The Boston Marathon is just as much sport for spectators as it is for runners.
Hundreds of thousands of fans line up along the 26.2-mile marathon route each year, so we found six great spots on the course for your viewing pleasure.
1. The Starting line
The start of the race is an energized place to start your morning with the family.
Location: Intersection of East Main Street and Grove Street, Hopkinton
Course: Start to 2 miles
Transit: Commuter rail to Framingham Station. The B.A.A. will operate spectator shuttle buses to downtown Hopkinton from the station and Hopkinton State Park.
When’s the action? 8:50-11:45 a.m.
Pro tip: If the crowds are overwhelming, head down the route about a mile to Franklin Road for a clearer view of the runners passing by.
This town booms with excitement early. Further outside of town, thinning crowds mean more room for spectators to set up shop and stretch their legs.
Location: Waverly Street to West Central Street, Framingham
Course: Miles 6-8
Transit: Commuter rail to Framingham Station
When’s the action? 9:10 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Pro tip: By this point, front-runners will likely begin to emerge, and others will drop back a bit—meaning your chances of seeing a top athlete is even better.
3. The Scream Tunnel at Wellesley College
This viewing point is packed with Wellesley College students looking for a kiss from runners, a marathon tradition dating back to the 1970s.
Location: Washington Street near Wellesley College, Wellesley
Course: Miles 12-16
Transit: Commuter rail to Wellesley Square
When’s the action? 9:20 a.m.-3 p.m.
Pro tip: If you’re looking to get away from the crowds, head to the Route 128 overpass.
4. Heartbreak Hill
The last of the four Newton hills is the most iconic and packed with fans of all ages.
Location: Intersection of Commonwealth Avenue and Centre Street, Newton
Course: Miles 20-22.5
Transit: Green line, Newton Centre Station
When’s the action? 9:45 a.m. until the sun goes down
Pro tip: Try watching from Newton’s Fire Station, a strip that’s often lined with lemonade stands and bake sales, making it a great spot for families.
5. Kenmore Square
It’s like a double-header with large, lively crowds from Fenway Park and the marathon.
Location: Kenmore Square, Beacon Street, Boston
Course: Miles 24-25
Transit: Green line to Kenmore Station
When’s the action? 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Pro tip: Watch out for a sea of fans exiting the ballpark to cheer on remaining runners after the morning game, which starts at 11:05 a.m.
6. The Finish Line
At the end of the race, you’ll find the heart of the action—and a sea of people.
Location: Boylston Street, Boston
Course: The final half-mile or so
Transit: Green line to Hynes Convention Center, or Orange line/Commuter rail to Back Bay Station
When’s the action? The anticipation starts heating up after 10 a.m., and goes through the end of the day
Pro tip: You’ll be able to see better above the crowds. Try grabbing a drink at the second floor of Solas, but get there early.