The kids might have returned to school already, but Labor Day weekend remains the unofficial end of summer and a busy travel weekend. Where we will go and how we will get there are as varied as the individuals and families who travel.
At Down Etc, we value art and creativity. We know sleep provides the rest we need to be creative and brings the dreams that become the focus of that creativity. We’re always curious about the artists who inspire us and how they sleep, from the rituals they use to prepare for bed to the bedroom environment they create for themselves. That’s the reason we began our Artist Series in which we focus on the intersection between sleep and creativity with some of the artists we love. When we travel, we make it a point to find the art and culture of the places we visit.
According to AAA, the top five U.S. destinations for Labor Day weekend this year include Seattle, Orlando, Anchorage, New York, and Las Vegas. International hotel bookings for the holiday weekend are up 82% over last year, and international cruise bookings are up 44%. The top five international destinations are Vancouver, Rome, London, Dublin, and Paris. Each one of these cities offers a rich travel experience filled with the visitor’s choice of arts and culture, outdoor activities, shopping, or delicious food. Here are five of our favorite places to visit this Labor Day weekend and the arts or cultural outlets in which we find inspiration for our creativity.
1. New York City, New York
The number and variety of activities in New York City means it offers something new to enjoy with every visit. Lonely Planet calls it a great last-minute Labor Day weekend getaway, and we agree.
We never tire of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Like the Louvre in Paris, The Met can be overwhelming in size and the sheer number of pieces. You can certainly amble through the museum and be continually amazed. We like to plan ahead by choosing a few exhibits to explore in depth. Completists will be frustrated as there is always something new to discover, even when returning to the same exhibit year after year. Consider following The Met’s phenomenal stories on Instagram, which offer a new perspective on even the most ancient art.
2. Seattle, Washington
Another U.S. destination in the top five, Seattle is generally quieter in September. Labor Day weekend offers Bumbershoot, Seattle’s annual music and art festival, one of the largest in the country. If you receive your inspiration from the outdoors, take advantage of Seattle’s location on the water for water sports or whale watching. Remain on land and enjoy a plethora of parks and paths.
If you’re amazed by the creativity and ingenuity required of humans to fly and to travel to space, consider visiting The Museum of Flight with over 175 aircraft and spacecraft and tens of thousands of artifacts reflecting the history of flight. So many inventions that could only have begun as dreams.
3. Vancouver, British Columbia
If you’re looking to stay in North America, consider Vancouver, Canada, where Labour Day has been an official holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September since 1894.
Vancouver offers a variety of activities from the Vancouver Art Gallery, showcasing historical and contemporary art from British Columbia and around the world, to Canada’s largest Chinatown. It offers the best of an urban area along with plenty of outdoor activities.
4. Nantucket, Massachusetts
Accessible only by boat, ferry, or airplane, the slightly cooler weather and fewer crowds make Labor Day weekend a time to consider visiting Nantucket. The history of the island is part of its draw. The National Park Service has called it “the finest surviving architectural and environmental example of a late 18th- and early 19th-century New England seaport town.”
Nantucket was one of the whaling capitals of the world and offers the story of the whalers and their ships at the Whaling Museum. The Nantucket Cultural District is the walkable area at the heart of the city that offers arts, history, and culture.
5. National Parks
It’s not just one destination but 425 possibilities including national parks, monuments, battlefields, military parks, historical parks, historic sites, lakeshores, seashores, recreation areas, scenic rivers and trails, and the White House. The first national park, Yellowstone, was established on March 1, 1872. The National Park Service was created as a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Interior on August 25, 1916. Since then, it has taken care of these special places that see more than 318 million visitors every year. There is no end to the beauty and culture you can experience through visits to the places cared for by the National Park Service.
If your idea of a getaway is no roads, trails, or established campsites, Alaska’s Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve’s 8 million plus acres is your kind of place. There are no crowds, likely because hiking or flying is required to access the park. Visitors to the park may spend days or weeks before encountering another person. You’ll need to rely on “the knowledge, skills, and equipment” you bring with you.
If you’re not ready to venture so far off the beaten path, Yellowstone offers “trailside museums” where visitors can learn about areas within the park. The “exaggerated features and organic forms exemplify rustic design in the national parks and served as models for hundreds of park buildings constructed during work relief programs of the 1930s.”
The busiest days for airport traffic to and from destinations around the world will be Friday, September 1, and Monday, September 4. If you’re traveling by car, the best times are early in the morning or the evening. The afternoon of Thursday, August 31, is expected to be the busiest time on the roads during the weekend.
Whether you’re traveling by plane, train, or car, be sure to take your Down Etc Travel Pillows and Eye Masks so you don’t lose sleep. You’ll want as much time as possible to sleep and to dream about where you’re headed and where you’ve been.
-The Team at Down Etc
If you would like to read more about travel and the arts, you might be interested in these articles:
Down Etc’s Artist Series
Cover Photo by Etienne Méndez from Pexels