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The “shot heard ‘round the world” was fired 236 years ago and marked the beginning of America’s battle for independence. Massachusetts celebrates this fight for liberty on the third Monday in April with Patriots Day, a state holiday. Not only does Patriot’s Day commemorate the events that began America’s journey to freedom, it also marks the day citizens of the Commonwealth recognize the triumph of the human spirit and athletic prowess embodied in the Boston Marathon. This year will be the marathon’s 117th running, expected to feature more than 26,000 runners and over 500,000 spectators who will descend on the greater Boston area to experience the world’s oldest annual marathon.

Patriot’s Day

Cities and towns across the Commonwealth celebrate Patriot’s Day and the weekend preceding it with Revolutionary War reenactments, parades, film screenings and more. Plan your Patriot’s Day weekend fun with the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism (MOTT) guide to Patriot’s Day and this listing of National Parks Service Patriot’s Day Events.

The Boston Marathon

The Boston Marathon starts in Hopkinton before winding 26.2 miles through the Boston suburbs, up Heartbreak Hill and ending at the Copley Square finish line. There are many great places to watch the event with 500,000 of your closest friends, but some of them can get pretty crowded. Don’t fret, MOTT has compiled a fantastic list of less populated vantage points!

So many spectators can make getting around the city a challenge, and some bus and subway routes will be affected through the weekend. Be sure to take a look at the MBTA’s guide to riding the T on Marathon Monday for schedule changes. You may also want to check out its advice on taking the T as a spectator.  If you’d rather avoid the crowds altogether, you can watch the marathon streaming live online at, sponsored by the Boston Athletic Association, which has organized the Boston Marathon since its inception.

Whether you’re running or watching the race, you’ll need to keep your stamina up throughout the day. The Department of Public Health has put together these nutrition tips inspired by the marathon, because cheering for over 26,000 runners requires endurance!

Join the Conversation: What will you do to celebrate Patriot’s Day?


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