Top Labor Day Escapes That Are TOTALLY Worth the Money
Looking for the ultimate long-weekend escape? Relax! Budget Travel has done all the homework. Whether you're craving one more trip to the beach or are searching for the perfect end-of-summer festival, getting away has never been quicker, easier—or more affordable.
Washington D.C.: For free concerts and kayaking on the Potomac
Each year on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, the National Symphony Orchestra performs a free concert for the public on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol at 8 p.m. While no tickets are required, it is recommended that you get there early to get a good spot—gates open as early as 3 p.m. and you can watch them rehearse at 3:30 p.m. The 26th Annual DC Blues Festival is slated for Saturday, Aug. 30th at the Carter Barron Amphitheater from noon to 7:30 p.m., with performances by the Stacy Brooks Band, the Eddie Turner Band, and Shakura S'Aida among others. You'll also have the opportunity to attend vocal, guitar, and harmonica workshops led by talented Blues artists at the John Cephas Workshop Stage. The DC Blues Festival is free and open to the public. Want to enjoy the great outdoors during your long weekend? Consider renting a kayak or canoe from the Thompson Boat Center for a totally different view of the city from the Potomac. Canoe rentals cost $14 per hour or $35 for the day and can hold up to three adults or two adults and two small children. Rent a single kayak for $15 per hour or $40 per day, or a double kayak for $20 an hour or $50 per day. Also worth noting is the 150th Anniversary of Arlington National Cemetery, located just across the river from Downtown D.C. Kimpton's Honor & Remembrance package gives you a special 10 percent discount at 11 of their hotels in Washington D.C. and Alexandria, Virginia, as well as two Metrorail cards, and a map of Arlington National Cemetery. Rates start at $119 a night when you use promo code ARL150 to book your stay now thru Sept. 1st.
Chicago: For free art fairs and a jazz festival
The 36th annual Chicago Jazz Festival takes place this year from Aug. 28th to Aug. 31st at Millennium Park. Admission is free and you'll have the chance to view performances by Terence Blanchard with Ravi Coltrane & Lionel, Kevin Eubanks, and Eric Harland among others. From Friday to Monday, Washington Park is home to the 25th Annual African Festival of the Arts, an event featuring exhibitions by Chicago's best artists. General admission tickets cost $20 for adults; family and weekend passes are available for $30. If you believe that one man's junk is another man's treasure, you may want to check out Remix Chicago, (formerly known as Ravenswood Remix), a recycled art fair on Saturday and Sunday where artists showcase their original, hand-made art, clothing, jewelry, and crafts made from used or recycled goods. You can even attend free one-hour workshops and learn how to get in on the eco-friendly action by creating new items from old or used materials. Click here for more fun things to do in Chicago year-round.
Virginia Beach: For three days of bands on the beach—and a half-marathon
Music lovers, rejoice! For three days over Labor Day weekend (Fri-Sun), more than 20 bands will take the stage for the 31st annual American Music Festival playing all kinds of music—rock and roll, jazz, blues, country, and R&B—by local, regional, and national bands on a giant beachfront stage on 5th Street as well as several outdoor stages at the 17th Street Park, the 24th Street Park, and the 31st Street Park. Highlights include big-name artists like Hunter Hayes and Waterloo Revival on Friday night, Creedence Clearwater Revisited and Blues Traveler on Saturday night, and a performance by Train on Sunday night. Tickets cost $20 in advance and $25 the day of the show. This year, you can purchase a Passport Pin for access to all three shows, from $40 when purchased in advance. Those seeking a more active vacation can sign up for the Rock 'n' Roll Virginia Beach Half-Marathon, a race through the streets of the city on Sunday, Aug. 31st, that raises money for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital. Registration prices may vary; check the website for more details.