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Chabot Space and Science Center’s Wightman Observatory Plaza.
Photo by Malcolm J.

Solar eclipse: 9 best places to view it in the East Bay (updated)

You won’t want to miss this celestial event

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Chabot Space and Science Center’s Wightman Observatory Plaza.
| Photo by Malcolm J.

On August 21 a total solar eclipse will move over the U.S. for the first time in nearly 40 years. While not every everyone will be lucky enough to see the phenomenon in its totality—only 14 states will have total visibility of the eclipse—Northern California will be able to catch 75 percent coverage.

And starting at 10:15 a.m. PDT, the Bay Area will be able to catch it for roughly two minutes. (According to NASA, “the longest period when the moon obscures the sun's entire surface from any given location along its path will last about two minutes and 40 seconds.”) This sighting is rare, and you won’t want to miss it.

We’ve mapped a few choice spots in the East Bay with high vantage points and great views of the sky that will give you a clear view of the partial eclipse. And for those of you stuck in SF, here are the best places to see the celestial moment, provided the weather clears up.

Remember: Sunglasses won’t work to see it. You need to use the solar-eclipse-approved filters. Staring at the sun without them will cause serious retina damage.

And if this is your first solar eclipse, here are eight tips from the pros on how to watch.

Update: As of Monday morning, low fog has blanketed San Francisco and parts of the Bay Area. The outlook appears grim. But if you want to see the solar eclipse, traveling inland will be your best bet.

Otherwise, you can watch it via livestream.

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1. Indian Rock Park

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950 Indian Rock Ave
Berkeley, CA 94707
(510) 981-6637
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Championed as one of the best spots to catch the sun rise in Berkeley. According to The Daily Cal, “The climb is a little steep, but getting to the top to witness the sunrise truly beats sleeping in.” We imagine it will be even better for seeing the upcoming eclipse. Ideal for those who want to get in some exercise before seeing the sky go dark.

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2. University of California, Berkeley

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(510) 642-6000
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There are sure to be gaggles of smart Cal students viewing the solar eclipse around campus. Presumably somewhere around Sproul Plaza. Just look for the kids starring up into the sky (with safe viewers, of course).

3. Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park

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2151 M.L.K. Jr Way
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 981-6700
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The large lawn of this landmark park will provide a choice spot for catching the sun do dark. If it’s a fog-free day (fingers crossed), this park should be filled with gazers aplenty.

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4. Berkeley Public Library

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2090 Kittredge St
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 981-6100
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Live group viewing party will offer free safe viewing glasses. The event is free. Just head over to the Central Library’s front steps.

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5. Danville Library

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400 Front St
Danville, CA 94526
(925) 314-3750
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Over in suburbia, bring the kids to this free event at the library. Prepare for the darkening by learning about eclipses through activities and crafts like as making a pinhole projector to safely view the eclipse.

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6. Chabot Space & Science Center

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10000 Skyline Blvd
Oakland, CA 94619
(510) 336-7300
Visit Website

Solar eclipse observers can view the celestial phenomenon through Chabot's 100-year-old 8-inch telescope, christened Leah. The center will be open from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. for viewing outside or, better yet, check it out via live feed in their comfy theaters.

Eclipse viewing glasses are available for purchase. This is a free event.

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7. Oakland Public Library

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125 14th St
Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 238-3134
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The main library in Oakland will provide pinhole viewers for everyone who shows. If you cannot make it, you can pick up free eclipse glasses ahead of time at any Oakland library location. Event begins at 9:30 a.m.

8. Alameda Free Library

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1550 Oak St
Alameda, CA 94501
(510) 747-7777
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Alameda Free Library will provide viewing on the morning of the eclipse. If it is a cloudy/foggy morning, viewing will be held in the Stafford Community Rooms via live feed projected onto our large screen. 

Event is free.

9. Oakland Zoo

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The Oakland Zoo's Landing Cafe will be an ideal spot to see the sun go dark. The Landing Cafe rests 650 feet above sea level, according to ABC 7, “boasting a panoramic view of seven counties in the Bay Area.”

The East Bay zoo is also home to an urban gondola, so visitors can ride it up to a higher viewpoint. Provided the weather cooperates, viewers will have an unobstructed view of the eclipse.

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1. Indian Rock Park

950 Indian Rock Ave, Berkeley, CA 94707

Championed as one of the best spots to catch the sun rise in Berkeley. According to The Daily Cal, “The climb is a little steep, but getting to the top to witness the sunrise truly beats sleeping in.” We imagine it will be even better for seeing the upcoming eclipse. Ideal for those who want to get in some exercise before seeing the sky go dark.

950 Indian Rock Ave
Berkeley, CA 94707

2. University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, CA 94720

There are sure to be gaggles of smart Cal students viewing the solar eclipse around campus. Presumably somewhere around Sproul Plaza. Just look for the kids starring up into the sky (with safe viewers, of course).

3. Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park

2151 M.L.K. Jr Way, Berkeley, CA 94704

The large lawn of this landmark park will provide a choice spot for catching the sun do dark. If it’s a fog-free day (fingers crossed), this park should be filled with gazers aplenty.

2151 M.L.K. Jr Way
Berkeley, CA 94704

4. Berkeley Public Library

2090 Kittredge St, Berkeley, CA 94704

Live group viewing party will offer free safe viewing glasses. The event is free. Just head over to the Central Library’s front steps.

2090 Kittredge St
Berkeley, CA 94704

5. Danville Library

400 Front St, Danville, CA 94526

Over in suburbia, bring the kids to this free event at the library. Prepare for the darkening by learning about eclipses through activities and crafts like as making a pinhole projector to safely view the eclipse.

400 Front St
Danville, CA 94526

6. Chabot Space & Science Center

10000 Skyline Blvd, Oakland, CA 94619

Solar eclipse observers can view the celestial phenomenon through Chabot's 100-year-old 8-inch telescope, christened Leah. The center will be open from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. for viewing outside or, better yet, check it out via live feed in their comfy theaters.

Eclipse viewing glasses are available for purchase. This is a free event.

10000 Skyline Blvd
Oakland, CA 94619

7. Oakland Public Library

125 14th St, Oakland, CA 94612

The main library in Oakland will provide pinhole viewers for everyone who shows. If you cannot make it, you can pick up free eclipse glasses ahead of time at any Oakland library location. Event begins at 9:30 a.m.

125 14th St
Oakland, CA 94612

8. Alameda Free Library

1550 Oak St, Alameda, CA 94501

Alameda Free Library will provide viewing on the morning of the eclipse. If it is a cloudy/foggy morning, viewing will be held in the Stafford Community Rooms via live feed projected onto our large screen. 

Event is free.

1550 Oak St
Alameda, CA 94501

9. Oakland Zoo

Oakland, CA 94605

The Oakland Zoo's Landing Cafe will be an ideal spot to see the sun go dark. The Landing Cafe rests 650 feet above sea level, according to ABC 7, “boasting a panoramic view of seven counties in the Bay Area.”

The East Bay zoo is also home to an urban gondola, so visitors can ride it up to a higher viewpoint. Provided the weather cooperates, viewers will have an unobstructed view of the eclipse.