On the first Monday of September, the United States celebrates a national holiday commemorating the achievements of American workers throughout history and today. Labor Day has come a long way since Oregon first legalised the holiday in 1887, and it wasn’t until 1894 that it was made a federal holiday, after pressure was put on U.S. President Grover Cleveland.
While the holiday is rooted in the workers’ rights movement and the growth of labour organisations, today most celebrate it as the end of summer and use the long weekend as a reason to soak up the sun. Check out some of the best celebrations happening across North America in our guide to Labor Day 2016.
Washington D.C. – District of Columbia
It seems appropriate to spend such an important national holiday in the capital and Washington D.C. doesn’t disappoint, with plenty to do. Make the most of the last summer weekend and get into the great outdoors at the C&O Canal National Historical Park, where you can explore the beautiful canals with a boat hire. Alternatively, hire a paddle boat and explore the city’s Tidal Basin, which offers incredible views of the Washington Monument.
Don’t miss the Kennedy Center’s free Labor Day Concert, performed by the National Symphony Orchestra, and when you get peckish head to D.C.’s food market at Dupont Circle. An extensive farmers’ market, you’ll find everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to the best pizzas and tacos in town.
Park City – Utah
Labor Day celebrations in Park City, Utah, centre on remembering the area’s mining history, through traditional events and activities, under the name Miners’ Day. Hosted by the Park City Rotary Club, many start the day with a $5 breakfast in City Park, followed by a sponsored five-kilometre run, the Miners’ Day Funky 5K.
One of the most unique parts of the day is the Running of the Balls, on Main Street. It’s all cameras at the ready as thousands of marked golf balls roll and bounce down the street, into a chute. All balls are sponsored, with the winners donating money to local non-profits.
Las Vegas – Nevada
North America’s party capital isn’t one to step aside when it comes to national holidays, and Labor Day is no different. Summer’s last big weekend is seen out with style. The pool parties are thriving, while the hottest DJs and musicians are hosting huge gigs and club nights. Reserving a cabana or space at a pool is the best way to avoid huge queues, so if you’re willing to visit with a big budget, check out pool parties at the Palms, Wet Republic, or for something away from the Strip, the pool at the Golden Nugget in Downtown Las Vegas.
When it comes to enjoying dinner, special shows are put on in supper clubs such as Rose. Rabbit. Lie. at the Cosmopolitan, which features an ever-changing entertainment experience and deliciously elegant cuisine. With performances from Travis Barker at the Hyde Bellagio and special celebrity appearances at the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay, Labor Day weekend in Las Vegas is sure to be a hit.
Denver – Colorado
If you prefer a foodie adventure over a Vegas party sensation, then Denver, Colorado is for you. Every year over Labor Day weekend, the city hosts the fantastic festival, A Taste of Colorado, with free admission for all. Over the weekend the event will be home to more than 50 of Colorado’s most popular restaurants and eateries, with tickets available for different food items, from tasters to full meals.
Some of the greats will include hotdogs from Mustard’s Last Stand and homemade pizza and deli treats from Grammy’s Goodies. The festival also plays host to brilliant live music, an arts and crafts marketplace, carnival rides and games for kids, making it a brilliant choice for the whole family.
New York City – New York
With the Labor Day Parade and a brilliant beach party at Jacob Riis National Park, New York City is a great mix of traditional celebrations and a carefree summer send-off. The city’s parks are thriving with picnics and barbeques, while firework displays light up the Hudson River, and there’s a buzz in the air as the public prepare for the end of summer and the beginning of autumn, which sees NFL season begin.
The Beach Park Bazaar at Jacob Riis has plenty going on over the weekend, including live music and DJs, while 10th September sees the city’s Labor Day Parade which marks the traditional celebration of America’s workers, who fought for union rights.
Exploring the USA this Labor Day weekend? With Alamo Rent A Car available across the country, you can plan your adventure with ease.