When you think Labor Day, you probably think cookouts, one last beach hurrah, a long weekend getaway, summer officially ending, kids going back to school, etc. You probably don’t think about Labor Day as being a day dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers.  Or maybe you do. Whatever comes to mind, check out our ideas and tips on how to make the most of this last long summer weekend. — Billie Rama

What Is Labor Day?

People move through Pennsylvania Station for Labor Day getaways. (credit: Stephen Chernin/Getty Images)

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.

What’s Open and Closed On Labor Day?

Since Labor Day is a Federal holiday, schools, banks and post offices are closed. Most restaurants, stores and attractions (amusement parks, etc) are open.

Getting Away?

Penn Station (credit: Stephen Chernin/Getty Images)

If you’re planning on taking a trip Labor Day weekend, we’ve got you covered. According to AAA, 34.7 million are expected to travel at least 50 miles from home between Aug. 30 and Sept. 1, which is the highest volume for the holiday since 2008 and a 1.3 percent increase over last year. Whether you plan to stay close to home or travel this holiday weekend, don’t leave the house before checking the following:

CBS New York’s Guide to Planes, Trains and Automobiles

CBS New York’s Traffic and Transit Resources

Labor Day Events/Parades


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See: Best Things To Do In NYC On Labor Day Weekend

The US Open: Check out our guide to the US Open if you’re looking to take in some live tennis action this holiday weekend. The US Open runs through Sept. 8.

Labor Day Mass: St. Patrick’s Cathedral will hold its annual Labor Day Mass on Sept. 1, at 8 a.m. The church is located at 14 East 51st St., near Fifth Ave.

Where To Relax: Enjoy those outdoor drinks while you still can. Check out our guides to the best rooftop bars, waterfront bars and restaurants, and outdoor dining in New York City.


The West Indian American Day Carnival

The 47th Annual “Mother of All Caribbean Festivals” takes place on Labor Day and begins at 11 a.m. at Eastern Parkway & Schnectady Ave. The Carnival celebration will feature costume bands, floats, masqueraders and other fun, family-friendly events.

Long Island

Shinnecock Pow Wow

(credit: shinnecocknation.com)


The 68th Annual Shinnecock Pow Wow in Southampton begins Friday Aug. 29 at 3 p.m., and events continue throughout the holiday weekend. The gathering of Native Americans takes place, rain or shine, on the Shinnecock Reservation Grounds. There will be a Pow Wow celebration featuring music and dance performances.

Heading To The Beach?

(credit: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

You don’t have to go far to soak in the sun, ride some waves and stick your feet in the sand. New York City has a ton of free beaches, including Brighton Beach and Coney Island Beach in Brooklyn, and Rockaway Beach in Queens.

For more information on beach hours, directions, parking, food, etc, check out:

CBS New York’s Guide to Free Beaches

The Jersey Shore

Seaside Heights, N.J. (credit: (credit: Al Bello/Getty Images)

New Jersey boasts some of the most beautiful beaches around. If you’re heading to the Shore this Labor Day Weekend, you’ll find plenty of seaside activities, boardwalks complete with rides and old school games like Skeeball, and an endless supply of saltwater taffy — a local specialty.

  • Enjoy a Free Fireworks Show to kick off Labor Day Weekend, Friday, Aug. 30 at 10 p.m.  It’s also Wildwood restaurant week! Wine and dine in some of Wildwoods finest restaurants.
  • Click here for more Wildwoods events this Labor Day Weekend.
  • And there’s always the beaches, boardwalk and casinos in Atlantic City!

What About Connecticut?

(credit: BILL GRANT/AFP/Getty Images)

If you’re in the mood to head to the Nutmeg State this holiday weekend, the Connecticut Coast offers a variety for the entire family. If you’d like to take in some history, head to Olde Mistick Village and Mystic Seaport. If you like casinos, take in a show or try your luck at the slot machines at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville or nearby Foxwoods in Mashantucket.

Heading To The Casino?

(credit: William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

Mohegan Sun
1 Mohegan Sun Boulevard, Uncasville, CT
(about 130 miles northeast of New York City)

Foxwoods Resort Casino
350 Trolley Line Blvd.
Mashantucket, CT 06338
(about 140 miles northeast of New York City)