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Yelp’s Guide to a Perfect Solar Eclipse Weekend

August 21 is almost here, and a huge moment in the Earth’s history is about to unfold. Thousands of Americans will be traveling North and South to catch a glimpse of a total solar eclipse, fostering the most epic local tourism weekend towns along the eclipse’s path have seen in years — if not EVER.  

The eclipse’s path of totality, where the moon completely covers the sun and projects a ring of the sun’s gaseous atmosphere, is about 70 miles wide and cuts straight across the US. All of America will be able to witness a partial eclipse, and most of America is within a day’s drive of the path of totality, where the real spectacle is taking place. Because of the proximity, many Americans and people from around the globe will be traveling to all parts of the country, mainly to places along the path of totality to get the best view.

Thanks to Yelp’s data science team, we were able to see which towns along this path have seen a sharp rise in search volume on Yelp. The increase in searches reveals both curiosity and potentially more tourism than usual. Local businesses in these areas may be more crowded during the weekend before and day of the eclipse. Of these cities, Madras, Oregon has seen the sharpest increase in Yelp searches, followed by Casper, Wyoming: Idaho Falls, Idaho; and Clayton, Georgia.

Yelp’s community team put together bookmark collections for several towns in the path of totality. If you’re making the trip, these local businesses will help you have the most memorable eclipse experience possible.

Madras, Oregon

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SUP Adventures Club photo of pooch enjoying the water via Yelp

In the arguably sleepy town of Madras, Oregon you can stay active by visiting the SUP Adventures Club for a day of paddle boarding and stopping by Rio Distinctive Mexican Cuisine to refuel after a long day on the water.

Idaho Falls, ID

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Picture of The Bee’s Keens Pub’s Slutty Brownie courtesy of Juliana W. via Yelp

If you find yourself in Idaho Falls, the local The Bee’s Knees Pub is a town favorite. The town is also home to the Museum of Idaho and Rexburg Idaho Temple.

Casper, WY

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Jason H.’s photo of the natural bridge at Natural Bridge Park via Yelp

With Java Jitters Espresso for coffee and Egginton’s for brunch, Casper is not without punny restaurants. Try them out and stop by the Natural Bridge Park for a great photo-op either above or below the rock “bridge.”

Lincoln, NE

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Teddy W.’s capture of a pair of elk grazing at Pioneers Park Nature Center via Yelp

From riverbanks to waterfalls, Platte River State Park in Lincoln boasts astounding views from its lookout tower and plenty of trails to enjoy during your stay in Lincoln. Other attractions include the Nebraska State Capitol and Pioneers Park Nature Center.

Jefferson City, MO

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Snapshot of a cornish game hen uploaded by The Grand Cafe via Yelp

As the capital of Missouri, Jeff City, as the locals call it, is a Midwest political hub, so make sure you take a tour of the governor’s mansion around the corner from the State Capitol building and grab appetizers and drinks at The Grand Cafe’s happy hour.  

Carbondale, IL

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Photo by Natasha C. of chicken and waffles from Giant City Lodge & Restaurant via Yelp

Heading down south from Chicago? If you choose the college town of Carbondale, home of a Southern Illinois University for your eclipse viewing, make sure you stop by the Longbranch Cafe and Bakery and get a slice of pie! And if you get the chance to travel a little south of town, the Giant City Lodge & Restaurant is a great space to grab legendary fried chicken and enjoy several hiking trails.

Paducah, KY

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View from Fort Massac State Park, uploaded by Robert S. via Yelp

Across the Ohio river from Carbondale, Paducah, Kentucky viewers will experience the eclipse momentarily following Carbondale. To make a trip out of your visit, try the Kona chicken at Rafferty’s of Paducah and swing by Fort Massac State Park for a history lesson and great views of the Missouri river.  

Nashville, TN

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April C.’s picture from the Country Music Hall of Fame via Yelp

For a Nashville itinerary, in addition to watching the eclipse, try lunch at family-owned Big Al’s Deli, a visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and a movie at the Belcourt Theatre.  

Clayton, GA

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Chris S.’s photo from The Wicked Pig BBQ via Yelp

Situated in the Chattahoochee National Forest, Clayton, Georgia is about a 2 hour drive from Atlanta and a beautiful spot to see the eclipse! Attractions include The Wicked Pig BBQ and the Noble Wine Cellar.

Columbia, SC

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Entrance to the gardens at Riverbanks Zoo & Gardens uploaded by Kandis A. via Yelp

Another college town, Columbia, South Carolina has some great spots for nightlife. For a trip back in time, stop by Delaney’s Speakeasy or for a classic Southern dive bar, head over to the Whig. And be sure to check out Riverbanks Zoo & Garden to see everything from toucans to koalas!

If you are staying put to enjoy the eclipse, make sure to check out Yelp for a spot to watch the action in your city. Whether it’s a rooftop bar or an observatory, everyone can enjoy the eclipse no matter where you are in the U.S. Are you a business owner looking for ways to get in on the hype? Check out these tips to getting your business eclipse ready.