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How to See the Boston Marathon Like a Pro (According to a Hotel Concierge)

Any Monday off from work is reason to celebrate. In Boston, Marathon Monday, April 20, is a city holiday and people start celebrating early, as there’s not only a race, but a Boston Red Sox game that starts at 11:00 a.m. Jonathan Nicholson, the head concierge of Boston’s XV Beacon, a member of the AFAR Hotel Collection, shares his strategies for navigating the city on Marathon Monday as well as some of Boston’s most under-the-radar attractions to take in during your visit.

The Best Spots to Take in the Race
“One of the best places to see the race is less than a mile from the finish line, as the runners make the turn off of Hereford Street onto Boylston Street. There is a downhill grade that helps runners in the final kick towards the finish. This is where the runners get their first glance of the finish line, and the fans begin to go crazy. It’s almost as if the runners feed off the energy of the crowd. If you want a bit less crowded of an area to view the race, the area between Cleveland Circle and Kenmore Square along Beacon Street gives race fans and opportunity to get close to the runners.”

Where to Eat Along the Race Course
“If you plan on going to the race, fuel up at MetBackBay, a restaurant serving American-style breakfast in an old townhouse that’s located approximately two blocks from the finish line. Plan on getting there when they open so you can head up to Hereford & Boylston as the elite participants come through.

“If you were planning on catching the runners farther up on Beacon Street, check out Audubon. It’s steps from the course, between Mile 23 and Mile 25, that tends to be less crowded than other areas along the route.

Sorellina is a high-end Italian restaurant one block from the finish line that has handmade pastas and Italian Mediterranean cuisine, as well as a wonderful wine list. If you’re craving steak, head to Mooo…, the modern American Steakhouse adjacent to XV Beacon. Go for the rib eye or the beef Wellington.”

Best Way for Runners to Pamper Post-Race
“There’s an extra special reward if you finish the race. After you pick up your medal and post-race fluids, Exhale Spa is a 200-yard walk from the end of post-race corrals at Arlington St. and Park Plaza. Book your massage a few days in advance.

Best Way to Explore the City
“People are sort of shocked when they see the amount of open space in the city. Grab a bike rental from Urban Adventours and see the city from along the banks of the Charles River.”

The City’s Coolest Tour
“Long known as one of the region’s best micro brews, Harpoon Brewery has tours and tastings year round. Enjoy the beer hall and a hot pretzel to compliment the cold hops.”

Off-the-Beaten Path Islands
Boston Harbor Cruises offers ferry service to Georges Island, where you can take a free Ranger-led tour of historic Fort Warren. Or take service to Spectacle Island, where you can take a dip into the harbor and soak up some rays on the beach. The islands have awesome events such as concerts, special tours, and special presentations all season long.”

Most Overlooked Museum
Harvard Art Museums recently reopened in 2014 after closing in late 2008. Three of the major museums at Harvard University have been combined into one building that features Western art, photos and drawings, Eastern and Northern European art, and works from Asia, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean. “

A Book Nerd’s Dream
“Home to the nation’s oldest private collection of rare books and publishings, the Boston Athenaeum‘s first floor is open to the public. Full access to the Athenaeum is offered via docent-led tours on Tuesday and Thursday, at 3:00pm.”

Want more on Beantown? Check out our ultimate guide to Boston!

Photo by JD/Flickr