Celebrate the Solar Eclipse in Ilinois


On April 8, a rare total solar eclipse will move across North America, starting over the South Pacific Ocean. The eclipse will be visible from Mexico, the United States, and Canada. Even if you aren’t in its direct path from Texas to Maine, a partial eclipse can still be seen from the continental U.S. The next solar eclipse will be in 2044, so you don’t want to miss this. Here are the best places to check it out in Illinois. Just make sure you have the solar eclipse glasses to protect those precious eyes.


A solar eclipse occurs when the moon crosses in front of the sun, casting a shadow on the earth and darkening the sky. The moon aligns perfectly between the sun and earth to create the illusion that the sun is almost completely hidden, except for a faint halo around the edge of the moon. The total phase lasts only a few minutes.

At any point in watching the eclipse, except during the total phase, it is unsafe to stare directly at the sun without special protection. Use a solar filter over these cameras, binoculars, or telescopes, and obtain solar viewing glasses or handheld viewers when looking with your eyes.

NASA has provided detailed maps for where to catch the solar eclipse by tracking its path across the U.S. Carbondale, Illinois is one of the best locations for viewing the eclipse during its totality. In Carbondale, the partial eclipse begins at 12:42 p.m. Totality is from 1:59 p.m. to 2:03 p.m. with the maximum at 2:01 p.m. Other Illinois cities with the total eclipse include Mt. Vernon, Mt. Caramel, and Metropolis.

If you can’t make it to one of the cities with a total eclipse, don’t worry! Chicago will still be able to see a partial eclipse with 94% coverage. View the partial eclipse at one of these Chicago celebrations.


360 CHICAGO, the observation deck atop the 94th of the former Hancock Building, is hosting a viewing event for the once-in-a-lifetime Solar Eclipse. Guests can witness the solar spectacle with unobstructed views from the observation deck’s floor-to-ceiling windows and panoramic, 360-degree views 1,030 ft. above the Chicago skyline. The eclipse will begin around 12:51 p.m. and end around 3:22 p.m. Materials with facts about the rare solar eclipse can be found throughout the 94th floor and Dr. Joeseph Warner from Visionary Eye Care in Chicago will be on-site to answer any guests’ questions about eye safety during the event. Solar viewing glasses are included with a ticket purchase. 


Celebrate the rarity of the solar event with a special drink at The Gwen hotel. Serving up the Total Eclipse of The Heart cocktail with Bacardi Ocho Rye Cask Rum, Rhum Clément Creole Shrubb, Orgeat, Lime, Fire Bitters, Tajín Rim for $18, this special will run April 6 through 8 at the bar or on the terrace. 


Join Adler Planetarium’s Eclipse Encounter ‘24! Offering free events outside weather-permitting, anyone can celebrate the eclipse with safe solar viewing through telescope, telescopes for solar projection and eclipse photography, free solar viewer giveaways, and photo ops with Big Eclipse Sunglasses. With a museum ticket purchase, guests can enjoy several inside specials. Learn how people predict eclipses at the temporary exhibit Chasing Eclipses, make your own eclipse at the Star Studio and explore light and shadow in PlayLab, or purchase eclipse merch in the Space Shop.


While supplies last, Warby Parker is giving out free solar eclipse glasses at any of their Chicago locations. These free, ISO-certified glasses can be picked up starting April 1 until the big day at all Warby Parker stores.


From 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on April 8, attend the Museum of Science and Industry’s Solar Eclipse 2024 event. At the museum, join viewing of the eclipse through their solar telescopes, watch a livestream with a NASA Solar System Ambassador, or enjoy family- and student-friendly activities. If you can’t make it to the museum, they will have satellite locations at Millennium Park, the Michigan Avenue bridge, Oak Street Beach, or the DuSable Museum.


The Pullman National Historic Park will host a free event on April 8 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. National Park Service park rangers and a NASA Ambassador will lead guests through interactive activities and learning about the eclipse, complete with a selfie station and eclipse-themed snacks. Bring a lawn chair and your own eclipse viewing glasses, as materials will be limited.

The Enjoy Illinois website has a full Solar Eclipse guide.

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