Labor Day can be kind of bittersweet: on one hand, it provides everyone with a much-need break from their busy lives, but on the other, it unofficially marks the end of summer. This makes it a really popular time to sneak in one last weekend getaway while the weather is still nice. But with fun Labor Day Weekend events happening all over the country, it can be difficult to decide where to go. GotoBus always has your back in this department. We know all the best events in the coolest cities across the U.S., so keep reading for a list of activity ideas. We’ve tried to throw in a good mix for all ages!
New York City is home to some of the best urban parks in the world. Everyone knows about crown jewel, Central Park, but there are countless others located around the five boroughs that are much less crowded. If you’re looking to have a pleasant, low-key day-off, why not grab a basket, a blanket, and a few close friends, and make your way to Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, a 585-acre area filled with winding paths and enough tree coverage to make you forget that you’re in one of the busiest cities in the world. Alternatively, in Manhattan’s Bryant Park, you can see a free performance of William Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew (which was the basis for the 90s teen movie 10 Things I Hate About You), starting at 6:30PM Friday and Saturday, and 2:00PM Sunday.
Summer in Boston can be tough. It’s not the heat that gets to you; it’s the humidity. But by the time Labor Day rolls around, the city is starting to show its first signs of autumn, with a cool breeze blowing in from the harbor. Speaking of, Boston Harbor isn’t just a great place to dump tea; on any given day, you can board a ship that will take you out for a leisurely cruise among the many islands and channels of the harbor. The Spirit of Boston is one such boat. For 2 hours, you will enjoy a buffet-style meal, a live DJ, and a dance party, all set against the backdrop of Boston’s beautiful skyline. Then, once you’re done with that, head towards the famous North End (the city’s historic Italian neighborhood) until you reach Christopher Columbus Park, where you can attend “(ahts): The Boston Arts Festival,” a free event from noon to 6:00PM, where you will be able to purchase photography, jewelry, paintings, and much more from local vendors. Once the vendors close down their kiosks, go grab dinner at a delicious Italian restaurant. Just be sure to head back to Columbus Park once it gets dark for the fireworks display!
Philadelphia is known as “the City of Brotherly Love,” a nickname that promotes a welcoming and loving atmosphere to one of the country’s oldest cities. Sesame Street is a children’s show that, since it first aired in the 1969, has emphasized those same values. It’s no surprise, then, that Sesame Place, an amusement park based of the beloved show, is a short drive north of the city. On September 5th and 6th, at 5:00PM, you can bring your kids to meet, greet, and eat with their favorite characters, including Big Bird, Elmo, and Oscar the Grouch. To top it all off, at 8:25PM there will be a fireworks display to awe all visitors.
Back in colonial times, Philadelphia was the capitol of the US, but in 1791, Washington, D.C. was founded to serve as the headquarters of the federal government. Along with its political history, Washington has a rich musical community. The Labor Day Capitol Concert is held each year at the National Symphony Orchestra to celebrate their new season. Scheduled for Sunday, September 6th at 8:00PM, this free event will take place on the West Lawn of the US Capitol building.
Any holiday that provides a long weekend for both parents and kids is going to be an extremely popular time to visit the biggest and best amusement parks in the country. Disney World is one of the busiest in the entire world on regular days, so it can become a little too much during big holidays. However, first-hand reports from around the web say that Labor Day isn’t all that bad at Disney. The parks do receive more visitors, but not an overwhelming amount. Magic Kingdom is the most crowded, so why not try Animal Kingdom, MGM Studios, EPCOT, or one of the many non-Disney parks in the Orlando area?
Chicago is a huge city, filled with a ethnically and culturally diverse population. Labor Day weekend in the Windy City is packed with numerous festivals celebrating this diversity: the Black Film Festival from September 1-3 at the Gene Siskel Center is an appreciation of African-American contributions to cinema; the Chicago Turkish Fest, held in Daley Plaza September 2-5, features performances of folk music and dance, authentic cuisine, and informational exhibits about the country’s long history, among many other activities; and the Taste of Polonia, a Polish festival in Jefferson Park, will feature over 30 bands, 50 vendors, and 12 food booths where you can get delicious dishes like kielbasa, pierogis, and beer. Also scheduled for this weekend are Lebanese and African cultural festivals.
