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Top 5 Labor Day Celebrations in New York City For Families

Top 5 Labor Day Celebrations in New York City For Families


Before the kids have to head back to school, take time to enjoy one another’s company this Labor Day weekend. New York City is packed with fun, family-friendly activities that you can all enjoy, so celebrate the last of the summer weather by hitting the town with your little ones in tow. Here’s are our top five picks:

The Great North River Tugboat Race

On your marks, get set, boat! This Labor Day weekend, kick things off on the water by catching the Great North River Tugboat Race. Sponsored by the Working Harbor Committee, this race, now in its 24th year, takes off from Pier 84 as enthusiastic crowds cheer on the boats while enjoying the fresh air, games, and a spinach-eating contest. thegreatriverrace


The Labor Day Parade

Teach your kids what Labor Day is all about by paying tribute to the men and women who have contributed so much to America’s great history. Line up along Fifth Avenue and enjoy music, performance, and floats honoring the American worker.

labor day parade nyc


The NYC Unicycle Festival

Celebrate the art of one-wheeled travel this Labor Day weekend at the NYC Unicycle Festival. One of the city’s most unique celebrations, this festival combines hands-on workshops, demonstrations, long-distance rides, and even unicycle sumo wrestling, making it a surefire hit for the little ones.


The Fourth Avenue Festival

Head down to the Union Square area this Labor Day and enjoy live music, unique shopping, and plenty of kid-friendly food at the Fourth Avenue Festival. Running from 9th to 14th Street on Fourth Avenue, your kids can safely explore this thoroughfare alongside you while it’s blocked off to motor vehicles for the day. 

Star Trek Mission New York

Sci-fi fans will love spending Labor Day among some of the world’s greatest fictional space explorers at the Star Trek convention at the Javits Center. Kids can pick up collectibles, meet some of the stars from the TV series and movies, and compete against other fans in a cosplay competition.




Enjoy the last few days of summer by celebrating Labor Day weekend in New York with your family. From street fairs to conventions that boldly go where no man has gone before, your whole family can enjoy these celebrations held throughout the city.

Images by Benjamin Wellington, Michel Friang , and New York Unicycle Club used under Creative Commons license.

Note: This is a guest post by Candace Schaffer; the views and opinions expressed are those of the author. Candice Schaffer works at Knightsbridge Park, a leading digital marketing firm for luxury real estate brands such as  Gotham WestThe NicoleOne Manhattan Square. 

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Labor Day NYC

About the author

Carmen Edelson is the Founder of Carmen's Luxury Travel. Carmen has been traveling the world for over a decade. Her travels allow her the opportunity to pursue her itch to travel to the best luxury destinations, and experience those first class tastes from around the world.


  1. Tami
    August 27, 2016 at 7:10 pm

    Ahh! So many fun and interesting options for celebrating Labor Day! That tugboat race and spinach-eating contest sound like quite the draw! 🙂

    • Carmen Edelson
      August 29, 2016 at 9:11 am

      I had never heard about the tugboat races before until a friend told me about it. It’s definitely an interesting way to spend an afternoon.

  2. Bob
    August 27, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    Quite a lot of things to do. Now if they had a unicycle race…..
    Bob recently posted…Things To See And Do In Kansas CityMy Profile

    • Carmen Edelson
      August 29, 2016 at 9:13 am

      My daughter has a unicycle that she learned to ride when she was in summer camp one year. I’ve never had the courage to try it myself, since I would probably injure myself doing it.

  3. Cory Lee
    August 27, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    I don’t have any children, but all of your suggestions look like a lot of fun. Hopefully I’ll be able to experience Labor Day in New York City in the near future!
    Cory Lee recently posted…Navigating Jerusalem’s Old City in a WheelchairMy Profile

    • Carmen Edelson
      August 29, 2016 at 9:19 am

      Most people flock to the Labor Day parade celebrations in the city, but many don’t realize that their are lots of other fun activities to see.

  4. Angela
    August 27, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    Love New York and it sounds like it is the place to be Labor Day weekend! The Unicycle Festival might be my pick!
    Angela recently posted…Driving Off a Cliff at Dead Horse Point State ParkMy Profile

    • Carmen Edelson
      August 29, 2016 at 9:20 am

      The unicycle festival can definitely be a fun day if you know how to ride one.

  5. anna
    August 27, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    The unicycle festival would be a fun one to see! So amusing to see so many various things going on at once. But then again, it is NYC!
    anna recently posted…Guide to Planning Your Dream Trip to VietnamMy Profile

    • Carmen Edelson
      August 29, 2016 at 9:28 am

      I agree NYC is probably one of the best places to be during Labor Day weekend. I’m never surprised to hear about all the interesting things you can do.

  6. Jema Patterson
    August 28, 2016 at 12:50 am

    Would love to take my nephew to the unicycle and Star Trek – he’d love it!

