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Solar eclipse 2017: Where to watch in the D.C. area

Viewing events and parties in and around Washington, D.C.

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For the first time in nearly a century, those in and near Washington, D.C., will be able to witness a partial eclipse. On Monday, August 21, the moon will obscure approximately 81 percent of the sun at 2:42 p.m.

While the National Air and Space Museum is certainly your best bet for solar eclipse-viewing, there are a wide variety of other options in the area worth checking out.

For the event, be sure to stay safe by grabbing a pair of solar eclipse glasses, and make sure that the glasses you get are not counterfeit. Curbed sister site The Verge has all the details you need on how to tell if the glasses are safe or not.

Note: The map points have been listed geographically, from the most north to the most south.

Are there any locations left off this map that are worth an inclusion? Let Curbed DC know in the comments.

[UPDATE 8/16/17: The Chevy Chase Library was removed from this map as they don’t have any more safe solar eclipse glasses.]

[UPDATE 8/18/17: The Richard Byrd Library was removed from this map as they don’t have any more safe solar eclipse glasses.]

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1. Black Hill Visitor Center

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20926 Lake Ridge Dr
Boyds, MD 20841

In celebration of the solar eclipse, the Black Hill Visitor Center will host a family-friendly party with solar eclipse glasses and “other viewing devices.” The free event will be held from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Photo via Virginia Hill

2. Martin Luther King Jr. Recreational Park

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1120 Jackson Rd
Silver Spring, MD 20904

This free watch party has you totally covered. There will be solar eclipse glasses offered as well as a dance party, games, and giveaways from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Be sure to pack a picnic and blankets if joining the fun.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Thomas R Machnitzki

3. Smithsonian National Zoological Park

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3001 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008

From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., the National Zoo’s Pachyderm Plaza (just outside the Elephant Community Center) will allow the public to use safe solar telescopes with free safe eclipse glasses offered as well.

Smithsonian Zoo Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Quadell

4. National Archives Building

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700 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20408

After peeking at the solar eclipse outside through safe solar eclipse glasses (offered at the National Archives), you can also take a look through history and see records from the building’s holdings about past solar eclipses. The solar eclipse glasses and solar eclipse gallery are free to the public. The event will be hosted from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

5. Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

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600 Independence Ave SW
Washington, DC 20560

For sure, the National Air and Space Museum is the best place in D.C. proper for solar eclipse-viewing.

To mark the occasion, the National Air and Space Museum will host programming throughout the day in the National Mall building and in the museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. There will be safe solar telescopes, free eclipse glasses, and the option to make your own pinhole eclipse viewer.

Additionally, expect the eclipse livestreamed online.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Jawed Karim

6. The Connection: Crystal City – Pop-up Branch Library

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2100 Crystal Dr
Arlington, VA 22202

Thanks to a donation of 100 solar eclipse glasses, visitors of this pop-up library will be able to grab solar eclipse glasses for free. Only one is allowed to each person, while supplies last. For the hours of this library, head here.

Photo courtesy of Arlington County

7. Ben Brenman Park

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4800 Brenman Park Dr
Alexandria, VA 22304

On a first come, first served basis, the Alexandria Library system will offer free solar eclipse glasses and snacks at Ben Brenman Park. Be sure to bring your own lawn chairs and blankets.

Photo via Shutterstock

8. Prince George's County Memorial Library System

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15773 Livingston Rd
Accokeek, MD 20607

Here, in this library, there are plans to host a solar eclipse-viewing party from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Expect a limited number of solar eclipse glasses offered for free.

A post shared by PGCMLS Libraries (@pgcmls) on

1. Black Hill Visitor Center

20926 Lake Ridge Dr, Boyds, MD 20841
Photo via Virginia Hill

In celebration of the solar eclipse, the Black Hill Visitor Center will host a family-friendly party with solar eclipse glasses and “other viewing devices.” The free event will be held from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

20926 Lake Ridge Dr
Boyds, MD 20841

2. Martin Luther King Jr. Recreational Park

1120 Jackson Rd, Silver Spring, MD 20904
Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Thomas R Machnitzki

This free watch party has you totally covered. There will be solar eclipse glasses offered as well as a dance party, games, and giveaways from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Be sure to pack a picnic and blankets if joining the fun.

1120 Jackson Rd
Silver Spring, MD 20904

3. Smithsonian National Zoological Park

3001 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008
Smithsonian Zoo Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Quadell

From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., the National Zoo’s Pachyderm Plaza (just outside the Elephant Community Center) will allow the public to use safe solar telescopes with free safe eclipse glasses offered as well.

3001 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008

4. National Archives Building

700 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20408

After peeking at the solar eclipse outside through safe solar eclipse glasses (offered at the National Archives), you can also take a look through history and see records from the building’s holdings about past solar eclipses. The solar eclipse glasses and solar eclipse gallery are free to the public. The event will be hosted from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

700 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20408

5. Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

600 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20560
Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Jawed Karim

For sure, the National Air and Space Museum is the best place in D.C. proper for solar eclipse-viewing.

To mark the occasion, the National Air and Space Museum will host programming throughout the day in the National Mall building and in the museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. There will be safe solar telescopes, free eclipse glasses, and the option to make your own pinhole eclipse viewer.

Additionally, expect the eclipse livestreamed online.

600 Independence Ave SW
Washington, DC 20560

6. The Connection: Crystal City – Pop-up Branch Library

2100 Crystal Dr, Arlington, VA 22202
Photo courtesy of Arlington County

Thanks to a donation of 100 solar eclipse glasses, visitors of this pop-up library will be able to grab solar eclipse glasses for free. Only one is allowed to each person, while supplies last. For the hours of this library, head here.

2100 Crystal Dr
Arlington, VA 22202

7. Ben Brenman Park

4800 Brenman Park Dr, Alexandria, VA 22304
Photo via Shutterstock

On a first come, first served basis, the Alexandria Library system will offer free solar eclipse glasses and snacks at Ben Brenman Park. Be sure to bring your own lawn chairs and blankets.

4800 Brenman Park Dr
Alexandria, VA 22304

8. Prince George's County Memorial Library System

15773 Livingston Rd, Accokeek, MD 20607

Here, in this library, there are plans to host a solar eclipse-viewing party from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Expect a limited number of solar eclipse glasses offered for free.

15773 Livingston Rd
Accokeek, MD 20607