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The Seaport Guide To The Head Of The Charles

By: Seaport Boston Hotel / 19 Oct 2018
The Seaport Guide To The Head Of The Charles
If you notice the streets of Boston are swarmed with tall rowers this weekend, it's no coincidence! While the city gears up to host the World Series next week, Boston will first host the world's largest regatta. The Head of the Charles runs from the Charles River basin to just past Harvard University. The 3-mile competition attracts 11,000 rowers from 23 countries around the world each year to show how swiftly they can maneuver through "that Dirty Water." While we may not be rowing, we love spectating, and we can point you to the best places to rock out in plaid and enjoy one of the best weekends in New England. Herewith, our favorites:
  • Massachusetts Avenue Bridge: Head to the Hynes MBTA Green Line station and walk north on Massachusetts Avenue. When you reach the river, be sure to be on the left side of the bridge. While the course starts further west, you'll still be able to catch crews doing practice runs and lining up near this connection between Boston and Cambridge. The bridge is also a great spot to get incredible views and photos of the Boston skyline, the famous Citgo sign by Fenway Park, and the MIT dome.
  • Boston University Bridge: The weather will be great on Saturday, so continue walking across the Mass. Ave bridge to Cambridge, and veer left to walk along the river on Memorial Drive. You'll have the Charles River on your left and several MIT residence halls on your right. Three quarters of a mile up, you'll reach Boston University's DeWolfe Boathouse, the official start of the Head of the Charles. While the boathouse will be busy with rowers getting ready to take to the water, the Boston University bridge just past the boathouse is an excellent spot to get up close with the action as the rowers will be just out of the start and jockeying for a prime position to take the lead. The bridge is also one of the rare spots in the world where a boat can be under a plane, train, car, and pedestrian at the same time! For those wanting an easier trek to this viewing spot, the Boston University West and Boston University Central MBTA Green Line stations are equidistant from the bridge.
  • Memorial Drive: If you are looking for a long walk, get back on Memorial Drive from the B.U. bridge and go left (north/northwest) toward Harvard Square. Memorial Drive runs parallel to the river, affording you with great views of the rowers during one of the rare straight stretches of the course. Take time to get on the bridges at River Street or Western Avenue on your walk to get a great vantage point of the crews as they make their way to the finish. 
  • Harvard Square: When Memorial Drive begins to curve west, you'll notice Harvard University's Georgian buildings flanking the waterfront. Food trucks, merchandise tents, and even live music will be your clue that you are at the HOCR's most popular viewing point. Be sure to get some crew swag (the annual T-shirt is always a great gift!), indulge in fried dough, and enjoy watching teams in the final stretch of the arduous course. Once you've had your fill of racing for the day, meander up John F.  Kennedy Street into Harvard Square to unwind. Beat Brew Hall (13 Brattle St., Cambridge) and Grendel's Den (89 Winthrop St., Cambridge) are more casual options for cocktails and pub grub while Harvest (44 Brattle St., Cambridge) and Parsnip Restaurant & Lounge (91 Winthrop St., Cambridge) are more upscale ways to end your day.

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