Here Are The Coolest Places To Watch The Total Solar Eclipse This Month

On August 21st, two primordial forces will collide:

  1. The sun will be totally eclipsed by the moon, casting the world in darkness.
  2. The summer will be on the wane, causing young people everywhere to worry that they didn’t do enough to maximize the sunny months.

Our lizard-brain fear of the heavens meets the millennial terror of FOMO. The result?


Seriously, it’s gonna be lit (but also not fully lit, because of the whole eclipse thing). There will be festivals, and concerts, and people buying weird glasses to look at the sun. What joyless monster wouldn’t want to be a part of that? Are you so rich with cool parties and celestial phenomena that you don’t need to bother? Do you have such an endless future ahead that you can wait a few hundred years until the next eclipse? Do you refute the mystic belief that wishes made on the 21st will lead to eternal happiness and a lifetime of awesome sex?

Okay, so maybe we made the last one up, but still… it’s going to be a hell of a time! Here’s where to celebrate the Great American Eclipse:

OREGON ECLIPSE FESTIVAL — Big Summit Prairie, Oregon

Here’s a pretty simple math equation: Burning Man MINUS people saying “this is played out and dominated by tech bros” MINUS the actual tech bros PLUS water so that the festival isn’t a goddamn Mad Max desertscape EQUALS the best week ever.

We’ve talked about the Symbiosis Gathering before — calling it “Burning Man’s cooler kid cousin.” This year the younger cousin has grown up, by doing the one thing Burning Man never tried: Going mobile. For 2017, Symbiosis has redubbed themselves Oregon Eclipse and they’re setting up camp at a small lake near the city of Prineville — smack in the middle of the eclipse path.

Imagine yourself camping with a few thousand like-minded souls — practicing yoga, dancing to some of the most renowned DJs on earth, studying up on wellness, and taking permaculture classes. Then the sky turns black, the beats explode, and the world feels like a brilliant, electric, wild place; full of magic.

Sounds pretty cool, right? It will be. Join the Uproxx crew there, if you can score tickets.

ECLIPSE CON — Hopkinsville, Kentucky

It’s hard to fully savvy out what’s going on in Hopkinsville because the town is absolutely eclipse drunk. They’re having a festival, a street fair, free bands, business promotions, bourbon tastings… it’s almost schizophrenic, but it sounds as fun as hell. The city has even dubbed itself “Eclipseville” for the month.

At the center of the festivities is Eclipse Con, which isn’t a convention about eclipses so much as a comic con that is held over the eclipse dates. Samantha Newark — star voice on Jem and the Holograms — is the celebrity guest and comic book authors will be in attendance. The whole thing sounds a touch scattered, but in, like, a super fun way. Especially because there’s bourbon involved.


The route of greatest eclipse runs right across the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and North Carolina, and the National Parks System wasn’t about to let it pass without some festivities. They’re co-hosting an event with a little outfit called NASA at the famous Cingmans Dome. Sadly, it’s already sold out — unless you can trade some backwoods moonshine for tickets — but you can livestream it.

If you end up making other plans, the park has a whole map for where to watch the eclipse.

TOTAL ECLIPSE WEEKEND — Columbia, South Carolina

Columbia is right on the path of totality and have dubbed themselves the Solar Eclipse Capital of the East Coast. To earn that title, the city is holding more than 100 events. Many of these are businesses trying to get in on the action (“Eclipse hair dying special”), but there are also large happy hours and music festivals in town. The coolest event looks to be a Star Wars-themed concert by the SC Philharmonic.

They’re also going all in on the “if you don’t see it at 100%, you might as well have missed it” notion — enlisting experts to offer quotes on the tragedy of seeing a less than perfect phenomena:

“For those who choose to experience this eclipse outside the path, a partial eclipse is all they will see. Even if the sun is 99.9% eclipsed for these observers, they will not experience the full, jaw-dropping, knee-buckling, emotionally-overloading, completely overwhelming spectacle that is totality.” – Dan McGlaun, veteran of twelve total solar eclipses

Quite possibly the best scenario is to watch the eclipse from an inner tube while drifting along the riverfront — the ultimate lazy river eclipse experience.


Like Hopkinsville, Casper is a small town going huge for the eclipse. Expect for eclipse chatter to be all you hear in town — with eclipse-themed dishes hitting every menu and eclipse cocktails in every saloon. Besides all of the marketing and up-selling, there will be music, viewing parties, and art shows.

The key here is not to overplan. Casper is small enough for you to go into town and sniff out what seems like the most fun.


Bend Oregon, Shutterstock

If you’re looking for something a little more mellow, Bend, Oregon, is one of the first cities to see the eclipse and the newly opened Springhill Suites is making it easy for guests to watch. The city isn’t throwing a huge festival, but they are celebrating “the art of local” and the hotel is bringing in a nature photographer to give advice on what gear to use. Plus the chance to see the eclipse while wading in the Deschutes river is an opportunity not to miss.

Sure, this is mellower than the other festivals on our list, but with nearly two minutes of totality, the views won’t disappoint.