If you’ve not managed a summer vacation, Labor Day weekend is the ideal time to treat yourself to a break. And, if you’ve already been on vacation, who says you can’t get away again. There are plenty of places to spend Labor Day weekend so it really just depends on how far you want to travel, and what you want to do. Labor Day weekend destinations include beautiful beaches, vibrant cities, stunning countryside and hometown USA. Here are 20 top places to spend Labor Day Weekend:
1. Washington D.C
The best things in life are free and that’s even better when it comes to gratis places to go for Labor Day weekend. Visiting the capital is always a treat but over the Labor Day weekend the National Symphony Orchestra performs for free on the West Lawn of the Capitol. Music takes center stage in DC September 2-6 as there’s the DC Blues Festival and Abbey Road on the River, where you can see more than 50 bands perform Beatles’ songs.
2. Sausalito, California
2012 sees the 60th Anniversary of the Sausalito Art Festival. This is one of the oldest, largest and best events of its kind in the US and is just one of the terrific ways to spend Labor Day weekend in the Golden State. Held on the waterfront in Marinship Park, the festival exhibits every kind of art and musical acts perform on three stages. Details here sausalitoartfestival.org
3. Great Falls, Montana
If you love the great outdoors and watersports, you’re probably looking for Labor Day weekend destinations that are stunningly beautiful. Great Falls, Montana fits the bill. The city gets its name due to the close proximity to the load of waterfalls on the Missouri River. There is an absolute ton of outdoor activities on offer here along 40miles of river and trails including kayaking, white-water rafting, fishing, and mountain biking.
4. Fire Island, New York
New Yorkers and those in NY State are blessed with many places to go for Labor Day weekend but how about a trip to Fire Island? On the Atlantic side of Long Island, Fire Island is car free, so as long as the weather holds up in September, it’s a great place for cycling, promenading the boardwalk and lazing on the beach.
5. Arlington, Virginia
Get in touch with your ancestral Scottish roots or just enjoy all things Scottish at Virginia’s Scottish Games in Arlington. Over Labor Day weekend there is highland dancing, piping and drumming, fiddling competitions, sheepdog and herding demonstrations and an antique car show. There’s also plenty of kids activities making it family friendly. More details on the website so just click on the website vascottishgames.org
6. Bandera, Texas
Another excellent option in the free places to spend Labor Day weekend is Celebrate Bandera. Known as the Cowboy Capital of the World, Bandera puts on a wild west show like no other. Take part in an inter tribal powwow, shoot it out in a gunfight, try your hand at bull fighting and chow down on genuine Texan fare. Find the details here celebratebandera.com
7. Detroit, Michigan
Motor Town probably isn’t top of many people’s list of where to go for Labor Day weekend but for jazz fans it’s a must. The Detroit Jazz Festival always has jazz superstars as headline acts (in 2012 it is Sonny Rollings, Pat Methany and Chick Corea) but musicians from all around the country come to perform as do local schools and choirs. Check out more details here detroitjazzfest.com
8. Las Vegas, Nevada
You could never imagine Las Vegas ignoring Labor Day weekend nor letting it go by without a massive dose of pizzazz. If you’re up for some adult-themed fun, you can’t do better than Sin City’s Pool Party. Billed as 5 Days of Summer Madness, its non-stop partying, night and day. Here’s the event website soslv2012.eventbrite.com
9. Dansville, New York
If you’re looking for places to go for Labor Day weekend to escape the city, head to Dansville and the New York State Festival of Balloons. Held on Dansville Municipal Airport, there are at least 50 hot air balloons, tethered rides, a host of arts and crafts, and plenty other entertainment. Details here nysfob.com
10. Denver, Colorado
One of the best Labor Day weekend destinations for foodies and gastronomes is Denver’s Civic Center Park. For four Days, the park is overtaken by “A Taste of Colorado”. The city’s restaurants and artisan food vendors present their tasty offerings along with live entertainment. atasteofcolorado.com
11. Anna Maria Island, Florida
If you have discounted Florida from your places to spend Labor Day weekend because of the late summer tourist crowds, think again. Just off the coast is the darling little Anna-Maria Island. Miles of pristine beaches, lovely countryside and quaint towns make this a perfect Florida destination for a peaceful break.
12. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Myrtle Beach’s 5th annual Beach Boogie and BBQ festival promises a Labor Day weekend full of fun. The Grand Park is the place to head for live entertainment, car shows, celebrity chefs, barbecue competitions, wake boarding demonstrations, arcades and of course a load of good ‘ole southern home cooking. Check out more at the website suitesofthemarketcommon.com
13. Hollywood, California
Got a pair of legwarmers hiding at the back of the closet? If so, and you want to relive the big hair, ra-ra skirts and door-jamming shoulder pants of the 1980s, there only one place to spend Labor Day weekend – the Hollywood Bowl. Put on your hammer pants and boogie out to the electrifying sounds that had everybody dancing. Event info here hollywoodbowl.com
14. Seattle, Washington
Community festivals are always great places to go for Labor Day weekend. Bumbershoot in Seattle is one massive arts festival that brings together performers from theater, dance and visual arts, together with musicians, comedians, voice artists and poets. There’s also the film section of the event – with tons of films for kids and adults. Here's the link to the Bumbershoot website bumbershoot.org
15. Block Island, Rhode Island
With 17 miles of pristine beaches protected by spectacular bluffs, there can be fewer better seaside destinations for Labor Day weekend than Block Island. Go walking, boating, or simply throw a beach on the sand and do nothing. Don’t forget to visit the very delightful town of New Shoreham.
16. Gatlinburg, Tennessee
For a getaway in a real log cabin in the middle of spectacular countryside, Gatlinburg in the Smoky Mountains is the perfect choice. You can enjoy seclusion in the tranquil woods but there is also a ton of activities on hand either in the stunning outdoors or at Pigeon Point, Dollywood and a whole host of theme parks and fun places. Take a look at some wonderful cabins here gatlinburgcabinsguide.com
17. Chicago, Illinois
Need an excuse to shop? There are obviously a million places to go for Labor Day weekend for some retail therapy but THE place is Chicago’s Magnificent Mile Shopping Festival. It actually runs from August 24 through September 6, and includes fashion shows, foodie stuff and family events. Kelly Osborne kicks things off. Find out more about the Michigan Avenue extravaganza here themagnificentmile.com
18. Niagara-on-the-lake, Canada
Ok, so it’s just over the border but that doesn’t mean it isn’t one of the top places to spend Labor Day weekend. Just a short drive from the natural wonder that is the falls – which of course you must visit also – the little town is a historic gem full of Victorian buildings. If you love great literature you can enjoy the events of the Shaw Festival (named after British playwright George Bernard Shaw).
19. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
This will not appeal to everyone but if you love motorcycles you can join the petrolheads that gather for the Milwaukee Harley-Davidson Festival. This is Everything Harley, including the famed museum. The event runs 30 August to September 3 and promises a lot of fun and entertainment (even a tattoo contest!) for anyone with an interest in bikes (and bikers). Details here milwaukeerally.com
20. Hometown USA
All these places to spend Labor Day weekend are brilliant, but if you find yourself unable to get away, make the effort to enjoy your long weekend in your home town. Look on the Internet for events in your area, and you may very well be surprised at things you find; stuff you never knew about before. There are some gems in local festivals and celebrations that mean you don’t have to go more than a few miles.
I hope I’ve given you food for thought here – this is just a small selection of where to spend Labor Day weekend. Happy Labor Day!
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