Best places to view 2024 total solar eclipse in New York state

During totality as the sky turns to total darkness, the outer layer of the sun can be visible. Photo courtesy of: ESA/CESAR/Wouter van Reeven via Wikimedia Commons

OSWEGO, N.Y. — For the first time in almost 100 years, New York state will be in the path of totality for the total solar eclipse happening on April 8. 

According to NASA, a total solar eclipse is when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth, which completely blocks the sun causing complete darkness. The outer layer of the sun will be visible during totality. 

Although most of New York state will be in the path of totality, some parts of the state will only be able to view a partial solar eclipse. A partial eclipse is where the sun, moon and Earth are not perfectly aligned during the eclipse, so only part of the sun will be covered, creating a crescent shape. 

“There is a difference between being in that zone versus being just outside the zone,” said Bill Kardas, chief meteorologist at WKTV News Channel 2. “The eclipse is going to be a very different experience.”

Since not all of New York state will be in the path of totality, here is a list of the top five places to view the solar eclipse, along with some events occurring during the day of for families and friends to attend. 

5. Lake Placid 

Taking in the sights of Lake Placid is a pretty ethereal experience in itself. Combine that with the once in a lifetime experience of a total eclipse, that is quite the view! Totality is set to begin in Lake Placid at 3:25 p.m., lasting around 3 minutes, 21 seconds. 

White Mountain and the James C. Sheffield Olympic Speedskating Oval plans to host watch parties the day of eclipse. 

4. Oswego 

Right on the shores of Lake Ontario, the city of Oswego takes fourth place as a top place to view the total eclipse in Central New York. Totality is expected to begin at 3:21 p.m. and last about 3 minutes, 30 seconds. 

According to the city of Oswego website, they are expecting a large crowd of visitors across the United States and abroad. Oswego will host a viewing party at its popular Breitbeck Park, which will include small business vendors and live music. The State University of New York at Oswego will also be hosting a launch party, along with hosting guest speakers and presentations throughout the day. To learn more about the events happening in Oswego for the solar eclipse, go here.

3. Buffalo 

Moving onto the top three places, Buffalo takes the cake for third place. Much like other cities in Western New York, totality in Buffalo is set to begin at 3:18 p.m. and will last approximately 3 minutes, 45 seconds. 

Buffalo plans on having various watch parties at local businesses around the area day of and some events prior to the eclipse, like a solar eclipse silent disco for the 21-and-up crowd. Some of the places that will be hosting watch parties include the Buffalo Zoo, Buffalo State University, Sahlen Field, Buffalo River Fest Park and many more, which are listed here.

2. Niagara Falls  

Just a 25-minute drive from Buffalo and just steps away from Canada, the second best place to view the 2024 eclipse is in Niagara Falls. What makes this place so special for eclipse viewing is that visitors can experience totality at Niagara Falls State Park while also enjoying an amazing view of the iconic falls along with its special attractions. 

Niagara will also be hosting various events the day of the eclipse and the days leading up to it, like a street festival from April 6-8 on Old Falls Street in Niagara, presentations from NASA April 4-7 at the Niagara Aerospace Museum and various other watch parties. More events happening day of in Niagara can be found here.

1. Rochester 

With Buffalo and Niagara being the hot spots for the eclipse, another great place to view the eclipse in Western New York and the top place on this list is Rochester. Much like Buffalo and Niagara, totality will begin around 3:20 p.m. and last about 3 minutes, 39 seconds.

What makes Rochester stand out, besides the crowds being a little quieter than Buffalo and Niagara Falls, is their extensive lists of events from local businesses all around both day of and leading to the event. The biggest event set to take place is a three day festival called “Roc the Eclipse 2024,” which will be hosted by the Rochester Museum & Science Center and feature planetarium shows, solar viewing safety, guest speakers, food, live entertainment and a live concert post eclipse. For more details, click here.

Viewing a total eclipse is a once in a lifetime opportunity, as New York state will not be seeing another one for decades to come, according to Charles Fulco, a solar system ambassador for NASA and science teacher at Brooklyn Friends School.

“Once totality hits, it is insanely crazy,” said Fulco. “It’s like a completely other worldly experience that you don’t get from a partial eclipse.”