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The best things to do on Labor Day weekend

Don’t blow your three-day Labor Day weekend! Make a scene at these dance parties, beach bashes and parades in NYC.

Photograph: Syd London
West Indian American Day Carnival

The best way to salute America’s workers? Show them (and yourself) a rocking good time. Go day-glo crazy at the Electric Zoo festival and West Indian-American Day Carnival, cheer hard at the US Open and make your day memorable by hitting some of New York’s best beaches and happy-hour deals. Whether you’re an indoor type or ready to rage at outdoor drinking spots, we have a great things to do on Labor Day weekend just for you.

RECOMMENDED: Read more about Labor Day

Things to do on Labor Day weekend

Electric Zoo Festival

Come ready to dance away the end of summer at the annual EDM three-day bonanza. Many of the biggest names in electronic music descend upon the park’s four stages. This year’s headliners include the Chemical Brothers, Above & Beyond and Alesso, so be prepared for a crowded lawn of movers and shakers sweating to the beat.

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Fri Sep 4 - Sun Sep 6

Great North River Tugboat Race & Competition

Cheer on the hardest workers in the harbor, the tugboats, at the 23rd annual race. From your viewing spot on Pier 84, not only can you admire the vessels, but you can also compete in an amateur line-throwing competition or prove you’re strong to finish when you channel your inner-Popeye for a spinach eating contest. If you’re looking for a better view of the proceedings, jump on board the Circle Line Spectator Boat ($25, children $12)

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06 Sep 2015

Labor Day’s Black & White Affair

Come later this month, Sunday nights may return to being prime time for award winning television dramas, but for now, step away from the TV—after all, you don’t have work tomorrow! The organizers at Las Reinas ask you to dress in your best black and white, and dance from 9pm until 4am the next morning. Coney Island’s DJ Melly Mel will be spinning, so be ready to party.

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Sun Sep 6 - Mon Sep 7

Labor Day with DJ Eli Pizzutto and special guests at Jacob Riis Beach Bazaar

Riis Beach’s regular Monday shindig is all about laying back with ice cold drinks and getting down to chill music, and for those of us who aren’t in the restaurant or service industry, a chance to be horizontal on the sand on a Monday is too good to pass up. Two for one drinks and beach volleyball will likely keep you celebrating longer than you’d planned to.

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Labor Day Parade

Cheer for America’s workforce—teachers, firefighters, doctors, construction workers and everybody who keeps modern life going—as representatives from various industries march in the parade organized by the New York City Labor Council. Held the Saturday after Labor Day, the procession of laborers start at 10am at Fifth Avenue and 44th Street and will continue up the avenue to 67th Street.

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12 Sep 2015

Locals Surf Club Labor Day Reception

There's no need to shlepp to California to party with surfer boys: NYC-based surf school Locals is throwing a smashing shindig at the Rockaway Beach Surf Club, and it's sure to feature die-hard beach boys and girls wearing their finest Hawaiian shirts. With Rockaway Taco handling food, Brooklyn DJ Oriental Blvd spinning Hip Hop and Electronic beats late into the night and classic beachside flicks projected in the bar, it promises to be an authentic bash better than anything on Baywatch.

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05 Sep 2015

Public Works: The Odyssey

Homer's epic poem gets a fantastically colorful retelling by Public Works' troupe of actors, community members and special guests (including The D.R.E.A.M. Ring dance group and TADA! Youth Theater). Watch Odysseus face the Cyclops, Circe and the Sirens amid stupendous musical numbers and dances. On performance days, a limited amount of free tickets will be distributed at the theatre at noon and on lottery online.

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Fri Sep 4 - Mon Sep 7

The US Open

While you may not remember what you did on Labor Day Weekends past, take a swing and make this year memorable by seeing the champions slay it on the tennis court. Added bonus: You’ll be the Instagram winner of Tuesday morning.

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USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center , Queens Monday August 29 2016 - Sunday September 11 2016

Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit

Instead of just bumming at the beach this weekend, why not grab some culture and support up-and-coming artistic folks? Browse fine art, photography, artisanal crafts and sculptures from artists and crafters near and far at this biannual sidewalk show in the West Village.

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Sun Aug 30 - Mon Sep 7

West Indian-American Day Carnival

For some, Labor Day is just another Monday off, but the costumed gods and goddesses of this wild parade spend the whole year hot-gluing feathers and stones to their magnificent outfits. Party all the way down Eastern Parkway and enjoy technicolor floats representing countries like Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobego while you indulge in jerk chicken and other delicacies.

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07 Sep 2015

Wet Hot American Labor Day

If you’ve filled your outdoors quota for Labor Day weekend, then grab a comfy seat in Videology’s back room and watch the eternal comedy classic Wet Hot American Summer. Then take a break and watch it again. And again. Rewatch your favorite all-American camp movie one or even five times between rounds of $5 bug juice and cheap tacos.

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Mon Sep 7 - Tue Sep 8