The Great American Eclipse Comes to Nashville
Where to Watch the 2017 Eclipse
We’re now less than two weeks away from the first solar eclipse to sweep across the U.S. in almost a century. In a coincidence seemingly as cosmic as the eclipse itself, Nashville has exploded into the public eye as one of the nation’s “it” cities just in time to become one of the most popular destinations for viewing the eclipse. Up to 1.4 million visitors are expected to pass through Nashville. Airbnb occupancy has spiked 98%, and towns with a population of 12,500 are preparing for hundreds of thousands of tourists (The Tennessean).
In other words: you’re going to want to see this. We’ve given readers plenty of fun ideas for summer activities, but the eclipse can’t be beat. That’s why your friends at Tommy’s Nashville Tours put together this handy guide of amazing public events where you can watch the eclipse. Though there are several locations outside of the city where you can view the eclipse, like Portland and Clarksville, we’re focusing on all things Nashville.
Public Eclipse Viewing
The Mayor’s Bash
The Mayor’s Bash, hosted by Mayor Megan Barry, is the official event backed by the Nashville Metro Government. It takes place at the new baseball stadium, First Tennessee Park, where a Nashville Sounds game will take place later in the day (tickets sold separately). The event will also include music from the Nashville Symphony and hands-on activities and demonstrations from the Adventure Science Center. This event showcases one of Nashville’s newest additions and places you minutes away from downtown, making it a great spot to experience all the city has to offer.
The Adventure Science Center
What better place to view this astronomical wonder than a science museum? The Adventure Science Center is hosting a free, NASA-backed outdoor viewing party, complete with live music from local musicians, food from Nashville’s burgeoning food truck scene, and outdoor scientific exhibitions. Oh, also, a 9-foot-tall robot. Though tickets to their indoor festival are sold out for the day of the eclipse, you can still attend the festivities on the two days before it.
Italian Lights Festival & 2017 Solar Eclipse Weekend
The Bicentennial Mall will also be hosting a four-day Italian Lights Festival and Solar Eclipse Viewing Party featuring food, wine, art, music, and hundreds of crafts vendors. Like the Mayor’s Bash, this party is close to the heart of downtown, giving you excellent access to the rest of the city after the eclipse.
Eclipse Viewing With a Dash of Art and Culture
The gorgeous home of President Andrew Jackson, The Hermitage, is one of Nashville’s most popular attractions. The historic site will be hosting a free tailgate event on the day of the eclipse. The first 2,000 entrants will receive a free pair of glasses, and the event will also have a children’s play area with “historical games, science activities, and a craft table to make their own eclipse glasses.” You can bring your own food and drink or eat from one of four food trucks. VIP parking passes are available. After the eclipse, the Hermitage will be offering discounted admission, making this an excellent opportunity to see history in more ways than one.
The Frist Center for Visual Arts
The Frist Center for the Visual Arts, one of Nashville’s premier art establishments, will be hosting an eclipse viewing on their front porch overlooking Broadway. Visitors that show their eclipse-viewing glasses, whether purchased at the event or brought in from elsewhere, will receive free admission to the gallery. Located on the same street as Nashville’s famous honky tonks, the Ryman, and the Bridgestone Arena, this event is sure to provide a uniquely cosmopolitan take on the eclipse.
Music and Food and Totality
Grand Ole Opry
Rated the top attraction in the U.S. for Spring 2017 by TripAdvisor, the world-famous Grand Ole Opry will be hosting two days of eclipse festivities. The night before the eclipse, August 20, will feature performances by Little Big Town, Darius Rucker, Wynonna, and others. The day of the eclipse will have live music outdoors along with food and drink, and a unique “Nashville Total Eclipse soundtrack” will accompany the totality.
Third Man Records
Founded and operated by rock legend Jack White, Third Man Records will be hosting an event almost as fascinating and eccentric as its owner. Their event, titled “Occulting the Sun,” will feature New Orleans musician Quintron, and his new instrument, Weather Warlock. The Warlock is a large synthesizer controlled entirely by the weather. Its sensors gather information about the sun, rain, wind, temperature, moon, and lightning, and uses the input from these sensors to modulate an E major “drone” chord. The instrument’s creator believes the eclipse should have an incredible effect on the instrument, making this viewing party a truly unique experience.
The Woods at Fontanel
Though it is a bit of a drive, The Woods at Fontanel is a spectacular outdoor concert venue that will be even deeper into the path of totality than most of Nashville, meaning the total eclipse will be longer here than at most of the other parties on this list. In addition to providing food, beverage bars, and lawn games, the venue will also be playing the entirety of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” during the eclipse.
Of course, in a city like Nashville, there are dozens of other events and locations where you can watch the eclipse. You can view the full list of offerings here.
Do you have questions about any of these locations, or another one not on this list? Give Tommy’s Nashville Tours a call, and we’ll shed some light on where you can go dark.