Boston Marathon 2017: Hotel Prices and How to Save in Worcester

By Joe Baur,

The Boston Marathon is one of–if not the–preeminent road running events in the world. No surprise, staying in a world-class city like Boston for such an event comes with a hefty price tag. trivago data shows that staying in the city over marathon weekend (April 15 to 17) costs $590, $544, and $509 (race day), respectively.

If you think the suburbs will provide some price relief, well, you might be mistaken. For the entire metropolitan area, average hotel prices start at $432 for Saturday, April 15th, drop slightly to $354 on Sunday, and surge again on Marathon Monday to $424.

*Based on searches from January 1, 2017 to March 1, 2017.

We looked back into the 2016 Boston Marathon to see if this year was inordinately expensive, and the analysis churned out similar numbers, including that the start of marathon weekend (that Saturday) is the most expensive night as opposed to the night before the race. (For comparison’s sake, Daytona 500 hotel prices peaked at $610 and Super Bowl LI at $379. Prices during the Patriots’ AFC Championship game were $170, $402 and $170 in Boston Metro, Foxborough and Providence, Rhode Island respectively.)

It’s a hefty chunk of change but completely understandable why these athletes, who’ve trained for years, would prefer to stay in the city, no matter the hit on the wallet, for the entire race weekend. Why risk a Seinfeld/Jean-Paul moment?

On the other hand, we were also curious about how a runner (or spectator) could save money if crossing the finish line is all the Boston ambiance needed. The answer: Worcester, Massachusetts, a city some 50 miles west of Boston. Average prices in Worcester, with its 15 hotels listed on trivago, start at $157 on April 15 and peak at $160 on Marathon Monday. According to sources close to Math, that’s a huge saving. Just to put these numbers in perspective:

*Based on searches from January 1, 2017 to March 1, 2017.

Of course, Worcester might seem like a grueling hike by car with Boston’s notorious traffic. After all, you’re going to Boston to move, not sit and internally road-rage at Johnny “Texting and Driving.” So consider taking the Framingham/Worcester commuter line. The trip takes about an hour, hour and a half for $11.50. That means you’ll still have a route into the city for packet pickup on Saturday or Sunday.

On race day, you could simply take it to the Southborough station right outside of Hopkinton State Park where the race is set to begin. It’s a 26-minute trip with departures at 6:30 a.m., 7:00 a.m., 7:30 a.m., and 8:40 a.m.–leaving you flexibility depending on your race group and wave.

UPDATE: With Marathon Monday less than a month away, we did a quick follow up on prices in Boston and Worcester. Looks like things have gone up slightly in Worcester, but it’s still far and away the better deal for budget runners. $159, $154 and $167 for April 15, 16, 17 respectively, and we’re still seeing availability at the Hilton Garden Inn Worcester and Holiday Inn Express Worcester — the only two hotels in Worcester with deals that are within walking distance to Union Station.

Those insistent on Boston will be pleased to see a slight decrease on Saturday prices to $579. Sunday and Monday have gone up to $557 and $528 each.

*Based on searches from January 1, 2017 to March 20, 2017.

UPDATE 2: With less than a week until Marathon Monday, we followed up the follow up on prices in Boston and Worcester. As of now, rates have slightly dropped in Boston at $549, $554, and $513, from April 15 to April 17, respectively. Worcester is still offering some affordable rates, averaging $154/night through the weekend. It’s also, surprisingly, showing many hotels still available in the area.

Feature image courtesy of JD CC BY