The 118th Boston Marathon
The 118th running of the Boston Marathon on April 21 is a momentous occasion for the city. After the bombings at last year’s race that killed three people and injured 264 others, this year’s Marathon Monday is expected to garner extra attention from spectators and media locally, nationally, and even internationally.
With more people watching at home and along the race’s route (along with increased security and restrictions), it is more important than ever to be prepared for however you choose to watch. Whether you want to be near the starting line, the finish line, or just watching on TV, our viewing guide will help you plan ahead and enjoy the race exactly as you intended to. Next
Watching at Spots Along The Course
The Boston Marathon course winds its way through eight different Massachusetts cities and towns, offering spectators plenty of places to set up camp for a day of cheering on athletes, family members, and friends.
But with so much space along the 26.2-mile course, which spots offer the best viewing experience?
That largely depends on preference. Some people set up near the starting line in Hopkinton or the finish line in Boston, despite the large crowds that gather in those areas. Others enjoy the rowdy college scene in Chesnut Hill and Brighton. And then there are some people who just find a quiet spot somewhere in between.
Watching From Home or Work
Of course, dealing with the crowds on Marathon Monday is not for everybody. If you want to watch the race, but don’t want to deal with the hoards of people, catching the coverage online or on TV is probably your best bet. The same goes for those who want to peek in on the action while they’re at work.
As has been the case for many years, Boston’s own WBZ-TV will be carrying full coverage of the race on local Channel 4 as well as online at CBSBoston.com.
But they are not your only option for viewing from afar. NBC’s Universal Sports Television Network will provide national television coverage as well as online streaming coverage. Check with your cable provider for the channel number for simply watching online.
Restaurants and Bars to Watch From
Watching the marathon in person is an essential Boston experience no matter where you set up camp. But there’s something special about crowding into a bar or restaurant and watching the race with drinks and food constantly at your fingertips.
If you’re looking to do just that, there are quite a few options that allow you to be “inside” while still having a great vantage point for watching the race.
Local website BostInno laid out the best bars and restaurants by the mile, and focuses on setups that include a deck so you aren’t stuck watching on TV as the race goes on just outside.
Those of you looking to be a little boozy, their guide recommends T.J. Spirits in Ashland or Cityside in Cleveland Circle. Both have outdoor areas for your viewing pleasure, and their prices on food and drinks aren’t half bad.
If you want a more family-friendly venue, Bakery On the Common in Natick might be your best bet. They don’t serve alcohol—only delicious options for breakfast and lunch to eat alongside the baked goods of your choice.
As the race moves into Boston-proper, the options range into the dozens. From Whiskey’s, Lir, Pour House, and Dillon’s on Boylston Street to Eastern Standard and Cornwall’s in Kenmore Square, you can pick whatever fits your fancy.
Forum, the Boylston Street restaurant and bar that closed for four months after being severely damaged in the bombings, will also be open and welcoming customers. Next
Celebrities Running the Boston Marathon
As you watch the race, you may notice a few faces that look more familiar than others. Don’t be alarmed. It’s not uncommon for celebrities to take part in the race.
Last year, former New Kids on the Block member Joey McIntyre ran the race, as did former Olympian Summer Sanders.
Which Elite Runner Will Take the Top Spot?
There are plenty of celebrations that take place around the Boston Marathon, but at the end of the day, it’s still a race. Some of the world’s most talented runners partake every year, and 2014 should be no different.
Last year, Ethiopian Lelisa Desisa Benti (left) won the men’s division race and Kenyan Rita Jeptoo (right) won the women’s race.
Take your own guess at who might take the winner’s medal this year. Next
Parking on Marathon Monday
In case you aren’t aware, parking in Boston can already be a headache. Factor in road closures, thousands of people walking the streets, and increased security, and you’ve got yourself a traffic and parking nightmare.
It should go without saying that you have to be a little crazy to try driving around Boston on April 21, but if you’re determined to make it happen, here’s what you’ll need to know.
The BAA is telling spectators that parking will be extremely limited during the entire week of the race and that, while meters are not active on race day because of Patriots Day, cars will not be allowed to drive near the course’s finish line in Copley Square. You can find a full list of the city’s parking restrictions here.
The best way to park safely and with minimal hassle is to use a garage. The BAA recommends the garage located at 100 Clarendon Street, but other options include the Prudential Center garage, the Copley Place garage, and the Boston Common garage.
If you’re hoping to drive to a location along the course, but outside the city, be sure to look at the race’s path ahead of time so as to avoid driving too close to those areas. Next
Using the MBTA on Marathon Monday
The Boston Athletic Association is asking spectators planning to move about near the race course to use public transportation to do so. The MBTA has responded by making some changes to their regular service.
Several T stations will be closed on Marathon Monday and bus routes will be altered to accommodate those closures. While that might sound ominous given the traffic that will surely clog Boston’s roads, the MBTA said it is committed to increasing most service on race day.
Unfortunately, they won’t be able to do anything to decrease the crowds. MBTA officials said they are expecting thousands of extra riders for this year’s race.
Security Changes for 2014
If you’re planning on watching the Marathon this year, you have to be aware of the increased security planned for this year’s race. After the bombings last year, the Massachusetts Emergency Managment Association and the Boston Athletic Association have collaborated on updated security measures for 2014’s race.
Items like backpacks and bottles that hold more than one liter of liquid are being banned for racers, but only “discouraged” for spectators. If spectators do bring these items with them, they will be subject to security screenings. There will be a heavy police presence, including plainclothes officers, and several security checkpoints along the race’s course.
Planning on Bringing a Baby?
For many people in the area, the Boston Marathon is a family affair. Opportunities to spend a Monday together in the nice weather don’t come very often, and many families will take advantage by breaking out the stroller and bringing the little ones along.
If that’s what you have in mind for Marathon Monday, be aware that it won’t be easy to pack all your supplies and abide by the new security measures.
Non-Marathon Activities on Marathon Monday
Of course, not everyone is into the Boston Marathon. If you fit into that category, don’t worry. You may have to deal with crowds, traffic, and security, but there are other things to do.
If you’re an early riser, you may want to head to Lexington and Concord for the annual reenactment of the opening battle of the Revolutionary War.
For sports fans, the Red Sox will face off against the Orioles at Fenway Park. First pitch is scheduled for 11 a.m. and the atmosphere at the game will surely be a powerful one.
Not a fan of those options? You could always head to the Franklin Park Zoo to visit those cute animals. Back to the beginning
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