Whether you’re celebrating the start of football season, the last weekend you can wear white, or, you know, the labor union, this Labor Day should be filled with good old-fashioned fun in the form of bright sunshine and delicious food. There will be parades and barbecues aplenty in cities from one side of the country to the other, just as there are opportunities (read: excuses) to get out of dodge for the long weekend.
Colorado: If you’re taking the whole no labor on Labor Day thing seriously, make your way to Colorado for the start of September Splendor in the Rockies. There are few better ways to celebrate the coming of fall than to hang out in Crested Butte taking in the changing scenery and strolling through the farmer’s market. The month-long event offers fall drives, scenic tours, and plenty of festivals like the Fall Festival of Beers and Chili Cook-off and the Vinotok Harvest Festival. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/greghauenstein)
Details: Hotel rooms are still available for Labor Day weekend, with prices ranging from $72 - $350.
Santa Barbara: Interested in maybe just a little more action, but still looking to ditch the city? Santa Barbara is ideal for wine-lovers and, on Sundays, shark-lovers. “Shark Week” may have ended, but our fascination with them certainly hasn’t, so the Ty Warner Sea Center at the Museum of Natural History in Santa Barbara hosts Shark Sundays, putting you up close and personal with sharks and rays in the museum. To calm your post-shark education nerves, head to Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone and indulge in an afternoon of wine tastings.
Chicago: If you’re looking for a new song to have stuck in your head, you’re in luck — the Chicago Jazz Festival will be held September 1 - 4 with solo, duet, quintet, and ensemble performances day in and day out. On Labor Day, you can take your pick of sunny outdoor events like a Cubs game (they’re playing the Cincinnati Reds on the 5th), sipping a cool glass of rose on Rittergut’s waterfront patio, or tucking into baby back ribs on the patio at Barn and Company.
Details: According to our search on Kayak, rooms are available for the long weekend starting at just $169.
Austin: Planning last minute travel for Labor Day weekend is, clearly, totally plausible. Getting a last minute flight and hotel reservation for Austin City Limits, however, is next to impossible. Hit the city for Labor Day instead where you’ll find hiking and picnicking opportunities in Zilker Park, the Out of Bounds Comedy Festival, a delicious cocktail at the Mohawk Bar, the Brew B Que Festival, and a trip to the Austin Farmers Market.
Details: According to our search on Kayak, rooms are available for the long weekend starting at just $100.
LA and New York: City folk in who plan on staying in town and letting the crowds disappear over the long weekend are in luck, as well. In LA, the LA Times and Food & Wine food festival, THE TASTE, runs from September 2 – 5, while New York’s restaurant week has been extended through the long weekend, meaning while silly sun-worshippers are off in the Hamptons, you can enjoy a leisurely meal at some of the city’s busiest restaurants. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/Ruben Moreno Montoliu)