City of McKinney, TX

02/26/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/26/2024 00:10

Solar Eclipse | Apr. 8

Come Celebrate the Solar Eclipse in McKinney

(Please note: This page will be updated regularly as more plans are made and announced for the April 2024 total solar eclipse.)

Last updated: Feb. 12, 2024

We're excited to welcome you to McKinney for this rare celestial event - taking place Monday, April 8, 2024 - at least rare to us in North Texas. Here in McKinney, we'll be able to view the solar eclipse's totality for almost just over three minutes and the partial eclipse before and after totality for a couple of hours!

Check out the resources below to find McKinney hotels offering special rates for our out-of-town visitors, information on things to do while in McKinney, and other information about the upcoming solar eclipse. Also, watch for activities (to be announced) being planned for the weekend before and day of the eclipse.

For more on what to expect and how to watch the upcoming solar eclipse in North Texas, check out this article from the Dallas Morning News.

SAFE VIEWING GLASSES & OTHER MERCHANDISE:

You should caution against viewing the solar eclipse with the naked eye or even through sunglasses. We have secured some approved eclipse safe-viewing glasses available and have them available in our Visitor Experience Center and Shop for $1 each.

We also have commemorative items for purchase:

  • Approved Eclipse Viewing Glasses: $1
  • T-shirts: $20
  • Posters: $10
  • Stickers: $3
  • Postcards: $1.99
  • Children's Book with kids' glasses: $19
  • Stuff Sun Buddy: $19

Hotel Booking Information for Total Solar Eclipse in April 2024

Below are hotels that have set up special booking links for our Solar Eclipse visitors. (Click the hotel name below to access the special booking link. Find details about the offers in the FAQ section below.)

Events in McKinney for Total Solar Eclipse on April 8, 2024

Two City of McKinney events are in development for the Total Solar Eclipse on April 8, 2024. Plans will be announced here as soon as they are finalized, but they will be taking place at:

  • Gabe Nesbitt Community Park and Sports Complex (7001 Eldorado Pkwy.) - This free event will feature family fun, live music, food trucks, children's activities, and eclipse viewing. This event takes place from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m.

  • Downtown McKinney(Chestnut Commons Parking Garage) - Visitors and locals will be encouraged to grab lunch before, during, and/or after the solar eclipse, and a rooftop, ticketed event is in the works. Tickets are $10 and must be reserved in advance. 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Get tickets for this event HERE.

Other Events Taking Place in McKinney

We will be posting all other events being planned in the city here on this page. And if you are an organization that is planning an event open to the public, please submit it HERE and make sure to indicate it is a Solar Eclipse event.

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McKinney Solar Eclipse FAQs

What exactly is a total solar eclipse?

A total solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes directly between the Earth and the Sun, completely blocking the Sun's bright disk for a brief period. This results in the daytime sky darkening dramatically, with only the Sun's outer atmosphere, the solar corona, visible as a glowing ring around the Moon. Total solar eclipses are rare and highly anticipated events, providing a stunning visual spectacle. They occur along a narrow path on Earth, and observers within this path experience the awe-inspiring moment when the Sun is entirely obscured by the Moon.

What will the total solar eclipse start and stop in McKinney?

  • Start: 12:24
  • Totality: 1:42
  • End: 3:03
  • Totality lasts 3 mins 9 seconds

What is the safest way to watch a solar eclipse?

Watching a solar eclipse safely requires protective eyewear specifically designed for this purpose. The Sun's intense rays can damage the eyes when viewed directly, even during an eclipse. Special eclipse glasses or viewers with certified solar filters provide essential protection, blocking harmful radiation while allowing safe viewing. Looking at an eclipse with the naked eye can lead to serious and irreversible eye damage, as the Sun's brightness and harmful UV rays can cause severe harm to the retinas, making proper eye protection crucial. Visit McKinney has a limited number of eclipse-safe glasses for our guests (as supplies last). Hotel package guests will receive these glasses as part of their reservation.

Where is the best place to view the total solar eclipse in McKinney?

Ideal viewing spots include parks, open fields, or elevated areas with an unobstructed view of the sky. Among the community events planned for April 8 are two city-hosted events (in Downtown McKinney on the room of a parking garage ($10 per person reservations required as space is limited) and a free event at Gabe Nesbitt Community Park. The Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary is also hosting a special event. See the events section of this page for details and links.

What McKinney hotels are offering special room rates?

Below are hotels that have set up special booking links for our Solar Eclipse visitors. (Click hotel name to access booking link.) When you book through one of these links, your reservation will be at the negotiated rate and you will receive, at check-in, a special welcome gift of eclipse items including two eclipse viewing glasses per room reserved.

