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Last-Minute Labor Day Travel Ideas

Made in America Fest
Labor Day is one of those holidays that tend to creep up on us pretty quickly. Although it marks the unofficial end of summer, that doesn’t mean you still can’t have a great weekend vacation before the fall routine sets in.

We’ve scoured event listings across the country and put together five of our favorite ideas for last-minute Labor Day travel (hotel ideas included).

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Chicago Jazz Festival at Millennium Park

Rebirth Brass Band Below View
Rebirth Brass Band/Chicago Jazz Festival

The Midwest’s biggest jazz event celebrates its 39th edition this year with special tribute sets honoring Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, and Ella Fitzgerald. The Rebirth Jazz Band closes out the fest Sunday night with an excellent mix of reggae, rap, and funk. It’s the perfect time to explore the modern amphitheatre in Millennium Park and, of course, get your picture in front of “The Bean.” For more inspiration, check out our Chicago travel guide here.

Hotel: Residence Inn Chicago Downtown/Loop – Just a few blocks from the Park and free breakfast to refuel.

Made in America Fest – Philadelphia

Made in America Fest
Made in America Fest/Facebook

Budweiser’s biggest indie/hipster festival has established itself as a marquee music event in spite of all of the corporate underwriting. This year, the festival went a bit more mainstream with J. Cole and The Chainsmokers as headliners. The bill is bottom-heavy though with sets from Run the Jewels, Little Dragon and Pusha T to round things out. A complete guide to Philly can be found here.

Hotel: Kimpton Hotel Palomar – A classic choice with free bikes and a hosted wine hour each night.

626 Night Market – Los Angeles

626 Night Market
DJ Ivory performs at 626 Night Market in 2015. Photo by Daniel Kim

There are few better places to experience Asian culture in American than Southern California. The 626 Night Market has built a reputation as the biggest and best Asian night market in the country with a number of vendors, performances and of course, food hawkers. Here, you’ll find everything from okonomayaki to fried octopus. The Labor Day weekend edition takes place at Santa Anita Park, meaning you can explore the Chinese heritage of the San Gabriel Valley before hopping over to the market.

Hotel: JW Marriott LA Live – A stunning property within walking distance of the downtown core.

Bumbershoot – Seattle

Bumbershoot: the Party of the Summer

Bumbershoot is a Pacific Northwest music tradition. Bands, comedians and art installations take over Seattle Center in the shadow of the Space Needle, while thousands enjoy the splendors. Lorde, Odesza and Flume headline this year with appearances from Margaret Cho and Todd Barry on the comedy stage too. Plus, who wouldn’t want to see Gucci Mane and the rest of Seattle.

Hotel Recommendation: Hotel Max – An artsy hotel complete with Sub Pop music, free craft beer and a bevy of local spirits, what’s not to like?

Southern Decadence – New Orleans

Southern Decadence

New Orleans’ party vibe is taken to another level when their annual LGBT celebration takes over The Big Easy. Southern Decadence is centered in the French Quarter with plenty of DJs and outdoor concerts to keep things moving all weekend. Over its 46-year history, it has turned into one of the pre-eminent LGBT celebrations in the country, with more than 250,000 attendees (!) expected this year. Don’t miss the trademark parade through the Quarter.

Hotel Recommendation: Old No. 77 Hotel + Chandlery – Soak in southern flavor with wide, comfortable rooms, a great lobby restaurant and a bit of peace just outside of the French Quarter, while being steps away from the action. Also, Mother’s Restaurant down the street is a can’t-miss southern treat.

Editors' Recommendations

The Manual Awards: 2017 Edition
The Manual Awards 2017

Detroit | New Orleans | Asheville | Salt Lake City
Santa Fe | Denver | Glendale | Portland
Every week it seems there's a new 'hot city' in the media. From Portland, Maine to Santa Fe, New Mexico,  America's urban areas are experiencing a rebirth and revitalization in arts, food, and culture that only a decade ago would have been unimaginable. With flourishing social scenes and growing economies, each of these cities is a proper destination in its own right. For this year's Manual Awards, we highlight the best restaurants, coffee shops, local brands, beers, and more  for each of these eight great up-and-coming cities. So pay these places a visit and be sure to check out the businesses and brands that we believe are doing it right--whatever 'it' may be.  

Detroit, Michigan
Written by Beau Hayhoe

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