The 2016 Chicago Marathon is coming up on Sunday, October 9. About 45,000 runners from all 50 states and more than 100 countries will run 26.2-miles through 29 Chicago neighborhoods.
Nearly two million spectators will line the streets of Chicago to cheer on the runners. Our advice? Get there early and plan ahead, especially if you want to find someone along the race route.
Check out our spectators’ guide for everything you need to know!
Download the Official Chicago Marathon App
Whether you’re running the race or cheering someone on, one of the first things you’ll want to do is download the official Chicago Marathon race app. You can track a runner’s progress, as well as view the schedule of events, real-time weather and an interactive course map.
Chicago Marathon Course Map
Take a look at the Chicago Marathon Map and keep it handy on race day.
Top 6 Locations to See the Runners
General spectators will not have access to the start/finish area in Grant Park. But there are a number of locations along the route where you can see the runners up close. Here are the top six:
1. To see runners closest to the start of the race, go to Grand Avenue, between Columbus Drive and State Street, near Mile 1, or anywhere along State Street, between Grand Avenue and Jackson Boulevard. This is a great photo opp to catch your runner near the Chicago theater sign on State Street. Book parking near this location.
2. Visit the Mile 13 Cheer Zone just before the halfway point located on Monroe and Jefferson Streets. Book parking near this location.
3. The U.S. Trust Cheer Zone is located at the halfway point (13.1 miles), just after they cross the Chicago River, on Jefferson Street between Monroe and Adams. Book parking near this location.
4. Head over to Mile 16.5 in the West Loop. Located at Halsted St. and Jackson Blvd., the Merrill Lynch Cheer Zone features a DJ and bull bells to give runners a jolt of energy for the second half of the race. Book parking near this location.
5. To see runners closest to the finish of the race, go to the Bank of America Cheer Zone at Michigan Avenue and Roosevelt Road. Book parking near this location.
6. After the race, plan to meet your runner at the runner reunite area in Butler Field, located north of Jackson Drive, between Columbus Drive and Lake Shore Drive. Book parking near this location.
Top 3 Locations to “Spot Hop”
Thanks to the Chicago Marathon course design, you can see the runners at two different points of the race. Here are the top 3 spots:
1. The Merchandise Mart: Mile 3 and Mile 12. Root for the runners as they hit the 3-mile marker at LaSalle and Kinzie. Then at Hubbard and Orleans, you can cheer them on at Mile 12. Book parking near this location.
2. LaSalle and Division: Mile 4 and Mile 11. See the runners in their first pass through Old Town on LaSalle at Mile 4 and again when they head south on Wells at Mile 11. Book parking near this location.
3. Jackson and Racine: Mile 14 and Mile 16. The runners head through the West Loop in the second half of the race. You can see them at Mile 14 near Adams and Racine and at Mile 16 near Jackson and Racine.
Chicago Marathon Parking
If you’re looking for Chicago Marathon parking, use SpotHero to reserve your spot in advance. Check out the Chicago Marathon parking page to compare locations and prices. You can also download the SpotHero app for iPhone or Android.
Read your parking pass for any street closures, which begin at 7:00 a.m. We’ll also include tips on the best garage entrance/exit.
Chicago Marathon Parking Restrictions & Street Closures
No Parking Zones along the course begin at 1:00 a.m. on Sunday, October 9. For full details, check out the No Parking signs in your area. Street closures along the route will occur between 7:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. The roads in Grant Park will be closed longer.
Watch Runners Near CTA Stops
Want to take the train on Race Day? Talk to your runners and find out their planned pace to estimate when they will arrive at particular locations on the course. Here are the CTA closest to different viewing areas.
Grand (Red Line) Station – Miles 1, 3 and 12
Board a Red Line train and exit at Grand Avenue.
Monroe (Red Line) Station – Mile 2
Board a Red Line train and exit at Jackson Blvd.
Chicago (Red Line) Station – Miles 3.5 and 11.5
Board a Red Line train and exit at Chicago Avenue. Walk three blocks west to LaSalle Street and four blocks west to Wells Street.
Addison (Red Line) Station – Mile 7.75
Board a Red Line train and exit at Addison Street. Walk four blocks east to Broadway.
Sedgwick (Brown Line) Station – Mile 10.25
Board a Brown Line train and exit at Sedgwick Street. Walk a half-block north to North Avenue.
UIC-Halsted (Blue Line) Station – Miles 16, 16.5
Board a Blue Line train and exit at UIC-Halsted. Use the Halsted Street exit or Morgan Street exit. Walk two blocks north on Morgan Street to Jackson Blvd. to view the runners at Mile 16 in Greektown or use the Halsted Street exit to Mile 16.5.
18th (Pink Line) Station – Mile 19
Board a Pink Line train and exit at 18th Street. Walk one block east to Ashland Avenue.
Halsted (Orange Line) Station – Mile 20.5
Board an Orange Line train and exit at Halsted Street.
35th-Bronzeville-IIT (Red and Green Line) Station – Miles 23, 23.25
Board a Red or Green Line train and exit at 35th-Bronzeville-IIT. Use the 33rd Street or 35th Street exit.
Roosevelt (Red, Green and Orange Line) Station – Mile 26
Board a Red, Green or Orange Line train and exit at Roosevelt Road. Walk east on Roosevelt Road toward the Bank of America Cheer Zone at Michigan Avenue and Roosevelt Road
Chicago Marathon Facts
When: Sunday, October 9
Where: Grant Park
Marathon Wheelchair Start 7:20 a.m.
Marathon Handcycle Start 7:22 a.m.
Athletes with Disabilities Start (AWD) 7:23 a.m.
Wave 1 Start 7:30 a.m.
Wave 2 Start 8:00 a.m.
Spectator Access to Grant Park 9:00 a.m.
Course record (male): Dennis Kimetto, Kenya, 2:03:45 in 2013
Course record (female): Paula Radcliffe, United Kingdom, 2:17:1
Good luck, runners!