Labor Day Weekend marks the "unofficial" end of summer and the last holiday weekend of the season. But with the start of school—and soaring gas prices—it may be tough to get away. Fear not, there are plenty of options nearby. We've rounded up some of the area's best picks for Labor Day weekend:
- Annual Labor Day Concert at the U.S. Capitol (West Lawn): Sept. 2—The National Symphony Orchestra presents its annual free Labor Day Concert on the grounds of at the U.S. Capitol, on the West Lawn. The concert actually takes place on the Sunday before Labor Day. The show begins at 8 p.m., with gates opening at 5 p.m. Come early for a good seat. (Tip: Catch the less-crowded open rehearsal earlier in the day, at 3:30 p.m.).
- DC Blues Festival at Carter Barron Amphitheatre (Rock Creek Park): Sept. 1—If symphonic music isn't quite your thing, jump across town to check out the free Annual DC Blues Festival. The fest at the beautiful outdoor park venue starts at noon and features blues artists all day long—Sugar Ray and the Blue Tones, Clarence "The Bluesman" Turner, the DC Blue Society Band and more.
- Greenbelt Labor Day Festival (Roosevelt Center): Aug. 31 to Sept. 3—The kids will love this traditional Labor Day festival, complete with carnival rides, a petting zoo, art exhibits and live entertainment. (Tip: a limited supply of half-price, one-day carnival ride vouchers are on sale at the Greenbelt Co-op through Aug. 31.) More info is available on the event's website.
- Kensington Labor Day Parade (and Festival): Sept. 3—This is the 45th year for this local annual parade and all-day festival that follows. Enjoy a day of outdoor family entertainment with live music, arts and crafts, food and activities for the kids (and for adults, nearby antique-shop browsing on Howard Avenue).
- Maryland Renaissance Festival (Crownsville): All weekend—Walk through a 16th-century English village, watch jousting, see jugglers, magicians and fire-eaters, check out arts and crafts—or chomp on on a giant roasted turkey leg—the Maryland Renaissance Festival offers fun for the entire family. The festival near Annapolis begins Aug. 25 and continues each weekend (through Oct. 21).
- Annual Labor Day Arts Show at Glen Echo Park: (Aug. 31 to Sept. 3)—Enjoy the creations of more than 150 featured artists from the Mid-Atlantic region at this free arts fest. Works include painting, ceramics, photography, glass, jewelry and more. An Irish Music & Dance Showcase will also feature performances on Saturday and Monday. (Bonus: A free open house to sample classes takes place on Saturday.)
- World's largest Beatles Fest: Abbey Road on the River (National Harbor), Aug. 30 to Sept. 3—This five-day Beatles tribute features more than 30 bands from around the world, seminars and loads of Beatles fans against the backdrop of the Potomac River. Among this year's highlights are a concert by Jefferson Starship and a tribute to the late Davy Jones of the Monkees.
Happy Labor Day weekend!