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From the National Solar Observatory

Eclipse Day Fun: Making a Pin Hole Viewer

Where To Catch the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse in Philly

How and where to safely — and for free — experience the rare celestial event in Philadelphia

Where To Catch the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse in Philly

How and where to safely — and for free — experience the rare celestial event in Philadelphia

Since the dawn of ancient civilizations, humanity has been obsessively looking up at the sky. Now, there’s a good reason to do so in Philly. On the afternoon of Monday, April 8 — from 2:08 to 4:30pm, especially at 3:23pm — the moon will cover the sun and dim natural light, making day feel like night. This total solar eclipse is a rarity — the next one happens in 2044 or 2078, depending whom you ask.

You’ll be tempted to look skyward with your naked eye. Don’t.

The astronomers of East Asia, the Middle East, Ancient Egypt and later the Greeks have told humans for centuries: It is 100 percent a terrible idea to stare at the sun during an eclipse. Why? Because your brain will tell your eyes it’s dark, your pupils will enlarge, and when you stare like an idiot (or a former U.S. president, seven years ago) at the sun, the sun will still be out and radiating UV, and your sweet, vulnerable eyeballs could seriously fry.

Mitigate this danger by wearing specialized glasses. Warby Parker at 1523 Walnut Street is giving them out, as are Sonics, Boost Mobile stores, Jeni’s Ice Cream in Fishtown. You can buy them at Staples, 7-Eleven, Walmart, Lowe’s and The Franklin Institute. Or, make one of those cereal box eclipse viewers to watch the shadows happen.

Here, some fun places to experience the 2024 solar eclipse in Philly, safely — and for free.

Photo by Jongsun Lee for Unsplash.

GLEN FOERD, North of Holmesburg in Northeast Philly

If you want your eclipse with a side of riverfront views and a mansion-like backdrop, Glen Foerd’s is the viewing party for you. From noon to 4:30pm, visitors can BYO shoebox, empty Pringles cans (or non-empty, but you’ll need to eat the Pringles) to make into indirect eclipse viewers. There will be a discussion of the science behind the phenomenon too.

5001 Grant Avenue

WALNUT GARDEN, Rittenhouse Square

A number of people sit at picnic tables inside an urban beer garden in Philadelphia.
Photo courtesy of Walnut Gardens.

For those who like their celestial events with craft cider, it’s not just eclipse viewing time, it’s also outdoor drinking time. Rittenhouse’s Walnut Garden is back as of last week, with its picnic tables, plants and sky ceiling, a setup geared toward the 21+ crowd but also welcoming of families. Although you probably won’t learn a whole lot at this viewing party, you will be able to order some great food — and this is the only one that stretches from noon to midnight.

There’s no need to BYOB, but be sure to BYO eclipse glasses.

1708 Walnut Street


This absolute gem of a 19th century science museum channels Bonnie Tyler (or maybe even Klaus Nomi) with the Wagner’s free Total Eclipse of the Sun viewing party, from 12:30 to 4:30pm. Visitors can meander from the also free to view collection of specimens indoors to the outdoor garden to see the spectacle. Arrive early if you want to grab a pair of free glasses.

1700 W. Montgomery Avenue; enter through 17th Street


American Philosophical Society, courtesy of Visit Philadelphia.

Everyone is invited to join “Shoot for the Stars Eclipse Edition,” a free, kid-centric celebration in the Jefferson Garden from 1:30 to 4pm. What’s extra cool about this Old City celebration, besides the free viewing specs and all-ages space-related activities? The American Philosophical Society plans to audibly enrich the eclipse experience by using a LightSound device that noise-i-fies the sound of the moon passing between the sun and Earth.

105 S. 5th Street


Marble steps lead to a columned facade of The Franklin Institute, a science museum in Philadelphia.
The Franklin Institute, courtesy of Visit Philadelphia.

An astronomy lover’s dream comes true. Witness the solar eclipse at Philly’s most popular science museum with renowned astronomer Derrick Pitts, there to answer all your newbie and nerdy questions. Join the crowd in front of the museum steps on 20th Street, from 1:30 to 5pm.

The best part? You don’t even need glasses! Courtesy of The Franklin Institute, for the price of free 99, eclipse-seekers will safely confine under large, solar filtered tents. As for those who’d like to experience the phenomena outdoors? They got you. Try out a specifically equipped telescope or shell out $3 for a pair of eclipse glasses.

Feel like a beer, some beats and eats with the watch party? They’ve got you: DJ Ben Arsenal will be spinning during the spectacle; the first free attendees get free Federal Donuts and chicken, and a beer garden will open up to viewers of age.

222 N. 20th Street


¡Todos están invitados! to the Esperanza College parking lot for a school and community solar eclipse watch party. From 2 to 4pm, families and students can marvel at nature’s spectacular show, with

free eclipse glasses, yummy snacks, a fun and familial inclusive environment, and Spanish language representation.

4261 North 5th Street


Beury beach, courtesy of Temple University.

It’s more of a grassy quad than a sandy seaside, but don’t tell that to the Temple students who’ve dubbed this campus center a beach and will gather there under the auspices of the physics department to experience skyward science in the happening from 2 to 4:30pm. Sidle up to a smart-looking student in order to get access to one of the solar viewing telescopes, monitors or a pair of those coveted eclipse glasses.

1901 N. 13th Street (near Berks Street), between Temple’s Beury Hall and the Bell Tower

THE WOODLANDS, University City

The historic Woodlands, both a graveyard and Clark Park-adjacent staple known for its impact and outreach with local schools and community, hosts its eclipse watch party at Hamilton Mansion from 2 to 4:30pm. At 4pm, the party includes kid-friendly storytime, music and dancing — all eclipse-theme — courtesy of the nearby Walnut Street West Library.

BYO protective eyewear. So long as good weather ensues, the event will follow.

4000 Woodland Avenue


Independence Visitor Center, courtesy of Visit Philadelphia.

To get your eclipse within view of Independence Hall, the National Constitution Center, Liberty Bell, etc., all you need to do is go into the big, free Independence Visitor Center, climb a set of stairs (or take an elevator) and head to the terrace — before 50 other people arrive, because that’s how many free glasses they’re giving away. Event takes place from about 2:08 to 4:35pm.

599 Market Street


This is the eclipse viewing event to go to if you live in the Northeast and can get the kids out of school early. The Torresdale branch of the Free Library plans to distribute a limited amount of viewing glasses, along with snacks and take-home goodie bags, starting at 3pm and weather permitting.

3079 Holme Avenue

Photo by Adam Smith for Unsplash.

Abigail Chang, a Southwest Philadelphia native — now a New York transplant pursuing a pre-med degree with a journalism minor — loves to report on community events and facilitate important conversations around race, sports, activism and justice.


Photo courtesy of The Woodlands.

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