Few things are as synonymous with Boston’s sense of camaraderie, sportsmanship and pride as the Boston Marathon, taking place on April 16. The marathon, hosted by the Boston Athletic Association, always takes place on Patriots’ Day, a Massachusetts holiday celebrating the first shot of the American Revolution. The first Boston Marathon was hosted in 1897, and is one of the six Marathon Majors in the world. It was also only one of five big sporting events to have been held during both World Wars.

All About the Boston Marathon

The race goes through eight towns, starting in Hopkinton and winding its way through Natick, Wellesley and Brookline before crossing the finishing line on Boylston Street in Copley Square next to the Boston Public Library. There are some key spots to watch the race along the way, including Heartbreak Hill in Newton near Boston College, so called for its steep half mile club at the 20 mile mark; the Scream Tunnel near Wellesley College where students convene with posters and even kisses for the racers; and Copley Square where spectators gather to watch a feat of strength as runners finish with arms overhead.

Security is tight during the race so pack light; leave big backpacks and bags at home as you can get food and drink at restaurants and cafes along the marathon’s route. It’s best to travel to the race, especially to the area where the race finishes in the Back Bay, by foot or the subway, known as the T in Boston. Be sure to check stop closures as many of the train stations are closed the day of  marathon. Freepoint guests can take the train to Kendall Square and then walk over the Massachusetts Avenue bridge from there. After the race is over, head to the Charles River Esplanade for a scenic walk home and catch sight of the blooming cherry blossoms.

Check out the best spots to watch the Boston Marathon, and for more Cambridge and Boston recommendations, head to our blog!