Tips for Watching the New York City Marathon

Millions pack the streets of New York’s five boroughs each year to cheer on 50,000+ runners competing in the world-famous New York City Marathon. Watching the marathon doesn’t take as much endurance as running it does but with a few tips, the experience can be more enjoyable.

HOW TO DRESS to Watch the NYC Marathon
Layers are key! There’s a surprisingly chilly bite to the air during this time of year. We were greeted by deceptively sunny days during our stay at New York Hilton Midtown only to walk out into a cold that whips at noses and hands first before moving on to other areas. Hand warmers can help the fingers (and even toes) feel cozy and are great for watching any outdoor sporting event in the cold.

Be aware if there is rain in the forecast and have gear on hand. Lastly, wear comfortable shoes. You’ll be standing around and walking a lot after all!

Essentials to consider bringing:

  • A course map
  • A subway map
  • Snacks and drinks (dry air will make you very thirsty!)

A nice to have item: Gather the kids and stop by Duane Reade for markers, poster board and other art supplies to create and craft some motivational signs for your runner. My family has heard straight from our endurance athlete these that along with loud cheering are great motivational tools when you feel like your legs could give out at any time!

Download the mobile app to track your runner’s progress on race day. Head to the marathon website to get more information on the New York Marathon tracker.

While there is a lot of fanfare and excitement around the finish line in Central Park, my advice is to get out of Manhattan to see the race. Getting your runner’s wave start time and asking for their estimated pace will help in figuring out when you might see them at which mile. Once you have that information, review the race course map to figure out your plan.

We were lucky enough to get invited out to Brooklyn where the atmosphere was pretty festive. There were parties spilling out of the famous brownstones. Streets were packed with cheering spectators. There was entertainment, including a DJ leading the crowd in classic tunes like the Village People’s hit YMCA. At this point the runners are still fairly fresh and looking strong. It’s an easy subway ride from Manhattan so it is highly possible to catch a glimpse of your athlete here then head back again for a photo finish.

If you plan on attempting to catch your runner in multiple locations, know in advance that this will take time as the subway and your own foot power will be the best possible way for maneuvering around the city.

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Know Before You Go

  • Opt for walking tours instead of bus tours if you want to eliminate the issue of traffic – just make sure to pack comfortable shoes!
  • If you bring your own ice skates, Bryant Park allows you to ice skate for free in the winter.
  • The Bronx Zoo is pay-what-you-wish on Wednesdays.
  • Utilize the New York Subway to travel like a local – it’s also a great way to avoid traffic!

This post was written by Hilton Suggests Team Member, Kristine D. Are you interested in traveling to New York City? Let us know if we can help you with any other recommendations. Tweet us for more great local travel tips!

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