Solar eclipse 2024: 5 cities in path of totality just a drive away from DC

Washington, D.C. is not in the path of the total solar eclipse on Monday, April 8 – but it's not too far of a trip to these cities that are. 

Erie, PA: 5.5 hours from D.C.

Erie is less than six hours from Washington, D.C. and is in the path of totality. Totality is expected to begin around 3:16 for Erie and surrounding areas, lasting around three minutes. 

Several locations in Erie County are distributing "The Ultimate Sunblock" eclipse glasses ahead of the solar eclipse, including the I-90 Pennsylvania Welcome Center, the I-79 Rest Stop, the Erie Visitor Center as well as at County Fair locations throughout northwestern Pennsylvania. 

Cleveland, OH: 6 hours from D.C. 

Totality in Cleveland, Ohio, is expected to begin at 3:13 p.m. and end at 3:17 p.m. Just a six hour drive from D.C., Cleveland has a few things going on to mark the occasion. 

Great Lakes Science Center is throwing a Total Eclipse Fest April 6 - 8 at North Coast Harbor in downtown Cleveland. The event is free and will feature free concerts, performances, speakers, and hands-on science activities with community partners.

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History is also celebrating the total solar eclipse with a weekend of activities.

Akron, OH

Akron will be in the dark for just under three minutes at around 3:15 p.m. on April 8.  

Nine of Akron's community centers will be open for viewing, with eclipse glasses on hand to distribute. Four of the cityy6's parks and one downtown location will also be available as a viewing site. 

Columbus, OH: 7 hours from D.C.

Columbus, Ohio, will experience near totality (99.6%) for about two and a half minutes on April 8. Peak totality will be around 3:12 p.m. 

The Center of Science and Industry (COSI) in downtown Columbus is hosting a viewing party, as well as the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. 

Land-Grant Brewing Co is debuting their "Totaity" beer in collaboration with COSI, which will be on tap during their viewing part on April 8. 

Buffalo, NY: 7 hours from D.C. 

Buffalo sits directly in the path of totality, and will see three minutes and 38 seconds of complete totality. 

The full eclipse is expected to begin around 3:18 p.m. and last until 3:22 p.m.

The Buffalo area could draw up to a million tourists over four days around the eclipse. 

The city is hosting a number of exhibitions and events ahead of and during the eclipse. 

Eclipse 2024 in Washington, D.C.

Can't make it out of town and into the path of totality? 

D.C. will reach 87.3% lunar coverage, so will look more like an overcast day rather than full cover of night you may see in parts of Ohio and Pennsylvania. But that doesn't mean you can't mark the occasion and celebrate the partial eclipse closer to home. 

The National Air and Space Museum is hosting a festival on the National Mall on April 8, featuring telescopes and educational activities. You could also see the eclipse from the telescopes at the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly. 

Ahead of the celestial event, DC9 is hosting speakers to discuss the eclipse, and the DC Public Library is holding film screenings, showing movies like The Martian and Arrival.