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Labor Day in New Orleans: How to Spend the Holiday

Get the most out of your Labor Day weekend, NOLA-style.

Labor Day is bittersweet: while it’s an opportunity to relish a long weekend, it also signals the end of summer and all the fun that comes with it. Whether you want to take advantage of that extra day of recovery by hitting up Southern Decadence or partaking in some summery outdoor fun, here are some ideas for ways to get the most out of Labor Day.

piety street pedestrian bridge bywater new orleans
The Piety Street pedestrian bridge at Crescent Park (Photo: Paul Broussard)

5 Things to Do for Labor Day to Say Goodbye to Summer

1. Rent a kayak on Bayou St. John. Bayou Kayaks offers kayak rentals so you can paddle down serene Bayou St. John – from the company’s launch site on the bank at the corner of Moss Street and Florida Avenue, to Orleans Avenue in Mid-City and all the way down Robert E. Lee Boulevard in Lakeview. It’s a peaceful way to take in the views of the beautiful bayou.

2. Have outdoor fun at City Park. Play mini golf at City Putt: City Park’s two mini golf courses include 36 holes and feature cultural icons and historical sites from around the city and state, so you can aim for a hole-in-one and learn about our culture, too. Afterwards, rent a paddleboat or bike to cruise around Big Lake, and enjoy an iced café au lait at Morning Call.

3. Check out Crescent Park. Head to Bywater and visit our city’s newest addition, Crescent Park, for sweet views of the city; that striking, frequently Instagrammed Piety Street Bridge, and all the hip amenities of the neighborhood.

4. Ride the Algiers Ferry. If views from Crescent Park have you jonesing for a ride on the river, hop on the Algiers Ferry for one of the most gorgeous views of New Orleans. Spend some time enjoying the bars or restaurants of Algiers Point, grab a go-cup and ride the ferry back to the other side.

new orleans skyline
The Algiers Ferry offers prime views of downtown New Orleans. (photo: Paul Broussard)

5. Dine and drink al fresco. Bywater’s Bacchanal is a favorite spot for dining and drinking outdoors, but there are plenty of other places with great patios and courtyards to toast to the end of summer (and since Labor Day is a slow day, you might have better luck getting a reservation at a popular restaurant you’ve been wanting to try).

Top Labor Day Weekend Events

Keeping in mind that you can get your rest in on Labor Day, here are the can’t-miss parties of the weekend:

Southern Decadence, affectionately known as “Gay Mardi Gras,” is perhaps the biggest Labor Day weekend event in New Orleans. The party will carry on around the clock all weekend, but not-to-be-missed aspects of the GLBT celebration include Saturday’s Bourbon Street Extravaganza concert and Sunday’s walking parade.

Louisiana Seafood FestivalThree days of live music, celebrated chefs, and the best seafood in the state await at the Louisiana Seafood Festival in New Orleans City Park. Enjoy flavorful dishes from the area’s most notable chefs and restaurants. Plus, learn how to whip up some Southern classics at the Cooking Pavilion. The festival is free with plenty of children’s activities for a weekend of family fun.

Tipitina’s Free Friday Concert Series: Flow TribeWhat better way to start your Labor Day weekend than with a free concert? Get your groove on at Tipitina’s while Flow Tribe brings their New Orleans street funk to the stage. Showtime is at 10 p.m. and admittance is absolutely free. 

Super Fresh Hip Hop FestThe music continues on Saturday as Super Fresh Hip Hop Fest makes its way to the UNO Lakefront Arena. Kick it old school with performances by Salt-N-Pepa, Doug E. Fresh, Naughty by Nature, Slick Rick, and DJ Kool.


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