Psyched about the impending solar eclipse? Join the club. As Chicagoans gear up for the rare celestial experience on Monday, August 21, restaurants, hotels and local organizations are pulling out the stops with themed events and viewing parties. We rounded up the top 10 eclipse bashes for your viewing pleasure. Be sure to sneak out of the office around 1pm to get the best view of the eclipse, which peaks around 1:19pm here in Chicago.
10 Places to Watch the Solar Eclipse in Chicago
Adler Planetarium: Check out Eclipse Fest, a massive block party that’s free to attend and includes general admission to the museum. The event itself will feature live entertainment, solar car races, telescope viewing, food trucks and more. Festivities begin Monday at 10:30am.
Sprinkles Cupcakes: The cupcake emporium will be doling out free black velvet cupcakes to the first 50 customers in line. Monday at 9am.
The J. Parker: If you have time for a very leisurely afternoon, head to this Lincoln Park rooftop for unbeatable views and a themed Lunar Brunch with sun- and moon-inspired beverages. Monday from 9am to 2pm.
Daley Plaza: Adler Planetarium staff will be on hand with free solar eclipse glasses and telescopes. Monday at 11:30am.
Chicago Athletic Association: Gear up for the big event with an eclipse celebration this weekend. The hotel’s pop-up dive bar concept is teaming with fields Magazine on an out-of-this-world evening, complete with fiction readings, live music and comedy. Saturday, August 19 from 5 to 10pm.
360 Chicago: If you’re looking to shimmy off your mid-afternoon slump, pop over to 360 Chicago for an eclipse dance party on the Observation Deck. The event includes Revolution Brewing’s Sun Crusher hoppy wheat ale for purchase and a space-themed playlist. Monday from 11am to 3pm.
Seadog Cruises: Get on an open-air speedboat for a 45-minute cruise on Lake Michigan as the moon passes between the sun and the earth. Boarding begins at 12:45pm Monday, cruise 1-1:45pm. $21.95-$36.95.
Chicago Public Libraries: The city’s libraries are hosting viewing parties galore-find one near you here.
Comfort Station: Camp out on the Logan Square venue’s lawn for an afternoon of sky-watching. Monday from 11:30am to 2:45pm.
Chicago Botanic Garden: Pack your lawn chair and head to the picturesque park for a free viewing party, which includes glasses (one per family). Monday from 11am to 3pm.
Can’t find viewing glasses? Grab the kiddos or a friend and try making one of these Do-It-Yourself Mini Pinhole Solar Eclipse Viewers before Monday’s big event!
- cardboard wrapping paper tube, about 3 feet long
- sheet of white paper
- aluminum foil
- push pin
1. Cut a slot out of the bottom of the wrapping paper tube about 1 inch high and 1 inch wide.
2. Cut a square out of the white paper a little bigger than the diameter of your wrapping paper tube.
3. Tape the paper over the end of the tube with the slot. You will view the sun on the inside surface of the paper.
4. Cut a square out of the aluminum foil a little bigger than the diameter of your wrapping paper tube.
5. Tape the aluminum foil over the other end of the tube. Smooth down the sides of the foil to get a tight fit across the top of the tube.
6. With the push pin put a tiny hole in the aluminum foil right at the center of the tube. The sun will go through this hole.
1. Take your tube outside to a sunny spot. Hold the tube so the aluminum foil side is pointed toward the sun and so you can see inside the slot at the bottom.
2. Look at your shadow on the ground and adjust the tube until its shadow completely disappears. Move it around gently until you see the disk of the sun come into view.
3. The sun should be about the size of a dime. *If you want a bigger image, use a longer tube.
You can find much more information about eclipses at this NASA link: http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse.html