The Mega List of (Mostly!) Free Things to Do This Labor Day Weekend

updated Jul 17, 2020
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(Image credit: Kristin Teig)

Whether you’re the type to schedule something for every moment of your holidays or prefer a more modest approach, sometimes it’s nice to leave your decisions for the last minute. If that’s the case for your Labor Day weekend this year, have we got a treat for you. Here are 22 budget-friendly ideas at every level of effort and impact for a holiday that’s equal parts impromptu and obtainable.

For the Homebodies

  • Schedule a staycation and take the whole thing as it comes.
  • Plan a themed movie marathon—like all your favorite Meg Ryan movies or the best sci-fi flicks of all time.
  • Turn your home into a DIY spa for the weekend. All the self care!
  • Pick up that adult coloring book you’ve been eyeing and go to town.
  • Cook your own four-course (or three-course, or seven-course) meal and savor every weeknight rush-free bite.
  • Make a Labor Day-specific playlist.

Further Reading:

(Image credit: Taryn Williford)

For Stay-at-Home Socialites

  • Take your movie marathon outside, project it on a sheet or garage door, and invite the neighborhood.
  • Plan a build-your-own sundae bar dessert night and invite guests to contribute their favorite, unique addition.
  • Take a cue from Rio and host your own backyard Olympics with friends.
  • Go camping… in your backyard. Build a fire pit (if you have the space), stare at the stars and enjoy the fact that running water’s only a few steps away.
  • Organize a throwback board game night and haul out all the classics. Risk, Monopoly, Scattergories. Gang’s all here.

Further Reading:

(Image credit: Breanne Johnsen)

For Local Fun

  • Bike to your favorite brewery.
  • Pick a local museum you’ve never explored and plan a visit.
  • Create your own local walking tour, complete with all the touristy hot spots you’ve never visited (because you’re not a tourist, of course).
  • Take in an outdoor concert.
  • Catch a baseball game at a pro or minor league field.
  • Plan a photo scavenger hunt. Be sure to include local icons and hidden hot spots you can stop at along the way.

Further Reading:

(Image credit: Tatiana Chekryzhova)

For Long Distance Adventures

  • Take a mini road trip, choose-your-own-adventure style. Pick a road, set a time limit and just start driving.
  • Take a real road trip. Choose a destination that’s no more than four hours away to make sure you still have time for total relaxation.
  • Embrace the unofficial start of fall and go apple picking.
  • Pack a picnic and take a day trip to a nearby destination you know has a good view.
  • Pick a state or national park (preferably one well within driving range) and head that way for a little camping and the tail end of the park service’s 100th anniversary celebration.

Further Reading: