Unofficial New York Marathon Guide (Tips and Travel)

The 2024 New York Marathon will be held on Sunday, November 3rd, 2024. It is the largest marathon in the world and is held on the first Sunday in November. Originally a repeating loop around Central Park, it now runs through the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island.

The race starts at the Verrazano–Narrows Bridge on Staten Island and ends in Central Park. You will run by the Fort Tompkins, a Civil War fort, the Green-Wood Cemetery gates, the New York State Supreme Court, the Empire State Building, Saint Andrew’s Church, and much more.

In this “unofficial” New York marathon guide, I share information and tips about the race, including some fun things you can do while in the New York City area.

Information in this guide comes from information curated from numerous sources, including the New York Marathon’s official website and information curated from actual participant experiences. 

Race information is subject to change. If you plan to participate in the race, you can get the most up-to-date information at

2024 New York Marathon race information

Race packet pickup

featuring the New Balance Run Hub

Mon–Fri: 9:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m.
Saturday: 9:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Sunday: 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

Packet pickup will be held at the NYRR RUNCENTER located at 320 West 57th Street in Manhatten. You will need your full name and date of birth to pick up your packet, or you can have a friend pick up your packet for you with your race QR code.

I recommend getting there early to avoid the largest crowds or having one person pick up packets for your whole group if running with others.

How to get to the NYRR RUNCENTER

Getting to the NYRR RUNCENTER is easy. It is located near Central Park. You can get there by foot, subway (stations Bay St/Shore Acres Dr, Fingerboard Rd/Tompkins, and Bay St/St Johns Av), bus (routes S79-SBS, S93, SIM1C, SIM33C), car, or via a Rideshare services like Uber or Lyft.

Location: 320 West 57th Street, New York, NY 10019

Race Day: Getting to Fort Wadsworth in Staten Island

If there is one piece of advice I can give about race day, it is to get there early. While the race volunteers do a great job getting you to the start line, traffic in and around the area will be heavy. In 2019, before the pandemic reduced the number of participants, 53,627 runners crossed the finish line. Many runners, their families, and friends will be making their way to the starting line at once, and the crowd can be intimidating and slow if you aren’t used to it.

Fort Wadsworth, located in Staten Island near the start line, will be your stop for restrooms, water points, medical help, Flow Alkaline Water, sports drinks, coffee, tea, hot cocoa, and bagels, and more.

To get there, you have several options, the most convenient of which is likely to be the subway. 2 Av and Astor Pl are the closest stations, and both will be open by 6 AM on race day. 

For those driving over, you will be able to choose from several paid parking options nearby.

Some of our favorite New York Marathon race tips

Pre-race meals and fueling

Nutrition and fueling are important parts of your race strategy. The biggest tip regarding what to eat before you race is to not eat anything you are not used to eating. Nothing new the night before or during a race.

If heading to the race early, take a disposable go-bag with light snacks and water. Standing around for a couple of hours can use vital energy, so having something on hand can keep your glycogen levels topped off.

Training runs prior to race day is when you should test various pre-race meals and marathon-fueling options. If you read this guide before your New York Marathon race, and you would like a few ideas, you can check out some of our favorite meals to eat before long runs and races.

For more guidance on fueling options during your race, check out our article on the Basics of Endurance Fueling. It is a great guide that will help you stay fueled and energized during long training runs and races.

And don’t forget hydration! Dehydration can impact you negatively, from poor performance to heat illness to stomach distress. Here is a quick guide on staying hydrated.

2024 New York Marathon course map

Knowing where you are on the course can help you mentally during your race. In advance, visualize the course and imagine you running through each section. If you have the opportunity to drive the course in advance, it will help you come up with a great race strategy in terms of pacing, where hills are, and where your family and friends can potentially meet you along the course.

If you know a hill is coming up, it will help you adjust your pace, so you don’t burn your legs out.

Here is the 2024 New York Marathon race map:

New York Marathon 2023

Where to stay if you are traveling to the New York Marathon

If you are coming to the race from out of town, there are hundreds of places to stay in and around the area. Many provide early morning go-bag breakfasts or open early, so you can grab a pre-race breakfast. Just be sure to call ahead and ask.

Best hotels For the New York Marathon

The New York Marathon has partnered with On Location, formerly Anthony Travels, to give participants special perks or discounts for race weekend. You can learn more by checking out their site.

PRO TIP: Find a hotel close to the race start or finish. Having to walk far after running 26.2 miles is not fun when you are sore and tired. Most options are near the finish line.

Empire Hotel

Photo Credit: Empire Hotel

The Empire Hotel is a block away from Central Park, and offers air-conditioned rooms, a fitness center, rooftop access, and a pool. Be sure to get to the top of the building for a stunning sunset, where you can enjoy a meal or drinks at The Empire Rooftop Bar & Lounge.

44 W 63rd St., New York, NY 10023(212) 265-7400

Hotel Beacon

Photo Credit: Hotel Beacon

The Hotel Beacon NYC is known for its friendly and helpful staff, and convenient location on Broadway. Unlike some other NYC hotels, this one has kitchenettes in the rooms, perfect for making your own food instead of dining out every time.

2130 Broadway, New York, NY 10023 • (212) 787-1100

Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott New York Manhattan/Central Park

Photo Credit: Marriott Hotel

The Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott New York Manhattan/Central Park is conveniently located near Central Park in the heart of Manhattan. It offers a free buffet breakfast until 9:30 am, as well as a fitness room and cocktail bar.

538 W 58th St, New York, NY 10019 (212) 757-8550

JW Marriott Essex House Hotel New York

Photo Credit: JW Marriott Hotel

The JW Marriott Essex House Hotel New York is a luxurious hotel with views of Central Park, marble bathrooms, and a wraparound rooftop terrace. While on the expensive side, staying there with a group and splitting a suite might end up being a better deal than getting a room alone elsewhere in the city.

160 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019(212) 247-0300

Park Lane Hotel New York

Photo Credit: Park Lane Hotel

The Park Lane Hotel New York is the place to book if you would rather eat on location, as it offers a convenient bar with everything from burgers to high-end meals, as well as a Parisian-inspired bar for breakfast and all-day light meals. The fitness center has a variety of equipment as well as Peloton bikes.

36 Central Park S, New York, NY 10019(212) 371-4000

Alternatives to hotels


Photo credit:

AirBnb, the online marketplace for vacation rentals and short-term stays, is a great option during the New York Marathon, especially if you start looking for places early.

You can look for a place near the starting line on Staten Island. An even better option might be near the finish line instead in Central Park, located between the Upper West and Upper East Sides of Manhattan. And of course, places within walking distance of the stations Bay St./Shore Acres Dr, Fingerboard Rd/Tompkins, and Bay St./St Johns Av subway stations are also great options.

Hostels and Bed & Breakfasts

Photo credit:

Hostels are a great low-cost option, and New York City has many different ones to choose from depending on your needs.

For a variety of choices, the following link can help you find some beyond the ones listed below:

HI New York City Hostel

Photo credit: HI NYC Hostel

The HI New York City Hostel has bunk beds, free wifi, and a cafe bar, which might be all you need for your stay. Note that the crowd tends to be on the young side, and can be rowdy. Reviews rave about the clean rooms, friendly staff, and large kitchen.

891 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025 • (212) 932-2300

Jazz on The Park Hostel

Photo credit: Jazz on the Park Hostel

The Jazz on The Park Hostel is within walking distance of Central Park, and offers 24-hour reception and security. Bring your own locks for the lockers and coins for the washing machines. Bathrooms are shared. This is a good option if you are mainly looking for a place to store your bags while you explore the city.

36 W 106th St, New York, NY 10025 • (646) 438-9222

West Side YMCA

Photo credit: West Side YMCA

The West Side YMCA has single or private double rooms and free wifi, and you also get access to the locker rooms and showers, gym, exercise classes, weight rooms, and pool.

