Explore New York City

Fun Labor Day Activities in New York City

Summer isn’t over yet, and there are lots of things to do in the city on the holiday weekend. Labor Day is an important holiday weekend for visitors and locals alike.

Fun Labor Day Activities in New York City

Summer isn’t over yet, and there are lots of things to do in the city on the holiday weekend. Labor Day is an important holiday weekend for visitors and locals alike.

If you’re planning to visit New York over Labor Day Weekend, pack your walking shoes, a hat, and a sense of exploration. There are many activities and events scheduled for the weekend during the day and evening in the Big Apple. Here are some of the best events to enjoy this Labor Day Weekend in NYC.

Labor Day Weekend in New York City

OktoberFest

Yes, this sounds a bit crazy as it’s only September, but Watermark launches its annual Oktoberfest on Labor Day weekend. Located on Pier 15 in the Seaport, Watermark’s pre-holiday party serves up authentic German beer and food, perfect for playing games with a backdrop of the breezy East River. 

OktoberFest NYC New York | WHERE Traveler®
OktoberFest NYC (Courtesy Watermark)

Labor Day Brunch

In Manhattan, Loreley Beer Garden’s Labor Day Brunch is a lively choice for all-day margaritas, German-inspired chicken schnitzel and waffles, eggs benedict on crispy potato pancakes and, of course, Loreley’s extensive selection of international brews. 

Loreley Beer Garden New York | WHERE Traveler®
(Courtesy Loreley Beer Garden)

West Indian American Day Carnival

One of the liveliest and most colorful parades in the city, the West Indian American Day Carnival (also known as the Labor Day Parade), kicks off at 8 a.m. and travels down Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights to Grand Army Plaza. Expect to see dancers, floats, costumed participants and views to fill your senses along with a vibrant dose of music and good eats. Paused for several years due to Covid, this parade is now in its 51st year and is one of the largest Caribbean carnivals in the world.

Food Tour

If you’d prefer to walk between courses, Avital Food Tours is offering a Labor Day weekend four-course moving meal in the East Village. On Saturday, you’ll stop at four restaurants to enjoy some of the city’s most creative cuisines and explore as you tour the neighborhood. While the menus aren’t set in advance, an example of what you might enjoy are truffle cashew cream pizza, housemade Basque chorizo hot dog, and Ukrainian pierogi in restaurants ranging from hot spots to holes-in-the-wall. Alcohol pairings are available. Adventurous foodies, this tour is for you. 

Avital Food Tours New York | WHERE Traveler®
Avital Food Tours (©Dacia Pierson)

Cruises

Labor Day honors American workers and is a welcome day off from the job. Given that New York City is a panache of laborers from countries the world over, a fitting tribute is taking a cruise to the Statue of Liberty, a beacon for those coming to America with the hope of building a new life. To get there, Labor Day sails on Statue City Cruises leave from Battery Park, traveling to the island where Lady Liberty stands tall as well as to Ellis Island, the gateway for many of America’s immigrants. 

For a full tour of the city,  Circle Line’s Landmarks cruise also brings you up close to the Status of Liberty as well as to other important NYC icons, including the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, One World Trade Center and the Brooklyn Bridge. 

Statue City Fleet by LadyLiberty New York | WHERE Traveler®
Statue City Fleet by LadyLiberty (Courtesy Statue City Cruises)

‘White Out’ Labor Day Party

You can add a final party note to the summer at Arlo SoHo’s rooftop A.R.T. SoHo on Sunday of Labor Day Weekend. Wearing all-white attire is mandatory at their first annual ‘White Out’ Labor Day Party, where an open bar, passed appetizers, DJ music, prizes, cocktails, and a sunset to remember will keep the group happy from mid-afternoon to early evening. 

Rockaway Beach 

City beaches are still open; many offering food stands along with chair rentals and easy subway access. For a lively experience, Rockaway Beach can be reached by ferry, subway or car. Tacos are a specialty here, and there’s a boardwalk for strolling as well. This season you may not spot many surfers due to intermittent shark warnings, but Rockaway Beach is usually active with people catching a wave. You can turn your beach visit into a staycation with an overnight at The Rockaway Hotel + Spa. On Labor Day, the hotel is offering a free wellness class on the roof deck. Enjoy cocktails, the beachside swimming pool, and a cool escape from the city while you give yourself a bit of well-deserved pampering. 

The Rooftop at The Rockaway Hotel + Spa Overlooking Rockaway Beach New York | WHERE Traveler®
The Rooftop at The Rockaway Hotel + Spa Overlooking Rockaway Beach (©Kyle Knodell)