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The Best Things to Do for Labor Day Weekend in NYC

August 14, 2018 - by City Guide News Desk
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Labor Day Weekend is a great time to visit New York, as there's a ton going on, with room for all thanks to many locals being away, squeezing in their last vacation days of summer. With the US Open, Brazilian Day, and a Caribbean parade in Brooklyn, there's something for all ages to enjoy. Read on for our picks for the best things to do for Labor Day Weekend in NYC.

Labor Day Weekend NYC: The US Open

us open 2016 new grandstand

We can think of one good reason to look forward to the end of the summer, especially if you're a big-time tennis fan: the US Open Tennis Championships, held right here in New York City. 2018 will be a milestone year at the Open, as the tournament is celebrating both its 50th anniversary, as well as the completion of the five-year transformation of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, Queens, which includes the final construction of the new Louis Armstrong and Grandstand stadiums, the retractable roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium that debuted in 2016, and many other grounds innovations. Just getting onto the grounds is exciting, and you’ll find a full range of food to keep your energy from flagging. There are 24 sessions in the 2018 tournament, including over the Labor Day weekend. The USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center (7 train to Mets-Willets Point Station),

Labor Day Weekend NYC: Brazilian Day Festival

brazil day nyc

The annual Brazilian Day Festival returns to Manhattan's Little Brazil (around 46th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues), where you can load up on tasty food and enjoy Brazil-inflected music, vendors, and energy. The festival goes off on Sunday, September 2nd.

Labor Day Weekend NYC: Washington Square Art

glackens washington square park

Jackson Pollock’s sidewalk sale of his paintings in 1931 has evolved into the annual Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit, a juried show displaying the work of over 125 artists. Meet and speak with the talent while exploring fine art jewelry, glass, woodworking, ceramics, and more, all of it for sale. Free, noon to 6pm, rain or shine Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. University Pl. btw. E. 13th St. & Waverly Pl., 212-982-6255,

Labor Day Weekend NYC: West Indian–American Day Carnival

west indian parade brooklyn

Image: David Berkowitz/Flickr

For a vibrant celebration of Caribbean culture, you can't do any better than the annual West Indian–American Day Carnival. Some two million people will come out to Brooklyn for a Labor Day parade that winds along Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights. Related events (performances and a kids' carnival) take place on the grounds of the Brooklyn Museum on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Look for festive costumes, and island music and bites.

Labor Day Weekend NYC: Wave Hill

Wave Hill

Sweeping lawns, stunning views, an art gallery, and a cafe make the one-hour subway or train ride from midtown Manhattan well worth the ride to the Bronx's Wave Hill. Enjoy a guided walk through the lush gardens, then settle in for a free, outdoor concert by renowned jazz musician Ray Martinez. Martinez returns to Wave Hill with his band to perform original, modern jazz and jazz fusion, mixing styles, rhythms, and instrumentals.

Labor Day Weekend NYC: Interactive Theater at The McKittrick Hotel

the lost supper hypnotic dinner party mcckittrick hotel

The McKittrick Hotel, the home of interactive theater sensation Sleep No More, also hosts The Lost Supper–A Hypnotic Dinner Party, the hotel’s original new limited engagement soirée. Performed Tuesday Saturday nights, including Friday and Saturday over Labor Day Weekend, part of a full weekend lineup that includes Sleep No More, Bartschland Follies with Susanne Bartsch and house band Bassey & The Heathens at Manderley Bar, plus rooftop brunch and Sunset Sundays at Gallow Green with live music.

Labor Day Weekend NYC: Broadway Week Begins

donna summer musical disco ariana debose

© Joan Marcus, 2018.

Monday, September 3rd marks the beginning of fall Broadway Week, which offers 2-for-1 tickets to top musicals and plays. Check out our rundown of what's on offer here.

Labor Day Weekend NYC: Spirit Cruises

spirit cruises new york harbor

End the summer with a cruise aboard Spirit departing from New York or New Jersey. Enjoy a freshly prepared buffet, dance to a DJ's selections, and see amazing views of the New York skyline. Unlimited coffee, hot tea, iced tea, and water, in addition to a well-stocked cash bar. Friday, August 31st through Monday, September 3rd.

Labor Day Weekend NYC: Brooklyn Music Week

brookyn music fest 2018

Celebrate Brooklyn's global influence in music and promote social justice as a five-day festival and resource event continues. Look for live performances, art and fashion exhibitions, panel guests, themed parties, and more. The events go off from August 29th through September 2nd.

Labor Day Weekend NYC: Circus Amok

circus amok socrates

Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens hosts a Sturday with Circus Amok. Kids will delight in this funny, political, one-ring circus spectacular, complete with jugglers, stilt dancers, acrobats, puppets, and paper-mache lions. Free, no RSVP required.

