Solar eclipse 2024: Your guide to watching the total solar eclipse in Erie

ERIE, Pa. — If you want to see the solar eclipse on April 8 in its totality, you won’t have to travel far.

>> Solar Eclipse 2024

Two hours north of Pittsburgh, Erie is the only major city in Pennsylvania in the eclipse’s path of totality, VisitErie said. The next total solar eclipse won’t happen again in the contiguous United States until 2044, and the next time Erie will be in the path of totality will be 2144.

Here’s everything you need to know if you’re planning on traveling north to not see the sun:

Times of totality

NASA said the path of totality is narrow, but it actually spans several miles through several counties in Pennsylvania.

The top of the path covers a small portion of Ontario, Canada and almost the entirety of Lake Erie, with the center point being in the middle of the water. From Erie, it stretches around 58 miles south into Mercer County.

“I understand Pittsburgh is going to be 97% totality, which is great, but 100% is mind blowing,” Christine Temple from VisitErie told Channel 11. “This is our time to shine, we want to put our best foot forward, and to show people that come up, look at all there is to see and do.”

While times of totality are different depending on where you are, the City of Erie said the moon is expected to start blocking the sun at 2:02 p.m. The sky will return to normal by around 4:30 p.m.

VisitErie has compiled a list of what times local communities will be blacked out:

  • Downtown Erie
    • Totality begins: 3:16:23 p.m.
    • Totality ends: 3:20:05 p.m.
    • Totality duration: 3 minutes, 41 seconds
  • North East
    • Totality begins: 3:16:47 p.m.
    • Totality ends: 3:20:27 p.m.
    • Totality duration: 3 minutes, 40 seconds
  • Lake City
    • Totality begins: 3:15:58 p.m.
    • Totality ends: 3:19:40 p.m.
    • Totality duration: 3 minutes, 42 seconds
  • Waterford
    • Totality begins: 3:16:36 p.m.
    • Totality ends: 3:19:56 p.m.
    • Totality duration: 3 minutes, 19 seconds
  • Edinboro
    • Totality begins: 3:16:22 p.m.
    • Totality ends: 3:19:41 p.m.
    • Totality duration: 3 minutes, 19 seconds
  • Corry
    • Totality begins: 3:17:18 p.m.
    • Totality ends: 3:20:08 p.m.
    • Totality duration: 2 minutes, 50 seconds

When the sun is blocked, the temperature will drop about 10 degrees, VisitErie said. The sun will be toward the west, not Presque Isle Bay in downtown Erie.

Heavy traffic expected

The City of Erie is preparing for heavy traffic for the eclipse, especially in downtown and on state routes and interstates.

More than 200,000 people are expected to travel to Erie County to watch the dramatic solar event. That’s over twice the city’s population of around 94,000.

Traffic will be so intense that the city is advising residents to make sure they have adequate groceries or prescriptions so they don’t have to fight traffic to get to the store. Several businesses and schools are also closing for the day.

“We know that gridlock and traffic jams will be a major concern, so please, be prepared and plan ahead. Other cities that have been in a total solar eclipse have said it took 12 hours for their highways and interstates to clear from major traffic after the eclipse. We are encouraging visitors to arrive early and, most importantly, stay in Erie later, rather than hit the road immediately after the eclipse,” the city said.

Presque Isle State Park is also expected to be packed, with the 13 beaches being the closest you can get to the center of the path of totality. However, going to the beach to watch the eclipse will require patience.

“Presque Isle, we know is going to get a lot of visitors regardless, but there is only one road in and one road out”, says Temple. “So if you’re dead set on going to Presque Isle, make plans that you’re going to be sitting quite a while in traffic.”

The city said PennDOT will be putting up message boards on highways that lead to Erie before and during the eclipse. They will include safety messages such as ‘remember to use your headlights during the Eclipse’ and ‘do not stop on shoulders or in the middle of the road to watch the Eclipse’.

Lower State Street north of the Bayfront Parkway downtown will be closed to traffic. This will allow visitors to walk down to the waterfront and watch the eclipse. Sheraton Bayfront Hotel and Hampton Inn Bayfront guests driving vehicles to their accommodations will be directed to their respective destinations by Erie police officers.

