Best spots to watch the Boston Marathon

A Boston Athletic Association staff member stands near the track in Kenmore Square on Oct. 11, 2021. (Photo by Laura Martinez/BU News Service)

By Emily Tan
Boston University News Service

The 126th Boston Marathon commenced Monday, April 18, passing through eight neighborhoods: Hopkinton, Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, Newton, Brookline and Boston. For those hoping to join the 500,000 other spectators in cheering on their loved ones or strangers running the world’s oldest annual marathon, BUNS has put together a list of the best spots to watch the race.

Hopkinton Main Street

Watch 30,000 runners kick off the marathon at Main Street, Hopkinton, which has marked the start of the race since 1924. While spectators cannot expect to see clear leads this early into the route, they can expect to be in the center of all the anticipation and excitement as throngs of onlookers wait for the starting pistol to fire off. 

The Town Common also houses the iconic “It All Starts Here” sign — the perfect photo opportunity for spectators who want to commemorate the 126th Boston Marathon.

Framingham Train Depot

For those looking to follow along the marathon’s 26.2-mile route, join the crowd at the historic train depot in Framingham. Spectators can cheer on runners as they race past, before hopping on the nearby inbound MBTA Commuter Rail to catch them complete the final stretch in Boston.

Natick Common

Every year, thousands of onlookers converge on Natick, the marathon’s 10-mile mark, where clear leads begin to emerge. With passionate supporters, live entertainment acts and local stores lining this section of the marathon, the town is one of the best places to watch the race and encourage the athletes.

Wellesley College

Wellesley College is home to the famous “Scream Tunnel,” where the university’s student body motivates participants with loud music, colorful signs and high fives and kisses. The campus is one of the most enthusiastic and vibrant spots to get in on the action, as spectators cheer on runners entering the second half of the race.

Heartbreak Hill

Newton features the most challenging course of the marathon: a 3.5-mile incline that sees many runners drop off. This is where participants could use the encouragement from supporters to finish the rest of the race. While anywhere along the route is ideal, spectators can head to Newton Fire Station located right before the ascent.

Boylston Street

Boston marks the final stretch of the marathon. Expect large crowds as spectators gather not only to watch the athletes realize their dreams of completing the Boston Marathon, but also to reunite with their family and friends after the race. This is where emotions will run the highest as participants see the fruits of their months-long training.

The finish line is also steps away from the all-new Sam Adams Run Pub, where participants and their families can unwind and celebrate their athletic achievements.

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