On Sunday, 50,000 runners will jog through New York City, taking in the sights and sounds along the 26.2-mile route. Held annually on the first Sunday of November since 1970 (when 127 people participated), the New York City Marathon is now the world’s largest marathon and a major draw for visitors, including the runners, 10,000 volunteers, and nearly a million spectators. This year, about 60 percent of the participants will come from outside of the tri-state area, with many dedicated runners coming from Germany, France, Great Britain, Australia, and beyond to be a part of the race.
Airbnb has partnered with the New York Road Runners to help travelers find places to stay during the event. The sharing accomodation site is even flying in hosts from as far away as South Africa, Chile, Japan, and Singapore as part of their #RunAirbnb Team. Whether you’re participating or cheering on the marathoners in New York this weekend, we’ve rounded up the best places to eat and drink in twelve neighborhoods along the route, with some tips from Airbnb hosts.
The race begins at Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island. Lynn Marziale, a Staten Island resident and supporter of the marathon, recommends the Phunky Elephant for a delicious, eclectic brunch and J’s on the Bay for breakfast with “great service, young, enthusiastic owners, and a fun atmosphere.”
Brooklyn’s residential neighborhood of Sunset Park is known for its large Chinese and Mexican populations, making it a great spot to find either of these types of cuisine. East Harbor Seafood Palace is your best bet for excellent dim sum. For cheap, tasty tacos, stop by the Tacos El Bronco food truck parked on 5th Avenue.
Top Chef alum Dale Talde has three great restaurants in Park Slope. Thistle Hill Tavern and Pork Slope serve seasonal American food with an emphasis on—you guessed it—pork and other meat. The chef’s namesake restaurant blends Asian and American influences to create dishes like pretzel pork-and-chive dumplings and breakfast ramen with buttered toast broth and honey-glazed bacon.
Locals flock to Buttermilk Channel on one of the main drags of Carroll Gardens for homey, delicious food like fried pork-chop-and-cheddar waffles and, of course, buttermilk pancakes. This is the best place to come for a hearty, indulgent brunch.
A few blocks off the route, Grand Army serves seafood and cocktails in an airy, vintage-inspired space. Opened in May, it quickly became a favorite haunt among locals for its laid-back vibe and great cocktails.
Named for Emily Hyland (half of the husband-and-wife team that runs the joint), Emily has gained a loyal following thanks to its mouthwatering pizzas made with local ingredients and homemade mozzarella. The creative pies feature unexpected combinations like fontina, bacon, pecans, and maple syrup.
One of the best new restaurants in Williamsburg, Witlof is a Belgian brasserie by Ivan Kohut, owner of popular neighborhood spot Radegast Beer Hall. Right on the corner of Bedford and Grand, this happening bistro provides the perfect vantage point for watching the runners while sipping on Belgian beer. There are even vintage photographs of cyclists to go along with the athletic theme.
Local favorite Five Leaves occupies a prime spectator spot on the corner of McCarren Park, especially if it’s warm enough to sit at the sidewalk tables. Raise a toast to the runners as they go by while nibbling on truffle fries and the signature burger with pineapple, pickled beets, and harissa mayo.
Long Island City
Jonathan Jacobs, who loves giving his Airbnb guests a local’s take on Queens, recommends Café Henri as “the perfect spot for a post-race brunch, or breakfast while you're ‘watching your friend’ race.” For post-marathon cocktails, he suggests Dutch Kills. “It’s the perfect spot to impress a date, client, or just enjoy some damn good alcohol with friends. I suggest you go in and make it a dealer's choice...tell the bartender you're up for anything, and see what ends up in the glass.”
For a rousing good time, hightail it to P.J. Clark’s The Original, on Third Avenue at 55th Street. The famed 19th-century haunt is a slice of old New York, with an antique mahogany bar, red-and-white checkered tablecloths, and a vintage jukebox. The burger comes highly recommended.
Swedish-Ethiopian chef Marcus Samuelsson earned a reputation for sophisticated soul food at Red Rooster, his Harlem bistro. Standby dishes include fried yardbird and Helga’s meatballs (named for his grandmother), served with lingonberries, braised green cabbage, and buttermilk mashed potatoes. For a more casual option, try Samuelsson’s newer restaurant Streetbird Rotisserie.
Upper East Side
For a post-race celebration full of carb-loading, head to the traditional Italian trattoria Sfoglia. The atmosphere is rustic but refined, with antique wooden tables, chandeliers, and a marble-topped bar. Pasta dishes range from classics like pappardelle alla Bolognese to the seasonal pumpkin ravioli with guanciale and sage.
Laura Itzkowitz is a contributing digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @lauraitzkowitz.