Labor Day marks the end of the long days of summer and the beginning of the cooler fall season. But the true meaning of Labor Day celebrates the American Labor Movement and the prosperity of our nation and the workers who helped build it. From food festivals to bright displays of fireworks, Boston is preparing to celebrate in style. To get the holiday weekend off to the right start, here’s a look at some of the best things to do in and around Boston on Labor Day weekend. Even better, they’re all free.
Boston Arts Festival
Christopher Columbus Park (across from the Boston Marriott Long Wharf Hotel)
Boston, MA 02113
Sept. 5, 2015
If you are looking for a grand fireworks finale to end the summer with a beautiful color filled display, head over to the Boston Harbor on Saturday, Sept. 5. The Boston Arts Festival hosts a celebration from noon to 6 p.m. at Christopher Columbus Park and ends the summer hoorah with a waterfront fireworks display. You can have a front row view of the barge on the Fan Pier in the Seaport District from virtually anywhere along the waterfront. From the North End and Charlestown to East Boston and South Boston, the city will be illuminated with the fireworks display that begins at 9 p.m.
Charlestown Navy Yard
24 5th St.
Charlestown, MA 02129
Sept. 4-7, 2015
Take a walk along the Freedom Trail (there is no cost to check out the city’s most historic walking trail) and end at the USS Constitution in Charlestown. The ship used in the War of 1812 is dry-docked just outside the museum for repairs, so this is one of the best ways to get up-close with one of the country’s oldest vessels. This is also the first time “Old Ironsides” has been restored in 20 years.
31st Annual Gloucester Schooner Festival
23 Harbor Loop
Gloucester, MA 01930
Sept. 4-6, 2015
If you are looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city on the holiday weekend, head up to Gloucester and check out the 31st Annual Gloucester Schooner Festival. Held Sept. 4-6, the festival features a block party Friday night from 6 to 11 p.m. Be sure to check out the fireworks display over Gloucester Harbor on Saturday night. On Sunday at 10:30 a.m., you can see schooners begin the start of the festival as they sail from Inner Harbor to the race area off Eastern Point.
The Lawn On D
420 D St.
Boston, MA 02210
Sept. 4-7, 2015
One of the city’s newest outdoor parks is The Lawn on D that sits between Summer and Claflin Streets. Located in the Fort Point Channel area of South Boston, the space features live musical performances, free activities and creative programs for the kids. On Labor Day weekend, the grassy area will host a live music series featuring the Berklee College of Music, lawn games, including ping-pong and corn hole and The Tent will be accessible for food and beverage purchases. The lawn hours are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article mis-stated the dates of Saint Anthony’s Feast.
Kellie Speed is a Boston writer with more than 25 years of experience writing for local and national publications, including JustLuxe, Haute Living, The Boston Globe, Mohegan Sun’s Legends and Amtrak’s Arrive. She is the Boston restaurant writer for Gayot’s travel site and contributed to Moon Metro’s Boston guidebook, as well.