Celebrate Labor Day in DC at One of These 8 Can’t-Miss Events

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This Labor Day weekend, take your family to one of these fun, no-hassle (and mostly free!) activities in and around Washington, DC

Summer is winding down, and school is starting, but the cozy autumn air isn’t here quite yet. Nevertheless, Labor Day weekend activities in Washington, DC are right around the corner, and we’ve rounded up all the Labor Day family fun to be had in the DMV. With one more long holiday weekend to fill before we fully enter fall, we found everything from local concerts to parades to family-friendly art shows. So make the most of the unofficial end of summer with these events and activities in our area. The best part: these hip happenings require hardly any planning and are (mostly) free!

National Symphony Orchestra Labor Day Capitol Concert 
Older kids (or your all-nighter toddler) will love listening to the NSO’s annual free concert, happening Sun., Sep. 4 at 8 p.m., on the West Lawn of the Capitol Building, featuring Principal Pops Conductor Steven Reineke leading the orchestra in music by Aaron Copland, John Williams, new Kennedy Center Composer-in-Residence Carlos Simon, and others. Special guest Jimmie Herrod (Pink Martini, America’s Got Talent) joins the celebration to perform favorites by Gladys Knight, Joni Mitchell, and more. 

West Lawn of the United States Capitol Building
Capitol Circle
Washington, DC
Online: kennedy-center.org

Library of Congress National Book Festival
Hear authors speak, learn about the Library of Congress, and find fun family activities like a Waldo hunt and story times at the place where books come alive: the National Book Festival. If you can’t make it to Washington, DC for the free, all-day event on Sat., Sept. 3, several programs—including talks—will be live-streamed, and videos of all talks can be viewed online after the Festival concludes. Don’t forget to pick out a new book before you leave.

Washington Convention Center
801 Mt Vernon Pl NW
Washington, DC
Online: loc.gov/bookfest

National Museum of American History 
Explore the history of labor at the “American Enterprise” exhibit, which is open daily, at the National Museum of American History. Kids will get a kick out of the Japanese McDonald’s sign, old ad posters, and one of Michael Dell’s early computers (“Mom, where’s the touch screen?”). Engage them with questions about how they hope to give back one day (and bring home a paycheck).

Constitution Ave., NW (between 12th and 14th St.)
Washington, DC
Online: americanhistory.si.edu

Gaithersburg Labor Day Parade
After a two-year hiatus, the ever-popular Gaithersburg Labor Day Parade, one of the City’s oldest traditions, returns to the streets of Olde Towne on Mon., Sep. 5 from 1-3 p.m. Now in its 84th year, this rain-or-shine event includes high school marching bands, dance groups, costumed characters, antique cars and fire engines, equestrian units, clowns, and more, all winding their way down East Diamond and Russell Avenues.

506 South Frederick Ave.
Gaithersburg, MD
Online: gaithersburgmd.gov

Glen Echo Park Labor Day Art Show 
This free annual art show exhibits more than 200 artists from the mid-Atlantic region and includes media such as painting, drawing, glass, jewelry, photography, ceramics, furniture, sculpture, and fiber arts. Follow your visit with a trip to your local Michael’s and have your kids create their own gallery-worthy pieces.

Glen Echo Park Spanish Ballroom
7300 MacArthur Blvd.
Glen Echo, MD
Online: glenechopark.org

Virginia Scottish Games 
Although adult tickets are $20 over the weekend, kids 12 and under are free on Sunday—so come enjoy a day of piping and drumming, highland dancing, and fiddling competitions along with sheep-herding demonstrations (your kids will coo over the Border Collies), an antique British car and bike show, vendors and crafts, clan and society exhibits, children’s activities (games, archery, and face painting), live music, and plenty of Scottish food and drink. Kilts are welcome but not required!

Great Meadow
5089 Old Tavern Rd.
The Plains, VA
Online: vascottishgames.org

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival
2022 will mark the 68th year of the festival that brings the Rising Star Showcase and Hybrid Art Show to town. Locals know the festival, which runs Friday through Monday, is the year’s main event with great rides for young and old alike, fantastic entertainment, and some of the best carnival food around.  

Historic Roosevelt Center
101 Centerway
Greenbelt, MD
Online: greenbeltlaborday.com

Baseball: America’s Home Run
There’s no better place to get in the all-American spirit than an exhibition about the history of baseball at the Postal Museum. In celebration of the recent 150th Anniversary of Professional Baseball, the National Postal Museum’s Baseball exhibit features historic objects loaned from renowned private collections that have never before been on public display. You’ll see Babe Ruth’s actual game-used bat and Yogi Berra’s uniform. All that nostalgia will surely inspire a family tailgate in front of the TV as our Nationals take on the Cardinals on Labor Day.

2 Massachusetts Ave., NE
Washington, DC

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