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A Spectator’s Guide to the Boston Marathon

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Once again, on the the third Monday in April, Patriot’s Day in the state of Massachusetts, the 119th Boston Marathon will take place. The face of the race changed forever two years ago following the bombing and has given the race more purpose then ever. I’ve been fortunate enough to spend four Patriot’s Days in Boston making the 26.2 mile trek from the quiet suburb of Boston to the rowdy and screaming streets of downtown Boston. As fun as it is as a participant, it wouldn’t be anything without those screaming and cheering you on along the course. We’ve put together some tips for watching the race and some delicious spots to sit down for a quick meal for those in and around Boston this weekend.

Where to Watch:

The course is amazing from start to finish, and every town along the way brings a unique energy and feel. Below are some of the best spots to take in this years race. 

Boylston Street

Photo: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Mile 26: Boylston

If you plan to watch anywhere within two to three miles of the finish, get there early. For any first-timer, Boylston St. is the place to go. The wall of noise that echoes through the tall buildings as the racers turn for home and finish their 26.2 mile odyssey.


Photo: Courtesy of Blog.ImmersionProject

Mile 25: Fenway

Runners can see the giant Citco sign across from Fenway for close to two miles. It marks one mile to go in the race, and the crowds are alive with noise as fans pour out of Fenway from the morning Red Sox game. 

Mile 21: Heartbreak Hill

If you like watching people suffer, the top of Heartbreak Hill is a great place to camp out. Heartbreak Hill is the last of the Newton Hills, a nearly 5-mile stretch of rolling hills, giving runners all they can handle. You might end up playing a game of flip cup or beer pong with hundreds of Boston College kids partying it up right next to you though.


Photo: Courtesy of RunLuauRun.com

Mile 12.5: Wellesley

The girls of Wellesley College come out and support the runners and are some of the most famous supporters along the course. The nearly 1/2-mile long stretch of girls screaming and cheering (and soliciting the occasional kiss) is a sight to be had. 

Where to Eat Before the Race:

What some people don’t realize is that the Boston Marathon has a relatively late start. The women don’t begin until 9:32am ET and the men, along with the first citizen waves begin at 10am ET out in the suburb of Hopkinton. The first racers don’t make the final turn onto Boylston St. until just past noon, which means a place to watch the race and eat breakfast is a must.

Mike & Patty's

Photo: MikeandPattys.com

Mike & Patty’s – 12 Church St. 

Stop in and grab the Fancy. A hearty sandwich that won’t leave you disappointed. 

Paramount Boston

The Paramount – Beacon Hill

Like pancakes? Like them with fruit or chocolate chips? Even if you don’t, there are plenty of delicious choices on the menu. It can be a bit of a wait, but it’s worth it to dine at one of the best brunch stops in Boston. 


Photo: EatBlunch.com

Blunch – South End

Diners, drive-ins, and dives made the trip, and so should you. They are known for their egg sandwiches and might have some of the fluffiest eggs in all of Beantown. 

After the Race Dining:

Al’s Southstreet Café

Some of the best subs in Boston can be found at Al’s. The tuna is fantastic. Al’s Café Special with the prosciutto is next level. 

Casa Razadora – Financial District

If you are looking for great Italian food and want to get away from all the commotion of the race, head on up to the Financial District. Here you will find some of the best authentic Italian Food in Boston. 


Photo: Todd English Figs

(Todd English) Figs – Beacon Hill

Everyone loves a great gourmet pizza. The Fig and Prosciutto is amazing, but if you can’t decide on which of their delicious pizzas to get, they are happy to do it half and half. 

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