Whether you’re in town to race or spectate, Boston is a fun, walkable city–so why not check some of these must-visit places off the list?
Welcome to Boston
Congrats—you’ve qualified for Boston and are finally finished with all of your training! But the best is yet to come. Boston is a race, for sure, but it’s also a victory lap of sorts. You accomplished something that very few marathoners do by just getting to the start line. So do yourself a favor and take some time to enjoy this iconic city with the best marathon on Earth (as a Boston native and local resident, I may be biased). Here are one Bostonian’s top tips and tricks for what to eat, what to see and where to run while you’re here.
Places to Eat
North End: Looking to carbo-load and enjoy some authentic Italian food? Consider heading to the North End, where you cannot go wrong on a great bowl of pasta. For dessert-aficionados, there are plenty of bakeries around, as well. My favorites are Mike’s Pastry, which is home to Boston’s famous cannolis, and Modern Pastry. You can usually expect a line out the door of Mike’s, but it moves really quickly. Modern Pastry is a bit smaller, but also normally crowded. They have the best chocolate cake I have ever eaten and a peanut butter-filled chocolate cupcake that is to die for. Pro Tip: Both are cash only.
Cambridge: Don’t limit yourself to Boston proper when you are looking to indulge before or after the marathon. Cambridge is actually home to most of the top-rated restaurants in Massachusetts! Amelia’s Trattoria is a small local joint that makes incredible homemade pastas. I’ve been many times and have yet to be disappointed with anything on the menu. Area Four has been ranked time and time again as one of the top pizza joints in New England—and I promise it will not disappoint.
South Boston: South Boston (known as “Southie” to locals) has recently become a much more popular destination, especially with more hotels located in the area. If you happen to be staying here, just head to West Broadway. There is one owner for most of the restaurants around—and he hit it out of the park in terms of strategy. For a solid pre-race meal, hit up Capo for its pasta selection or Lincoln for its superb pizza and burgers. Need some tequila after conquering 26.2? Loco boasts some of the best margaritas in town.
Sights to See
BU Bridge: This bridge happens to coincide with a nice running route: from the middle of the bridge, you have a view of the Boston skyline that is unparalleled. My favorite spot is actually underneath, on the wooden footbridge for runners. You have a unique view of the skyline slightly hidden by the structure of the bridge above. I own a ring with the coordinates for the spot directly under the bridge, if you need more convincing for how incredible it is.
Citgo Sign: It may seem insignificant to most newbies, but Bostonians and especially marathoners were furious when they found out that it may be taken down last year. When I saw it during the race, I knew I was almost there. Now every time I see it, I snap a picture as a reminder of what is to come on April 16th.
Fenway Park: I lived in New York City before returning to my Boston hometown last year. I may be biased, but while I can appreciate Yankee Stadium, there is truly nothing like Fenway Park and the rich history it brings. Last year, I went to a game right before race day and the Boston pride was palpable. It was a great way to get pumped up and ready to take on the marathon. On the day of the race, there is an afternoon Sox game, where the fans pour out of the stadium just to cheer you on.
The Charles Loop: You may have heard of the Charles as one of the nicest places to run, or seen photos of the sunrise over the Boston skyline. Most of those photos are taken from the Charles River Esplanade. The best part about the Charles is that it goes on forever, so no matter how far out of the city you are staying, there is likely a way you can run to it and follow it all the way downtown. If you are staying downtown, you have a few very easy options for loops divided up by bridges. Using the Museum of Science (the tip of the Charles in Cambridge/almost downtown Boston) as a starting point, reaching the Longfellow Bridge marks 3 miles, the Mass Avenue Bridge marks 5 and the BU Bridge marks 7.
Castle Island: If you are staying in South Boston, the Castle Island route is a loop I have grown to love, except in inclement weather. You can run right along the beach until you see a path going straight out to the water and all the way around to the other side of the beach. (You can probably imagine that being on a small walkway in the middle of a rain or windstorm is not always the most enjoyable. Lesson learned.) The whole loop starting at the beach and around is about 2 to 2.5 miles, depending on where you start. This year, the expo is in the Seaport, giving you easy access to South Boston and this route.
I hope you have the best weekend in Boston possible and that you have a smile on your face for every mile you run. In the words of Desi Linden, you are, after all, “running the Boston freaking marathon!”