Moreover, the transit of Mercury isn't visible from every place on Earth. Much like a solar or lunar eclipse, there are select regions that have a view of the event. This time, the US is going to be able to see it, with the exception of the majority of Alaska. Plus, transits of the Sun occur during the day so you don't need to stay up late or set a ridiculously early alarm. Take that meteor showers and northern lights!
The show will last for about five and a half hours. That's roughly 7:35am EST to 1:04pm. Mercury will appear as a tiny circle trekking across the brightness of the Sun. That early start means that the transit will already be in progress at sunrise for states west of Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, and most of Louisiana.
To view the event, you're going to need a telescope that has a solar filter. Just like an eclipse -- or, really, anytime -- you should not stare at the sun with your naked eyes. Additionally, Mercury is small enough that just staring at the sun with your leftover eclipse glasses isn't going to do the trick.
If you're an amateur astronomer, maybe you've got the tools to spot Mercury all by yourself. If not, astronomy clubs and observatories will likely be hosting viewing parties that will give you a chance to see the event yourself.