Labor Day weekend is the last chance for a summer getaway for many Americans. As August comes to a close, we tend to hop in our cars and head to the lake or the beach for a last hurrah. However, while it might not yet be on your radar for Labor Day plans, New York City is always a fun and festive place to be on this long weekend. If you’re a New Yorker, you might consider staying in the City this time; if you’re not, start planning a trip to NYC for the weekend when the crowds are on their way out!
There are a myriad of things to do in New York over the holiday weekend. Whether you’re looking for something uproarious or restful, family-friend or friends only, you’ll discover why so many people love New York!
Parades & Festivals
Kick off your weekend Saturday with the annual NYC Labor Day Parade along 5th Avenue in Midtown. In celebration of the working men and women who really run this town, the parade commences at 10 AM led by parade Grand Marshal Chris Erickson of IBEW Local 3. You can expect all the regular parade happenings.
The bigger festival of the weekend (in fact, the biggest cultural festival in NYC) is the West India American Day Carnival, also known as the Labor Day Carnival Parade, in Brooklyn. This vibrant and colorful celebration of Caribbean culture culminates in a marchers in elaborate costumes promenading down the Eastern Parkway to the sounds of reggae and calypso. For spectators, tasty ethnic food and drink is also available. Favorites include jerk chicken, fried flying fish, rice and beans, and johnnycakes.
Culture & Arts
Take advantage of the holiday weekend to visit the most renowned cultural attractions in NYC at discounted prices with a New York Explorer attractions pass.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, or “the Met”, is one of TripAdvisor’s Top 25 Museums in the United States, and you’ll need ample viewing time to make the most of it. In an iconic building on 5th Avenue, the Museum houses hundreds of exhibit halls showcasing two million works of art. From modern European to ancient Oceania, the Met covers every culture and every artistic medium around the world.
Another way to truly immerse yourself in NYC culture, especially if you’re a newbie to the City, is to take the Downtown New York Bus Tour. Historic, entertaining, and even educational, the bus tour takes you to cultural enclaves like Chinatown and Little Italy, through famous neighborhoods like SoHo and Times Square, and past celebrated attractions like the Brooklyn Bridge and Rockefeller Center. Because you can hop on and off the tour whenever you choose at sites around the city, this tour can be customized to fit any itinerary.
If your idea of the ideal Labor Day weekend is some good old rest and relaxation, don’t be dismayed by New York’s “never stop” reputation. There are many lovely spots to kick back within city limits.
One option is to hop the ferry and take a very short ride to Governor’s Island, a 172-acre island in the Upper New York Bay. Open to the public through September 28th, Governor’s Island is a prime spot for a picnic, renting a bike, or just relaxing in the grassy landscape. Various programs and fairs take place throughout the summer and early fall, so make sure to check out www.govisland.com before visiting.
Of course, you can always find a place to relax without even leaving Manhattan, right in Central Park. Find a fantastic view of the park and the skyline from Belvedere Castle atop Vista Rock, walk from Cherry Hill to the Ramble on Bow Bridge, or sit with a good book or a pair of headphones in the Conservatory Garden.
Wherever the weekend take you, make sure to have your New York Explorer attractions pass in hand for admission to top New York attractions and added bonuses like skip the line privileges and added discounts at select attractions.