16 of the coolest places to watch the solar eclipse

The total solar eclipse is just days away, and many Americans have their plans set to see the rare event on Monday, April 8.

The 115-mile-wide swath of totality – where the moon will completely block out the sun – stretches from southern Texas up through Ohio, then over to northern Maine, offering a variety of potential viewing spots.

Here are some of the coolest: 

RELATED: Solar eclipse countdown: What to know with 1 week to go

On a boat

Nearly all of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario are in the path of totality. 

Weather dependent, a boat rental could get you out in the water to bask in the dark. Tour companies may also be operating that day, such as riverboat cruises from Victorian Princess in Erie, Penn

On a beach

On that same note, while the total eclipse isn’t passing over either of America’s coasts, the Great Lakes region offers hundreds of miles of shoreline. 

At a zoo  

The abrupt darkness can fool animals into thinking its dusk, so you might be in to see some memorable behavioral changes. 

Several zoos in the path of totality are hosting events, such as the Indianapolis Zoo

RELATED: Total solar eclipse: How animals react to daylight turning dark

On a rollercoaster 

Some major amusement parks in the country are having eclipse-themed events – and one, in particular, is even opening off-season just for the occasion: Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio.

A VIP experience that includes exclusive views from atop Valravn, the tallest, fastest, longest dive coaster in the U.S., is already sold out. But tickets are still available for entry to the park where you could experience the darkness on other coasters that day. 

Six Flags Fiesta Texas, which is outside of San Antonio, is also offering solar eclipse viewing packages.

At a national park

Two national parks are in the path of totality: 

  • Hot Springs National Park (Arkansas)
  • Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Ohio)

Several other federally observed areas like national monuments and national historical parks will also see total darkness. You can see the map here

At a wedding

Whether it’s your own or someone else’s, love can steal the spotlight on eclipse day. 

A special event just for people looking to elope during the phenomenon is taking place in Seneca County, Ohio, at an amphitheater. It’s free for couples and guests; all that’s needed is a valid marriage license. 

RELATED: Eloping under the eclipse: Couples to get hitched during rare solar event

Alongside NASA scientists 

NASA is partnering with local governments, schools and other groups for in-person watch parties all along the path of totality. 

Here’s a list of the events the agency will be joining.

From outer space

OK, so this one isn’t available to the average American. But astronaut Col. Terry Virts has experienced this and says it’s quite the sight

"We could look off to the north and there was this big, black spot on the planet, and it was kind of unsettling actually. I’m glad we knew there was going to be an eclipse because if you had just looked out the window and saw this black spot moving across Earth it would’ve been a little disconcerting," he said. 

Maybe someday this will be a possibility as space tourism continues to boom

RELATED: What an eclipse looks like from space, and why you should see one (from Earth)

On a plane 

Delta is offering two flights that will "chase" the eclipse from Texas airports to Detroit. 

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association reported air traffic during the 2017 total solar eclipse in the U.S. increased 20-40% at control centers that were in range of the path of totality.

Perhaps local airports or tourist attractions nearby are offering seats on smaller flights that day.

RELATED: Delta adds second flight for viewing total solar eclipse on April 8

At a dark sky park

If you’re looking for a sky free from pollution for an extra dazzling sight, several official dark sky parks in rural areas are in the path: 

  • South Llano River State Park (Texas)
  • Enchanted Rock State Natural Area (Texas)
  • Milton Reimers Ranch Park (Texas)
  • UBarU Camp and Retreat Center (Texas)
  • Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park (Texas)
  • Geauga Observatory Park (Ohio)

At a "space prom" music festival


Festival goers watch the solar eclipse during 2023 Austin City Limits Music Festival at Zilker Park on October 14, 2023 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Erika Goldring/FilmMagic)

Live music and festivals are lined up across the country to coincide with the eclipse. 

One, in particular, Utopiafest, an annual festival in Utopia, Texas, includes a "space prom" dance party. 

At the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Rock and roll can be your soundtrack to this total eclipse as the sun "fades to black."

The classic museum in Cleveland has a four-day celebration planned from April 5-8.

At the Guardian’s home opener

Speaking of Cleveland, the Guardians will throw the first pitch at their 2024 home opener after the earth, moon and sun align.

Cleveland’s first game at Progressive Field against the Chicago White Sox will begin on April 8 at 5:10 p.m. The team said the ballpark’s gates will open at 2 p.m., giving fans a chance to observe the eclipse.


Granted, total solar eclipses are frequent enough to happen every few years, so different countries are always on the docket. 

But with millions of Americans flocking to the nearest major city for this one, heading to Canada or Mexico would be out of the norm. 

RELATED: It’s not too late to plan a trip to see the solar eclipse

While skydiving 

Thrill seekers will get the view of a lifetime with this one. 

One company in particular, Skydive the Falls in western New York, is holding a group skydiving event timed with the totality. 

Co-owner Jason Berger told FOX Television Stations three aircraft and nearly 30 jumpers are taking part in the celestial event, with some coming as far as California to skydive. 

RELATED: Skydivers to take plunge during total lunar eclipse for unprecedented view

At Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls has a slate of events for days and is expecting July Fourth-sized crowds for the eclipse, said Sara Harvey, spokeswoman for Destination Niagara USA.

On the Canadian side, it’s the country’s first total solar eclipse since 1979. 

According to Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati, he anticipates that the eclipse will draw the largest crowd ever seen on the Canadian side of the falls, Reuters reports – possibly up to 1 million people. 

This story was reported from Detroit.