Wicked Good Guides / Boston for Visitors / Special events

Spring: Patriots Day


In Massachusetts, the Monday closest to April 19 is an official holiday, commemorating the battles of Lexington and Concord - although most people outside the state seem to know it mainly for the annual running of the Boston Marathon.

The Boston Marathon (see the Boston Athletic Association site for more details on the race) is a 26-mile (and 385 yards!) race from Hopkinton to Copley Square in the Back Bay. Thousands of runners and wheelchair racers, many top in the field, come to Boston each April for the race. But you know what? The top racers go by in a flash. Bostonians know the real fun is in cheering on the middle- and back-of-the-packers, the ones that look like they just can't take another step, or wear weird outfits, or run together in packs that celebrate their hometowns or employers or something. Watch a maraton and you'll shout yourself hoarse cheering on these folks. The race starts in Hopkinton around noon (about a half hour earlier for the wheelchair racers); the elite runners get into Copley Square shortly after 2.

If you're staying in the Back Bay, you're just a short walk from Boylston Street, where the race ends. Expect serious crowds. If you want a bit of breathing room, take the Green Line's C branch outbound to Washington Square in Brookline, where you can also cheer on the racers and get some ice cream or Chinese food afterwards.

Not everybody watches the race.

Some people celebrate the reason we have a Patriots Day holiday by dressing up as Minutemen to fight off the British at Old North Bridge in Concord around 9 a.m. (the truly dedicated get up before dawn to retrace the "Line of Battle" from towns such as Acton and Boxborough to the re-creation of the battle of Lexington). The town of Arlington has a big parade featuring Minutemen, fife and bugle players, marching bands and more, starting at 9 a.m. down Massachusetts Avenue.


Yeah my best friends dad raced in the Boston Marathon. He thought if you could jog the whole 26-mile he would be all right. He said his legs were still sore a month later!! He is back to normal and his words of advise... WALK!!!!

xavier andrade on September 20, 2005 07:47 PM.

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