Charleston is once again in the global spotlight...or rather, the dark shadow. This time, the “best city in the world” will be graced with a spectacular solar eclipse on August 21st. In fact, Charleston is in the direct path of totality as the final end point for the astronomic wonderment. At approximately 2:48 p.m., the moon’s shadow will cover the sun in the Lowcountry, and Charlestonians will witness the first visible eclipse in America in nearly four decades. As such, more than one million visitors are expected to descend on the Holy City. Public and private schools across Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester Counties are closed. Many businesses are allowing employees to take an early happy hour, and city officials and hoteliers are eagerly planning hospitable greetings for visiting moon-chasers.
Of course, the moon throwing shade to the sun is an excellent reason for Charlestonians to party! Here are few event options for families, romantics, and socialites.
• "Hotter than the Sun” at MUSC Health Stadium, Daniel Island
MUSC Health Stadium, home of the Charleston Battery soccer team, is hosting a “Hotter than the Sun” solar eclipse viewing party. The stadium jumbotron will stream NASA’s 57 weather balloons, and the event will feature live music, assorted food trucks, and a full bar. Children will enjoy the astronomy-themed games, face-painting, balloon art, and jump castles. Admission is free for military personnel, first responders, and children ages 12 and under. Tickets are only $8 for adults. Complimentary viewing glasses will be given to guests as well. Gates open at 11 a.m. and advanced tickets can be purchased here.
• “Dark Side of the Sun” at Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina, Mt. Pleasant
Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina is coordinating a “Dark Side of the Sun” event. Known as “the point,” among locals, this waterfront site will feature live music by the Dubplates and kid-centered activities, games, and bounce houses. General admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children. Patrons can purchase a VIP pass for $60, which includes pier access and specialty tents.
• Science & Baseball at Joe Riley Stadium, Charleston
The Charleston Riverdogs will open their gates at 1 p.m. for an eclipse-themed science program led by special NASA personnel. After the eclipse, fans will enjoy cheering on their beloved RiverDogs as they battle the Augusta Greenjackets at 4 p.m. General admission tickets are $8.
•“Moon over Middleton Place” at the Middleton Plantation, West Ashley
Watch the eclipse unfold over the sparkling Ashley River at historic Middleton Place Plantation and learn more about the cosmos from a College of Charleston astronomer and lecturer. In addition to educational programs, the event will feature arts and crafts as well as proper use of telescopes and star charts. The celebration begins at 10 a.m., and viewing glasses are available for the first 500 guests.
• Apex of the Ravenel Bridge, Charleston
Though not a premier event, holding hands and walking to the top of the bridge to watch the eclipse is perhaps the most romantic plan. Gentlemen, be sure to bring your own viewing glasses and, if the stars are aligned, perhaps a shiny wedding ring as well. After all, why not use this momentous occasion for your own cosmogonal celebration?
• Capers Island Eco Tour
Charleston’s Outdoor Adventures and Famous Adventures have teamed up to ferry patrons to the uninhabited beach at Capers Island. Along the way, the naturalist guide will describe the indigenous ecosystems and an astronomer will be on hand to provide information on the revolving earth, moon, and sun. Advanced reservations are required, and the cost is $65 per person. Eye-protection glasses, bottled water, and snacks are included.
• Eclipse Festival at Yonder Field, Bowen
A brand new outdoor festival and music venue in Bowen, Yonder Field is hosting a full festival to celebrate the solar eclipse. The day begins at 10 a.m. with Great Inflatable Races for individuals and teams. Following the eclipse, famous local musicians including Edwin McCain, Corey Smith and Uncle Kracker will perform on stage, and the evening concludes with an outdoor movie at 9pm. Attendees can either camp overnight or just spend the day at Yonder Field.
• Charleston Beach Parties, Folly & Isle of Palms
Sand gods and salt goddesses will want to make their way to one of Charleston’s public beaches, namely Folly Beach or Isle of Palms. The city of Isle of Palms is coordinating “Get Eclipsed on IOP” celebration behind the Windjammer on Beach Front. Pre-shadow, DJ Natty Heavy will lead the music, and post-shadow Plane Jane will take center stage. Folly Beach is hosting its own event at Pier 101. Guests will receive complimentary viewing glasses and Band of Brothers will perform following the shade.
• Rooftop Bars, Downtown Charleston
Boasting incredible views of the city and and skyline, rooftop bars in downtown Charleston are the ideal location to watch the eclipse and enjoy a day drink. For $25 entry fee, the Rooftop bar at Vendue is offering specially priced rum drinks and music by DJ United. Additionally, the Pavilion rooftop bar, Starz Rooftop, The Watch at the Restoration Hotel, and the Grand Bohemian rooftop bar are all premier places to commemorate this momentous occasion.
Other notable places to watch the wonderment include the U.S.S. Yorktown, Fleet Landing, the Charleston Children’s Museum, and Freshfields at Kiawah Island.