How to Enjoy the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse in San Antonio

Coming up on April 8, 2024, a once-in-a-lifetime event will take place in the Alamo city. A total solar eclipse will be passing through Texas, and nearly half of the city of San Antonio will experience totality. The last time a solar eclipse in San Antonio fell in the path of totality was in the year 1397, so suffice it to say, that this will be an exciting first for residents of San Antonio, TX.

Solar Eclipse in San Antonio

Photo Credit: Fred Espinak

Total solar eclipses are exceedingly rare as they only pass by any given point on Earth every 375 years. 2017 saw a total solar eclipse pass across the United States’ Pacific Northwest and then dip toward the southeast, but no part of Texas fell in the path of totality. Given how nearly impossible these types of eclipses are, SA (along with Austin, Waco, and Dallas) are gearing up BIG TIME for a fantastic celestial show.

To maximize this opportunity, you’ll want to be in the right place, at EXACTLY the right time. Read on for our recommendations on how to best experience this year’s total solar eclipse in San Antonio.

Timing of the Eclipse

The first thing you’ll want to figure out is the timing. The eclipse will begin in San Antonio around 12:14 pm, peak at 1:33 pm, and then conclude at 2:55 pm. This means there will be approximately 2 hours and 40 minutes of visibility, though this will depend somewhat on where you are in the city. 

Peak visibility will only last for approximately 2 minutes for those that are perfectly situated in the path of totality. For those outside of the path of totality, the peak eclipse in San Antonio will only be viewable for 20-60 seconds.

General Path of the Eclipse in San Antonio

Solar Eclipse in San Antonio

The path of totality will cross the northwest side of the city as the eclipse moves in a northeasterly direction from SA to Austin. Those in the city’s downtown, east side, and southside neighbourhoods will experience a partial eclipse (which will still likely be spectacular).

Neighborhoods (hotel deals and options)

But for those intent on experiencing totality, in which 99.99% of the sun will be eclipsed by the moon, you will need to be in the right location. While the hardcore stargazers will likely be planning a short trip out to Boerne or even Kerrville (which is at the dead center of the eclipse), those who choose to stay in SA will still be dutifully rewarded with a fantastic show. 

The best place to experience the eclipse’s totality will be in San Antonio neighborhoods that lie due west of Highway 281 and north of Highway 90 (with a couple of exceptions to this rule). A few of the neighborhoods that will have front-row seats include the following:

  •     Alamo Ranch
  •     Balcones Heights
  •     Castle Hills
  •     Helotes
  •     Hollywood Park
  •     Leon Valley
  •     The Medical Center
  •     La Cantera
  •     Neighborhoods around UTSA
  •     Shavano Park
  •     Stone Oak
  •     Timberwood Park

If you don’t happen to live in one of these areas, you can drive to a business nearby with a sizable parking lot and still enjoy the view (for more info on what to expect traffic-wise, keep reading).

A few businesses and hotels in the path of totality are running eclipse specials where you can take advantage of their prime locations.

Solar Eclipse in San Antonio

How to Prepare Your Eyes for the Eclipse in San Antonio

Solar Eclipse in San Antonio

A little bit of planning is key to getting the most out of this extraordinary experience. 

Safety first – even with the sun almost totally covered by the moon, it is still very dangerous to look directly at the sun. To avoid potential damage (we’re talking retinal burns which can cause temporary or permanent blindness), you’ll need to procure a pair of quality eclipse glasses; regular sunglasses won’t cut it.

Eclipse glasses have specialized lenses that block harmful radiation from entering your eyes. The best quality eclipse glasses will carry an ISO compliance label on their packaging so look for this when purchasing.

Beware of fake glasses or knockoffs which are no better than your standard sunglasses. Best to avoid buying from Amazon or eBay, unless you are buying in bulk and can verify that what you are getting is the real deal.

Walmart, Lowe’s, and Home Depot will all be selling individual, ISO-compliant eclipse glasses and so will a number of convenience stores. You can also check out the Eclipse Store for online sales of individual and bulk packages.

Lastly, you can also check out your business, school, or library as many of these will be purchasing or acquiring eclipse glasses to hand out to employees, students, and patrons.

How to Prepare for Traffic

Solar Eclipse in San Antonio

Experts are projecting that up to 4 million people will be traveling to view this year’s solar eclipse. With that many people on the road, it is best to plan ahead and scope out your viewing location, so you don’t get caught in traffic and miss the whole thing.

For those coming from out of town to view the eclipse in San Antonio and the surrounding areas, book your hotel NOW if you haven’t already done so. Hotel rates are up for the days leading up to April 8 so you can expect to see some inflated prices. 

We recommend getting to SA (or Kerrville, Boerne, or Austin) on Saturday, April 6 and choosing a hotel or vacation rental in a location where you feel comfortable viewing the eclipse. That way you’re not traveling on April 8 when traffic is expected to increase considerably.

Why not use the eclipse as an excuse to make a whole weekend out of it and come enjoy all the wonderful things that San Antonio has to offer? You can check out our guide on the 50 Best Things to Do in San Antonio for some inspiration on your weekend.

For SA locals, if you happen to be in the path of totality – good on you! You can view the eclipse from the comfort of your backyard or neighborhood. But for those on the Riverwalk or on San Antonio’s east side who want to experience totality, you’ll need to drive to a different location on the northwest side.

For ease, we recommend either spending the day at Six Flags or SeaWorld or heading to the Shops at La Cantera for an early brunch (preferably around 9am or 10am). That way, you are already positioned well before that vital 12 o’clock hour and won’t be fighting traffic trying to get a prime viewing spot. 

Whatever you choose, try to be at your viewing location no later than 11 am, and the earlier the better. You’ll definitely have to wait a bit, but better to wait onsite with the guarantee of getting to see the eclipse, than having to wait in your car, while stuck in traffic on the freeway, and missing the whole show.

Relax and Enjoy!

And lastly, don’t forget to enjoy this experience! Given that you will never see another solar eclipse in San Antonio, make the most of this one. This will be two hours of your life you will always remember. Minimize the travel stressors where you can, throw on some sunscreen, bring snacks, and soak it all in. 

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