While Labor Day Weekend is the unofficial end of summer, it doesn’t have be the end your summer fun. Whether you’re into live music, love to go to the beach, or want to pick up a new offbeat hobby, there’s something for you in NYC this Labor Day Weekend.
Here are the 8 best live outdoor events this Labor Day Weekend in New York City:
1. Electric Zoo Festival
Watch out NYC dance clubs! For the eighth straight summer, the Electric Zoo Festival will be taking over the city, drawing thousands of ravers to Randall’s Island for one of the best weekends of EDM all year. An absolute can’t-miss event on the electronic dance music circuit, Electric Zoo features a range of artists, from headliners like Tiesto and Bassnectar (both performing this year) to underground DJs, waiting to be discovered.
Where: Randall’s Island
When: September 2nd – 4th
2. The U.S. Open
For two weeks every summer, New York becomes the focus of the tennis world as Flushing Meadows-Corona Park hosts the U.S. Open. Nevermind watching the top tennis players in the world compete in a Grand Slam tournament, the event itself is a see-and-be-seen affair, with celebrities like Alec Baldwin, Bradley Cooper, Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, Derek Jeter, and Tiger Woods attending last year alone. Unlike most sporting events, there’s high-end food and drink–cool off with a Grey Goose cocktail or an Evian mist bottle at their respective bars, and chow down on the latest offerings from local food trucks. Whether you go for the day session or the night session, it’s a great way to cap off your summer.
Where: Flushing Meadow-Corona Park, Flushing, Queens
When: August 29th – September 11th
3. West Indian Day Parade
If heading to beach this Labor Day sounds boring, the West Indian Day Parade is exactly what you’re looking for. Easily the best parade of the weekend, the event draws almost two million people (!) to Crown Heights, Brooklyn for a day of great food, music, and very elaborate costumes. Also: revelers frequently dress up as celebrities or political figures and throw powdered paint at one another, so go in costume if you’re so inclined.
Where: Crown Heights, Brooklyn
When: September 5th
4. Riis Park Beach Bazaar
Held at Jacob Riis National Park–one of the best beaches in NYC–Riis Park Beach Bazaar is one of the most fun outdoor parties of the summer. It has all the sun, sand, and surf of a day at the beach, but also awesome live music, and activities like ping pong, karaoke, and camp-fire singalongs. And leave your food at home, there will be plenty of it there, with tasty vendors likeFletcher’s Brooklyn Barbecue, Ed & Bev’s diner, and Ample Hills Creamery providing the eats.
Where: 16702 Rockaway Beach Blvd, Queens
When: September 5th
5. NYC Unicycle Festival
Put on by the incomparable Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, the NYC Unicycle Festival is three days of games, races, and exhibitions, all centered around everyone’s favorite impossible-to-ride mode of transportation: the unicycle. The festival features 13-mile ride from City Hall to Coney Island in honor of Brooklyn Unicycle Day, as well as live DJs and possibly a Guinness World Record attempt or two. On September 1st and 2nd, join New York’s legendary King Charles Troupe for team activities, including hockey, basketball, and sumo wrestling… all on a unicycle! Don’t know how to ride one? Well, you’re certainly not alone, but in case you’ve ever wanted to, there’ll be lessons for beginners.
Where: Governor’s Island
When: September 1st – 4th
6. Great North River Tugboat Race & Competition
For a day at sea, head over to the 24th Annual Great North River Tugboat Race in Midtown and cheer on the boats as they parade up from Pier 84 to the 79th Street Boat Basin and then race back. There are also some tugboat-themed events afterwards like the amateur an line-toss contest (no pro line-tossers allowed!) and Popeye-inspired spinach-eating contests. To best enjoy all the action, take a ride on the Circle Line spectator boat at Pier 83 and race right alongside the tugs (adults: $25, children $12).
Where: Pier 83, West 43rd Street and Hudson River Park
When: September 4
7. Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit
Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit showcases fine artists and artisans from across the New York metropolitan, and the world at large. It occurs twice a year–around Memorial Day and Labor Day–so if you missed the first one, definitely try to make it this time around. Whether you’re an art lover, a design lover, or just looking for an outdoor activity this Labor Day, it’s worth checking out.
Where: Washington Square Park
When: September 3rd – 5th
8. Labor Day Parade
Come out to Midtown Manhattan and cheer on America’s workforce and support all the men and women who keep this city going as they march in the Labor Day Parade. Representatives from various industries–doctors, policemen, construction workers, teachers, firemen–will lead the festivities, which are organized by the New York City Central Labor Council. This event also stands out because it’s held the Saturday after Labor Day, so it’s a great way to extend your LDW for a bit longer.
Where: Fifth Avenue from 44th Street to 67th Street
When: September 10th
With so many different types of events, Labor Day Weekend spoils New Yorkers for choice. Use this list as you plan your last weekend of summer int he city and, if you’re up for it, try to make it to as many events as you can.