Where to find eclipse glasses and watch parties around the DC area

On Monday, April 8, a majority of the United States will be able to see a total solar eclipse. The eclipse will last all of 4 minutes and some change, but if you miss it, you won’t get another chance to see it for 20 more years.

If you’re still looking to get glasses or figuring out where to view the eclipse, here’s what you need to know.

More on the solar eclipse:

While D.C. isn’t in the eclipse’s path of totality, you still may get a glimpse of the solar wonder. In D.C., the new moon will start to cross the face of the sun at 2:04 p.m. and obscure 89% of the sun at maximum eclipse, which occurs at 3:20 p.m. The moon will shroud the sun for up to 4 minutes 28 seconds, but the entire eclipse ends at 4:32 p.m.

You’re going to want to make sure you have American Astronomical Society issued or approved glasses. If not, you could do serious damage to your eyes by looking into the sun.

“Be sure that your children do not look at the Sun,” said James Madison University physics professor Geary Albright in a statement. “It is hard for grown-ups not to look, children have even less discipline, so be careful with their eyes.”   

If you can’t get glasses, there are tons of other options. You can also make a projector using a cardboard box, aluminum foil and a piece of white printer paper. You could also use a hole puncher on a piece of printer paper to make the projections, before facing away from the sun onto a flat surface.

Here’s where you can still get eclipse gear before and on the big day:


As of Thursday, only a few D.C. Public Libraries still have free solar eclipse glasses. In a post on X, the agency said limited supplies are available as long as they last at Anacostia, Bellevue, Francis A. Gregory, Southwest, Benning and Capitol View libraries.

From now until this Sunday at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in D.C., you can get free eclipse glasses while supplies last from 12 to 4 p.m. The Smithsonian store also has the glasses on sale going for 3 for $6. Glasses will also be handed out during the Museum’s Solar Eclipse Festival on the National Mall on April 8.


The University of Maryland will host an eclipse viewing party starting at 1:30 p.m. on Monday. The university’s College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences; Department of Astronomy; and Space Sciences Outreach Cooperative who are hosting the event will give out ISO-certified glasses until supplies run out.

Several Montgomery County Public Libraries will host events and give out free glasses. To find out more information, see the dates on their events calendar.

Other watch parties will have glasses while supplies last including Maryland Science Center in Baltimore, NASA Goddard Visitor Center in Greenbelt and Gaithersburg’s Observatory Park.


At the David M. Brown Planetarium in Arlington, you can get free glasses on April 6 and 7 before the “Lights Out! Eclipses: Whys, Wonders and Wows” shows.

A limited number of eclipse viewing glasses and sun spotting scopes will be available to view the eclipse at a celebration event hosted by the Fairfax County government. Extra glasses will be distributed during the Bluebells Festival at the Bend at Riverbend Park on Saturday, April 6. Four parks around the county will host the event. Tickets are $10 per person.

The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly will provide safe solar telescopes and projection viewers to help you watch the eclipse from 2 to 4 p.m. on Monday.

Loudoun County’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Services will be hosting nine free events, and each site will include free eclipse safety glasses while supplies last.


Warby Parker: Warby Parker will be giving out free ISO-certified solar eclipse glasses starting April 1 through the big day. If the store runs out of solar eclipse glasses by the time you arrive, they’ll be able to provide you with an eclipse pinhole projector.

Sonic: Sonic Drive-Ins have released an eclipse-themed “Blackout Slush Float” that comes with a free pair of eclipse glasses. The drink is black and topped with creamy soft serve and galaxy sprinkles.

Jeni’s: Starting Friday, eclipse glasses are free with any purchase online or in-store at Jeni’s Ice Cream scoop shops across the country.

If your weather is unfavorable on eclipse day, tune in to watch NASA stream the eclipse live.

WTOP’s Greg Redfern and Tadi Abedje contributed to this report.

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Ciara Wells

Ciara Wells is the Evening Digital Editor at WTOP. She is a graduate of American University where she studied journalism and Spanish. Before joining WTOP, she was the opinion team editor at a student publication and a content specialist at an HBCU in Detroit.

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