4 Steps to Having the Best Solar Eclipse Day in Central Ohio

City Guide, Event, Family Friendly, Things to Do


Written by Step Out Columbus

Published on March 13, 2024
Photo courtesy of NASA on Facebook

If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed by all the solar eclipse news and events, you’re not alone. With so much happening, I’ve been feeling frozen, not knowing which event to attend or what location to watch from.

“What if you miss it?” “What if the weather is bad?” “How will you deal with traffic?”

Great questions, voice in my head!

In order to silence the noise and all the hubbub surrounding the solar eclipse, I took it upon myself to plan the ideal solar eclipse day, and figured I’d share it with you.

Step 1: Go get a pair of legit eclipse glasses

While our plan is to watch the eclipse from an area that will receive totality (where the moon completely blocks the sun), the partial eclipse the both precedes and proceeds totality will require solar eclipse glasses for safe viewing.

There are a lot of people looking to make money on this event, and some of them don’t have the best intentions, so make sure you are purchasing legit solar eclipse glasses that will protect your eyes (they are denoted with a marking that says something along the lines of “Meets the ISO 12312-2 (sometimes seen as ISO 12312-2:2015) safety standard”).

Luckily for us, several spots around Central Ohio are handing out glasses leading up to the eclipse. Here are some examples:

Photo courtesy of the Columbus Metropolitan Library on Facebook

Step 2: Choose the eclipse experience you want

Assuming you want a view of the total eclipse and not the partial eclipse (i.e., Downtown Columbus will NOT see a total eclipse), you will have to pick how deep into the path of totality you’d like to go.

Why? What’s the difference?

The deeper into the center of the path of totality, the longer the total eclipse will be for you (up to 4 minutes long). If you’re like me and don’t really have too much of a preference, then we recommend watching at Coffman Park in Dublin. This will give you close access to I-270, so you can try and beat local traffic after the eclipse is over, as well as around 2 minutes of totality.

If you want to explore other options, check out our Ultimate Guide to Solar Eclipse Events.

Step 3: Get there early

Traffic, parking, and overall congestion is going to be at an all-time high both the weekend before the eclipse and during the eclipse. Plan to get to the park at least several hours before the eclipse begins so you can secure parking, a place to watch, and avoid traffic.

Step 4: Make plans for after the eclipse

Chances are, after totality passes, the majority of people will pack up and head back home. Plan for extreme congestion and, if possible, plan to stay at the park for a few hours (or walk to nearby spots like Bridge Park to pass the time). If you are planning on using rideshare apps like Uber or Lyft, plan ahead as there will be surge pricing and limited availability throughout the weekend.

Be sure to tag us in any eclipse pictures and videos you take on social medias @stepoutcolumbus!

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