Things to do on Labor Day Weekend

Check out all the best things to do in New York City this Labor Day Weekend

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Don't cry, kiddo. Labor Day may mean the end of summer, but at least we get an extra day off of work to process all the fun we had. Luckily for you, there's a ton of things to do on Labor Day so you won't be stuck without plans on your day off. Celebrate the three-day weekend by lounging at one of the best beaches in New York City or sip a fancy cocktail at one of NYC's best rooftop bars. Whatever your style is, we've got you covered!

1

Left Bank Picture Show

  • Free

You don’t have to be a cinephile to love this epic Italian dramedy about the magic of moviemaking. Cinema Paradiso (1988) follows the perspective of a kid who has a slight obsession with films, and with the whimsical feel director Giuseppe Tornatore added to the film, you’ll almost wish you were a kid too. Oh, who are we kidding, grade school was the worst. Since a restaurant is hosting this movie night, expect delicious Italian food made especially for the feature.The flick is free, but the meal will cost you.

  1. Left Bank 117 Perry St, at Greenwich St
  2. Sun Aug 10–Sun Aug 31
More info
2

The Moth StorySLAM

  • Critics choice

Ten stories. Three teams of judges. One winner. The outrageously (and deservedly) popular storytelling series pits local yarn spinners against one another, challenging them to deliver an impressive tale based on a specific theme. This week's theme is beauty. Storytellers: Come prepared to be chosen at random to tell your tale. Get in line early for $8 tickets or splurge a bit in advance, as spots for narrators and spectators alike go quickly.

  1. The Bell House 149 7th St, between Second and Third Aves, 11215
  2. Tue Aug 12–Mon Sept 1
More info
3

Dream Up Festival 2014

  • Price band: 2/4

Theater for the New City hosts the fifth edition of this diverse fest of 24 shows, nearly all of them world premieres. Selections include works from France, Israel and Scotland; visit dreamupfestival.org for details.

  1. Theater for the New City 155 First Ave, between 9th and 10th Sts
  2. Sun Aug 17–Sun Sept 7
More info
4

US Open

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

For two weeks each summer, New York becomes the capital of the tennis world as the sport's final Grand Slam of the year thwacks its way into Queens. Watch stars play under the lights during the popular evening sessions.

  1. USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center Flushing Meadows–Corona Park, Kennedy Cir, at New York Ave
  2. Mon Aug 25–Mon Sept 8
Buy tickets
5

New York International Salsa Dance & Music Festival

The saucy and feisty dance from Latin America comes north to New York City to stir the passions in all of us. ¡Ay ay ay! Can you handle the fuego as hundreds of the best salsa dancers strut their stuff to compete for prizes and bragging rights? ¡Muy caliente!

  1. Hilton New York 1335 Sixth Ave, between 53rd and 54th Sts, 10019
  2. Wed Aug 27 - Mon Sep 1
More info
6

Electric Zoo Festival

New York—just like the rest of the world—goes gaga for EDM (electronic dance music) and shows its love at this annual three-day dayglo rave-up on Randall’s Island. In its four year history, the fest has seen headlining DJ sets and live performances from Skrillex, Deadmau5, Avicii, Pete Tong and Moby—yep, the big names. Sadly in 2013, there were two ecstasy-related deaths at the festival, and its last day was canceled. This year’s edition is set to go ahead, however, and also sees the first installment of Electric Zoo Mexico in Mexico City in May.

  1. Randalls Island Park Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, at Randalls Island
  2. Fri Aug 29–Sun Aug 31
More info
7

Alley Pond Park Adventure Course: Staycation

  • Free

Head to Queens for a pseudo getaway at this naturey obstacle course that will make you feel like you're back at summer camp. The event features same-day registration, so arrive early to reserve a spot.

  1. Alley Pond Park 76th Ave, at Springfield Blvd
  2. Sat Aug 30–Wed Sep 3
More info
8

NYC Unicycle Festival

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Bindlestiff Family Cirkus presents three days of one-wheeled races, games and exhibitions. Demonstrate your cycling prowess on a 13-mile ride from City Hall to Coney Island in honor of Brooklyn Unicycle Day (Aug 31 at 3pm; unibridgetour.info). On September 1 and 2 join New York’s legendary King Charles Troupe for team activities—all on a cycle—including hockey, basketball and even sumo wrestling. Expect attempts to break Guinness World Records, DJ Sky King spinning and plenty of beginner lessons for newbies.