5 W 63rd St., New York, NY 10023 • (212) 912-2600

Jazz on Columbus Circle Hostel

Photo credit: Jazz on Columbus Circle Hostel

The Jazz on Columbus Circle Hostel is another branch of the Jazz on The Park Hostel listed above, and offers similar accommodations. As with most of the hostels in NYC, it is a safe place to keep your belongings, but do not expect a high-end hotel experience.

891 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025 • (212) 932-2300

Where to eat before or after the marathon

Here is a list of some of the best places to eat around the Staten Island/Central Park area. Due to the number of people attending the New York Marathon from out of town and the fact that some of these places are popular with locals, I highly recommend researching where you want to eat in advance and making the appropriate reservations.

Patrizia’s Of Staten Island

A family-owned, top-rated Italian restaurant on Staten Island, Patrizia offers traditional appetizers, pasta dishes, brick-oven pizza, and various drinks and desserts. They also do brunch on Saturday and Sunday with pancakes, eggs, and more.

4255 Amboy Rd, Staten Island, NY 10308(718) 317-6600


Look no further than Bayou for authentic Cajun cuisine. Don’t load up on the free bread, and save your appetite for the jambalaya, alligator bites, roasted duck, creme brulee, Mississippi mud pie, and more.

1072 Bay St, Staten Island, NY 10305(718) 273-4383


Known for its Spanish cuisine and tapas, Beso is a relaxed, family-friendly restaurant with an outdoor terrace. The bartenders are known for their mojitos and other alcoholic drinks. Vegetarian friendly.

70 Bay St, Staten Island, NY 10301(718) 816-8162

Ruddy & Dean

If you would rather go to a steak house, Ruddy & Dean is one of your best choices in the area. The staff is attentive, portions are generous, and the wine list is decent. They also have a good selection of seafood dishes, and vegetarian-friendly sides.

44 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, NY 10301(718) 816-4400

Giuliana’s Ristorante

Offering affordable prix-fixe selections for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Thursday, as well as full dinner menus, this award-winning Italian restaurant on Staten Island is a favorite with the locals. The food is fresh, the pastries homemade, and the pizzas are baked in an old-fashioned wood-burning oven.

4105 Hylan Blvd, Staten Island, NY 10308(718) 317-8507

Ocean Sushi

For the sushi-loving crowd, Ocean Sushi always delivers. Self-described as a Japanese fusion restaurant, they offer a variety of sushi and sashimi using fish delivered fresh daily, as well as soups, salads, rolls, and cooked dishes. Pickup and delivery are available.

20 Jefferson Blvd, Staten Island, NY 10312(718) 966-6888

Lokal Mediterranean Kitchen

This smaller Mediterranean restaurant with patio near Central Park will delight you with its complimentary freshly baked bread, lamb soujouk, cheese pastries, and of course the usual Middle Eastern hummus, eggplant dip, and salads.

473 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10024(212) 595-5554

Community Food & Juice

If you are not looking for a heavy meal, Community Food & Juice near Central Park will meet your needs for fresh salads, rice & veggie bowls, egg dishes, and fresh juices, while also catering to those in your group who might want something more substantial like burgers and sandwiches. Food is local and organic as much as possible.

50 W 72nd St, New York, NY 10023(212) 932-0600

Jakob’s Pickles

Located near the Children’s Museum by Central Park, Jakob’s Pickles is a Southern restaurant known for its comfort food and craft beers. It is a fairly popular brunch spot, but the chicken biscuit, fried green tomatoes, collard greens with black-eyed peas, and of course pickles are worth the wait.

509 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024 (212) 470-5566

Where to celebrate after the marathon

After you finish your race, it is time to celebrate with family and friends in the many pubs and bistros in New York City. Here’s a selection of some of the best-rated options.

The Dead Poet

This fun literary-themed Irish pub offers a variety of drinks including cocktails named after poets and books. You will want to try the Ulysses, the Dead Poet (their popular mix of 7 liquors), and the Edgar Allan Poe. They don’t have a food menu, but you can bring your own. They also have several TVs to watch sports.

