How To See the Northern Lights
The SWPC's 3-Day Forecast has the alert in effect from 11pm until 5am EST the night of August 4, from 5pm to 2am the night of August 5, and again from 5-11pm the night of August 6. At the start of the second and third windows, it will likely be too bright out for the lights to appear in the sky overhead. But once it's dark, the show should get underway.
For the best view, get away from the light pollution of urban centers. An SWPC representative previously told Thrillist, "You need very clear skies, a good view of the northern horizon (no trees, buildings, or hills), and it needs to be dark." Additionally, you need a view of the northern horizon, unless you're somewhere like Alaska or Iceland. The northern lights, seen this far south, are likely to be visible along that horizon rather than directly overhead.
It also helps to plan on being outside for a while, which shouldn't be too much of a burden at this time of year (this is the first alert of the summer, so soak it up!). Your eyes will need time to adjust to the darkness in order to have the best view of the aurora and everything else in the night sky.
The northern lights find its way down to the US from time to time, but it doesn't happen often enough to ignore. Moreover, the solar cycle is near its minimum, making events like this occur with less frequency. It's an outstanding opportunity to see the spectacle. Not only that, but the Perseid meteor shower is ramping up this week toward its peak the night of August 12. You may catch meteors from that shower throughout the night, especially from around 2am until the pre-dawn hours.