The 25h Annual Philadelphia Marathon is set to take place this November, attracting more than 30,000 runners and 60,000 spectators to the City of Brotherly Love. Planning on being in town for the landmark race? Whether you’re running or cheering someone on, or simply attending for the sheer spectacle, here’s our guide of how to experience Marathon Weekend in Philadelphia.
Runners love this Boston-qualifying course for its speed (compared to other races, it’s relatively flat), as well as its scenic route. Starting at the south end of Fairmount Park, it continues down the iconic Benjamin Franklin Parkway before passing through the heart of Center City. It then heads to the riverfront and turns south, before looping back through Center City towards University City. The race continues with a loop in West Park, the western flank of Fairmount Park, before crossing the Schuylkill River into East Park. For this leafy last 12 miles of the race, runners follow along the river and come back again, ending by the iconic Philadelphia Art Museum.
If you’re in town to cheer on a loved one, there are a few key spots to consider setting up for the race. Fans line the entire route, but cluster at the Marathon’s official “Cheer Zones.” The ones in Center City are a great choice, as you’ll catch runners at the beginning of their journey when they’re energetic and feeling the most potential (plus, they’re closest to the downtown conveniences). By University City, you’ll be with a student-centric crowd which is always energetic. And of course, the finish line is where the action happens—cheering on everyone as they complete the epic race.
Runners and fans alike will love Philadelphia’s endless opportunities for carb-loading. Pasta is a clear choice, and the city’s great Italian restaurants—like the Northern Italian-leaning Vetri or Roman-style trattori Amis—provide it in heaps. Another option is Philadelphia’s take on Sicilian-style pizza, our legendary Philly tomato pie. If you’re looking for a true Italian smorgasbord, venture to the Italian Market on 9th Street, where restaurants, cafés and shops are a carb-loader’s dream. After the race, you’ll probably want to celebrate at a local brewery, or take your sportsy date to one of the city’s best romantic restaurants.
In Philly for the marathon? Make a full weekend out of it and enjoy The Independent’s Stay More, Save More package. Enjoy 10 percent savings when you stay two nights, and up to 20 percent off longer stays.