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West Indian American Day Carnival
Photograph: Syd LondonWest Indian American Day Carnival

The best things to do on Labor Day in NYC

Make the most of your three-day weekend by checking out the best things to do for Labor Day!

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver
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Labor Day Weekend in NYC is the last summer hurrah. It’s our last chance to truly enjoy all the good things summer has brought us—rooftop bars, beaches, pristine pools, beautiful parks and more.

To help you take advantage of the best of the city, we have a list of the best things to do on Labor day and other related Labor Day events right here. Go crazy at a summer music festival, celebrate Caribbean culture at the annual West Indian American Day Carnival, cheer hard at the U.S. Open and make your day extra sandy by hitting our favorite New York beaches. Whether you’re an indoor type or looking for things to do outside, we have the perfect itinerary for Labor Day weekend.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Labor Day in NYC

The best of the city under one roof

  • Restaurants
  • DUMBO

Celebrate the end of summer on Time Out Market New York’s Rooftop Terrace with sweeping views of the East River and Manhattan skyline as well as food and drink from the Market’s vendors.

All weekend long, enjoy your pick of delicious eats such as Pat Lafrieda’s world-famous hot dogs, burgers and sweet potato tots, Little Neck Raw Bar’s lobster rolls and Oyster and Prosecco package ($28), Jacob’s Pickles’ fried chicken and mac & cheese, ice cream from Sugar Hill Creamery and other great bites from the best of New York under one roof.

From the Time Out Market Bar, choose from American craft beer buckets ($35) and juicy cocktails, including the Watermelon Heaven ($14) Ain’t That A Peach ($14) and Rum Punch Pouches ($15).

Of course, there will be music all weekend from DJ Ignishun, Ronnie Roc & Co Salsa and others. On Monday, Labor Day, DJ Price I$ Right will spin tunes from noon to 6pm and MORESOUPPLEASE will take over until 10pm. 

It’ll be the perfect way to celebrate Labor Day and have someone else do the cooking. Happy Labor Day!

The best things to do on Labor Day

  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • Staten Island

Grab the fam and head to Historic Richmond Town, a preserved museum-village dating from the late 17th century, for its 42nd annual county fair. Three stages of live music, puppetry, dance performances and entire sections of rides, a culture crawl, living history experiences as well as games and contests are sure to entertain this Labor Day Weekend. Proceeds from the fair directly support Historic Richmond Town in its mission to preserve and share local history.

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Spend Labor Day Weekend at a series of concerts at Rockaway Bazaar. As part of its summer schedule, you can see DJ Lefty Hernandez on Friday, September 2, Wine w/ Sue on Saturday, September 3, Solshyne on Sunday, September 4, and DJ Mouse on Labor Day, Monday, September 5. All shows are free and for all ages. They begin at 4pm on the weekend (and the holiday) and at 5pm on Friday. Make sure to cool off with a drink from the Sand Shark Bar at Rockaway Bazaar.

  • Things to do
  • Festivals

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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  • Things to do
  • Festivals

This city tradition feels fresh every year when artists following in the footsteps of Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning set up shop in the park. In its 92nd year, the sidewalk exhibit will attract over 40 artists, from NYU students to artists who remember the Village as a creative enclave, display their original paintings, sculptures, photography, jewelry and woodcraft. All registered artists are eligible in several award categories by medium as well as a "Best In Show" award. University Place starting at E 13th St. 

  • Things to do
  • City Life

The 172-acre island, partially made from the cast-off rocks from the Lexington Avenue Subway, is the verdant backyard that New Yorkers desperately need. It’s completely car-free so cycling is a breeze, the views of the harbor, the city and the Statue of Liberty are breathtaking and its acres of open land give beleaguered city residents a chance to spread their limbs without clobbering the person next to them. It’s perfect for the last hurrah of summer.

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  • Restaurants
  • Drinking

Vacations Bar and Rooftop, at 321 Starr Street in Bushwick, unites the lively Bushwick spirit and charm with the nostalgia and relaxation of that perfect vacation spot. Lightly tropical-themed, the venue is colorful and bright and decorated with postcards across three separate bars—each their own destination.  The bars are inspired by islands near and far (think Manhattan and Puerto Rico, and a few Caribbean destinations in between). It’s good in a pinch if vacation is actually a ways away.

  • Music

Sun Sets, a weekly music series with a rotating lineup of DJs from the city’s dance music underground, ends with a show on September 3. The weekly music series has featured DJs such as Liondub, Kristin Barilli, the Brooklyn-based DJ collective Uklon, who are originally from Kyiv, Dominican-American DJ Toribio, and more. The last two events are Musclecars on Friday, September 2 and Analog Soul on Saturday, September 3.

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  • Restaurants
  • Eating

Kick off your fall the right way with a meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant…without paying the typical Michelin-starred price. It turns out that our very own city is actually home to three of the most affordable Michelin-starred eateries in all of the United States—The Clocktower on Madison Avenue, Oxalis, the new American restaurant right by Prospect Park in Brooklyn and Casa Enrique, a Mexican restaurant in Long Island City.

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  • Restaurants
  • Drinking

Take a trip on the water on a NYC Cycleboat—the only boat you can drink and cycle on in the city’s waters.  It’s completely BYOB so you can enjoy the beer, wine or hard seltzer of your choice (there’s ice, water coolers and cup holders on board) and take a seat on your respective pedal stations. You move your legs like you would on a bike and with your collective power, you help move the boat. It’s much like the pedal trolleys you might’ve seen moving through city streets across the world, but arguably cooler. While you pedal, you get a beautiful vista of the NYC skyline and the Statue of Liberty with your friends set to party music. It’s not a bad way to say “farewell” to summer.

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Balance it out at NYC Unicycle Festival
  • Things to do
  • Festivals

For far too long people have looked down upon the unicycle, ridiculing riders for how silly they look perched up high above a single wheel. It’s time that one-wheel lovers unite and take over the streets of New York! That’s just what the NYC Unicycle Festival is planning to do. To kick things off, the fest will take over Manhattan, from Battery Park to Central Park, on September 1 (10:30am-3pm) and will move on to Brooklyn on September 2 (2-6pm) from Brooklyn Bridge to Coney Island, and then onto Queens on September 3 (noon-5pm) from Seven Gables Playground to Cunningham Park, Queens, where you can mountain unicycle, learn to ride, play unicycle basketball and more. It’ll finish up on September 4 (1-5pm) at Grant’s Tomb with a casual day of rolling. UniFest has something for everyone, from long-time unicycle enthusiasts to first-time thrill-seekers; and from unicycle basketball to scavenger hunts. It’s fun, it’s free and all ages and abilities are welcome to attend.

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  • Things to do

If you’re looking for something a little bit more adult, hanging poolside with a cocktail in hand is the answer. Several of New York’s finest hotels offer day passes for their rooftop pools, most of which include chaises and cabanas for lounging in addition to a full-service bar.

Need a break from the city?

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