To ensure emergency vehicles have safe routes, the following no parking areas will be posted:

  • West 2nd Street from State Street to Cascade Street will be posted ‘no parking’ along the north side of the road. This corresponds with the normal no parking Mondays.
  • Route 20 (East and West 26th Street) will be posted ‘no parking’ either side of the street from Elm Street to Elmwood. This will provide space for drivers to pull over upon the approach of any emergency vehicles.
  • Lincoln Ave from the Bayfront Parkway north to 8th Street will be posted ‘no parking’.
  • Greengarden Boulevard from West 12th Street to West 8th Street will be posted ‘no parking’.

For those who prefer public transportation, the Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority will be running all bus routes as normal on April 8 but will adjust if necessary due to traffic congestion.

EMTA will be offering a complimentary shuttle that will service the Intermodal Transportation Center at 208 E, Bayfront Parkway, travel across East Front Street, turning south on State Street, travel along east Perry Square, service the bus shelters at 7th & French and 10th & Holland and back to the Intermodal Center. The shuttle will begin at 9 a.m. April 8 and continue until traffic clears.

Community events

Erie and its surrounding areas are filled with festivities celebrating the total eclipse, with the heart of downtown Erie having the most and being closest to the center of the path of totality besides the beaches. Here’s a list of events happening in the area, from closest to furthest from the city.

Downtown/City of Erie

Bicentennial Tower at Dobbins Landing

  • 1 State Street
  • 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Tickets available for purchase at www.DobbinsLandingErie.com
    • Eclipse viewing glasses included
  • Limited edition eclipse souvenirs for sale

Perry Square

  • 550 State Street
  • 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Children’s Educational Fair for the Total Solar Eclipse
  • Folks from NASA will be in Erie to teach us all about how the sun and moon cause a solar eclipse
  • The Children’s Museum will have STEAM activities and the Erie County Library Bookmobile will be there with tons of science books.
  • Gannon and Penn State Behrend will be in East Perry Square with a large screen for children to look through in order to see the moon pass over the sun.
  • Organizers are encouraging attendees to walk, bike, take a shuttle, or carpool to the event to avoid traffic congestion expected during Eclipse Day.
  • Additional parking Downtown on April 8 will be available at Erie Insurance surface parking lots.

Oliver’s Beer Garden Solar Sips Eclipse Party

  • Hampton Inn & Suites-Hampton Erie Bayfront, 130 E Front Street.
  • 11 a.m.
  • $20 entry fee
  • All day live DJ
  • Bayfront Mini Golf
  • Limited food menu from Oliver’s Food Truck

Art of the Solar Eclipse at GGG

  • Glass Growers Gallery at 10 E 5th Street
  • Friday, April 5: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Saturday, April 6: 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. ; Sunday, April 7: 9 a.m. - 8 p.m. (Total Eclipse Eve Party 5 - 8 p.m.); Monday, April 8: 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • A collection of works by regional artists in the Northwestern Pennsylvania Artists Association (NPAA) titled “Light Obscured”.
  • Special Eclipse $5 GGG bucks upon entry (to use toward a purchase of $35 or more), artisanal eclipse cookie with purchase (while supplies last), and many celestial flourishes throughout the store
  • Complimentary solar eclipse glasses available (while supplies last, accepting donations toward NPAA’s scholarship fund)

Flagship City Food Hall ECLIPSE at the Food Hall

  • 22 N Park Row
  • 12 p.m.
  • Ippa Pizza will be transformed into a total eclipse party zone
  • Special food and drinks at participating kitchens
  • Eclipse viewing and glasses will be available at Perry Square.

Erie SeaWolves Eclipse Block Party

  • Eclipse ‘Block’ Party at UPMC Park (831 French Street)
  • 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Free community event
  • Musical performance by TV personality, country music artist Katie Linendoll at 1 p.m.
  • Youth activities, inflatable games, autograph sessions with SeaWolves players and coaches, photo opportunities with the 2023 Eastern League Championship trophy and mascot C. Wolf, chances to win SeaWolves prizes including tickets to Opening Night and the opportunity to watch the eclipse from the Bud Light Party Deck and seating areas inside UPMC Park
  • Eclipse glasses will be available for the first 1,000 attendees.

