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NYC Marathon 2016 photos
Photograph: Filip Wolak

Where to watch the New York Marathon 2021

You don't have to run it to get in on the action: here's where to watch the New York Marathon in 2021

Written by
Time Out New York contributors
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One of the biggest events to take place during the fall in NYC is the NYC Marathon. Thousands of runners from all over the world descend upon the city to blaze through all five boroughs on foot. Top athletes train all year for a chance to be a part of this huge event. While the field is smaller this year (33,000 rather than 55,000 participants), the highly-anticipated event will still be just as exciting. For those who love watching people run and those who think 26.2 miles is an ungodly distance to run, watching the marathon is a thrilling way to be a part of the action. There are a lot of options for great spots to catch the race, so if you haven’t decided yet, here’s our roundup of where to watch the New York Marathon.

The 2021 NYC Marathon, the 50th running of the event, will take place on Sunday, November 7, starting at 9am. Starting times are spaced out more this year, so runners will be hitting these spots at slightly different times. You’ll want to pick a spot and stay there (especially if you’re cheering on someone specific), so get there early and wear comfy shoes! Make some signs to support friends and strangers, warm up your voice for some loud cheers. These marathon viewing spots will get you the closest to the action, and we’ve included some NYC attractions to visit while you’re there.

Where to watch the NYC Marathon 2021 along the course

If you want to be close enough to see the sweat during the NYC Marathon, these are the recommended spectator viewing spots along the course. Unfortunately, you can't watch the start of the race on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, but these are the best spots along the rest of the route to take in all the action.

Fourth Avenue, Brooklyn (Miles 2-4)

Fourth Avenue and Atlantic Avenue (Mile 8)

Williamsburg and Greenpoint, Brooklyn (Miles 10-13) 

Pulaski Bridge (Mile 13.1) 

First Avenue, Manhattan (Miles 16-18) 

East Harlem (Miles 18-20) 

Fifth Avenue, East 90th Street-East 105th Street (Miles 23-24) 

Fifth Avenue, East 90th Street to East 92nd Street 

Columbus Circle

New York Attractions Near the Course

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First Ave and 59th Street
Photograph: Jennifer Arnow

3. First Ave and 59th Street

No spectators are allowed on the Queensboro Bridge, but the area around First Avenue and 59th Street allows for good views of the runners as they descend the overpass.

Things to do here that don’t involve running: Someone needs to right the karmic balance these runners are throwing into disarray. Serendipity 3 has something called the Golden Opulence Sundae, which costs $1,000 and requires 48 hours' advance notice to order. Do the right thing.

Just before they hit Central Park, runners will be skirting the much smaller Marcus Garvey Park. Having already run about 22 miles, they’ll be in dire need of your vocal support.

Things to do here that don’t involve running: Once your job is done cheering-wise, head west a few blocks to Dinosaur Bar-B-Que for some ribs or beer-boiled shrimp. You might not be a runner yourself, but that doesn’t mean you can’t eat like one. If you’re going to have a heart attack, death by meat is preferable to death by exercise.

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At this late point in the race, most runners have probably slipped into some kind of instinctive fugue state, robotically putting one foot in front of the other in what is no doubt a triumph of the human spirit.

Things to do here that don’t involve running: Museum of Modern Art isn’t far from the southern end of Central Park.

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