Labor Day weekend is one of the last chances for a summer getaway. New York City is certainly going to be a fun and festive place to be on this long weekend.
If you’re looking for New York City Labor Day Weekend 2019 ideas, check out some of these local activities and fun things do in New York City in September, including…
- Metropolitan Museum of Art
- Empire State Building
- Top of the Rock
- Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island Immigration Museum
- Brooklyn Bridge Bike Tours
- Central Park Tours
- NYC Labor Day Parade
- Brooklyn Bridge Park Pool
- And more!
From sights that should be on every NYC bucket list to Labor Day special events, we’ve got you covered.
1. Empire State Building
It goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway. The Empire State Building is a must-see and should be among your biggest priorities when planning your NYC Labor Day vacation.
As one of the most iconic buildings in the city, there’s no way you can miss out on a chance to climb to the top. Visit the 86th floor observation deck and look upon the entire city from 1,050 feet above ground.
The building is located in the heart of Manhattan, so there’s plenty to see and do before or after you visit the top!
2. The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, or the Met, is consistently voted of TripAdvisor’s Top 25 Museums in the United States.
From modern Europe to ancient Oceania, the Met covers every culture and every artistic medium around the world.
We suggest you head to the rooftop to enjoy refreshments, soak up stunning New York City skyline views of Manhattan and Central Park, and see what temporary installation exhibits they’re hosting on the roof.
Keep in mind that the Met has two sister institutions, too: the Met Cloisters, featuring secular and religious medieval art and Met Breuer, with a focus on contemporary art. You can visit either of those two for free with a ticket from the Met for three consecutive days!
3. Top of the Rock
Another great place to see the city from above is at the Top of the Rock Observatory.
Travel 800 feet up to one of three observation decks at the famous 30 Rock building. From the very top, you’ll have a clear view of the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, One World Trade Center, Central Park and more.
While both the Empire State Building and the Top of the Rock are famous in their own right, many people say that Top of the Rock has more unobstructed views these days. If you don’t want to pay a visit to both, keep that in mind when choosing.
4. Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Another great culturally-enriching option for travelers to New York is the Museum of Modern Art.
The MoMA is a top artistic institution in NYC, filled with a variety of mediums and art installations by the most famous artists in history.
Some of the most notable works that call the museum home include Van Gogh’s The Starry Night, Claude Monet’s Reflections of Clouds, and Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans.
5. Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island Immigration Museum
For history buffs and those who are New York-obsessed, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Immigration Museum should definitely be on your itinerary. General admission to both is free, but you will need to pay for the ferry ticket to get to both attractions.
Both the museum and the iconic statue serve as a huge part of New York’s history. Learn more about Lady Liberty, a gift from France, and the story of Ellis Island with a self-guided audio tour.
Ellis Island is also an important piece of American history for those whose families came to the United States during the first half of the twentieth century. Check out their moving exhibits, especially the Peopling of America Galleries.
From the island, you’ll have unmatched views of Lady Liberty up close as well as a fantastic landscape of downtown Manhattan.
6. Rent a bike
There’s no better way to take advantage of a beautiful day in New York City than to rent a bike–especially if you’re going to take that bike over the Brooklyn Bridge!
Whether you’re looking to go solo and make your own route, or you want to follow a guided bike tour of all the must-see spots, a bike ride over the bridge is guaranteed to make your trip that much better.
7. Central ParkAnother great place to rent a bike or take a tour is Central Park.
Central Park is the most-visited public park in the entire country! And it’s no wonder — the park is gigantic and chock-full of things to see and do. Rent a bike to get some exercise while you sightsee and keep your kids busy.
If you’d prefer a bit of guidance on your peddling, take a bike tour with an expert local tour guide who will showcase all the most significant spots in Central Park, from the Shakespeare Garden to the Cherry Hill Fountain.
You can even take a walking tour that will bring you to all the spots in Central Park where movies and TV shows have been filmed. This tour is specialized option for seeing the park, but it can be a great way to tap into your love of media (or your kids’ media obsessions!).
8. Coney Island
Head to Coney Island for some classic boardwalk fun. It’s the perfect place to bring back memories of your own childhood and help your kids create new memories of their own.
From carnival games to amusement park rides, Coney Island has it all. Visit Luna Park and test your bravery on rides like the Steeplechase, Brooklyn Flyer, Power Surge and more. Get a wristband for the day and enjoy all the exciting rides that fill the boardwalk.
You can also relax on one of the public beaches, explore the parks, or even check out a Brooklyn Cyclones game (a minor league baseball team). There’s also the nearby New York Aquarium as well as the modest but engaging Coney Island Museum, which is well worth the $5/per adult admission.
9. New York City Labor Day Parade
The New York City Labor Day Parade is the annual parade run by the New York City Labor Council in celebration of the working men and women who contribute to New York City.
This year the parade will run on Saturday, September 7th, 2019, beginning at 10:00 am.
Starting at 44th Street & Fifth Avenue, the parade makes its way through the city filled with local-made floats. Please note, this parade takes place the Saturday after Labor Day Weekend.
10. Brooklyn Bridge Park Pool
Don’t miss a chance to swim with the Brooklyn Bridge as your backdrop.
Since its 2012 debut, the Pop Up Pool at Brooklyn Bridge Park has been a crowd favorite. To avoid overcrowding, visitors are given a 45-minute timed session to splash around and soak in the sun at one of the best parks in NYC.
Access to the beach is free to the public, but as mentioned there is a time limit. This is a good alternative to pricey pool clubs in the city and is a nice idea if your hotel doesn’t have a pool.
11. Riis Park Beach Bazaar
Though a beach day is probably not the first thing on your mind when you’re planning a trip to the Big Apple, it’s definitely worth adding to your to-do list.
The Jack Riis National Park is located right in Queens and hosts an all-summer long party that ends Labor Day Weekend. Don’t miss the final hurrah, complete with live music, great food and drinks, and tons of boardwalk games.
This Labor Day (Monday, September 2, 2019), there will also be the last of the summer beach parties. This event features a live DJ and will run from 12 noon to 8 pm.
From suntanning through the day to karaoke on the shore at night, it’s a can’t-miss summer event. This national park is open to the public free of charge.
12. West Indian Day Carnival (Labor Day Parade)
The biggest cultural festival in NYC is the West Indian-American Day Carnival, also known as the Labor Day Carnival Parade, in Brooklyn.
This celebration of Caribbean culture features marchers in elaborate costumes promenading down the Eastern Parkway to the sounds of reggae and calypso. The parade takes place on Monday, September 2, 2019 (Labor Day itself) and begins at 11 am.
For spectators, tasty ethnic food and drink is also available. Favorites include jerk chicken, fried flying fish, rice and beans, and johnnycakes. Admission is free and open to the public.
13. Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit
Stop in at Washington Square and catch one of the many artists set up there working on portraits and pieces.
Hundreds of exhibitors, from NYU students to artists who were born and raised in the Village, display their paintings, sculptures, jewelry, photography and more. The show takes place on University Place starting at E 13th Street.
The fall show runs from August 31 – September 2, 2019 (with an additional weekend on September 7 & 8). These art exhibits are free and open to the public, so they make for a good budget-friendly option this Labor Day.
Save on Attraction Admission
Regular admission to a number of these New York attractions are available on the New York City Explorer Pass®.
Choose as you go from 90 top attractions and save up to 50% on combined admission vs paying at the gate.
See all available passes, attractions & prices – Learn more.
We hope you consider visiting some of these attractions to help round out your summer vacation in style.
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