all the color basics, blending techniques, and painterly strokes you need to get all your brilliant artistic visions onto the canvas.
Try out a theme with this online event: Favorite movements in art history
How to get started: Learn how to paint in your virtual studio (aka bedroom).
People Also Ask These Questions About Virtual Events
Q: How do you conduct events virtually in 2021?
- A: Conduct events virtually in just a few steps. Pick your video conferencing platform, make a guest list, choose a focusing theme or game (like one of these), send your invitations, and collect RSVPs.
Q: What do I need to host a virtual social event?
- A: To host a virtual social event, you need a video conferencing platform, a reliable internet connection, smiling guests, and some event ideas, including themes and games, to tie the experience together.
Q: Can I have drinks and food at an online social event?
- A: Yes, you can have drinks and food at an online social event. In fact, companies like Caroo make it easy to select delicious treats and easily have them delivered to your guests.
Q: How do you make a virtual event engaging?
- A: Make your virtual event engaging by adding engaging themes to your main games. For example, you can host a disco-themed virtual game show or a luau-themed virtual murder mystery. Find even more virtual event ideas you can swipe to host the gathering of your dreams in this post.
Q: How do you ensure attendance for a virtual social event?
- A: Ensure attendance for a virtual social event by requiring RSVPS, sending group reminders, and also following up individually with each person on your list to tell them how excited you are to see them. (Finding easy-to-use technology and exciting game ideas will also inspire plenty of people to RSVP “yes.”)