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A Spectator's Guide to the 2013 Chicago Marathon

A Spectator's Guide to the 2013 Chicago Marathon | Chicago Things To Do | Groupon

Whether you’re cheering on a loved one or showing your support for the other 45,000 runners, spectating at the Chicago Marathon can be as challenging as running the whole race (though it’s best not to say that in earshot of the runners). Where’s the best place to stand? How do you make sense of that sea of bibs and singlets? Is it okay to drink the Gatorade?

We don’t have the answers to all of these questions, but we do know the best places to cheer on the race. Here are five spots along the way that offer excellent views, delicious food, and plenty of caffeinated beverages.

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MILE 8

Lakeview near Belmont Ave. and Broadway

Transit: Red or Brown Line (Belmont)

Lakeview will likely be packed with spectators on race day, but if you can get to the inner edge of the route, this spot will let you watch the runners as they reach Mile 7 at Belmont Ave. and Sheridan Rd. It’s just a short walk west on Belmont to Broadway, where you can watch them pass Mile 8.

Food and Drink Nearby:

The Bagel | 3107 N. Broadway

Traditional Jewish deli with bagels, fried matzos, and cheese blintzes

Opens at: 8 a.m.

Approach from: The east. The Bagel is located on the inner edge of the route; arrive by 8 a.m.

Intelligentsia Coffee | 3123 N. Broadway

Intelligentsia’s flagship location serves artisan coffees roasted daily in vintage German roasters

Opens at: 7 a.m.

Approach from: The east. Intelligentsia is located on the inner edge of the route; arrive by 8 a.m.

LooseLeaf Lounge | 2915 N. Broadway

More than 50 types of tea, plus sandwiches, fresh-baked pastries, and Metropolis coffee

Opens at: 8 a.m.

Approach from: The east. LooseLeaf Lounge is located on the inner edge of the route; arrive by 8 a.m.

 

MILE 10

Old Town near North Ave. and Wells St.

Transit: Red Line (North/Clybourn), Brown Line (Sedgwick)

The 10-mile marker is located just blocks from The Second City comedy club, but the runners won’t be laughing once they’ve made it this far. A bend in the route is a great place to stand, since you can see more of them approaching. Stake out a spot at the corner of North and Wells, then walk east to LaSalle Dr. to catch the back of the pack at Mile 4.

Food and Drink Nearby:

La Fournette | 1547 N. Wells St.

French bakery serves flaky pastries and steamy beverages to fend off the morning chill

Opens at: 7 a.m.

Approach from: The east. La Fournette is located on the inner edge of the route; arrive by 8:15 a.m.

The Twisted Baker | 1543 N. Wells St.

Creative cupcakes, cookies, and confections accompanied by Intelligentsia coffee

Opens at: 7 a.m.

Approach from: The east. The Twisted Baker is located on the inner edge of the route; arrive by 8:15 a.m.

Kanela Breakfast Club | 1552 N. Wells St.

Elegant table-service establishment serving Greek-inspired brunch cuisine

Opens at: 7 a.m.

Approach from: The west.

 

MILE 17

Little Italy near Halsted St. and Taylor St.

Transit: Blue Line (Racine), Pink Line (Polk)

Spectators at Mile 17 are faced with a few choices. Some choose to find a place at the intersection of Taylor and Halsted, whereas others stand just past Taylor and Racine to get a better view of the PowerGel station, where many racers pause for a moment of respite.

Food and Drink Nearby:

The Coffee Alley | 1152 W. Taylor St.

Traditional espresso drinks, pastries, and a small selection of paninis

Opens at: 8 a.m.

Approach from: The north.

Scafuri Bakery | 1337 W. Taylor St.

Century-old bakery serves pastries, sandwiches, and coffee from Intelligentsia and Lavazza

Opens at: 7 a.m.

Approach from: The east.

Demitasse Coffee | 1066 W. Taylor St.

Local coffee roaster with classic brunch dishes and table service

Opens at: 7:30 a.m.

Approach from: The south. Demitasse is located on the opposite side of the route from the trains; if you need to cross, arrive by 8:45 a.m.

 

MILE 19

Pilsen near 18th St. and Ashland Ave.

Transit: Pink Line (18th St.)

Pilsen is one of the liveliest spots on the race route—year after year, 18th Street comes alive with the sounds of cheers and ringing cowbells. Mile 19 is located near a McDonald’s Runner Update Center, where you can check the status of your runner online. This is advisable, as cellular data service is notoriously spotty on race day.

Food and Drink Nearby:

Nuevo Leon Bakery | 1634 W. 18th St.

A colorful variety of self-serve pastries paired with Mexican hot chocolate

Opens at: 6 a.m.

Approach from: The north.

Cafe Jumping Bean | 1439 W. 18th St.

Specialty espresso, pastries, and hot sandwiches at a coffee shop that doubles as an art gallery

Opens at: 7 a.m.

Approach from: The south.

Lupita's Restaurant | 1723 S. Ashland Ave.

Beloved hole-in-the-wall serves pancakes and french toast for breakfast and Mexican specialties for lunch

Opens at: 8 a.m.

Approach from: The northeast.

 

MILE 21

Chinatown near Cermak Rd. and Wentworth Ave.

Transit: Red Line (Cermak-Chinatown)

Runners typically “hit the wall” around this point, and the delicious aromas of Chinatown certainly don’t help matters. This is where they need you most. Luckily, your energy reserves should be just fine, thanks to the bounty of Chinese bakeries and full-service restaurants that pepper Mile 21.

Food and Drink Nearby:

Ten Ren Tea & Ginseng Co. | 2247 S. Wentworth Ave.

Traditional Chinese teas blended to order and served with or without tapioca balls

Opens at: 9:30 a.m.

Approach from: The east.

Chiu Quon Bakery | 2242 S. Wentworth Ave.

Buttery Chinese pastries and steamed buns accompanied by coffee and milk tea

Opens at: 7 a.m.

Approach from: The west. Chiu Quon Bakery is located on the opposite side of the route from the trains; if you need to cross, arrive by 9 a.m.

Saint Anna Bakery & Cafe | 2158 S. Archer Ave.

Egg tarts, pork buns, and other sweet and savory Chinese baked goods

Opens at: 8 a.m.

Approach from: The north.

Illustration: © Greyory Blake, Groupon

Guide Staff Writer
BY: Ashley Hamer