Planning to be in New York City for the last long-weekend hurrah of summer? Summer in the city is chockfull of activities over Labor Day weekend. There's a little bit of everything to suit the tastes of many: arts, music, parades, beer, opera, boating, and Broadway shows. Just make sure to plan ahead as it can get extremely busy with tourists taking advantage of the extra day off work.
Float Your Boat
Let go of your land-lubbing ways while the summer sun's still on your side and hit the water. Nothing beats floating a sailboat into the New York Harbor, so head out on one of the sail-powered schooners of Classic Harbor Line at Chelsea Piers.
After you've learned the ropes (literally) and built up a sailor's appetite, tuck into some oysters at Tribeca's Grand Banks, a docked schooner boat, or if lobster's more your speed, hit up a free mini-cruise with the North River Lobster Company at Pier 81 on 41st Street.
You can check out the Great North River Tugboat Race Competition that begins with a tug parade and ends in contests and awards at Pier 84, near 44th Street and the Hudson River. The event is free to watch from Pier 84, or you can buy tickets to board the Circle Line spectator boat leaving Pier 83 at 9:30 a.m. that follows the racing boats.
Nab 2-for-1 Broadway Tickets
The popular biannual Broadway Week ticket promotion runs for two weeks in September kicking off on Labor Day on Monday. While most Broadway theaters are dark on Mondays, you can still nab two-for-one ticket deals for Labor Day performances of some of the most popular shows.
Listen to Opera Under the Stars
AddressLincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023, USA
Pull up a chair in Lincoln Center Plaza for the Metropolitan Opera's free Summer HD Festival for screenings of opera productions every night beginning 10 days before the lead up to Labor Day. The plaza comes outfitted with more than 3,000 seats, but you'll need to show up early to secure one. Summer HD Festival screenings will go on as scheduled in the case of rain but will be canceled in the event of thunder, lightning, or high wind. Most screenings start at 8 p.m.
Raise a Glass in an Outdoor Beer Garden
On a hot summer day, there's little that beats pulling up a seat in a good outdoor beer garden in Manhattan. Order a tall mug of cold beer, grab a picnic table, and maybe a brat, and get social. Luckily, you don't have to stray outside of New York City if you're looking for a great place to enjoy a stein and some bites al fresco. The Biergarten at The Standard, High Line hotel is one of the buzziest bars in the Meatpacking area of Manhattan.
Get Your Art Fix in Washington Square Park
The twice-a-year Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit happens every Labor Day weekend (and Memorial Day weekend), showcasing works by NYC-area artists and artisans around the Washington Square Park area. Swing by to browse or buy contemporary paintings, ceramics, jewelry, and more.
Attend Carnival in Brooklyn
Celebrate Caribbean culture and history at the lively New York Caribbean Carnival Parade, which has dancers in colorful costumes, reggae, and calypso music on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn with Caribbean food and craft vendors on Labor Day from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Dance at the Electric Zoo
Electric Zoo is an electronic dance music festival that brings top acts and 150,000 fans to Randall’s Island Park each Labor Day weekend. This festival first started bringing the island to life with trance, bass, techno, and classic house in 2009 and has hopped around the world to Brazil, Japan, Mexico, and China.