Labor Day Activities from Coast to Coast



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This Monday is Labor Day, which celebrates the workers of America and their contribution in bettering our nation. This holiday was created by the labor movement, celebrated in New York for the first time in 1882, and officially made a national holiday by President Glover Cleveland in 1894. Originally, Labor Day was celebrated through public street parades and festivals. Today, it has added cook-outs, retail deals, fairs, and a long weekend to the mix. On this first Monday of September, we commemorate the end of summer, the beginning of football season, and a fabulous reason to barbecue every night!

A long weekend just screams mini getaway. The schedule is perfect – leave on Friday and come back on Monday. This gives you two whole beautiful days just for activities! So what to do??


If You’re On the East Coast: 

Hang out in Virginia Beach for 3 days of music and a half-marathon!

From Friday to Sunday, more than 30 local, regional, and national bands will perform at the Verizon Wireless American Music Festival, the largest outdoor music festival on the East coast. Hang out oceanfront by the main stage to see bands like Third Eye Blind, Smashmouth, Barenaked Ladies, and Daughtry for just $20 or by the smaller stages to see Edgar Winter, Leftover Salmon, Sugar Ray, and others for free! And on Sunday, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half-Marathon will be held in the city streets to raise money for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. So hit up Virginia Beach for a long weekend of music and running!


If You’re In the Midwest: 

Jazz it up at Chicago’s annual jazz festival!

From Thursday until Sunday, Chicago is holding the 35th annual Chicago Jazz Festival at Millennium Park. Take advantage of this free event to go see some great, live jazz performances by The Frank Russell Band, the Charles Lloyd Quartet, and Donald Harrison, to name a few. When you’re not enjoying the music, check out the African Festival of the Arts – a weekend-long event featuring artwork by some of Chicago’s best and musical performances by Brandy, Monifah, blues legend Otis Clay, and others. What’s better than a long weekend of music and arts?

Take a trip to Colorado for a 4-day festival of food and music!

Join the 500,000+ festival-goers at A Taste of Colorado, a 4-day celebration in Denver. This free event features food from over 50 local and regional restaurants, 280 artists and vendors, and 5 stages where bands like The Wild Feathers, MC Hammer, and Casey James will perform throughout the weekend. A firework/light show will kick off the long weekend on Friday, and a stage will be available for karaoke!


If You’re On the West Coast:

Check out Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, CA for the ultimate Asian food festival!

At the 626 Night Market – the largest Asian night market in the US – you will plunge into a smoky, delicious haze of street food, people, and booths. This night market is just $3 admission to explore the 150 vendors that will be dishing up tasty Asian food like Peking duck, musubi, and squid kabobs. The plates begin around $4, and the portions are generous. So from 4 pm until 1 am on Saturday and Sunday, enjoy delicious food, drinks, merchandise, and a live music stage in Santa Anita!


If You’d Rather Party at Home:

Barbecue, barbecue, barbecue!

Nothing beats celebrating any holiday like a backyard cook-out. And Labor Day weekend gives you 3 nights to barbecue! Light up the grill, invite some friends over, set up your hammock or Lounger by the fire pit, and enjoy your weekend off. Maybe you can even sneak a hike or bike ride into your busy weekend of relaxation and leisure?

So take advantage of these last few days of summer. Check out your local paper and travel websites for more ideas on where to go and what to do this Labor Day weekend!


by Anna Fletcher

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