Boston Marathon: Where to watch
Is there anything more exciting than the drama of a marathon? The Monday sun rises on thousands of runners gleaming with hope, hydration and shiny new Nikes, all ready to burst into a stampede of Lion King proportions at the sound of a single flair.
Still, a few hours later, things can look grim. Optimism is abandoned in a trail of salty sweat and the spectators stare out over a sea of strained faces, soiled shoes and flagging resolves. But the grand finale is a sight to behold—the accomplishments! The personal triumphs! The shiny silver blankets that make everyone look like sporty baked potatoes!
The Boston Marathon is coming soon to a street near you, and we have all the best spots to watch the rise, the fall and the resurrection of some of the bravest souls in all the land.
The best spot to score a good early view of the runners is Frankland Road in Hopkinton, roughly a mile from the starting line. The slight downhill decline makes the mad rush that much more dramatic.
If watching people burn off calories has stirred your appetite, follow the herd to Union Street (at your own pace—no need to show off now) as they cross the border into Ashland. The aptly-named Marathon Market and Deli reminds you that you’re a good 14 miles away from the urban bustle with a general store feel and a selection of small-town sandwiches for the ages. 250 W Union St, Ashland (508-231-1859, marathondeli.com)
No matter where you are in Wellesley, it is going to be hard to avoid the high-pitched screams that are sure to be erupting from the a solid mass of Wellesley College lady undergrads; it’s like the New Kids on the Block were all running and it also happened to be the early ‘90s. Hunnewell Park will provide the most spacious and semi-tranquil view in the greater halfway area. Bonus: there’s a restroom facility—what better way to celebrate such an important Marathon milestone? 525 Washington St, Wellesley Square, Wellesley
For all the cynics out there, posting up at the notorious Heartbreak Hill is a natural option. This Chestnut Hill landmark located around the 21-mile mark is where even the mightiest have fallen in an uphill battle of blood, sweat and tears. If you arrive early enough, you can watch the drama unfold from the rooftop patio at Cityside Bar & Grille—because everything is better with a cocktail and an aerial view. 1960 Beacon St, Brighton (617-566-1002, citysidebar.com)
If you think Comm Ave is crazy at first, just wait until the Sox game gets out. Watching Marathon Monday-ers collide with post-Fenway lunatics is like throwing 300 kids in a bouncy house full of Pixy Stix with no parental supervision. For a safer and more sophisticated view, grab a window or patio spot at Eastern Standard. It has all the perks of being directly on the route, minus all the barbarism. 528 Commonwealth Ave, Boston (617-532-9100, easternstandardboston.com)
The home stretch
Copley Square’s Boylston Street marks the finish to what was surely the most excruciating two to six hours of these runners’ lives—but for you it means margaritas! After you’ve gotten your fill of street viewing, head to The Cactus Club near the Pru. The Tex-Mex joint goes crazy on this day of days and you are encouraged to party like it’s Spring Break while you watch these poor (but noble!) saps stagger in. Buy them a margarita, why not. 939 Boylston St, (617-236-0200, bestmargaritas.com)