Every year on Labor Day weekend, Cleveland hosts their Oktoberfest celebration. Okay, yes, you’re right: it’s technically not in October. But who needs a calendar when you can have beer? With live music, wiener dog races, a 5K beer run, and so much more, anyone in Cleveland for the weekend should stop by. The festival will be held at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds for 4 whole days!
Sure, with a name like “Indy LaborFest,” Indianapolis’ annual Labor Day celebration doesn’t sound like it would be too much fun, but very year, Georgia Street closes off to traffic and gets wild with great food, family fun, and special activities in the “Kid’s Zone,” such as face painting, a bounce house, dance demonstrations, and so much more. Admission is completely free. The festival runs from 11:00AM to 6:00PM on September 5th.
Are you a cat person? On September 5th and 6th, Louisville, KY will host the 48th annual Kentuckiana Cat Club Championship Show. At a price of only $10 for an entire family ($3 for individual adults; $2 for seniors and children under 12), this event is a great place to admire our furry feline friends. Watch as these cats walk around with their heads held high with pride, an emotion natural to kitties, as they prance around, purr, and meow for your affections. It will be held at the Kentucky Expo Center.
Labor Day is a holiday meant to commemorate the American workforce by providing them with a much-needed day off. But why not “work it” in another way? We’re talking about tearing up a dance floor in exciting Las Vegas. Two titans of hip-hop will be performing in Sin City over LDW. Head to Surrender to see Lil Jon (WHAT?) play a DJ set (YEEEEAAAH!) on September 4th at 10:00PM. Then, the next night, pop on over to TAO Nightclub to kick it with Snoop Dogg and the Snoopadelic Cabaret, which is a call back to the 1920s. That sounds too good to miss!
Any trip to San Francisco would be incomplete without a cruise on the bay, where you’ll get to see the magnificent Golden Gate Bridge, world-famous Alcatraz Island, and the city’s stunning skyline. But you know what makes any cruise better? Booze (if you’re 21+, of course). Pick your poison: you can take a Labor Day Beer Lunch Cruise, which includes a delicious buffet and free drinks; or a Champagne & Mimosa Cruise, which doesn’t offer any food, but is still a nice way to start a weekend morning.
Much like Orlando, Anaheim is the theme park center of California, home to Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood, among others. With more roller coasters and thrill rides, Universal is a better fit for young adult crowds, while Disneyland prides itself on being the preferred destination for families with young children. It’s also the place to go for Labor Day if you’re the sporty type: each year, the park hosts a half marathon. What better motivation is there to run 13.1 miles than your favorite classic Disney characters – like Mickey, Donald, and Goofy – cheering you on?
Phoenix is an urban oasis in the middle of Arizona’s desert. It might not seem like a preferred vacation spot until you realize just how many amazing national parks are short day trips from town. The spot with the most appeal has to be Grand Canyon National Park, home to one of the most awe-inspiring natural wonders in the entire world. Get out there to hike along the rims, where you will be treated to absolutely breathtaking views. Just be sure to wear sunscreen and drink plenty of water!
But why wait until Labor Day Weekend? August 25th is the anniversary of the National Parks Service, and to celebrate, many national parks across the country offers free admission to all guests! Check here for a complete list of all participating parks.
No matter where you plan to travel this Labor Day Weekend, GotoBus.com is the best place to book tickets, for any your budget. On top of that, you can also book your hotel. In fact, the only thing you won’t be able to do on GotoBus is enjoy your vacation. We leave that up to you! Click the links below to book your tickets.
Bus Tickets from Boston to New York – Prices $18+ one-way
Bus Tickets from New York to Philadelphia – Prices $11+ one-way
Bus Tickets from New York to Washington DC – Prices $21+ one-way
Bus Tickets from New York to Orlando – Prices $60+ one-way
Bus Tickets from New York to Chicago – Prices $60+ one-way
Bus Tickets from New York to Cleveland – Prices $60+ one-way
Bus Tickets from New York to Indianapolis – Prices $30+ one-way
Bus Tickets from New York to Louisville – Prices $55+ one-way
Bus Tickets from Los Angeles to Las Vegas – Prices $25+ one-way
Bus Tickets from Los Angeles to San Francisco – Prices $30+ one-way
Bus Tickets from Los Angeles to Anaheim – Prices $20+ one-way
Bus Tickets from Los Angeles to Phoenix – Prices $40+ one-way