450 Amsterdam Ave #2, New York, NY 10024 (212) 595-5670

The Gin Mill

A sports bar with great bar food like quesadillas, nachos, fries, hot dogs, and more, The Gin Mill has a half-price bar until 8 PM, live music, and plenty of TVs.

442 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024 (212) 580-9080

The Dublin House

Open daily until 4 AM, the Dublin House is a 10-year-old Irish pub that has dart boards, a jukebox, and a big variety of cocktails, mules, gins, and tonics, as well as beers in bottles, cans, or on draft. Note that they do not serve food.

225 W 79th St, New York, NY 10024 (212) 874-9528


If you’re looking for a bar with a solid alcohol selection that also serves food, Prohibition is one of your best options. Specialty cocktails, draft beers, bottled beers, and wine are available alongside chicken skewers, seared salmon, cheeseburgers, fries, steaks, tacos, and more.

503 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10024 (212) 579-3100

Dive 75

This cozy little bar offers free candy, a jukebox, a wide selection of alcoholic drinks, and a lounge area with board games. The spots by the fish tank are a favorite.

101 W 75th St, New York, NY 10023 (212) 362-7518

Where to wander and relax after the Marathon

The best Instagram spots on Staten Island

Chinese Scholar’s Garden

Wander inside the Chinese Scholar’s Garden, part of the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden, and admire Ming Dynasty-style gardens with a bamboo forest path, waterfalls, a koi pond, bridges, and more.

1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, NY 10301 (718) 425-3504

Fort Wadsworth

Bike along the Manhattan waterfront with a great view of the Verazano bridge, walk your dog, or go for a jog. You will not regret seeing the beautiful skyline that is even more breathtaking at sunset!

Fort Wadsworth, Staten Island, NY 10305 (718) 354-4606

Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art

This museum built like a Tibetan monastery has beautiful art displayed throughout and gorgeous gardens. Try booking a private tour, yoga session, or meditation session for a unique experience in a beautiful setting.

338 Lighthouse Ave, Staten Island, NY 10306 • (718) 987-3500

New York Harbor

One of the largest and best natural harbors in the world, and a must-see while in New York City, the New York Harbor is the place to be to see the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the Verrazzano Bridge, Governors Island, along with great views of Manhattan.

Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden

This 83-acre park is free and open seven days a week, and houses the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art, the Staten Island Museum, the Staten Island Children’s Museum, the Noble Maritime Collection, the Staten Island Conservatory of Music, and more.

1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, NY 10301(718) 425-350

The best museums and historic sights on Staten Island

Staten Island Museum

Celebrating its 140th year, the Staten Island Museum features unique exhibits showcasing what makes Staten Island unique, including local history and natural sciences. It is kid-friendly and offers temporary exhibits as well that are worth checking out.

1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, NY 10301(718) 727-1135

National Lighthouse Museum

Learn all about the nation’s lighthouses through mini replicas, informative videos, and knowledgeable staff. Don’t forget to check out the view of the waterfront!

200 The Promenade at Lighthouse Point, Staten Island, NY 10301(718) 390-0040

Staten Island Zoo

This 8-acre urban zoo is great for kids and adults alike. There, you will be able to see a multitude of animals and even endangered species. Look for bats, foxes, reptiles, lemurs, peacocks, mammals, and the petting zoo where you can feed goats and poneys.

614 Broadway, Staten Island, NY 10310(718) 442-3100

The best Instagram spots in the Central Park area

The Gapstow Bridge

Located in the southeast corner of the park, this ornamental stone bridge is the perfect spot for romantic photos. Or, sit right by it to read a book or admire the open sky. The perfect place to relax especially when it isn’t too crowded.

Minton Tiles at Bethesda Arcade

The arched walkway inside the park is an attraction in itself, with a ceiling made from 15,000 tiles from the famous Minton Tile Company in England that were originally the floors of European cathedrals.

