Last-Minute Strategies for Viewing the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse in North Texas

From Mesquite's claim to the longest totality time in urban DFW to a star-studded event at the Cotton Bowl featuring Neil deGrasse Tyson, we've scoured the web to bring you the most stellar lineup of eclipse viewing events and options in North Texas.

Whether you're looking for a cosmic community celebration or an out-of-this-world watch party, our curated list of lists has you covered.

If you’re scrambling to make plans for the upcoming total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024, don’t panic. Even with limited time, North Texans can still have an unforgettable experience. Here are resources to help you make the most of the celestial event.

As for the potential for cloud cover to obscure your view, that’s in the hands of the weather gods. As one meteorologist said, sometimes they are “smiling at you.” But you can keep tabs on it here, in a New York Times interactive map.

Finding a great location is still possible. While many special events have been booked up for weeks, it never hurts to check. But your best bet might be local community events or public viewing parties, which can also include additional amenities such as eclipse glasses, educational talks, and activities. Not to mention a sense of community and shared excitement for this rare celestial event. 

The list of lists

Many media sites are offering a roundup of options. Some of our favorites include CultureMap Dallas, which has a list of about 50 options around the region; WFAA, which focuses on the biggest watch parties in DFW; KERA, which highlights “eight of the best places;” and Fort Worth Report, which lists many Tarrant County locations. Visit Dallas and the city of Fort Worth also offer event lists.

AT&T also just announced former NASA astronaut José Hernández will join a eclipse panel at the AT&T Discovery District during its citywide celebration. The astronaut was the subject of the 2023 Amazon Prime film “A Million Miles Away.”

Other solar spots you can consider are:
(Be sure to double-check times, availability, fees, and other requirements.)

Dallas’ “Sun, Moon, and You” Eclipse Event at Cotton Bowl Stadium: The Cotton Bowl Stadium in Fair Park, Dallas, will host the “Sun, Moon, and You” total solar eclipse event on April 8, 2024. The free event, which requires registration, will begin at 9:30 am and feature solar and space experts, including renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. Attendees can enjoy telescope viewings and live programming throughout the event, making it an educational and exciting experience for all ages. Learn more here.

Trinity Park Conservancy’s Eclipse Event: The Trinity Park Conservancy will host an event at the Ron Kirk Pedestrian Bridge and Felix Lozada Gateway on April 8, 2024, from 12 noon to 2 pm. The free event will feature astronomy experts, music, games, contests, and crafts. The first 3,000 attendees will receive free eclipse glasses. Read more in our story.

Irving’s Total Eclipse in the Park: The City of Irving and Visit Irving invite residents and visitors to the “Total Eclipse in the Park” event on April 8 from noon to 3 p.m. The path of a total solar eclipse will plunge Irving into darkness for approximately four minutes at 1:42 p.m. as the moon completely covers the sun. Cosmic celebrations will be held at Heritage Park and Levy Event Plaza, where visitors will receive eclipse glasses, enjoy space-themed food and refreshments, music, and various activities, according to the city’s parks and recreation site. Go here for more information.

Mesquite’s Solar Rodeo  – Solar Eclipse Weekend: Mesquite will celebrate the total solar eclipse with a full weekend of festivities and community events. Totality will begin at 1:40 pm, peak at 1:42 pm, and last for 4 minutes and 8 seconds on April 8, 2024. The weekend will feature the annual Rodeo Parade, a planetarium experience, family games, art, a farmer’s market, live music, and more. Eclipse viewing locations include Downtown Mesquite at Front Street Station, Mesquite Arts Center, Opal Lawrence Historical Park, and Paschall Park. The website says Mesquite’s totality is longer than any other urban city in DFW. Go here to learn more.

Cedar Hill’s Total Solar Eclipse 2024 Watch Party at Valley Ridge Park: Valley Ridge Park in Cedar Hill will host a Solar Eclipse Watch Party on Monday, April 8, 2024, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. This free event offers an opportunity to witness one of the greatest natural phenomena in our skies: a total solar eclipse. Attendees can immerse themselves in the awe-inspiring beauty of the eclipse while enjoying a day filled with education, fun, and community spirit. The watch party will feature educational vendors and food trucks on-site, making it an unforgettable celestial experience for all. Go here for details.

Arlington’s Total Eclipse of the Park at Levitt Pavilion: The Levitt Pavilion in Arlington will host a free “Total Eclipse of the Park” event from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM on April 8, 2024. The event will feature a live DJ, food trucks, and free commemorative eclipse glasses for the first 3,000 guests. Open seating will be available on the lawn. Go here for details.

Solar Coaster: Six Flags Over Texas’ Adrenaline-Filled Eclipse Experience: Six Flags Over Texas will open on a rare Monday in April specifically for an adrenaline-filled eclipse-watching experience. The park will offer packages to commemorate the day, including exclusive watch areas. Go here for tickets and details.

Grand Prairie’s John Carl Pogue Planetarium’s “Totality Over Texas”: The John Carl Pogue Planetarium in Grand Prairie will host “Totality Over Texas” with multiple showtimes throughout the day. Each attendee will receive a free pair of Solar Eclipse glasses. Tickets and information here. 

EpicCentral’s Eclipse Watch Party: EpicCentral in Grand Prairie is planning an Eclipse Watch Party, with details available on the EpicCentral website.

Choose your location wisely

If you want to stay off the roads or prefer to avoid crowds, staying home might be a viable option for experiencing the 2024 total solar eclipse. Here in North Texas, you may be able to enjoy the eclipse from the comfort of your own backyard or a nearby park.

After all, Dallas city officials on Tuesday encouraged residents to consider viewing the eclipse from locations close to their neighborhoods, the Dallas Morning News reported.

You can also consider less populated areas within the North Texas path of totality to avoid crowds and potential traffic jams. Rural areas might offer clearer skies and a more tranquil viewing experience. However, be sure to respect private property and local regulations.

Traffic, safety, and more tips

A few other things to keep in mind.

Expect heavy traffic before and after the eclipse. Plan to arrive at your viewing location early and consider staying longer after the eclipse to avoid the worst of the congestion. Bringing entertainment or planning to explore the area can make the wait more enjoyable.

Also remember to use proper eye protection, such as ISO 12312-2 certified eclipse glasses, to safely view the event.

Regular sunglasses are not sufficient protection. Also, remember to apply sunscreen and wear a hat if there’s a chance you’ll be in the sun for extended periods.

Pack essentials such as water, snacks, and any necessary medications, as you might be away from services for longer than expected. A portable chair or blanket can also make your viewing experience more comfortable.

You’ll also want to keep an eye on the weather forecast for your chosen location and have a backup plan in case of storms.

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