Where to View the Total Solar Eclipse: The Midwest

Even though the total solar eclipse doesn’t hit until August 21, the places that will deliver “path of totality”—astronomer-speak for the optimal position from which to view the event because you’re in the direct path of the resulting blackness—have already become highly prized. While the eclipse will be visible throughout North America, only a 70-mile-wide region of the U.S.—from Oregon to South Carolina—will be in that famed “the path of totality.” To find the perfect spot, feel free to plumb the depths of NASA’s own (free) maps. Or just use our regional guide.

Next up: The Midwest, including Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois. These states may not rank high on most adventurer’s must-visit locales, but their wide-open spaces make for a perfect canvas to witness totality.

Homestead National Monument of America, Nebraska

Founded in commemoration of the passage of the Homestead Act of 1862 (which allowed any person to claim up to 160 acres of federal land in exchange for five years of residence and property improvement), this parcel of national parkland will host a variety of eclipse activities. Its dominate feature—100 acres of tallgrass prairie—will make for an unfettered view of the event.

Kansas City, Kansas

Completists may scoff, but others might head to Kansas City precisely because it’s not in the total path. Instead, the city will be cut in half by the eclipse as its southern edge brushes the city at 1:08 PM. Hang in the northern section of the city for total darkness or ride the line by targeting the point where totality bleeds into an atmospheric gray/black typical to dusk.

St. Joseph, Missouri

Right on the centerline of the path, St. Joseph will receive the longest duration of darkness of any sizable city in the nation. Front Page Science is organizing a huge public observing event at the nearby airport, where you can see the total eclipse. Astronomers will be on hand with loads of safety filtered telescopes.

Carbondale, Illinois

Close to both the crossing line of the August event and the solar eclipse of April 9, 2024, Carbondale is the perfect place to base camp for the eclipse, which will witness the blackened sun for 2:37 Or you can light out Giant City State Park, just south of Carbondale, with lots of rugged natural beauty. And it’s very close to the Blue Sky Vineyard, should want to pair your eclipse with a glass of rose.

Can’t’ Miss Festival:

Capital Eclipse Celebration, held in Jefferson City, Missouri, will host three days of eclipse-related events, including music and other entertainment. Tickets to some activities may be required.