Patriots Day is held each year on the third Monday in April to commemorate the battle of Lexington and Concord, the first shots fired in the American Revolutionary War. Massachusetts residents take a holiday to celebrate American history and watch the Boston Marathon, one of the most well-known sporting events in the world. Here’s how you can participate in Patriots’ Day events around Massachusetts.
The Boston Marathon
The Boston Marathon has been held each year on Patriots’ Day since 1897 (save a brief pause in 2020), making it the world’s longest annual marathon. It is New England’s most widely viewed sporting event, regularly attracting tens of thousands of participants and hundreds of thousands of spectators.
If you want to see the start of the race, head over to Hopkinton center. Be early – the starting line gets busy quickly, and roads in Hopkinton close to cars at 6:30 a.m. Limited parking will be available for spectators at the the 171 South Street parking lot, with shuttle buses running throughout the morning. Street parking will not be available. View specific group starting times on the Boston Athletics Association’s website.
From Hopkinton, it’s 26 miles to Boston. Gather to cheer on racers along the trail in Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, Newton, and Brookline. See the Boston Athletics Association website for specific viewing tips for each community.
Racers will enter Boston near Kenmore square along the way to the finish line near Copley Square. Copley Station will be closed on race day – take the green line to Arlington or the orange line or the Commuter Rail to Back Bay if you’re planning on taking the T to get to the finish line. Car traffic will be heavy and parking will be limited, so keep that in mind if you’re driving in to the city. Roads around the finish line close at 7:15 a.m. You may have to pass through security checkpoints at certain spots of the course, including the finish line. View a list of discouraged items on the Boston Athletic Association’s website.
Patriots’ Day Weekend in Lexington & Concord
There are a number of commemorative events throughout Lexington on Patriots Day weekend, including a reenactment of the Battle at Lexington Green, tours of historic sites linked to the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, musical performances, documentary screenings, and more. Tours of the Buckman Tavern, the Munroe Tavern, and the Hancock-Clarke house will run throughout the weekend. See a full schedule at the town of Lexington’s website.
On Saturday and Sunday, head out to Battle Road to learn about the militia and civilian experience during the battles of Lexington and Concord through tours of historic battle sites and reenactments of famous events.
On Patriots’ Day, the Concord Museum offers free admission. Visit a minuteman encampment reenactment, keep your eye out for red-coated regulars roaming the museum, and see the special exhibit on the events of April 19, 1775.
Traffic in Concord Center is closed to cars from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Patriots’ Day to accommodate the town’s parade.
Minute Man National Historical Park
Starting at 8:30 a.m. on Patriots Day, see a reenactment of the battle at North Bridge between minutemen and British regulars commemorating the famous “Shot Heard ‘Round the World.” Reservations are not required, but roads in Concord will close at 8:30 a.m.
At 7:45 p.m., witness a Patriot Vigil honoring the events of April 19, 1775 featuring a lantern procession from the North Bridge Visitor Center to North Bridge, music, poetry, and a reading of the names of men who lost their lives that day.
Patriots’ Day Weekend in Boston
Patriots Day Weekend is a perfect opportunity to take in the sights and sounds of the Freedom Trail, a one-of-a-kind collection of locations that played significant and notable roles in the American Revolution.
When you get to the Old North Church, stick around for Lantern 2022 – a celebration of the church’s role in the events of April 19th, 1775, and its history of activism since. Listen to live music, hear a reading of “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere,” an see an event honoring 2022 Lantern recipient Michael Bloomberg, a Massachusetts native. Tickets are available for purchase. If you’re taking the T, the easiest way to get to the Old North Church is to take the green line to Haymarket.
Outside of the Freedom Trail, the Boston Red Sox take on the Minnesota Twins at Fenway Park throughout the weekend, including their annual Patriots’ Day home game. Swing by to cheer on the home team and participate in this Boston tradition.
The Boston Marathon Fan Fest will take place in Copley Square throughout the weekend. Meet Boston Marathon champions, take a fitness class, see some live performances, and more. Admission is free.
Patriots’ Day Parades
Acton: April 18, 2022, 1 – 6 p.m.
Arlington: April 18, 2022, 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Boston: April 18, 2022, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Concord: April 18, 2022, 9 a.m.
Lexington: April 18, 2022, 2 – 4 p.m.
Somerville: April 18, 2022, 10 – 11:30 a.m.