  • Best Western Plus McKinney Inn & Suites
    480 Wilson Creek Blvd. - 15% off best available rate. Book one of our newly renovated guest rooms at a special Solar Eclipse discount! All rates include a deluxe hot breakfast buffet, self-parking, and WiFi. Rate offering must be prepaid in full at time of booking. Rate will be available until the hotel sells out.
  • Home 2 Suites by Hilton
    2631 S. Central Expwy. - Dates Offered: April 5-9, 2024. Rate based on availability and any changes to each reservation may result in a change of rate. 14 days Cancellation Policy - to avoid the first-night cancellation penalty.
  • Red Roof Inn & Conference Center
    1300 N. Central Expwy. - 10% off regular rate. Cutoff to book with this link is 30 days prior to arrival. Cancellations must be by 4 p.m. the same day.
  • SpringHill Suites by Marriott
    2660 S. Central Expwy. - Enjoy 10% off your stay when you book early! 1,000 Marriott Bonvoy Bonus Points, Solar Eclipse Welcome Goody Bag, plus complimentary breakfast buffet, parking, and Wi-Fi. Dates Offered: April 5-9, 2024. Rate based on availability and any changes to each reservation may result in a change of rate. 14 days Cancellation Policy to avoid 1st night cancellation penalty.
  • TownePlace Suites by Marriott
    1832 Marketplace Drive - Receive two pairs of viewing glasses, self-parking for one vehicle per night, and complimentary hot breakfast. Rates are per room per night. A limited number of packages are available. Some blackout dates apply. Not available to groups of 10 or more rooms or in conjunction with other promotional offers.
Book Hotel Room at XYZ

Why are hotel room rates higher than usual during the eclipse weekend?

As is always the case when a special event with an expected large attendance occurs, hotels tend to raise their rates. It's a simple supply-and-demand situation with reports of overall occupancy up more than 500 percent eclipse weekend; in fact, many hotels in more remote areas are already sold out.

Hotel rates in McKinney are actually skewing considerably lower than many other parts of the total eclipse viewing path. Read more HERE about the rate increases, up more than 390 percent in some Dallas-Fort Worth area hotels as of early February 2024.

Can I photograph the total solar eclipse?

Yes, you can photograph the eclipse, but it's important to use proper solar filters to protect your camera equipment and your eyes. Additionally, practice safe photography techniques to avoid damaging your camera sensor.

Is there any special traffic or road closures expected during the eclipse in McKinney?

While there may be increased traffic as visitors flock to prime viewing spots, there are typically no official road closures planned. However, it's advisable to plan your travel route in advance and expect some congestion. Please aware of these tips:

  • Public safety personnel ask that you not just stop on the side of the road and get out to watch. This could result in serious injury (or worse) and traffic problems that could put people in danger.
  • As of early February, McKinney schools are not planning to be closed on Monday, April 8. Please note that there are two schools adjacent to Gabe Nesbitt Community Park (the city's free event), both of which have strictly-enforced school zones to keep students and their parents safe. We ask that you be patient and practice safe driving just as you would during normal days.

What should I bring with me for viewing the total solar eclipse?

Bring along essentials such as water, snacks, sunscreen, a hat, comfortable clothing, a chair or blanket for seating, and of course, your certified solar viewing glasses or telescope with solar filters. If attending any of the organized watch party events in McKinney, there will be food and beverages available for purchase.

What happens if it's cloudy or overcast on the day of the eclipse in McKinney?

There will obviously not be a rain date for the total eclipse viewing in McKinney, at least not for another 300 or so years. Unfortunately, if the sky is heavily clouded, the visibility of the eclipse may be significantly reduced or obscured entirely. There may be clearer areas within the eclipse's path of totality, but being on the road trying to chase clear spots may not be the safest idea. Even if the skies are overcast, it's still worth experiencing the event as the environment may darken noticeably during totality.

When are most of the shops open in downtown McKinney?

The majority of the shops in downtown McKinney are open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. There are many that are open on Mondays during these same hours and on Sundays usually between noon and 5 p.m. Most restaurants open around 11 a.m.

Read More

What Will the Solar Eclipse Look Like from McKinney, TX?

McKinney Observed the Annular Eclipse this Fall

Prior to the total solar eclipse in April 2024, Texas was also in the path of an annual solar eclipse on Oct. 14, 2023. We found this information about this annual eclipse HERE:

During an annular solar eclipse, the apparent size of the Moon's disk is slightly smaller than the apparent size of the Sun's disk. Therefore, only the outer edge of the Sun remains visible and the Sun appears as a brilliant ring if you are inside the path of annular solar eclipse. This is an otherworldly sight often called a "ring of fire".

McKinney was not in the center of the "ring of fire" path, but we did experience about 77% coverage. The City of McKinney hosted an annular eclipse event that day at the Roy and Helen Hall Library in Downtown McKinney. Roughly 4,000 people attended.