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The Wharf

Ways to Enjoy Labor Day Weekend 2024 in Washington, DC

Celebrate summer’s last big weekend Aug. 30-Sept. 2 with free events, outdoor activities and cultural experiences in the nation's capital.

We’re taking the work out of making your Labor Day weekend plans. Close out your summer in Washington, DC with the best activities, events and things to do. Here are 13 ways to make the weekend a memorable one.


Take in DC JazzFest

DC Jazz Festival happening at The Wharf

Washington, DC’s star-studded jazz history reigns on with the DC JazzFest, an annual showcase of national and local musicians taking place this Aug. 28 through Sept. 1. This can't-miss event is the District's premier jazz festival, serving up a diverse selection of national and international masterclass artists at venues all over the city. Many of the concerts are free. Read up on the many other reasons why you should attend the musical celebration.


Reserve your table for Summer Restaurant Week

Zaytinya food

Reserve your table for Summer Restaurant Week (Aug. 12-18). Savor every last bite of summer while taking advantage of specially priced meals, including to-go options and cocktail and wine pairings, courtesy of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington and 150+ participating eateries. Below, we've detailed some standout hot spots, brunch musts, international cuisines and more to help you decide where to dine next.


Enjoy the banks of the Potomac and Anacostia rivers

A group kayaking on river in DC

Take advantage of the waning days of summer and head to one of the many waterfronts in and around the District. Make a splash with plenty of family-friendly outdoor water activities to choose from, including kayak and paddleboard rentals, grabbing a meal and enjoying gorgeous on-the-water scenery.


Take a stroll through a DC park

A person rollerblading and another biking in Rock Creek Park

DC’s outdoor offerings turn the city into a summertime playground. There’s the 1,700+ acres of Rock Creek Park, the Capitol Columns at the scenic U.S. National Arboretum and the neoclassical beauty of Malcolm X Park, among many others. You can also check out the gorgeous gardens of Tudor Place.


Snag a hotel deal while in town

Celebrate Labor Day weekend with a trip to DC, where numerous hotels offer special discounts and packages in honor of the end-of-summer holiday. Options are available for a wide range of preferences and budgets. Some exclusive deals provide convenient access to The Wharf, which hosts DC JazzFest on Aug. 28 - Sept. 1. Make sure to complement your hotel stay by booking a table during Summer Restaurant Week.

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Visit the Zoo

Lions at Smithsonian National Zoo

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo and its thousands of animal species make it ideal for a Labor Day weekend excursion. Make sure you secure a timed entry pass beforehand. 


Make monumental memories

People visiting Lincoln Memorial

The National Mall is America’s front yard, where the past, present and future come together. The monuments and memorials, including the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the strikingly detailed Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and the World War II Memorial, honor American forefathers and heroes in majestic fashion. Visiting the Mall is an ideal way to pay tribute on Labor Day weekend.


Learn about espionage inside the International Spy Museum

International Spy Museum exterior

Visit the International Spy Museum in L’Enfant Plaza to discover the ins and outs of the espionage trade, from gadgets to strategies to costumes. During your visit, kids will love the Undercover Mission, which allows you to hone your spy skills while exploring the incredibly interactive museum.


Savor a meal outdoors

Many of DC’s beer gardenspatios and rooftop restaurants offer great views, wonderful atmosphere and cocktails, making for dining experiences that you can savor during the holiday weekend.


Take a journey through the O Museum in the Mansion

Mansion on O

The O Museum in the Mansion is an only-in-DC spectacle, with 100 rooms inside the mansion and 70 secret doors that offer surprises at every step.


Make the trip to the historic Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon Estate

Head to Virginia to spend a day at Mount Vernon, George Washington’s former estate that also features a museum. With a panoramic view of the Potomac River, choose from a tour of the Mansion, Gardens, the Tombs or the Distillery and Gristmill. Start your visit in the Ford Orientation Center to see a film, and then plan your day with the help of the living history guides.


Attend the National Symphony Orchestra's Free Labor Day Concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol

The National Symphony Orchestra's free annual Labor Day weekend concert returns to the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol on Sunday, Sept. 1. The performance is free to attend and tickets are not required. Seating is first-come, first-served.


Be amazed at the DC Festival of Magic

Back at the Capital Hilton for a fourth year, the DC Festival of Magic brings together the best magicians in the Mid-Atlantic region for three nights of Labor Day weekend entertainment that will make your head spin.

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