In our Fall40 series we’re highlighting our recommendations for the best fall events and activities here in Boston. Today we’re featuring the Head of the Charles Regatta (HOCR for short), the annual rowing race held on the Charles River.
The Regatta, which takes place during the second to last weekend of October, is a favorite fall event in Boston. The Regatta brings many competitors and spectators alike to the city for the weekend, and it’s an all day affair! Races kick off at 8:00 AM and run through 5:00 PM on both days.
The HOCR began in 1978 and has seen massive growth over the past few decades. Competitors travel from near and far and to participate -- and the event has grown to involve 9,000+ athletes from all over the world! Over 300,000 spectators gather to watch and college students from the Boston area typically come out in full force to cheer on their teams.
The course runs for three miles on the Charles River, starting at the Boston University Boathouse and ending at the Christian Herter Park. One of the best places to watch the race is on the Cambridge side between the Anderson Memorial Bridge and the John W. Weeks Bridge (which is around the halfway point in the race). There’s plenty to see and do in the area and the energy of the crowd is contagious! Sponsors and food vendors set-up along the stretch and you can visit their tents or grab a bite to eat. There are always a variety of food vendors, and we recommend getting a New England clam chowder in a bread bowl if it’s a chilly day.
Because this area is the prime watching spot, expect a lot of pedestrian and car traffic. If you’re not staying in the area, public transportation is ideal as there are a number of street closures. The closest stop is Harvard Square stop on the red line and it’s just a 7 minute walk to get to the river.
We recommend bringing different layers of clothing in case of weather changes, cash for food vendors and a picnic blanket so you can sit and watch by the river. If it’s going to be a cold day you may want to bring an extra blanket or two so you can wrap up if need be. If you want to go a step beyond you can also take the time to learn the lingo with this guide to terminology on HOCR’s website!
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