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How to find the best solar eclipse events happening near you

Not sure what to do for the solar eclipse on August 21? Here's how to find everything that's happening near where you will be viewing the once-in-a-lifetime event.

In just 11 days, millions of people in North America will watch the moon will cross paths with the sun. Whether you live in or near the path of totality, thousands of events celebrating the rare occurrence will be taking place across the United States.

If you're not sure what to do on August 21 as you watch the eclipse, here are a few ways to find events happening around you.

NASA official viewing locations

Taylor Martin/CNET

In addition to providing tips on how to watch the eclipse and a map for when or where to watch, NASA has created an event map for TV and web broadcast locations, as well as official viewing locations.

This event map is a Google Maps overlay, and the events don't necessarily have to lie within the path of totality, which runs from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. The map shows events as far north as Hamilton, Montana and as far south as Hilo, Hawaii.

Click around on the map to find events near you. When you click one, you will get quite a bit of additional information on what is happening at that particular location, such as whether there will be viewing stations, times the event will take place and other happenings (such as live music, activities for children, etc.).

Some event locations will provide free solar glasses to a limited number of people who arrive early.

Other events and viewing locations

Taylor Martin/CNET

While NASA is no longer taking applications for official events, general events can still be added to the growing list of viewing parties, festivals, etc.

Here are some of the other maps of solar events and viewing locations NASA lists:

If you're heading to one of the thousands of library viewing events and arrive early enough, you may receive some free solar glasses. NASA distributed over two million free glasses and 4,000 education kits to over 7,000 libraries across the United States.

Solar eclipse events search engine

Taylor Martin/CNET

NASA's list of events is extensive, but the user experience is lacking quite a bit. Rather than building a single map with filters, each location type has a map of its own. Meaning, you'll find yourself poking around on several different maps to determine what the best location and event is for your area.

That's where Nicolas Grenié's search engine comes into play. In the search bar, type in the location where you will be on the day of the eclipse. The search engine will parse all the events listed on NASA's website and show all the events happening nearby. The results also show the obscuration percentage, start and end times for the eclipse and a visual diagram for how the maximum eclipse will look from that location.

For additional help planning your solar eclipse viewing, read our full guide.