Something spectacular is going to happen on Aug. 21: The Great American Eclipse -- the first total solar eclipse viewable from the continental United States in nearly 40 years -- will turn day to night for nearly two minutes for the first time since 1979. While the entire continent will enjoy a partial eclipse, for the full effect you'll need to be as close as possible to the middle of the eclipse path, which cuts diagonally from the Pacific Northwest to the Southeast, cutting through Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Kansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, and the Carolinas. To make sure you don't miss it, book a room at one of these eclipse-adjacent hotels, each of which is offering a special package for your inner astronomer:
Union Station Hotel Nashville (Nashville, TN)
Nashville is the largest U.S. city in the eclipse's path, making it an ideal spot from which to watch the event. The Union Station Hotel Nashville is offering its "From NASA to Nashville" package on the nights of Aug. 20 and 21. Starting at $478.21 per night, the package includes overnight accommodations; special eclipse-viewing glasses; commemorative Champagne glasses; an in-room amenity of Moon Pies and astronaut ice cream; overnight valet parking; and admission to the hotel's exclusive viewing party, which will include a Champagne brunch on the hotel's outdoor veranda and access to a private viewing location where guests will enjoy a Champagne toast while viewing the eclipse. For $821.17 per night, an optional suite upgrade also includes a limited-edition Nashville Total Eclipse poster and an engraved personal telescope.
The Godfrey Hotel Chicago (Chicago, IL)
Because it's the U.S. city where the eclipse will last the longest, the city of Carbondale in Southern Illinois will be the epicenter of eclipse action. As such, hotels there are sold out already. Some 300 miles north, however, Chicago still has plenty of room for travelers with eclipse fever. The Godfrey Hotel Chicago, for example, is hosting a viewing party from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at I|O Godfrey, Chicago's largest indoor/outdoor rooftop lounge. Food and beverage will be served -- including The Eclipse, a special frozen cocktail that goes from light to dark -- and the first 100 guests will receive complimentary eclipse-viewing eyewear.
HarbourView Inn (Charleston, SC)
For those on the East Coast, Charleston is one of the best options for viewing the eclipse. It's also one of the last options, as Charleston is among the last stops for the eclipse before it leaves the continental United States. The HarbourView Inn in Charleston's downtown Historic District is offering a private rooftop viewing party for guests only. It will include eclipse-themed drinks and snacks, as well as complimentary viewing glasses and solar filter sheets for taking photos. And the best part? A special guest -- an instructor from the College of Charleston Department of Physics and Astronomy -- will be on hand to discuss the eclipse and answer guests' questions about it.
The Lincoln Marriott Cornhusker Hotel (Lincoln, NE)
Nebraska's capital city sits on the northern edge of the eclipse path. To take advantage of its location, head to the Lincoln Marriott Cornhusker Hotel, whose "Solar Eclipse Package" includes overnight accommodations for two guests on Aug. 18, 19, or 20; a breakfast buffet for two; complimentary Wi-Fi; two pairs of disposable eclipse viewing glasses; a special-edition solar eclipse patch from Homestead National Park; a special-edition "Darkness Over the Prairie" magnet; and complimentary access to the hotel's "Solar Eclipse Lounge" on Sunday night. Rates start at $259 per night.
Hotel Phillips Kansas City, Curio Collection by Hilton (Kansas City, MO)
Originally opened in 1930, Kansas City's Hotel Phillips already is a historic hotel. It's therefore an ideal place to experience history of your own. The hotel's "American Eclipse" package is available between Aug. 18 and Aug. 21 and includes an overnight stay, two pairs of eclipse viewing glasses, a dark chocolate treat from Christopher Elbow chocolates, and overnight valet parking.