Are you still undecided as to where you want to spend your Labor Day weekend? Are you a last-minute kind of person? Been far too busy at work to look? If I were fortunate enough to live within your four beautiful shores, I certainly know where I would want to go. I would also be very hard pressed to make a decision too, given the vast array of options you have! However, with the help of Travel Zoo and Time Out, here are a few reminders of some of your best locations (some of which I have visited before), for your weekend getaway, to transport you to a little piece of paradise, without ever having to leave your great nation’s borders.
There is something for here everyone – from all the family to adults only, from eager vacationers to homebody ‘staycationers’. The budget varies from absolutely free to, “Heck-how-many-times-do-I-get-a-chance-to-do-yhis-I’ve-earned-it-so-I’m-going!”
SAN ANTONIO RIVER WALK TOUR, TX
This is claimed to be the number one tourist attraction in Texas. Offering culinary delights, a Labor Day Arts and Crafts Show and a guided riverboat tour along the beautiful, chocolate-box River Walk to experience its history and stunning views.
Truly a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach, the River Walk also features an historic visit to the Alamo, as well as the trendy boutiques for the shopaholics and fashionistas. The River Walk is also open all year round.
And look; a kindly tourist has even left this video for you to see:
LOS ANGELES, CA
California is famed for its long stretches of golden sand beaches. For the most popular, take in the sun, sea and sand on Venice Beach, Santa Monica and idyllic Marina Del Rey, for biking, skating or just walking along the walkways, which connect many of the most popular beaches.
Fancy a Pretty Woman moment? Why not follow the Hollywood dream and check out the designer shopping experience on Rodeo Drive, baby?
Take a walk (and a camera, just in case) along the Hollywood Walk of Fame, get rubbings of the stars’ foot and hand prints and whilst you are in the vicinity, take in the views of the Grauman’s Chinese Theater, both inside and out. Feeling hungry? How about a little bit of Far Eastern culture from China Town, where you can chow down on some authentic Chinese food or westernized Chinese food and culture.
If you like bus tours you might want to try out any (or all) of the Starline Tours, TMZ Tour or Dearly Departed Tours and get some background from those that know their stuff. For the little kids and the ‘big’ kids, check out the Space Shuttle Endeavour at the California Science Center and don’t forget to give the Transformers ride at Universal studios Hollywood a good look in.
If you prefer to watch while others put on the show for you, there’s always the Comedy and Magic Club, or you can take in a show at the Hollywood Bowl. Checking for listings first. If you really want to travel up the canyon, you can visit Sunset Ranch for a horseback ride through Griffith Park and get to see the Hollywood sign, up close and personal.
NEW YORK CITY, NY
Whether you have decided to hang back for a staycation or you are set on hitting the City for the big Labor Day weekend, there are loads of options to choose from.
Not to be missed on Labor Day weekend, there is always the free West
Indian-American Carnival in Crown Heights, featuring Caribbean culture galore from the islands, including Reggae and Calypso music, flags and costumes from Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. But be advised; try not to eat too much before you get there, because your taste buds will be set to explode with all the delicious dishes available, such as curry goat, rice and peas, jerk chicken, patties and oxtail. (Drool)
You can also take city bike rides, which have been especially mapped out for you to experience the best the City has to offer, take the kids to the open-air pools to cool off during the hot August days, or take ferry trip days out to Red Hook, Brooklyn or Rockaway, Queens, and view the Big Apple from its waterways.
The Natural Approach
For those staycationers or vacationers who might also be keen botanists or just appreciate the peaceful beauty of nature, Time Out has supplied a variety of the best gardens that NYC has to offer – why not visit them all!
Manhatten’s 4-acre Bosque Garden and Gardens of Remembrance at the Battery; Brooklyn’s 52 acres of Botanic Garden, featuring Japanese and fragrant gardens; experience peace and tranquillity in Central Park’s Conservatory Garden, featuring French, Italian and English-style plots and then take rest under the Japanese lilac trees.
