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Where to watch the solar eclipse in Chicago

These are some of the best places to catch this rare celestial event in the Windy City

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On Monday, August 21, 2017, a rare solar eclipse will be visible across all of North America, and Chicagoans will be able to get a good glimpse (while wearing protective eyewear, of course) of the astronomical event. Weather permitting, the eclipse will start around 11:54 a.m. and by 1:19 p.m., the moon will block 87% of the sun. Fortunately, there will be numerous eclipse watching parties in Chicago on Monday the 21st for residents to check out.

From watch parties to quiet spots in the city that will look especially cool shrouded in mid-day darkness, here are some of the best places to catch the rare celestial event. And as always, if you have a suggestion, please leave a comment on this post or hit up the tipline.

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Adler Planetarium

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The Adler Planetarium is going all out for the big solar eclipse. Dubbed Chicago’s Eclipse Fest, the Adler is hosting a whole block party complete with outdoor activities and live experiences throughout the morning and early afternoon. Attendees will be provided with solar viewing glasses for the big eclipse once it happens. The event will be family-friendly and is certainly one to consider for children.

Chicago Botanic Garden

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If you’re in the north ‘burbs, head over to the Chicago Botanic Garden for its big eclipse watching party. The Botanic Garden will begin distributing solar glasses starting outside of the Esplanade at 10:00 a.m. to prepare for the eclipse around 11:54 a.m. This one is also a kid-friendly event and will likely be filled with families.

Comfort Station

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If you’re looking for a more mellow eclipse experience, then the Comfort Station’s watch party may be the one to consider. The event will be hosted outside on the Comfort Station lawn while a livestream of the broadcast of the eclipse will be running inside. Organizers will also distribute certified eclipse glasses for the event.

A post shared by Comfort Film (@comfort_film) on

Scoville Park

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Oak Park residents and those living in the near-west burbs should take a look at the watch party being planned by the Oak Park Public Library. The event will take place at Scoville Park between 11:54 a.m. and 2:53 p.m. and library staff will provide attendees with proper solar viewing glasses. In the case of rain, the library will stream the event indoors.

Oak Park Public Library/Facebook

360 Chicago

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Looking to kick your solar eclipse experience up several notches? Maybe up about 94 notches? 360 Chicago, the observation deck at the John Hancock Center, is hosting a so-called solar eclipse dance party. Instead of standing around outside staring up at the sky, 360 Chicago invites folks to hang out in the clouds and listen to a DJ set of spacey music. Tickets are $10.25 for adults and $6.75 for kids aged 3 to 11 years old.

Maggie Daley Park

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Maggie Daley Park is just one of numerous public spaces in the Chicago Park District to host a viewing party next week. The family-friendly park will likely be a popular spot for children and their parents to convene next Monday. According to the city, the event runs from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

63rd Street Beach

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The 63rd Street Beach offers picturesque views of Lake Michigan and on Monday, crowds are expected to gather at this site to get a look at the solar eclipse. According to the Chicago Park District’s website, the event will run from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

A post shared by ABC 7 Chicago (@abc7chicago) on

Northerly Island

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If watching parties are not your thing, consider staking out a space somewhere on Northerly Island. Far from the big downtown crowds, the island features a tranquil environment which is perfect for experiencing the event in more private and relaxing surroundings. You’ll have to bring your own solar shades though.

South Shore Nature Sanctuary

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Depending on what happens with the planned overhaul for the Jackson Park golf course, there may not be a lot of time left to enjoy the South Shore Nature Sanctuary as we know it. This month’s eclipse may be the best way to enjoy the celestial event while also celebrating the lushly landscaped sanctuary.

Eric Allix Rogers/Chicago Patterns

Humboldt Park Boathouse

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Why not celebrate the solar eclipse over lunch? There’s plenty of room in Humboldt Park to find a spot for a blanket and some prepared foods. The serene environment surrounding the park’s boathouse and lagoon is the perfect place to have a mellow private watching party.

Montrose Beach

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Instead of a light lunch, you can always lug the grill and charcoal out to Montrose Beach for a full-on eclipse barbecue. The solar event will take place during the middle of the day, so it’s the perfect timing to prepare a big lunch if you’ve come with a crowd. Don’t forget the cooler full of brats, ‘chops, and sausages though.

