This year Labor Day weekend falls between Friday, August 30 and Monday, September 2. While there is a lot closed during this holiday — all government buildings, for example, are shut down — most of New York City remains open. There is an array of activities from going to the beach to exploring museums. Shops and restaurants are in full swing (and they may even be less crowded than normal because the locals tend to leave the city). Also many city attractions will be up and running, ready to greet you on this all American holiday.
Labor Day Festivals
Every year the the Labor Day Parade (also known as the West Indian Parade) is held in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. It celebrates the culture of the West Indies and includes food, performances, and elaborate costumes and displays. Over 600,000 people attend so arrive early to get a great viewing spot. You can learn more about the parade with this guide. There is also a Labor Day parade in Manhattan held the second Saturday in September. It starts a 10 a.m. on 44th Street and continues up 5th Avenue until 72nd Street.
Party-goers might want to take a Labor Day cruise on a yacht, where you can end summer with a night of dancing on the Hudson River. It's also a great way to see New York City as you can take in views of the Statue of Liberty, Manhattan skyline, and more. You can buy your tickets to a sunset, party cruise online.
Parks and Beaches
New York City parks and beaches are open during Labor Day, and many offer special activities for the entire family. Brooklyn Bridge Park, for example, has free kayaking, park clean-ups, walking tours, outdoor movies, and more. Check the schedule on the website.
Hudson River Park, a 550-acre park along the west side of Manhattan on the Hudson River, also offers multiple activities every day. There are outdoor movies, exercise classes, workshops, water sports, and more. Check the schedule here.
New York City beaches are all open during Labor Day. They will be very crowded so arrive early to get a good spot. Jacob Riis Beach offers free music starting at noon.
New York City also has a variety of public pools that are open on Labor Day. These will also be packed (New Yorkers go back to school right after Labor Day so this is the last chance to soak up some sun), so consider arriving later in the day or very early to be the first ones in the water. Outdoor pools are open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. with a break for cleaning from 3 to 4 p.m.
Other Outdoor Ideas
Since the weather will be warm consider going to one of New York City's outdoor attractions. At Governor's Island you can explore old army barracks. You can lounge in a hammock park, rent bicycles, or try new foods and drinks at the food court. There is even a brewery.
Another attraction is Coney Island. This boardwalk is popular both for its beach and for the amusement park on it. The New York City aquarium is there and open for Labor Day. Don't miss the shark exhibit where little ones can crawl in tunnels underneath the fierce creatures.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is open on Labor Day. This summer the museum launched a new food and drink program on it's rooftop offering homemade ice cream and natural popsicles dunked in champagne. There is also art on the roof where you can catch views of Central Park. It's the perfect place to close out summer.
The National History Museum is also a good place to spend your holiday. The Discovery Room, where kids can dig for fossils and play games related to the natural world, will be open extra hours in the morning for the public holiday.
Many of New York City stores celebrate Labor Day with blowout sales where you can buy summer clothes at a big discount, even 80 percent. The big department stores (like Bloomingdales, Macy's and Saks Fifth Avenue) all offer extensive sales. If you don't have a particular store in mind consider wandering around Soho or meandering down Fifth Avenue looking for sale signs in store windows. You can also check out individual websites to find out what is on offer.
What Isn't Open
All government buildings, from post offices to libraries, are closed on Labor Day.
While banks are not required to close on federal holidays many do, giving their employees time off. If you need to do something with a cashier, make sure you get it done before the Monday. ATMs will be accessible on Labor Day in case you need to draw out money.
While New York City trains and buses will be running throughout Labor Day many lines will be operating on a more restrictive schedule and some trains will be redirected. Check Google Maps or the MTA website before you travel to make sure your route is operating.