It’s that time of year again! On Oct 21-23, 11,000 rowers from all over the world competed in the annual year’s Head of the Charles River (HOCR) regatta. HOCR is the world’s largest rowing event and Boston’s second-largest sporting event after the marathon. Graceful as rowing may appear, the rowers braced themselves for bleeding blisters and agonizing soreness during the 4,702-meter races Friday through Sunday.
There were some amazing races and some even took home the gold like Ezra Carlson from the men’s singles division and Emily Kallfelz from the women’s championship singles.
Spectators had the luxury of enjoying the race while munching on delicious regatta food like lobster rolls and fair-style funnel cake from the vendors along Memorial Drive. The regatta brought in more than 400,000 spectators from nearly every country.
We caught some beautiful race views from these five best places to gasp and cheer along the race course!
1. Catch the start line at the Boston University DeWolfe Boathouse
Home to the Boston University Terriers Division One Rowing Teams, the DeWolfe boathouse opened its doors to the world for Head of the Charles. The dock was contagious with adrenaline as rowers launched and aligned for racing.
DeWolfe Boathouse 619 Memorial Dr, Cambridge, MA 02139
2. Boston University Bridge
For an aerial view of the Head of the Charles River start line, take a few steps to the left of the DeWolfe Boathouse. There we found hundreds of spectators cheering on collegiate teams, veteran alumni boats, and crews of four or eight. Scullers launched out of a tranquil Magazine Beach.
Nearby 1 University Rd, Boston, MA 02215
3. Weeks Footbridge
The challenging turns of this bridge made it one of the most iconic viewing spots. Adjacent to Weeks Footbridge is Riverbend Park. Riverbend Park is where the cornucopia of food and beverage sat along the sidelines of intense race splashing and speeding!
953 Memorial Dr, Cambridge, MA 02138
4. Charles River Esplanade (Cambridge Side)
Down the esplanade, there were six bridges to detour along the length of the course at the intersection of Memorial Drive. Each bridge offered a unique viewing experience powered by the crowd and fueled by the race moments.
- Boston University Bridge
- River Street Bridge
- Western Avenue Bridge
- Weeks Footbridge
- Anderson Bridge
- Eliot Bridge
Always start at the DeWolfe Boathouse, then make your way to Riverside Boathouse, and finally finish by Anderson Bridge nearby to Harvard University. Here we encountered an effervescent audience!
River Street Bridge highlights the ‘powerhouse stretch’ where most crews pedaled to the medal and emptied the tank for the middle 3,000 meters. Moving from bridge to bridge along the esplanade we found dozens of vendors.
Here there awaited everything from limited edition Vineyard Vines HOCR apparel to small bites to perfectly placed benches along the course. The Boston side of the esplanade offered a quieter viewing experience.
769 Memorial Dr, Cambridge, MA 02139
5. Catch The Head of the Charles finish at Herter Park
Seconds separated winners from runner-ups at Herter Park. It was hard not to enjoy the emotion of this popular viewing spot. Learn more about Head of the Charles race times.
1175 Soldiers Field Rd, Boston, MA 02134