Unless you’ve been living under Enchanted Rock (lucky you – it booked up a year ago!), you know that Monday, April 8 is a big deal. A total solar eclipse is coming, and Austin and its surrounding area will be in the “path of totality” (which I thought would make a great name for a metal band, but someone beat me to it). The upside of this is that no matter what part of the Austin metro you’re in, you’re destined for a front row seat. The downside, of course, is that as many as 8,000 visitors will be right there in the front row with you, and there might not be any TP at Costco.

Just because you didn’t make your total eclipse plans two years ago, or even two weeks ago, doesn’t mean you’re confined to watch the eclipse from your driveway (but even from there, you’ll have a great view!). Plenty of area businesses and parks haven’t sold out of eclipse viewing events yet, so if you’re still looking for a viewing party, you’re in luck… as long as you have the glasses. Y’all have the glasses, right?!

Here’s where you can celebrate this once-in-a-lifetime celestial phenomenon in and around Austin.

State Parks

As of this writing, there are still a few state parks in the path of totality that have day passes available for purchase Monday, April 8. All LCRA parks are sold out for the day.

Old Tunnel State Park

10619 Old San Antonio Road
Fredericksburg, TX 78624

Squarely in the center of the path of totality, Old Tunnel State Park is not taking reservations for the April 8 eclipse, and will instead allow free entry of passenger vehicles (no buses or RVs) into the park on a first-come, first-served basis until the park reaches its capacity of 89 vehicles. Refer to their FAQ if you want to be one of the brave 89!

Lake Brownwood State Park

200 State Highway Park Road 15
Brownwood, TX 76801

Located at the edge of the path of totality three hours northwest of Austin, Lake Brownwood State Park is still accepting day pass reservations for Monday, April 8, and a limited number of camp sites and cabins are still available as well.

Tyler State Park

789 Park Road 16
Tyler, TX 75706-9141

This sprawling state park in Tyler, TX is sold out for overnight camping for the eclipse, but still has several day passes available for both 8:00 AM and 1:00 PM entry into the park. Visit the FAQ for more information about reserving a day pass for the eclipse.

Austin Rooftops

Hilton Austin

500 E 4th St
Austin, TX

The Hilton in the heart of downtown Austin is hosting a viewing party on eclipse day from 12:30 PM – 3:30 PM. There is no entry fee and partygoers do not need to be guests of the hotel to join. Eclipse glasses are free, and themed cocktails will be available for purchase.

Meridian 98 Rooftop  

12525 Bee Cave Pkwy
Bee Cave, TX

The rooftop bar of the Sonesta Bee Cave hotel will be opening early and closing late (12:30 PM – 10:00 PM) on April 8. The vantage point from the rooftop’s patio is optimal for eclipse viewing, and guests can enjoy eclipse-inspired cocktails, small dishes, and live music. Admission is free and open to the public, but spots are limited, and reservations can be made by contacting the Sonesta hotel by phone.

The Austin Public Library

In addition to its special programming leading up to the eclipse and its free distribution of eclipse glasses, nine branches of the Austin Public Library will be hosting eclipse viewing parties on Monday, April 8. Visit APL’s eclipse page for more information.

  •     Central Library / 12 – 2 PM
  •     Cepeda Branch / 12 – 2 PM
  •     Menchaca Branch / 11:30 AM – 2 PM
  •     North Village Branch / 11 AM – 2 PM
  •     Old Quarry Branch / 12-2 PM
  •     Pleasant Hill Branch / 12:30-2:30 PM
  •     Twin Oaks Branch / 12 – 2 PM
  •     Willie Mae Kirk Branch / 12 -2 PM
  •     Windsor Park Branch / 12-2 PM

In the Heart of the City

The Long Center                

Hartman Concert Lawn
701 W. Riverside Drive
Austin, TX 78704

The Long Center and the Simons Foundation are hosting a free eclipse viewing party on the lawn and H-E-B Terrace. Hosted by Radiolab’s Molly Webster, the event will feature 4 hours of entertainment centered around the total eclipse, and will provide opportunities for guests to engage with astronomers and celebrate together with the community. Custom eclipse-themed beer from local Austin breweries, as well as food and other refreshments, will be available during the event and the first 1000 guests to arrive will receive eclipse tote bags. All guests will receive complimentary viewing glasses.

Moody Amphitheater

1401 Trinity St
Austin, TX 78701

Vampire Weekend will be performing during the total solar eclipse at the Moody Amphitheater at Waterloo Greenway park in downtown Austin. As of this writing, many seats and spots on the lawn are still available. Eclipse glasses are included with the purchase of a ticket.

In the ‘Burbs

Pioneer Farms

10621 Pioneer Farms Dr
Austin, TX 78754

Jourdan-Bachman Pioneer Farms is hosting a weekend-long Eclipse Festival program for $20 or a Monday-only viewing party for $12. As of this writing, tickets are still available for both events. The celebration will feature historical, family-friendly activities.

Camp Lucy

3509 Creek Road
Dripping Springs, TX 78620

With its breathtaking rural view of the hill country, Camp Lucy just outside Dripping Springs is the perfect destination if you want a last-minute splurge on an eclipse viewing party. The $197 ticket purchase includes camp admission, live music, a food and beverage bar, as well as an exclusive presentation by NASA astrophysicist Michael McElwain.

The Salt Lick

18300 FM 1826
Driftwood, TX

The OG Salt Lick in Driftwood is hosting A Stellar BBQ Party from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM on Monday, April 8, featuring music by local legend Dale Watson and his Lone Stars. Advance parking reservations are $25 and are required for admission.

