What to Do for Labor Day in New York City

Carnival Time, Grand Slam Tennis, Opera and More

Young man relaxing in a swimming pool with view towards New York City skyline
Alexander Spatari / Getty Images

Labor Day in New York City is a great way to visit the Big Apple before the end of the summer season. Many New Yorkers head out of the city for the weekend, so it tends to be quiet in many New York City neighborhoods. Most tourist attractions, restaurants, and stores in popular neighborhoods will be open, though smaller businesses may be closed for the day or the weekend. 

If you want to head to the beach to enjoy some sun and sand, then Coney IslandJacob Riis, and Rockaway Beach are some of the local favorites. The bonus at Coney Island: rides on the boardwalk at Luna Park, like the world-famous Cyclone roller coaster.

 

  • 01 of 09

    Go Museum Hopping

    MoMA sign, The Museum of Modern Art, Manhattan, New York
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    Museums that are usually open on Monday will still be open, including The Guggenheim MuseumAmerican Museum of Natural History and MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is open on Labor Day as part of the special Met Holiday Mondays.

    Some other attractions that are usually closed on Mondays have special "Holiday Monday" hours, including the Morgan Library and Museum and New York Botanical Garden.

  • 02 of 09
    Brazilian woman celebrating the carnival
    FG Trade / Getty Images

    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.

  • 03 of 09
    Tennis volley shot.
    gilaxia / Getty Images

    The U.S. Open is held annually, starting on the last Monday in August, and lasts for two weeks into September, with the middle weekend coinciding with the Labor Day holiday. The tennis stadium is located in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens. Since 1987, the US Open has been chronologically the fourth and final tennis major competition comprising the Grand Slam each year. The other three, in chronological order, are the Australian Open, the French Open, and Wimbledon.

  • 04 of 09

    Visit Governor's Island

    Bold Colours
    Brian Bumby / Getty Images

    A former military base, ​Governor's Island is a beautiful 172-acre island in the heart of New York Harbor transformed into a green space full of bike paths, ball fields, and play areas for outdoor activities. The island is yards away from lower Manhattan and Brooklyn and is open on Labor Day. It's easily accessible by ferry for a small fee. Entry to the island is free and open to the public through October 31.

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  • 05 of 09

    Attend the New York City Labor Day Parade

    The Labor Day Parade is normally held on the Saturday after Labor Day. It begins at 10 a.m. and marches up Fifth Avenue from 44th Street to 67th Street. The first Labor Day Parade was held in New York City in 1882, actually pre-dating the creation of the federal holiday, and it was organized by an organization now known as the AFL-CIO

  • 06 of 09

    Listen to Opera Under the Stars

    Lincoln Center and Upper West Side roofs
    Barry Winiker / Getty Images

    Grab one of 3,000 chairs set up in Lincoln Center Plaza for the Metropolitan Opera's free Summer HD Festival. For 10 days leading up to Labor Day, you can enjoy screenings of opera productions. Most shows start at 8 p.m.

  • 07 of 09

    The Richmond County Fair takes place on Staten Island over Labor Day weekend and includes circus performers, crafts, rides for kids, live music, food, and competitions.

  • 08 of 09
    New_York_RenFaire

    Wikimedia Commons

     

    Travel one hour north of New York City to the New York Renaissance Faire in Tuxedo Park. It opens Labor Day. Jump back in time to 16th century England to see knights joust, mingle with costumed minstrels, shop in an artisan market, play games and enjoy Renaissance-style performances. 

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  • 09 of 09

    Go to the Zoo—Bronx or Electric

    Gorillas On Field At Bronx Zoo
    Neil Bernstein / EyeEm / Getty Images

    If you have children and the weather cooperates, head to the Bronx Zoo. The park is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Labor Day.

    If you're in the mood for a zoo minus the animals, then perhaps the two-day Electric Zoo dance festival over Labor Day weekend on Randall's Island is more to your liking. Some 150,000 people come to dance to the top acts from the trance, house, and techno world.