Experience 2024's Big Celestial Event In A Fun, Unique Way At A Solar Eclipse Festival

This year is gearing up to be a special one for astronomers and stargazers in North America, as a rare total eclipse will be on display across Mexico, the U.S., and Canada on April 8. During the event, the Moon will appear to move directly in front of the Sun, turning the sky black and giving viewers a special view of the Sun's corona (the outermost part of its atmosphere).

The next time a total solar eclipse will be visible in such a large swathe of the U.S. will be in 2044, so if you'd rather not wait two decades to get a full glimpse of the Moon's shadow, mark this year's eclipse on your calendar and travel to a prime viewing spot. Some of the best views of 2024's solar eclipse can be found in Nazas, Mexico; Radar Base, Texas; Hillsboro, Texas; Indianapolis, Indiana; Cleveland, Ohio; and Buffalo, New York; though the full path of visibility can be found via NASA.

If you're located within the eclipse path — or if you'll be traveling to catch a peek — all you have to do is step outside during the event, put on your protective glasses, and watch in wonder. But why not take things up a notch and celebrate the astronomical moment with others? There are numerous solar eclipse festivals to choose from, and they all offer a two-in-one deal: spectacular views of the sky and plenty of entertainment to add to the excitement.

Pair your moon viewing with live music

If you assumed a solar eclipse festival would just be crowds of people all gawking at the sky together, you'd be — well, at least partially — wrong. Many of this year's events are centered around music, and some span multiple days, so you can keep the party going long after the minutes-long eclipse is over. The Texas Eclipse Festival is one example, lasting for four days starting from April 5. The festival will take place in Burnet, Texas, and will feature over 130 different music acts.

The Lone Star State will host several other music festivals during the celestial event, including Ground Zero Music Fest in Bandera, centering on rock and country music. Then there's the Kerrclipse Music Festival in Kerrville, Texas, with its line-up of family-friendly folk music.

If you won't be in Texas during the total solar eclipse, no worries. Book a vacation in Mazatlán, Mexico, to catch the Portal Eclipse Festival. While the festival has a spiritual theme, complete with yoga and motivational talks, you'll also experience energetic music throughout the celebration, courtesy of its DJ line-up. If you'll be staying stateside, head north to Vermont's Jay Peak ski resort for The Whiteout, an eclipse-viewing party accompanied by music from cover band Pink Talking Fish. Or, visit Hot Springs, Arkansas, where Atlas Obscura's Ecliptic Festival will take place. Popular indie acts such as Blonde Redhead and Deerhoof are set to take the stage during the four-day event.

Other festivals will take place all along the eclipse path

Fancy a different kind of affair for watching the total solar eclipse? If a music-packed festival isn't your thing, consider loading up your tent and taking a 2024 eclipse trip to Arkansas for the 2024 Eclipse on the Farm celebration in Springfield. The farm will open its campsite and host family-friendly activities such as a cornhole tournament and an outdoor movie night.

For a more adult-oriented celebration, bring your RV to Lampasas, Texas, the site of Pillar Bluff Vineyards' Total Eclipse Viewing Party. Enjoy two days of wining and dining, along with music and entertainment. If sharing a bottle of wine on a vineyard doesn't sound romantic enough, watch couples elope — or get hitched yourself — at the Total Eclipse of the Heart party in Russellville, Arkansas.

Let's not forget the Midwestern states that'll be right in the eclipse's path. If you'll be near Indiana, take part in the LUNACY! Solar Eclipse Festival at White River State Park. Grab your free protective glasses, provided at the park, and devour food from over 20 food trucks. This event is perfect for those who like to stay active, with yoga and Tabata classes, plus rental canoes and kayaks for those who prefer to watch the astronomical phenomenon from the water.