If you prefer the contrast of incredibly scented flowers and colors, set against a backdrop of drooping elms and sloping lawns, you could also visit the Fort Tryon Park Heather Garden or a fragrant floral trail through the Narrows Botanical Garden. Other gardens of New York to try would be the New York Botanical Garden, which houses some of the most varied and exotic samples, with vertical gardens and floral walls. The Snug Harbor Cultural Center will transport you from Tuscany to Japan, while Wave Hill’s 28-acre plot of pure romanticism will certainly ease away any previous stresses. If you liked the movie You’ve Got Mail, then you could add the 91st Street Garden to your list as well, as it was featured in the film, starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. Most of these garden visits are absolutely free, so it won’t hurt your pocket.
There are also a number of low budget getaways, from hiking trails to white water rapids, zip-line courses or beaches.
LAS VEGAS, NV
That great big neon playground in the desert. Famed for its frenetic pace and featuring multiple casinos, where you can get rich quick, or cry trying, it’s the ultimate getaway for those who love to be where the action is.
Before you even think about eating (or drinking yet, for that matter), why not try out a trip on the Manhattan Express, taking a wild whizz around the New York New York Hotel’s rollercoaster, after which you probably will want to hang out at Peppermill’s Fireside Lounge where you can take a drink almost double the size of your head, to get over that rollercoaster ride.
If you are still standing, you can visit the Fashion Show Mall for more some serious shopping action, take in a Cirque du Soleil show or visit the beautiful hotels and casinos featured in the Ocean’s trilogy of movies, such as the Bellagio, with its breath-taking fountains, or take in the more classic Vegas style iconic Caesars Palace, boasting seemingly endless casino floors, Garden of the Gods pool area and expansive shopping zones.
How often do you get to take in a spa experience in such a luxurious and decadent setting? If you don’t get the chance to get away during the year because of work, see if you can drop the kids off with relatives – or even holiday camp – and take time out to go and play yourselves, adult style.
“Welcome to Miami… bienvenido a Miami…”
Okay, so perhaps you won’t be driving around in a “drop Bentley,” à la Will Smith, but there is nevertheless plenty to do and see in Miami.
Miami is famed for its Art Deco District, with streets lined with the most striking period architecture of that era that you will ever see in one place, that is, if the 1930s is your bag. You can take guided or even self-guided tours down Ocean Drive to examine close up, the buildings that were almost destroyed forever in the 1970s.
Get your cameras out for the reportedly most photographed place in town: the Versace Mansion. Known worldwide as the spot where the much publicized Versace murder took place, people flock from far and wide to snap themselves at this famed location.
For more Italian-style visual enchantment, you could visit the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. The Renaissance-style villa and gardens was built in the early 20th century and houses decorative art and European antiquity dating back as far as the 16th century. Items include an antique telephone switchboard, a central vacuum-cleaning system, elevators and fire sprinklers, according to reviews. Further visual displays include beautiful fountains, gardens, pools, a maze and even a casino. It is also said to be a location that many couples have even chosen as a romantic wedding setting.
Still on the Mediterranean tip, if you are hankering for some food of that nature, you could try visiting the restaurant Brosia, reported to be the “latest Design District hotspot” by Time Out, which features high-ceilinged elegance, with stone flooring and gold walls. It boasts a terrace, set against a backdrop of mosaic and tall, stately trees, where you can feast on a variety of beautiful Mediterranean dishes, to your heart’s content.
Besides South Beach, a popular model’s haunt, with its al fresco dining, boutiques, highly skilled roller-bladers and lounges, you could also visit Little Havana, for a little flavour of Cuba.
There, you can visit a multitude of shops and restaurants, replicated from Cuban architecture and brought to Miami. You could also take in the nightlife and while your at it, go ‘location spotting’ for the many locations said to have been often used in Hollywood movies, such as Scarface, There’s Something About Mary and even Ian Fleming’s Goldfinger.
Whatever you are doing this Labor Day weekend, this list is packed with culture – there is something for everybody here, even if it may be a small piece of paradise for a couple of days, it certainly would be worth it. Go on, celebrate your well-earned break and make the most of it while you can. That is, until Thanksgiving!
Written by: Brucella Newman