Buchanan Dam

507 Hi-Line Drive
Buchanan Dam, TX 78609

HiLine Visions is hosting a Dam party. The open property northwest of Austin will experience nearly four minutes of totality. The day-of eclipse event will include spontaneous music jams, presentations by scientists, and eclipse glasses. Adult tickets are $50, and child tickets are $25. Primitive 3-day camping is also available if you want to rough it.

The Fieldhouse at the Crossover

1717 Scottsdale Dr Suite 160
Leander, TX 78641

To my knowledge, this may be the only place to score a 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse… and the me in my 20s is here for it. The Eclipse Watch Party at the Fieldhouse runs from 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM and will include a DJ, cocktails, food trucks, and a raffle for the coveted Eclipse. The event is free, and raffle tickets are $8.

With Celestial Spirits

Sign Bar

9909 FM 969 Bldg 3
Austin, TX 78724

Sign Bar’s free Solar Eclipse Party starts Monday, April 8 at 12:00 PM. The event features Sign Bar’s on-site DJ, complimentary eclipse glasses, ‘Total Eclipse of The Heart’ cocktails and cosmic snacks like Moon Pies, Sun Chips and Star Crunch.

Blue Lotus Winery

8500 W Hwy 290
Hye, TX 78635

Well into the path of totality, Blue Lotus Winery and Resort is hosting a viewing party with live music, food trucks, and Texas wine and mead. Tickets are $20 and must be purchased in advance.

Fall Creek Vineyards

18059A FM 1826
Driftwood, TX 78619

The tasting room at Fall Creek Vineyards in Driftwood is hosting an eclipse viewing tailgate party with live music and burgers from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM Monday, April 8. Parking is $25 per car, and burger orders can be submitted ahead of time. Carpooling is encouraged!

Vista Brewing Co.

13551 RM 150
Driftwood, TX 78619

Family-friendly Vista Brewing Co. in Driftwood is hosting Vista Eclipse Fest from 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM on its wildflower-covered ranch. There’ll be live music, food and drink specials, wildflower photo ops, and kids’ activities. Ticket purchase is required to attend. Adult tickets are $15 and include one pair of certified eclipse glasses. Kids are free.

Ghost Note Brewing Co.

23663 RR 12
Dripping Springs, TX 78620

Join Ghost Note Brewing Co in Dripping Springs for an extended total eclipse weekend celebration, culminating on Monday, April 8 from 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM. The 3-day celebration includes live music, special beer releases, and food trucks on site. The party is free to attend, but guests must have a parking reservation to enter on Monday, April 8th.

Meanwhile Brewing Co

3901 Promontory Point Dr
Austin, TX 78744

Meanwhile Brewing Co is one of the breweries in the path of totality partnering with the Simons Foundation’s #InThePathOfTotality initiative, brewing a special edition beer (Icarus’s Revenge), hosting special giveaways and a live set from Sienna String Quartet from 1-3pm. The event is free and open to the public.

Austin Beerworks

10300 Springdale Rd
Austin, TX 78754

The Sprinkle Valley campus of Austin Beerworks is hosting an eclipse viewing party and disc golf tournament from 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM on Monday, April 8. There’ll be 1000 pairs of free eclipse viewing glasses, special beers, special glassware, and lots of other special specials!

Desert Door Distillery

211 Darden Hill Rd
Driftwood, TX 78619

Enjoy the three minutes of totality at Desert Door Distillery in Driftwood on Monday, April 8 from 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM. Activities include tarot card readings, live music, a photo booth, and Amy’s Ice Cream. Eclipse glasses and drink tokens will be provided with the purchase of a ticket ($50-$60) to the event.

Middleton Brewing Co

101 Oakwood Loop
San Marcos, TX 78666

The watch party at Middleton Brewing Co on the outskirts of San Marcos is free and open to the public. The upstairs deck will be open, but capacity is limited so guests are encouraged to arrive early (and bring a chair). Beer specials and eclipse glasses will be available all day.

A note on safety

I already said the thing about the glasses, didn’t I? Seriously, y’all. Don’t look at the eclipse with naked eyes. The city of Austin has declared a state of emergency for Monday, April 8 due to the volume of visitors, and surrounding areas have warned that our typical first circle of hell traffic will morph into something out of an apocalyptic thriller. Cap Metro has issued an advisory that bus service will likely experience delays as well. If you can walk to an event, do that. If you need TP, just go to Costco now.

Several area school districts have cancelled classes on eclipse day in the name of public safety, including Hays, Lake Travis, Lago Vista, Dripping Springs, Del Valle, and others. For those in districts still holding classes, AISD and others will be distributing eclipse glasses to the students and taking them outside to experience this unforgettable phenomenon. It’s sure to be an amazing day, but stay safe out there, y’all! And if you’re at an hours-long party with your kids who are out of school for the day, bring baby wipes and a book.

Kelly I. Hitchcock
Kelly I. Hitchcock is a literary fiction author, humorist, and poet in the Austin, Texas area. She is the author of three books and has published poems, short stories, and creative non-fiction works all over the country. Raised by a single father in the small town of Buffalo, Missouri, Kelly has fond memories of her poor rural upbringing in the Ozarks that strongly influence her writing and way of life. She’s a graduate of Missouri State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing. She has six-year-old identical twins and a full-time job, so writing and picking up LEGO are the only other things she can devote herself to. You can find all Kelly's work at kellyhitchcock.com.


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