Whether you were born to run or born to watch, this weekend ushers in one of the most exciting and historic races in the nation.
Philadelphia Marathon weekend is back with four races (and the Heath and Fitness Expo) from November 17 to 19. The main event (the Philadelphia Marathon) route winds 26.2 miles through the heart of Philadelphia and speeds by some of the city’s most iconic landmarks — Independence Hall, Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge — on Sunday, November 19.
- Philadelphia Marathon weekend takes place November 17 to 19 with four different races.
- The Health and Fitness Expo runs on November 17 and 18 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
- The main 26.2-mile marathon event unfolds on Sunday, November 19 at 7 a.m.
- The marathon route crosses neighborhoods including Old City, Queen Village, Center City and Manayunk.
The city is going to be electric all weekend long, and especially on Sunday, when more than 60,000 spectators are expected to cheer on more than 30,000 participants. Check out all of the top spectator spots below along with the details about other fun events surrounding the race.
Where To Watch
While the routes for each of the four races are a little bit different, spectators can get a good view of all of them from the Benjamin Franklin Parkway between the Philadelphia Museum of Art area to LOVE Park and along parts of Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive on the west side of the Schuylkill River.
Check out the course maps for the complete routes of each race. Read on for our picks for the prime spectating spots, below.
22nd Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway
All of the races start at 22nd Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and finish nearby at the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. If you’re trying to simplify your spectating planning, show up early and find a spot in that area.
Philadelphia’s Historic District
For those primarily interested in seeing the marathon and half-marathon, we recommend taking in some historic scenery at the same time. Since these two races circle the area and cross sections of Race Street before continuing south, Philadelphia’s Historic District serves as a great place to watch the action.
The half-marathon runs by attractions including Independence Mall, the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall and then continues on, weaving its way by the National Museum of American Jewish History, Benjamin Franklin’s grave, the National Constitution Center and the United States Mint — all in the first few miles.
Meanwhile, the full marathon runs by spots including Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church and Independence Hall before turning onto Chestnut Street and heading into the heart of Center City.
Along the Schuylkill River
Both the half-marathon and the full marathon routes run along parts of the east and west sides of the Schuylkill River, making that area another great lookout spot. In fact, the full marathon runs on Kelly Drive all the way up into Manayunk, meaning any part of the Schuylkill River Trail on the east side of the river is fair game for taking in the action.
Want to make sure you don’t miss the runner(s) you came out to watch? The marathon organizers have called out official fan-friendly cheer zones in the neighborhoods surrounding the race, denoting the approximate time ranges when the majority of runners will pass through each area.
Designated cheer zones include spots like Rittenhouse Square, the Smith Memorial Playground, Reading Terminal Market at 12th and Arch streets and other areas all across the city.
Check out all of Cheer Zone recommendations here.
Health and Fitness Expo
Every year, the Philadelphia Marathon kicks off with a massive Health & Fitness Expo at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. This year’s two-day vendor showcase takes place on November 17 from noon to 9 p.m. and November 18 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The expo is a must-stop spot for all race participants, as this is where race packets are to be retrieved. However, the free event has plenty to offer to the public, too, showcasing some of the newest running apparel, shoes, accessories and more. A plethora of product samples are also available as are health and fitness demos and onsite experts dishing out advice.
Wishing a cheerful and cheer-filled weekend to all of the runners and fans out there. We’ll see you at the race!