Eclipse Watch Party - Erie Land Lighthouse

  • 2 Lighthouse Street, Erie, PA 16507
  • 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Event will only allow access to registered individuals and will be closed when at 100 people capacity.
  • Tower climbs will be limited to a raffle at random.
  • Extremely limited parking on site
    • Attendees encouraged to walk, Uber or Lyft or use EMTA public transit

Park Side of the Moon at Frontier Park

  • 1501 W 6th St, Erie, PA 16505
  • 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Free, public event on the Bayfront/8th Street side of the park
  • Limited metered parking is available on 8th Street. Street parking is available on the surrounding side streets and neighborhood north of the park.
  • Eclipse safety, learning and art activities for all ages offered by LEAF staff, Erie Art Museum and more
  • Free LEAF eclipse glasses for first 1000 guests
  • Beer available for purchase from Erie Ale Works
  • Cocktails available for purchase from Altered State Distillery
  • Coffee and tea available from LZ’s Barista Express
  • Food available for purchase by Que Abides, Atacolypse Food Truck and Donatos Pizza
  • Music by Phunkademic and Friends
  • Poetry reading by Chuck Joy, Thasia Lunger and Abdullah Washington

Drinking in the Eclipse with Paul Joseph by Lavery Brewing

  • 128 W 12th St, Unit 101, Erie, PA, 16501
  • 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
  • Live music from Paul Joseph of Wine & Spirit

Black Hole Sun: Eclipse Parking Lot Party

  • 416 W 12th Street, Erie, PA, 16501
  • 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Event by Erie Ale Works and Taqueria Montes & More LLC
  • Beers, cocktails and mocktails
  • Taqueria Montes Mexican-style food truck
  • Limited amounts of goody bags available

Eclipse Within Our Gates at Mercyhurst University

  • 501 E 38th St, Erie, PA 16546
  • 1 p.m. at Mercyhurst University Athletic Fields
  • Designated by NASA as a “Sunspot Viewing Site”
  • Weekend of events starting on Friday, April 5
  • Lectures, activities and a special viewing event at Saxon Stadium with music

Zooclipse: Solar Safari at the Erie Zoo

  • 423 W 38th St, Erie, PA, 16508
  • 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Family friendly event with different activities, entertainment and some keeper talks about the relationship between animals and the moon
  • This event is included with the price of admission or free with an Erie Zoo membership
  • The event will go on rain or shine!

Millcreek Township

Presque Isle State Park

  • Closest spot to center of path of totality
  • 13 beaches viewing Lake Erie
  • Gate closes at sunset

Eclipse Pajama Jammy Party at Ugly Tuna Tavern

  • 1010 Peninsula Dr, Erie, PA 16505
  • 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Food and drink
  • Music
  • Weather permitting

Zem Zem Eclipse Watch Party

  • 2525 W 38th St, Erie, PA 16506
  • 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • $20 per car
    • No RVs, campers or buses

Black Monk Brewery

  • 3721 West 12th St, Erie, PA, United States, Pennsylvania 16505
  • 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Watch the eclipse from the beer garden
  • Free eclipse glasses and a moon pie while supplies last

TGI Fridays Eclipse Watch Party

  • 6755 Peach Street, Erie PA, 16509
  • 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Solar shades provided while supplies last

Lawrence Park

Eclipse Experience Party at Nostrovia Brewing Co.

  • 4415 East Lake Road, Erie, PA
  • 10 a.m.
  • Free solar eclipse glasses available


Wesleyville American Legion Post 571

  • 1917 Eastern Ave Erie, PA, 16510
  • 12 p.m.
  • Solar glasses available for members and guests
  • Drink specials
  • Live music in front bar at 4 p.m.

Summit Township

Splashclipse Party at Splash Lagoon

  • 8091 Peach St, Erie, PA 16509
  • 10 a.m.
  • Eclipse-themed events, entertainment and special drinks in outside viewing area
  • All activities are included with water park admission
  • Purchase tickets here

Solar Eclipse Watch Party at Erie Sports Center

  • 8161 Oliver Road, Erie, PA, 16509
  • 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Viewing glasses will be handed out while supplies last from NBC affiliate Erie News Now.
  • DJ playing music
  • Food and drink available for purchase

Solar Eclipse Party in the Parking Lot at Presque Isle Downs & Casino

  • 8199 Perry Highway, Erie, PA 16509
  • 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Lower Parking Lot
  • Food Trucks
    • A Waffle Miracle
    • Brady’s Chuckwagon
    • Lil Wagon
    • Smiley’s Ice Cream Truck
  • Free solar eclipse glasses while supplies last
  • Free play giveaways
  • Free concert from rock/country artist Chris Higbee at 1 p.m.

