Best Places To Watch The Solar Eclipse In Philadelphia

From up-in-the-air vantage points to fun parties, here's where to check out the sky-high phenomenon on Monday, August 21...

Get ready to turn those (glasses-protected) eyes to the sky – a rare solar sensation is about to hit the U.S.

On Monday, August 21, a total solar eclipse will travel across the country, from coast to coast, for the first time in almost 100 years.

What is a solar eclipse? The celestial experience occurs when the orbiting moon moves between the sun and the Earth. For a quick couple of minutes, the moon will completely or partially block the sun (depending on your location).

The total eclipse — where the moon completely obscures the sun — is on a narrow trajectory from Oregon to South Carolina, so Philadelphia will only experience a partial eclipse. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t want to get out there and check it out – a full 80% of the sun will be covered here during maximum coverage.

Fortunately, plenty of places are throwing viewing parties, while the city’s sky-high vantage points and public parks also serve as the perfect spot to take it all in. In Philly, the eclipse goes from 1:20-4 p.m., reaching maximum coverage at 2:44 p.m.

Head to any of the 10 destinations below during that time, and be sure to bring along a pair of NASA-compliant eclipse-viewing glasses or make your own “pinhole camera” viewing device – a must(!) for protecting your eyes.

Hope for good weather and clear skies!

The Franklin Institute

Photo by: J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

As one of the most renowned science museums in the country, The Franklin Institute guarantees a solar eclipse experience that’s not only stunning but also an incredible learning opportunity, too. Expert educators will be on-hand to speak about the spectacle and Chief Astronomer Derrick Pitts will deliver a live broadcast from a total eclipse location in Missouri. Head to the museum’s viewing party as early as noon to take part in solar eclipse-related programming before the big moment unfolds and all eyes turn to the sky.

The Franklin Institute

When:12-4 p.m.
Where:The Franklin Institute, 222 North 20th Street
Cost:Free with general admission ticket

www.fi.edu

Belmont Plateau

Belmont PlateauPhoto by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

Get awesome views of both the city skyline and the solar eclipse from Belmont Plateau. Part of Fairmount Park in West Philadelphia, the elevated fields are equipped with plenty of green space to utilize and — hopefully! — clear skies overhead.

Belmont Plateau

When:1:20-4 p.m.
Where:Belmont Plateau, 1800 Belmont Mansion Drive
Cost:Free

Independence Seaport Museum

Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia

Enjoy the eclipse from the second floor terrace at the Independence Seaport Museum, which is hosting a viewing party where guests are invited to bring a picnic and relax beginning at noon. Come early or leave time afterwards to explore the interactive maritime museum.

Independence Seaport Museum

When:12-4 p.m.
Where:Independence Seaport Museum, 211 South Christopher Columbus Boulevard
Cost:Free with general admission

www.phillyseaport.org

Wagner Free Institute of Science

Head to the Wagner Free Institute of Science for an educational viewing experience and eclipse-oriented afternoon of hands-on activities. Guests will have the opportunity to create their own pinhole cameras, view the eclipse from a Sun Funnel telescope, watch a live NASA broadcast and more.

Wagner Free Institute of Science

When:12:30-4:30 p.m.
Where:Wagner Free Institute of Science, 1700 West Montgomery Avenue
Cost:Free, donations suggested

"www.wagnerfreeinstitute.org"

Benjamin Rush State Park

Located in northeast Philadelphia, Benjamin Rush State Park takes the title of the only official state park within the city’s borders. The greenery-filled grounds provide plenty of space for viewing the eclipse, along with 3.5 miles of biking and hiking trails.

Benjamin Rush State Park

When:1:20-4 p.m.
Where:Benjamin Rush State Park, 15001 Roosevelt Boulevard
Cost:Free

www.dcnr.state.pa.us

Penn Treaty Park

Penn Treaty ParkPhoto by M. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

Sneaking out of work in Fishtown to catch the solar eclipse? Penn Treaty Park, right on the Delaware River, makes for a great green space to spread out with a blanket and lay down with your glasses to the sky. Plan a picnic and enjoy both riverfront and skyline views while you’re there.

Penn Treaty Park

When:1:20-4 p.m.
Where:Penn Treaty Park, 1301 North Beach Street
Cost:Free

penntreatypark.org

One Liberty Observation Deck

Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

View the solar eclipse from 57 stories high at One Liberty Observation Deck, bringing 360-degree views of the city and the sky. In celebration of the celestial event, One Liberty Observation Deck is offering individuals two visits for the price of one with its Sun and Stars deal. Buy a general admission ticket onsite either Sunday, August 20 or Monday, August 21 and receive tickets that enable you to visit the attraction twice anytime within 48 hours. 

One Liberty Observation Deck

When:1:20-4 p.m.
Where:One Liberty Observation Deck, 1650 Market Street #5700
Cost:Cost of general admission

www.phillyfromthetop.com

The Benjamin Franklin Bridge

Ben Franklin BridgePhoto by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia

Containing pedestrian walkways along both sides, the beautiful Benjamin Franklin Bridge is a great spot to hang out for the eclipse. Placing you right above the Delaware River, the elevated views come with a riverscape below and an unobstructed sight of the skies overhead.

The Benjamin Franklin Bridge

When:1:20-4 p.m.
Where:Benjamin Franklin Bridge, 5th and Race streets
Cost:Free

www.drpa.org/bridges

Free Library of Philadelphia: Wynnefield Branchs

The Free Library of Philadelphia’s Wynnefield branch is hosting an all-afternoon solar eclipse party. At the Wynnefield site, guests will be invited to make their own eclipse viewers beginning at 1 p.m.

Free Library of Philadelphia: Wynnefield Branchs

When:1-4:30 p.m.
Where:Free Library of Philadelphia, 5325 Overbrook Avenue
Cost:Free

www.libwww.freelibrary.org

Free Library of Philadelphia: Oak Lane Branch

The Free Library of Philadelphia’s Oak Lane branch hosts a special eclipse party starting at 1 p.m. Visitors will be provided with special glasses to view the eclipse and will also be invited to look through a Sunspotter for indirect viewing of the sun before and after the eclipse. 

Free Library of Philadelphia: Oak Lane Branch

When:1-4:30 p.m.
Where:6614 N 12th Street
Cost:Free

www.libwww.freelibrary.org

Bonus: Super Solar Saturday: Family, Friends & Art Day at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts

The MannPhoto by Derek Brad Photography

On Saturday, August 19 — the Saturday before the eclipse — the Mann Center for the Performing Arts turns into a hub for space exploration in celebration of the forthcoming solar sensation. Throughout the day, guests can enjoy immersive virtual reality with The Franklin Institute, stargaze through NASA-grade telescopes, try out hands-on science experiments with the Please Touch Museum, watch live performances and hear from science professionals. The fun wraps up with a free screening of Hidden Figures. Best of all? This event is completely free to attend.

Bonus: Super Solar Saturday: Family, Friends & Art Day at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts

When:Saturday, August 19, 12:30-9 p.m.
Where:The Mann Center, 5201 Parkside Avenue
Cost:Free; registration required

www.manncenter.org

 

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