Where to Watch the Boston Marathon

Here in the Boston area, April brings the arrival of a few events unique to our neck of the woods: Red Sox Opening Day, Patriots Day, and of course, our own beloved Boston Marathon! This year, whether cheering from the sidelines or grinding it out on Heartbreak Hill, we’ll be coming together again to experience what will mark the 123rd running of this historic race. If you’re new to the area and thinking of heading in to watch the runners in person, there are lots of great spots to take in the action. Here are 5 spots that local experts recommend:

  • STARTING LINE: While you won’t get the best view of the runners, you can’t beat the electric energy and anticipation you feel at the Hopkinton start line. Parking tip: leave your car at Hopkinton State Park. There’s less congestion, and a free shuttle bus to the race entrance.

image courtesy of marathonmama.net

  • FRAMINGHAM: Downtown Framingham is where you’ll see the first decent sized crowds after the start line, right around the race’s 10K mark. It’s a great place to give the runners a push and get a good look at anyone you might know in the race. It also has a commuter rail stop, so you can hop on and have time to catch people later in the course.

  • WELLESLEY: At right around the half-way point in the marathon, Wellesley has become one of the race’s most spirited spectator spots. The famous “scream tunnel” at Wellesley College is something to check out, with its “kiss me” signs and personalized banners made for runners on request. The commuter rail stop is about a mile from the tunnel; if you time it right, you can hop on the train after cheering the runners on and beat them to Kenmore Square. 

AP photo

  • NEWTON AND HEARTBREAK HILL: Although it’s not the highest point in the race, Newton’s Heartbreak Hill has earned the reputation as one of the Marathon’s toughest and most potentially backbreaking stretches, which actually runs about three and a half miles and is comprised of four separate hills. The rough patch begins at the Newton Fire Station, which is the first turn in the race. Heartbreak Hill itself begins at mile 20, at the corner of Centre Street and Comm Ave, and crests at Hammond Street. The Fire Station is probably the easiest place to park yourself in terms of crowds. To get there by T, hop the D branch of the Green Line, get off at Woodland, and walk half a mile to the Fire Station. 

image courtesy Boston Globe

  • BOYLSTON STREET: You’ll face the toughest crowds here for sure, as runners make that last turn towards the finish line. But nowhere on the 26.2 mile route touches the avalanche of energy, emotion, and excitement felt at this final half-mile stretch. A must for anyone who hasn’t experienced the thrill of the Boston Marathon!

AP photo/Charles Krupa