The 5 Best U.S. Cities to See the 2024 Solar Eclipse (and Where to Stay)

Cue the Bonnie Tyler

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Best Cities to See 2024 Solar Eclipse: Group of friends looking at sky wearing solar eclipse glasses
Leo Patrizi/Getty Images

For thousands of years, humans have been captivated by the comings and goings of celestial bodies—and, well, we still are! We track the phases of the moon, we take caution when certain planets go retrograde and we certainly still get excited by one of the most magical and mysterious types of astronomical phenomena: the total solar eclipse. While it’s true that, nowadays, the occurrence of the moon and sun crossing paths no longer causes us to fear the impending apocalypse, a solar eclipse is nevertheless a rare and awe-inspiring sight to behold. And on Monday, April 8, 2024, Americans will have the chance to see one—with proper viewing glasses, of course.

The event marks the first time since 2017 that a total solar eclipse will occur over the contiguous United States. Afterwards, the phenomenon won’t be witnessed in the U.S. for another 20 years. Needless to say, the 2024 solar eclipse is kind of a big deal. But how well you’ll be able to see the eclipse, or if you’ll be able to see it all, depends on where you are in the country. As NASA explains, the moon’s shadow will be cast over a certain strip of North America, and only those in the designated “path of totality” will be able to experience up to four and a half minutes of darkened sky. Though folks in places outside of the path may see a partial eclipse, the best views will occur in certain regions. Which is why, in addition to blasting Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” up to 4 million people are expected to travel to destinations located within the path of totality this April just to witness the event. No wonder Airbnb has reported a 1,000 percent surge in searches for stays within these areas.

Want in on the once-in-a-generation experience? Grab your solar viewing glasses, pack your bags and head to one of the best cities to see the solar eclipse in 2024.

1. Austin, Texas

According to historical weather data, the Austin region is predicted to have some of the clearest skies along the U.S. path of totality this April, making it a promising destination for sun-gazing. (Because the last thing you want on an eclipse day is cloudy weather.) While the Texas capital itself is located right at the edge of the path, the city will still see around 1 minute and 46 seconds of complete coverage starting at around 1:36 p.m., which will be quite the spectacle whether you watch from a rooftop or among the famous bats of Congress Avenue Bridge. With its bustling live music and bar scene, from Sixth Street to Rainey, Austin also promises to be one of the best spots to celebrate leading up to and after the main event. Score a room at one of the many trendy hotels downtown or rent out an Airbnb with lakefront views—either way, you’ll be in for an epic eclipse experience (and, let’s be real, plenty of mouthwatering Texas barbecue).

2. Little Rock, Arkansas

As you head northeast along the path of totality, one of the next best places to be is Little Rock, Arkansas. The capital city will be hosting a slew of family-friendly events to ring in the “Total Eclipse of the Rock,” from an activity-filled day at the zoo to a vibrant block party taking over the SoMa district on Main Street. Arrive a few days early to peruse an astro-themed local makers’ market, hit a free concert or two and even catch a stellar nighttime parade through town. Meanwhile, you can stay at the luxurious Capital Hotel for some serious pampering or opt for a romantic eclipse weekend at the Empress of Little Rock, a Victorian mansion turned quaint bed and breakfast. Looking for slightly more colorful accommodations? Check into The Mockingbird at Chester Nests, a unique Airbnb that you can have all to yourself between the festivities.

3. Cleveland, Ohio

Not only is there a ton of stuff to see and do in Cleveland, Ohio, but the city is also slated to experience a whopping 3 minutes and 49 seconds of eclipse totality, making it totally worth the trip. After hitting some art galleries and trendy restaurants in the hip Tremont neighborhood, give your inner astronomy geek a treat by taking part in the Great Lakes Science Center’s three-day eclipse festival hosted in partnership with NASA Glenn Research. Or, if you’d rather rock out for the occasion, you could head to the iconic Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, where the music-fueled Solar Fest celebration will be taking place all weekend long from 10 a.m. ‘til 10 p.m., all the way through the big day. Both events promise plenty of tunes, trivia contests, educational activations and more with gorgeous views of Lake Erie. Anchor your getaway at the historic Glidden House hotel if you want to keep things super local (and upscale), or load the fam into a lovely renovated home in University Heights, located just 30 minutes outside the heart of the city.

4. Buffalo, New York

New York City is located just outside of the path of totality, so while folks in the five boroughs will still be able to see a partial eclipse, we suggest heading upstate to Buffalo if you want a front row seat to 3 minutes and 45 seconds of the moon’s awesome shadow. Whether by plane, train or automobile, making the trek some 380 miles out of Manhattan will surely pay off for all types of eclipse enthusiasts. Consider yourself a nature lover? Bask in the glory of two natural wonders at once by taking in the experience at the foot of the nearby Niagara Falls. More of a beer connoisseur? Raise a glass at one of Buffalo’s many local breweries that will be inviting the whole family to celebrate. Then again, you can also opt for the perfect one-stop stay at the 5-star Curtiss Hotel downtown, which will be throwing its own viewing party at its swanky rooftop lounge.

5. Burlington, Vermont

Small town charm meets big city energy in Burlington, Vermont, which will receive a generous 3 minutes and 15 seconds of daytime darkness. The destination may be known for its skiing, but this April it’ll transform into a lively eclipse-themed locale, where visitors can enjoy multiple days of parties, performances and celestial festivals in honor of the sun and the moon’s big dance. You may want to situate yourself in the heart of downtown at the stylish Hotel Vermont. It boasts two outdoor terraces overlooking idyllic Lake Champlain (i.e. one of the city’s prime eclipse-viewing spots) and is located a hop and a skip from all of the area’s buzzy bars, restaurants and shopping landmarks, including the beloved Church Street Marketplace. If you’ve got a large crew and don’t mind a quick commute to and from the city center, you also can’t go wrong spreading out at this “cozy haven” that sleeps eight. So long as you can see the sky in Burlington on April 8, you’ll be all set.

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