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Boston Marathon 2019: The route, street closures, and more

Including where to watch the big race and how to get there

Boston Globe via Getty Images

The 2019 Boston Marathon starts on Monday, April 15, at 9:02 a.m. with the men’s wheelchair division. Competitors continue to leave the starting line on Main Street in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, until 11:15 a.m.

They will then head 26.2 miles east to the finish line at Boylston Street in Boston’s Copley Square. Here is the best map of the route, courtesy of race organizer the Boston Athletic Association (BAA). And here’s some other info to get you through the big day.


Don’t drive there

The Boston Marathon and its related events—including a 5K and a 10K and the annual Patriots’ Day Parade in Boston—mean numerous street closures in the Boston area over several days. For instance, most of central Hopkinton will be closed off beginning at 7 a.m. on April 15.

The closures will be particularly acute in Boston proper. The city has provided an exhaustive rundown of which roads will be closed and when (basically, avoid driving in the Back Bay neighborhood). And beware: Some of these closures start days before the big race. What’s more, parking will be either inaccessible or difficult to come by along the route, but especially in Boston.

Here are your mass transit options, then. These include not only where and how to take the T and the commuter rail, but how to snag discounts on each.

There are also bike-share options. Bluebikes, the bike-share that Boston co-owns with a few other municipalities, will have expanded 24/7 service around and during the race. Check out that option. There are other bike-shares in the region as well, and, in Brookline at least, e-scooter options.

Where to watch and what not to bring

Some of the best spots for watching the race along its 26.2-mile route include the Wellesley Scream Tunnel just before halfway; Heartbreak Hill in Newton around Boston College; and the final stretch on Boylston Street in Boston before the finish, according to the BAA.

Race sponsor JetBlue has put out an official guide for spectators, but here’s a key point if you’re planning to cheer on the more than 30,000 competitors: Don’t bring the below items. Not only are they prohibited, but their seizure at security checkpoints could slow up yours and others’ access to the route.

  • Weapons or items that may be used as weapons, including knives
  • Backpacks or similar items
  • Suitcases and rolling bags
  • Coolers
  • Glass containers or cans
  • Anything flammable or explosive
  • Any container capable of holding more than 1 liter of liquid
  • Handbags, packages, or similarly bulky items
  • Large blankets, sleeping bags, etc.
  • Bulky costumes or costumes that cover the face
  • Props such as camping or military gear
  • Drones (yes, do not operate drones over or around the race)

Also, avoid possession of alcohol along the route, especially of the open-container variety. And, while its use recreationally is legal in Massachusetts, consumption of marijuana in public is prohibited—a friendly reminder.

A final note: If you can’t—or don’t want to—make the route to watch the race, WBZ-TV will be carrying the contest locally and NBC Sports nationally.