Your local guide to what’s happening in Boston — with a flair for the avant-garde.
History of HOCR-Best Places to Watch
The Head of The Charles Regatta is not just another race; it's an institution in the world of rowing and a significant event on Boston's annual calendar. Taking place on the Charles River, which divides Boston and Cambridge, this regatta is the world's largest two-day rowing event.
Established in 1965, the race was created by the Cambridge Boat Club members D'Arcy MacMahon, Howard McIntyre, and Jack Vincent, with the intention of hosting a “head of the river” race in Boston similar to those held in England. While the race started with around 300 rowers in its inaugural year, the regatta has expanded exponentially; it now attracts over 11,000 athletes from around the world and tens of thousands of spectators each year.
Best Places to Watch:
1. Eliot Bridge: One of the most popular spots, the area around Eliot Bridge provides a close-up view of the rowers as they navigate one of the race's most challenging turns. Spectators gather on both sides of the bridge, making for a bustling atmosphere.
2. Weeks Footbridge: Located roughly at the race's midpoint, this spot offers great views of the crews as they pass underneath. The energy here is palpable, as it’s where many teams make their strategic moves.
3. Anderson & Weld Boathouses: Both these boathouses offer fantastic vantage points. The surrounding areas are often less crowded than other viewing spots, making them ideal for those looking for a more relaxed environment.
4. Finish Line at Herter Park: For the ultimate culmination of excitement, there's no place like the finish line. Watch as teams give their final push, with spectators cheering them on to the end.
This year, the regatta is set to take place from Saturday, October 21st to Sunday, October 22nd, 2023. Racing will commence at 7:45 am and conclude at 4:30 pm each day, featuring a diverse range of participants, including master, senior, veteran, and club singles, doubles, and crews. If you’re planning to attend, here's a crucial heads-up: unless you're arriving with a boat strapped to your vehicle, it's HIGHLY recommended that you utilize public transportation. The racecourse is conveniently located within a short stroll from three popular MBTA stations, namely Central & Harvard on the RED line and BU Central on the B Branch of the Green Line, all within reach of most Boston hotels! Do note that from 8 AM to 7 PM on both Saturday and Sunday, Memorial Drive from Cambridge Boat Club to Western Avenue will be closed to vehicular traffic. Plan ahead by booking Studio Allston Hotel, and enjoy the races!