Best US cities to watch 2017 total solar eclipse

Here are the best U.S. cities to watch the spectacular sky show.

Here are the best U.S. cities within the eclipse's path of totality to watch the spectacular sky show:

Salem, Oregon

The city of Salem is already making plans for the big event. The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry will host a viewing party at the State Fairgrounds in the city.

Life Church is offering dry RV parking on a large field at its property in West Salem for people looking for a spot to watch the eclipse.

Madras, Oregon

The 2017 Oregon Solarfest and eclipse viewing will take place in Madras. The festival, which runs from Aug. 18 through Aug. 21, will have a three-day lineup of music and entertainment.

Idaho Falls, Idaho

Jackson, Wyoming

Steven Hawley, a former astronaut and senior manager at NASA, told ABC News he plans to travel from his home in Lawrence, Kansas, about 1,000 miles to Jackson to watch the eclipse. It will be his first time seeing a total eclipse from the ground.

In 1979, Hawley witnessed a total solar eclipse from an airplane at an altitude of 43,000 feet.

"We were flying through the [lunar] shadow. You could kind of see the shadow on the Earth's surface," Hawley told ABC News. "It's a unique perspective."

Casper, Wyoming

The 2017 Wyoming Eclipse Festival will take place in Casper, where residents, scientists, photographers and eclipse chasers from across the globe will march to the line of totality in the city on Aug. 21. The festival will also have a lineup of special activities and programs all week long.

Retired NASA astrophysicist and photographer Fred Espenak told ABC News he plans to travel from his home in Portal, Arizona, about 1,000 miles to Casper to speak at eclipse-related events and to watch the event. But if clear skies aren't in the forecast there that day, Espenak said he may travel west or east to another city along the path of totality to get the best view.

"It all boils down to what the weather is going to do," Espenak told ABC News. "Any place along that path can be clear or cloudy on eclipse day."

Lincoln, Nebraska

The city of Lincoln's Convention and Visitors Bureau is planning a range of events on Aug. 21. Haymarket Park, home of the Lincoln Saltdogs baseball team, will provide spectacular eclipse viewing points and interactive events as well as indoor and outdoor talks and presentations. As the eclipse approaches, the baseball game will enter an "eclipse delay" so fans and players can enjoy the rare event.

Jefferson City, Missouri

Beginning Aug. 19, Jefferson will host a three-day celebration of art, astronomy and live entertainment as well as a viewing of the Aug. 21 eclipse on the Missouri State Capitol lawn and at various other locations around the city.

Carbondale, Illinois

Paducah, Kentucky

Madisonville, Tennessee

Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville's Adventure Science Center will host a three-day festival packed with live music, science demonstrations, solar telescope viewing stations as well as an eclipse viewing party on Aug. 21 with a massive screen broadcasting NASA footage of the moon blocking the sun.

Clayton, Georgia

Rabun County, which encompasses Clayton, is planning various events in the region for those wanting to observe the eclipse from northeastern Georgia. Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School will host a viewing party the once-in-a-lifetime event.

Columbia, South Carolina

The city of Columbia will host the "Total Eclipse Weekend" from Aug. 18 to Aug. 21, featuring a long weekend of more than 80 eclipse-related festivals and events.

Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston's MUSC Health Stadium will host a family-friendly eclipse viewing party complete with astronomy-related activities, a science-based kids zone, local food, drinks and entertainment. The city will also provide other viewing locations and eclipse-related activities at various parks.

Wherever you choose to go, former NASA astronaut and senior manager Steven Hawley advises booking any travel tickets and hotel reservations way in advance and to expect plenty of traffic on the road.

"I'd recommend having a plan," Hawley told ABC News.

ABC News' Gina Sunseri contributed to this report.

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