Holiday Inn Eclipse Watch Party

  • 2260 Downs Drive, Erie, PA 16509
  • 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Event capacity: 300
  • Guests staying at the hotel will receive eclipse themed snacks and goodie bags

Lake City

Elektra Kings Eclipse Apocalypse at Twisted Elk Brewery

  • 10139 W Lake Road, Lake City, PA
  • 12:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Waterford/Mill Village

Eclipse on the Farm at Port Farms

  • 1925 Stone Quarry Rd, Waterford, PA 16441
  • 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Poverty Knob Farmhouse Ales open until 8 p.m.)
  • Kickoff To The Eclipse Weekend full of events
  • The first 1,000 guests will receive complimentary ISO-certified eclipse glasses
  • Overnight spots available
  • Goats, ropes course, jumping pillows, slides, ball zones, game garden, barnyard fort and tire fort
  • Live music all day
  • Tickets are required and can be purchased here

Sparrow Eclipse 2024 at Sparrow Pond Family Campground

  • 11103 Peach Street, Waterford, PA
  • Normally not open this time of year due to weather
  • Reservation Dates: Friday 4/5/24, must check out 4/9/24.Two Night Minimum and payment due in full at time of reservation
  • Reservations are not available online
  • To reserve a site you will need to email: reservations@sparrowpond.com with the following info:
    • Name, phone number, type of site you are looking for, size of RV, number of adults, number of children and if any pets.

Eclipse Farmers Market

  • 1357 Lane Road, Waterford, PA 16441
  • April 6 at 11 a.m. to April 8 at 6 p.m.
  • Free farmers market
  • Free eclipse glasses to attendees while supplies last
  • Food, music, crafters and more

Eclipse with Us at Mound Grove Golf Course

  • 10760 Donation Rd, Waterford, PA 16441
  • April 7 at 3 p.m. to April 8 at 4:30 p.m.
  • Chris Higbee performs April 7 from 6 - 9 p.m.
    • $10 per person or $20 for the show and a BBQ dinner
  • Day of Viewing package includes breakfast, games and downtime, buffet lunch, and a beautiful location to view the eclipse! $50 per person
  • $20 a carload for parking for just the view of the eclipse and $15 dollars per person for the buffet lunch

North East

Lake Erie Wine Country Lights Out!

  • A weekend long celebration with 21 different events at several different locations

Total Eclipse Festival at Lake Erie Speedway

  • 10700 Delmas Dr, North East, PA 16428
  • Gates open at 10 a.m.
  • Event will have a parking fee (pre sale $10, day of event $20)
  • Crazy Monkey, Inc. rides and inflatables, food, live music (Dan Baney & Stone Quarry Road 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. and The Breeze Band 2 - 4 p.m. with a break for the Eclipse), driftin, and monster truck rides
  • Rain, cloudy or shine

BEAN Totality Tour Solar Eclipse Party at The Bean

  • 12 S Lake St, North East, PA 16428
  • 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Burch Farms Solar Eclipse Party

  • 9210 Sidehill Road, North East, PA 16429
  • 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • $10 per person (4 and under free)
  • Ticket includes solar eclipse glasses and wine sampling (over 21)
  • Park at the bottom of the hillside and walk up our hill and find your perfect spot in the 3 Acre field to watch the darkness come down over the lake and wait for the sunshine to travel back down the lake.
  • Picnic Lunches will be available for purchase and includes pulled pork sandwich or hot dogs, macaroni salad, chips, pop or juice box.
  • Bakery Items will also be for sale. Cookies, fruit stix, brownies, fruit breads, pies, pepperoni and cheese balls and pepperoni and cheese bread.