The Wollman Ice Rink lookout

The ice rink is open from October to April, and is affordable with friendly staff. Lots of fun is to be had there, but this also means longer waiting lines. Plan ahead, and book your tickets online!

Summit Rock Staircase

You might not want to climb this scenic spot before or after one of the toughest marathons in the country, but if you feel up to it, these carved stoned stairs lead to the highest natural elevation in Central Park.

The best museums and historic sights near Central Park

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Famously known as “The Met,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the largest and finest museums in the world. Walk through exhibits starting in prehistoric times up until today, divided between 17 departments. You won’t be able to see it all in a day or even a weekend, so come prepared knowing which sections you want to visit the most. Or, focus on the temporary exhibits if you plan to return to New York!

1000 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028(212) 535-7710

American Museum of Natural History

Grab a map, stroll through geode exhibits, explore the lost world of dinosaurs, and don’t forget the planetarium and sea creatures exhibit.

200 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024(212) 769-5100

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

This art museum designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright mixes modern and contemporary art and is built in a spiral with an exhibit on nearly each floor. Online reservations are highly recommended.

1071 5th Ave, New York, NY 10128(212) 423-3500

Museum of Modern Art

Known as one of the most influential modern art museums in the world, the Museum of Modern Art has many famous collections that include the works of Francis Bacon, Cezanne, Chagall, Dahli, Kahlo, Picasso, van Gogh, and much more.

11 W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019(212) 708-9400

The best places to relax and unwind in New York City



This upscale department store is a one-stop shop if you are looking for luxury goods. Or, look for the tasty treats provided by shops like Forty Carrots for frozen yogurt or Magnolia Bakery for banana pudding. The outlet has many of the same brands but at deeply discounted prices.

1000 Third Avenue 59th Street and, Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10022(212) 705-2000

2085 Broadway, New York, NY 10023 (Outlet)(212) 634-3190

Tiffany & Co.

You might not do any actual shopping there, but this landmark store is a must-see for many New York visitors. The friendly staff is attentive if you are looking to buy, but is happy to let your browse as well.

6 E 57th St, New York, NY 10022(212) 755-8000

Saks Fifth Avenue

Great for high-end shopping, Saks Fifth Avenue also offers alterations, complimentary makeup sessions, facials, and more. A fun way to relax after a long run!

611 5th Ave, New York, NY 10022 • (212) 753-4000

The Lego Store

With two floors dedicated to the building bricks, you will find everything you are looking to add to your collection, from mini figurines to accessories, without forgetting full sets, display items, giant figures (including the Statue of Liberty), and more.

636 5th Ave, New York, NY 10020(212) 245-3248

Fleet Feet – New York Running Company powered by JackRabbit

This sporting goods store is all about running. Find your dream pair of shoes, take a foot scan, and get all your questions answered by the helpful staff.

10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10019(212) 823-9626


Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

Located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, the Lincoln Center for the Arts is a gorgeous building that is worth seeing even if you are not going inside. If you can attend a show, you will get to enjoy superb acoustic and comfortable seats at prices that go from affordable to very expensive depending on where you sit – but know there is no such thing as a bad seat there.

Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023(212) 875-5456

Majestic Theater

The Majestic Theater is a beautiful building listed in the US National Register of Historic Places that offers beautifully written and choreographed shows, one of the latest ones being The Phantom of the Opera. It is a more affordable option than some of the other New York City shows but is still absolutely worth it.

245 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036(212) 239-6200

Broadway Theater

Known as one of the must-see attractions in New York City, the Broadway Theater is famous for its stellar performances with talented (and often famous) actors.

1681 Broadway, New York, NY 10019(212) 239-6200

New Amsterdam Theater

One of the oldest Broadway venues dating back to 1902, the New Amsterdam Theater is a gorgeous building that is worth checking out. Shows are offered during the day and in the evening as well, and are often kid-friendly.

214 W 42nd St, New York, NY 10036(866) 870-2717