    • Carmen Edelson
      August 29, 2016 at 9:30 am

      The Star Trek convention would be on the top of my list as well. It was one of our favorite shows, and to get a chance to met some of the characters would be amazing.

  7. Nancy
    August 28, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    That’s what I love about New York, there is always something fun or should I say unique going on there! Never knew they had tug boat races and the unicycle festival would be cool to visit.
    Nancy recently posted…Hyatt Ziva Puerto VallartaMy Profile

    • Carmen Edelson
      August 29, 2016 at 9:32 am

      You would never think of a tug boat in a race. It’s quite the show seeing them racing each other to see which one is the fastest.

  8. Laura Lynch
    August 28, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    Those all look like fun things to do on Labor Day! For the past 6 years we’ve gone to Sonoma for the Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, so I haven’t even thought about something else to do on Labor Day. Funny how you get caught up in your traditions. I bet you could make a great tradition of watching the parade or the boat race in NYC!

    • Carmen Edelson
      August 29, 2016 at 9:34 am

      I’m sure being in Sonoma Wine Country has to be fabulous as well. I’m a wine lover, so being able to try a few would be just as fun for me.

  9. Clare
    August 28, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    Looks like great fun, always so much to do in NYC 🙂

    • Carmen Edelson
      August 29, 2016 at 9:36 am

      The city always have something going on for all the occasions. It’s such a fun place to be, and experience some of the activities throughout the weekend.

  10. Joe Ankenbauer
    August 28, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    The tug boat races look awesome! I would love to be a part of one of the crews!
    Joe Ankenbauer recently posted…The Road Less Traveled: Mulholland Scenic ParkwayMy Profile

    • Carmen Edelson
      August 29, 2016 at 9:37 am

      I’m sure it would be much more of an exciting experience to be part of the crew racing on a tug boat.

  11. Kevin
    August 28, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    Very interesting and sounds like so much fun specially the The NYC Unicycle Festival just wow, bet thats great to see. Thanks for sharing.great info

    • Carmen Edelson
      August 29, 2016 at 9:39 am

      I bet it’s lots of fun riding around the city on a unicycle. They make it look so easy to ride one but I know it’s not.

  12. Carlie
    August 28, 2016 at 10:21 pm

    I love the idea of the tugboat race! Kudos to NYC for giving the little guys a front-and-center showcase. Tuggers never get the credit they deserve. All these sound like great family-friendly things to do.

    • Carmen Edelson
      August 29, 2016 at 11:14 am

      I agree the tug boat drivers don’t get enough credit like they deserve. It has to be a fun event for them to partake in.

  13. Kerri
    August 29, 2016 at 2:21 am

    In all my trips to the US I’ve never been there at a time of holidays so I’ve never seen the ceremony that goes with so many of these occasions. This looks like a lot of fun and I think it’s something that I definitely need to think of next time I get over there.
    Kerri recently posted…Aires de Service – cheap campervan stopovers in FranceMy Profile

    • Carmen Edelson
      August 29, 2016 at 11:16 am

      We love visiting NYC, and have been there during several of the holidays. Thanksgiving time is one of the best times of year to go. You get to see the Macy’s parade, and enjoy walks around central park before it keeps to cold.

  14. Corinne
    August 29, 2016 at 3:24 am

    I love celebrating Labor Day. It’s still nice weather, and there’s plenty to do which we can see by your fabulous list. I would love to see the unicycle parade.

    • Carmen Edelson
      August 29, 2016 at 11:18 am

      New York City is a great city to visit anytime of the year. You can always find plenty of activities to do.

  15. Evan Kristine
    August 29, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    I’ve never celebrated labor day before! It looks so much fun 🙂

    • Carmen Edelson
      August 29, 2016 at 7:49 pm

      For American’s it’s a national holiday just like May 1st for Europeans. The family gets together, we eat, and do activities together.

  16. Alessandra Granata
    August 29, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    wow!!! I’d love to come with my family!! My kids will love this!! I’ve never been to NY… so i simply have to!!

    • Carmen Edelson
      August 29, 2016 at 7:57 pm

      You’ll be dazzled by all the fun things to do with kids in New York City.

  17. Sara | Belly Rumbles
    August 30, 2016 at 9:35 am

    There is always so much to do in NYC, but wow do they have Labour Day covered or what! Unicycles for the win!!
    Sara | Belly Rumbles recently posted…Vanilla Rose Chiffon Cake ~ Pretty & Light as AirMy Profile

    • Carmen Edelson
      September 4, 2016 at 10:44 am

      I love being in NYC for any holiday. They come up with all these fun events and activities that keep you busy all weekend long.

  18. Janna
    August 30, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    I like that you listed unique activities instead of the regular, tourist attractions. love that unicycle festival! so fun!

    • Carmen Edelson
      September 4, 2016 at 10:45 am

      I like doing things out of the ordinary when I go visit NYC. The family enjoys it more than the normal tourist traps.

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