Labor Day Weekend NYC: Heartland Brewery

Grand Bazaar

Every Sunday on the Upper West Side you can find Grand Bazaar NYC, the city’s largest curated market—and most distinctive! You’ll find one-of-a-kind fashion, crafts, collectibles, and handmade jewelry. This Sunday, you’ll also find deep discounts at the End of Summer Specials event. Look for up to half off on everything from one-of-a-kind artist and designer pieces to rare goods from independent vintage and antique dealers. 100 W. 77th St., 212-239-3025,

Labor Day Weekend NYC: Heartland Brewery

heartland brewery beer burger

A long weekend is a perfect time to unwind with some seriously good grub and the beer to go with it. New York City’s most famous landmark, the Empire State Building, now houses New York’s number one brewery, a two-story 450-seat Heartland equipped with two large bars and four giant flat-screen TV’s. Heartland has consistently brewed New York’s freshest craft beers, including six classic brews and a wide range of seasonal ones. Additional locations in Times Square and Midtown West. 350 Fifth Ave., 212-563-3433,

Labor Day Weekend NYC: 9th Annual Unicycle Festival

This free, fun festival spans Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Governors Island. There will be races, exhibitions, workshops, and a variety of unicycle sports, including basketball, hockey, and sumo. Yes, sumo. The festival runs Thursday through Sunday.

Labor Day Weekend NYC: The Mills at Jersey Gardens

The Mills at Jersey Gardens

Just a half hour from the heart of New York, find a mall full of savings at The Mills at Jersey Gardens. These fine stores in Elizabeth, New Jersey, are perfect for fashionistas, families, or anyone headed to nearby Newark Airport. But be sure to allow some time! There are over 200 retail options at Jersey Gardens. From Friday through Monday take advantage of the Labor Day Super Sale, with additional savings at The Mills at Jersey Gardens on your favorite brands Adidas, Nike, Century 21 Department Stores, Garage, Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th, lululemon, francesca's, Hugo Boss, PINK, kate spade New York, and more!

Labor Day Weekend NYC: The RIDE

the ride labor day coupon code

Part tour, part show, THE RIDE is a groundbreaking theatrical experience come to life, turning the streets of New York into a stage. With surprises around every corner, THE RIDE’s ensemble cast of singers, dancers, musicians, actors, and comedians will captivate and entertain. 212-221-0853,

Labor Day Weekend NYC: Met Summer HD Festival

met summer hd opera festival

If you’re an opera buff, it’s hard to beat the pure summer pleasure of sitting outside and watching large-screen cinematic versions of some of the word’s great operas. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the festival. No tickets are required. Lincoln Center.

Friday, August 31, 8pm
L’Elisir d’Amore Donizetti

Donizetti’s bubbly comedy about a spunky landowner, a hapless peasant, and the dubious love potion that may or may not bring them together stars soprano Pretty Yende and tenor Matthew Polenzani. Original transmission: February 10, 2018

Approximate running time: 2 hours 10 minutes

Saturday, September 1, 8pm
Un Ballo in Maschera Verdi

An all-star cast—including tenor Marcelo Álvarez, soprano Sondra Radvanovsky, and the incomparable baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky—comes together for Verdi’s tragedy of love, friendship, and betrayal. Original transmission: December 8, 2012

Approximate running time: 2 hours 20 minutes

Sunday, September 2, 7:15pm
Der Rosenkavalier R. Strauss

In Strauss’s poignant yet insightful comedy, soprano Renée Fleming and mezzo-soprano El?na Garan?a lead an unforgettable performance, which also features bass Günther Groissböck and soprano Erin Morley. Original transmission: May 13, 2017

Approximate running time: 3 hours 15 minutes

Monday, September 3, 8pm
Madama Butterfly Puccini

Anthony Minghella’s striking production stars soprano Kristine Opolais as the tragic title geisha, opposite tenor Roberto Alagna as her unfaithful American lover. Original transmission: April 2, 2016

Approximate running time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Monday, September 3, 3pm & 8:45pm

Labor Day Weekend NYC: Jurassic Park & Jello Shots at Videology

Jurassic Park

Spend Labor Day Monday at Williamsburg's Videology enjoying a screening of everyone's favorite wildlife park, Jurassic Park. (There are two showtimes; 3pm and 8:45pm.) Each ticket includes a coconut lime jello shot for when the dinosaurs are right around the corner and you need a dash of liquid courage. Order tickets here.

Labor Day Weekend NYC: Clam Bake at Brooklyn Cider House

Brooklyn Cider House

Photo: Young Kim

On Sunday afternoon, September 2nd, enjoy a clam bake at Brooklyn Cider House (from 2pm-5pm). Along with seafood, there will be live music by Underground Horns, cider-ific frosé, Brooklyn beer and wine, and lots of the house's award-winning cider. Tickets are $27 advance/$32 at door and include a clambake platter of shrimp, clams, mussels, calamari, corn, and potatoes, plus a free bag of new season apples (about 5 pounds) from the cidery's Upstate Twin Star Orchards (in New Paltz, NY) to celebrate the start of the apple-picking season. In addition, the bar will open at 11am (open till midnight, serving a bar menu) and the dining room will serve a signature cider-catching prix fixe dinner, which has recently debuted some fresh new dishes: whole red snapper, arroz con almejas (Basque-style clam risottos), and a summer tomato salad sourced from the orchard garden; available from 5pm.

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