Millennium Park

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We end this list with Cloud Gate, because why not? It’s been an instant icon ever since it was dedicated in 2006. We’ve all seen many, many images of Cloud Gate online, but have you ever seen images of Cloud Gate during a solar eclipse? Exactly.

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Adler Planetarium

The Adler Planetarium is going all out for the big solar eclipse. Dubbed Chicago’s Eclipse Fest, the Adler is hosting a whole block party complete with outdoor activities and live experiences throughout the morning and early afternoon. Attendees will be provided with solar viewing glasses for the big eclipse once it happens. The event will be family-friendly and is certainly one to consider for children.

Chicago Botanic Garden

If you’re in the north ‘burbs, head over to the Chicago Botanic Garden for its big eclipse watching party. The Botanic Garden will begin distributing solar glasses starting outside of the Esplanade at 10:00 a.m. to prepare for the eclipse around 11:54 a.m. This one is also a kid-friendly event and will likely be filled with families.

Comfort Station

If you’re looking for a more mellow eclipse experience, then the Comfort Station’s watch party may be the one to consider. The event will be hosted outside on the Comfort Station lawn while a livestream of the broadcast of the eclipse will be running inside. Organizers will also distribute certified eclipse glasses for the event.

A post shared by Comfort Film (@comfort_film) on

Scoville Park

Oak Park Public Library/Facebook

Oak Park residents and those living in the near-west burbs should take a look at the watch party being planned by the Oak Park Public Library. The event will take place at Scoville Park between 11:54 a.m. and 2:53 p.m. and library staff will provide attendees with proper solar viewing glasses. In the case of rain, the library will stream the event indoors.

Oak Park Public Library/Facebook

360 Chicago

Looking to kick your solar eclipse experience up several notches? Maybe up about 94 notches? 360 Chicago, the observation deck at the John Hancock Center, is hosting a so-called solar eclipse dance party. Instead of standing around outside staring up at the sky, 360 Chicago invites folks to hang out in the clouds and listen to a DJ set of spacey music. Tickets are $10.25 for adults and $6.75 for kids aged 3 to 11 years old.

Maggie Daley Park

Maggie Daley Park is just one of numerous public spaces in the Chicago Park District to host a viewing party next week. The family-friendly park will likely be a popular spot for children and their parents to convene next Monday. According to the city, the event runs from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

63rd Street Beach

The 63rd Street Beach offers picturesque views of Lake Michigan and on Monday, crowds are expected to gather at this site to get a look at the solar eclipse. According to the Chicago Park District’s website, the event will run from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

A post shared by ABC 7 Chicago (@abc7chicago) on

Northerly Island

If watching parties are not your thing, consider staking out a space somewhere on Northerly Island. Far from the big downtown crowds, the island features a tranquil environment which is perfect for experiencing the event in more private and relaxing surroundings. You’ll have to bring your own solar shades though.

South Shore Nature Sanctuary

Eric Allix Rogers/Chicago Patterns

Depending on what happens with the planned overhaul for the Jackson Park golf course, there may not be a lot of time left to enjoy the South Shore Nature Sanctuary as we know it. This month’s eclipse may be the best way to enjoy the celestial event while also celebrating the lushly landscaped sanctuary.

Eric Allix Rogers/Chicago Patterns

Humboldt Park Boathouse

Why not celebrate the solar eclipse over lunch? There’s plenty of room in Humboldt Park to find a spot for a blanket and some prepared foods. The serene environment surrounding the park’s boathouse and lagoon is the perfect place to have a mellow private watching party.

Montrose Beach

Instead of a light lunch, you can always lug the grill and charcoal out to Montrose Beach for a full-on eclipse barbecue. The solar event will take place during the middle of the day, so it’s the perfect timing to prepare a big lunch if you’ve come with a crowd. Don’t forget the cooler full of brats, ‘chops, and sausages though.

Millennium Park

We end this list with Cloud Gate, because why not? It’s been an instant icon ever since it was dedicated in 2006. We’ve all seen many, many images of Cloud Gate online, but have you ever seen images of Cloud Gate during a solar eclipse? Exactly.