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7 Great Spots to Cheer and Eat Along the Marathon Route in Harlem

Updated: Dec 12, 2023

Marathon runners looping around Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem.
Marathon runners looping around Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem.

The New York City Marathon is back this Sunday, November 5, with more than 50,000 runners participating in the iconic 26.2-mile race.

One of the best places to catch all the action? Miles 21 and 22 in Harlem, a section of the route that has a less-crowded, almost small-town feel.

This 42-block stretch—Fifth Avenue from E 138th Street to E 96th Street, with a short detour around Marcus Garvey Park—is where you'll find loads of inspirational music, messages and cheer.

For those planning on going, here are seven notable spots where you can watch and eat and along the route, starting around noon. And if you want to glimpse the elite runners, get there early—a little after 10am (the professional women start at 8:40am, the professional men at 9:05am).

From north to south:

1. Cheer: Final entrance into Manhattan Madison Avenue Bridge exit ramp, E 138th Street and Fifth Avenue

This is the spot where runners re-enter Manhattan from the Bronx for the last stretch of the race—and really need your encouragement. Expect DJs, funny signs and plenty of good vibes.

2. Cheer: We Run Uptown Cheer Zone Courtney Callender Playground, Fifth Avenue between 130th and 131st Streets

We Run Uptown, a group that hosts weekly runs through Washington Heights and Inwood, is teaming up with Nike NYC for its block party-like Cheer Zone, which includes music, confetti canons, cowbells, food and lots more.

Harlem's Shake Shack has huge windows facing Fifth Avenue, the route of the New York City Marathon
Shake Shack is right on Fifth Avenue.

3. Eat: Shake Shack 1 W 125th St and Fifth Ave

The huge windows here look directly onto Fifth Avenue, making it the perfect spot to grab a quick burger while watching the race outside.

4. Cheer: Harlem Run Cheer Station Fifth Avenue and 124th Street

Join local running collective Harlem Run from 12:30pm onwards as they cheer on marathoners approaching the bend around brownstone-lined Marcus Garvey Park.

5. Eat: Charles Pan-Fried Chicken 1325 Fifth Avenue between E 111th and E 112th Sts

Famous for the fried chicken that James Beard Award-nominated chef Charles Gabriel prepares in huge cast-iron skillets, this branch of the Harlem chainlet has picnic benches out front.

6. Eat: Maxwell's Central Park 1325 Fifth Avenue and 111th Street

Is watching all of that running making you really thirsty? Nab one of the picnic benches outside of Maxwell's, a casual American spot right on Fifth Avenue, and order the bottomless brunch. Choose from 90 minutes of all-you-can-drink mimosas, bellinis, bloody marys or beer for $25.

All of Teranga's windows face Fifth Avenue and the New York Marathon route
Teranga's windows face Fifth Avenue.

7. Eat: Teranga, 1280 Fifth Ave between E 109th and E 110th Sts

Grab a coffee, breakfast or deeply-flavored grain-based bowl at this West African spot located along mile 22 of the race. Get there early—they're opening at 9am to catch the elite runners—for a prime spot by the windows overlooking Fifth Avenue.

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