  1. Governors Island Governors Island
  2. Sat Aug 30, Sun Aug 31
More info
9

Silly Dance Contest

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Here's your to show of your amazing dance moves without the haters: the crazier the better. DJs Max Power and Maggit will play grooveworthy jams while you twerk it (or attempt to). The prize is well worth it: $50 and $25 bar tabs for first and second silliest dancers, respectively. Even if you don’t win the big bucks, free shots are given to the silliest dancers after each round. Goofy costumes are heavily encouraged.

  1. Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk Boardwalk, between Beach 9th and 149th Sts
  2. Sat Aug 30
More info
10

Staten Island Philharmonic Concert

  • Free

Celebrate Labor Day with a free concert from Staten Island Philharmonic featuring the wind ensemble and chorus at Alice Austen Park.

  1. Alice Austen House 2 Hylan Blvd, at Edgewater St
  2. Sat Aug 30
More info
11

Sweet Spot Festival

  • Free

Harlem’s roving monthly dance party and artisan market is back. If you’re a DIY maker, apply online to be a vendor at one of the upcoming jamborees.

  1. Pier I, Riverside Park South W 66th St, at the Hudson River
  2. Sat Aug 30
More info
12

Great North River Tugboat Race & Competition

  • Critics choice
  • Free

See tugboats parade from Pier 84 to the 79th Street Boat Basin then race back at the 21st annual iteration of this maritime fest. Participate in an amateur line-toss contest, and witness the Popeye-inspired spinach-eating contest. Those interested in a closer view can board a Circle Line spectator boat at Pier 83 (9am; $25, children $12).

  1. Hudson River Park at Pier 84 W 44th St, at the Hudson River
  2. Sun Aug 31
More info
13

Bryant Park Games

  • Free

Entertain yourself on your day off with over 35 table games, including Scrabble, Mancala, dominoes and Jenga. If you come solo, select a worthy opponent at the Games Social. Feeling strategic? Stick around for the mah-jongg marathon from 1 to 7pm. See the games attendant for setup.

  1. Bryant Park Sixth Ave, between 40th and 42nd Sts
  2. Mon Sep 1
More info
14

Greenpoint Heights Trivia

  • Free

The trivia at the Greenpoint Heights bar (in Greenpoint, duh) is already the stuff of local legend. It's both fun and challenging, and you even get to play for drinks. Its Labor Day trivia challenge is going to be even better; you'll have the added benefit of a whole day off before you start. Anyone up for a few rounds before we start?

  1. Greenpoint Heights 278 Nassau Ave, at Morgan Ave, 11222
  2. Mon Sept 1–Mon Dec 29
More info
15

NYCRuns Labor Day 5K and 10K

Feel ultra accomplished on your day off by sweating off extra cals on this special Labor Day run on Roosevelt Island. There are two distances offered (3.1 and 6.2 miles) so you can take it as slow or as fast as you like. If you’re no good at packing light, stash your gear at the bag check while you trot. Don’t forget to indulge afterward: Included in your entry fee is a post-race smorgasbord of bagels, cream cheese, fresh fruit, ice cream and Muscle Milk.

  1. Roosevelt Island Roosevelt Island
  2. Mon Sep 1
More info
16

The Williamsburg Spelling Bee

This bee, hosted by Jen Dziura and Bobby Blue, isn’t an exercise in adolescent humiliation; it’s a gathering of adults taking a stab at triskaidekaphobia and other hard-to-spell words. If you strike out, assuage your bruised ego at the bar. Sign-up starts at 7pm and the first 18 people get to play.

  1. Pete's Candy Store 709 Lorimer St, between Frost and Richardson Sts, 11211
  2. Mon Sept 1–Mon Dec 1
More info
17

West Indian–American Day Carnival

  • Critics choice
  • Free

This Caribbean celebration, known for having lively music and lots of skin, is never short on costumed stilt dancers, floats blaring soca and calypso music, and plenty of flags from countries such as Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago. Look for vendors stationed along Eastern Parkway selling island eats like jerk chicken, curry goat and oxtail. Early risers can preparty at J’ouvert (pronounced “joo-VAY”), a predawn festival in which revelers throw powdered paint at each other. Head to Grand Army Plaza around 4am when the high jinks really get going. Eastern Pkwy from Schenectady Ave to Flatbush Ave, Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Subway: 3, 4, 5 to Crown Hts–Utica Ave.

  1. Brooklyn
  2. Mon Sep 1
More info


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