Recent advances in preparing, probing and manipulating ultracold atomic gases enable studying condensed matter physics in a very controlled setting. In the first part of my talk, I will describe quantum gas microscopy, a powerful tool for imaging and manipulating strongly interacting quantum gases containing thousands of atoms at the single atom level. I will describe its application to studying quantum phase transitions of Mott insulators and quantum magnets in bosonic systems of atoms. In the second part of the talk, I will shift focus to topological physics in fermionic systems. I will explain how spin-orbit coupling, a crucial ingredient of time-reversal invariant topological insulators, can be engineered in a Fermi gas by dressing it with laser light. In addition, I will present results on strongly interacting fermions in two dimensions. These two ingredients can be combined to create topological superfluids analogous to topological superconductors that have been possibly realized in the solid state. Finally, I conclude with a brief outlook on experiments starting at Princeton with the goal of studying Chern insulators in optical lattices.