2024 Total Solar Eclipse in Edinboro

  • 124 Meadville Street, Edinboro, PA
  • 12 p.m. t o 4 p.m.
  • Event by PennWest Edinboro and Borough of Edinboro

Sunview Miniature Golf Course

  • 12270 Edinboro Rd, Edinboro, PA 16412
  • 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Mini golf, driving range and go-karts open for fun, weather permitting
  • Call or email to order special solar eclipse shirts

Cambridge Springs

Eclipse Party at Riverside Brewing Company

  • 1 Fountain St, Cambridge Springs, PA 16403
  • 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Viewing glasses for the eclipse will be provided
  • Post eclipse buffet by Chef Ryan and special beer can release- Celestial Energy
  • Celestial Energy T-Shirts will be available
  • Tickets available on Eventbrite

Union City

Solar Eclipse Party at The Frog Pond at Canadohta Lake

  • 35755 Circuit Dr, Union City, PA 16438
  • 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Food, music and souvenirs
  • Meet and greet with new owners after a long winter

American Legion Solar Eclipse Party at American Legion LeBaron Post 237

  • 9225 US-6, Union City, PA 16438
  • 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Special glasses available
  • Hot dogs, hamburgers and cake provided
  • Please bring a dish to share
  • Outdoor area open
  • Raffles, door prizes, special gifts, 50/50
  • Live music


Dancing in the Streets Eclipse Party in Downtown Corry

  • Painted Finch Gallery at 32 N. Center Street, Corry, PA 16407
  • 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • DJs and dance instructors
  • Many Corry establishments will be open for business
  • Corry Corner Bar and Grillz will be serving food outdoors (weather permitting)
  • Event capacity: 600

eCLIPse CLOP at Miracle Mountain Ranch

Alien Landing Party ! Solar Eclipse at The White Butterfly

  • 26 N Center St, Corry, PA 16407
  • 12 p.m.
  • The White Butterfly is inviting people to dress up as an alien and enjoy the eclipse

Solar Eclipse Party at Dovetail at Lindsey Hollow

  • 21450 Lindsey Hollow Rd, Corry, PA 16407
  • 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Entertainment, food truck and fun

Hotels around 10x normal price

Last month, Channel 11 told you about hotel prices on the rise in Erie for the day of the eclipse. At the time, hotels were already at 85% occupancy, with prices sometimes being 10 times more than the normal price the week before.

As of just under two weeks before the solar event, hotel prices have jumped.

>> Pittsburghers will get partial view of upcoming eclipse; for a better view, plan a trip to Erie

The Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel right on Presque Isle Bay downtown will run you over $1,000 on April 8. Closer to the beaches, the Cobblestone Hotel & Suites runs at around $600 for the day. In the opposite direction in North East, lodging can be up to nearly $800.

If you’re looking to get away from downtown Erie, La Quinta Inn & Suites right off of I-90 in Summit Township is also around $600. Nearby Baymont by Wyndham, which is directly across the street from Presque Isle Downs & Casino, is listed at around the same price.

Peach Street, which spans Summit and Millcreek townships, is a go-to for food and hotels. Prices for lodging range on the busy roadway from around $450 to nearly $1,000 on the day of the eclipse.

Further away from the center of the path of totality are cheaper options. Comfort Suites in Edinboro is listed at under $300 for the day.

If you’re looking for a sweeter deal, local motels may be the way to go, if they still have availability. Riviera Motel Erie is listed at under $100 for the day, and it’s not located far from Presque Isle State Park.

How to safely watch the eclipse

While some watch parties in Erie are giving away eyewear to watch the eclipse (and at least one gas station chain is giving away a free pair with any purchase), you may have to find a way to safely watch the solar event yourself.

Erie is in the path of totality with this eclipse, meaning that those watching can view the event without protective eyewear during the totality part - when the moon fully covers the sun, and the surrounding area goes dark. However, this window of opportunity only lasts a few minutes before the sun peaks back through and viewers need protection.

According to the American Astronomical Society (AAS), there is only one safe way to directly look at the sun during a solar eclipse while it’s not totally covered by the moon: through solar eclipse glasses or handheld viewers.

NASA says the filters on the solar eclipse glasses are thousands of times darker and are supposed to comply with an international safety standard. If you don’t wear them, you’re risking serious damage to your eyes.

Solar viewers are a hot commodity both online and in retail stores across the U.S. — but that doesn’t mean they’re actually safe to use. These special glasses should comply with ISO 12312-2, an international safety standard for filters that allow for the direct viewing of the sun.

AAS encourages people to avoid searching for eclipse glasses on online retailers like Amazon and Temu.

If you’re unable to get safety glasses, you can make a pinhole projector to see it indirectly. Click here to watch a video on how to make one.

For more information on the eclipse, including how to get ISO-certified eclipse glasses to safely watch the eclipse, click here.

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