Rochester skyline showing trees and shrubs in the foreground, a waterfall in the center and tall buildings in the background.

Why I’m Heading to Rochester, NY for My Unforgettable First Total Solar Eclipse Experience

Living in the U.K., my chances to witness a total solar eclipse have been slim. The only one during my lifetime happened in 1999, but unfortunately, I was outside the path of totality. Clouds also blocked any view of a partial eclipse, leaving me with nothing to see.

This time, however, it’s different.

I’ve made plans to travel to Rochester, NY, to witness New York’s first total solar eclipse in 99 years, during the ROC the Eclipse Festival.

Rochester sits right in the path of totality, a 115-mile-wide (185-kilometer) strip across North America where the moon will completely cover the sun. This makes Rochester an excellent spot to experience the total solar eclipse on April 8.

There’s a fascinating article that shares 10 things you probably didn’t know about the 2024 total solar eclipse.

I will be among the hundreds of thousands of people descending on this lively city, hoping to see something truly spectacular.

Rachel Laber Pulvino, Director of Market Communications and Public Relations at Visit Rochester, expects between 300,000 to 500,000 visitors in the Greater Rochester region, which spans nine counties.

The reason for this massive influx of visitors is clear. Rochester is one of the largest U.S. cities in the path of totality and will experience 3 minutes and 39 seconds of daytime darkness, starting at 3:20 p.m. EDT.

The city is buzzing with excitement, hosting over two dozen events throughout the eclipse weekend. These include hands-on activities, talks, music, and food, all designed to get everyone excited about the eclipse.

Here are some highlights of the weekend’s entertainment:

– Planetarium shows
– Live stage performances featuring the “Bad Astronomer” Dr. Phil Plait, geo-communicator Cate Larsen, and former NASA astronaut Lee M. Morin
– Electricity theater shows with singing Tesla coils
– Solar viewing through telescopes
– A post-eclipse concert with country star Dylan Marlowe at 3:30 p.m. EDT, right after totality

Since the last total solar eclipse in 2017, organizers in Rochester have been busy planning for this event.

A total solar eclipse is an awe-inspiring sight. The photograph here captures the sequence of a total solar eclipse as the sun is hidden behind the advancing moon and then reemerges.

“Hundreds of community organizations, venues, attractions, restaurants, and hotels have been gearing up for this event. We’re eager to welcome eclipse visitors to our city!” Pulvino added.

With so many people expected to visit Rochester for the eclipse, ensuring everyone’s safety is the top priority. Organizers are working closely with local law enforcement, emergency management offices, and the New York State Department of Transportation.

“Public safety officials have been coordinating on traffic and safety plans. Monroe County has also launched a public awareness campaign, Be Aware. Be Prepared. Be There, to inform the local community and help manage traffic flow on the day of the eclipse,” Pulvino explained.

For those interested in avoiding traffic jams during the eclipse, there’s helpful advice available.

You can follow my eclipse experience on’s social media channels, including TikTok, and on, where I’ll share what it’s like to witness my first-ever solar eclipse, weather permitting.

If you can’t make it to the eclipse in person, you can watch the total solar eclipse live on Plus, stay updated with our total solar eclipse 2024 live updates blog.

This trip has been made possible thanks to travel provided by Visit Rochester.