Below is a list of free and cheap things to do you can do on Monday for the Labor Day holiday. It’s a collection of links to information found on Greater Seattle on the Cheap as well as our “mother ship”, the national Living on the cheap website. The events listed below are available options for Labor Day on Monday, September 3, 2018. If you are looking for more weekend things to do for Friday-Sunday, check out our weekly updated list of free and cheap things to do this weekend in Seattle.
What is Labor Day?
Labor Day is a federal holiday, celebrated on the first Monday in September. Government offices, banks, libraries, and many businesses are closed, while stores and entertainment venues such as movie theaters are open. Public transportation operates on holiday schedules.
The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City as proposed by the Central Labor Union. The day was conceived to recognize the contributions American workers make to the prosperity of the country.
Over the next decade, other states joined in to celebrate Labor Day, organizing parades, speeches by prominent labor leaders, and an amusement festival for labor workers and their families. As more states adopted the tradition, support for a national holiday grew. In 1894, Congress made Labor Day a legal holiday.
The character of the Labor Day celebration has changed over time. Today, it is a low-key holiday, primarily for rest and relaxation. It’s the last chance to celebrate summer before the autumn season begins. Labor Day activities typically include fireworks displays, picnics, barbecues, camping trips, and that all-American pastime: shopping (particularly for back-to-school). Most retailers hold Labor Day weekend sales with discounts especially for back-to-school clothes and supplies, with deals rivaling Black Friday in November after the Thanksgiving holiday.
Free and cheap things to do on Labor Day
Walks & Hikes
Gardens & Parks
- Free Bellevue Botanical Garden
- Free Washington Park Arboretum 230 acres of gardens, natural areas and wetlands
- Free resources to identify native plants in King County parks and Washington State
- Get up-to-date park information on the King County Park blog
- Where to watch wildlife in Washington State (and it’s all free)
Sales and Back-to-School Shopping
Fun for kids and teens
- Free sprayparks, wading pools, beaches for kids at Seattle parks
- Free Skateboard Parks in Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, and Redmond
- Explore the UW Arboretum with a $7 family adventure pack for K-6
- Kids’ crafts: Make a rubber-band powered boat
- 8 giant backyard games you can build yourself
- Top 10 DIY outdoor toys and summer activities for kids
Arts & Entertainment
- Where and when to see movies in Seattle at a discount
- Free outdoor summer concerts weekends at the Ballard Locks
- Free line dance lesson in north Seattle
- $8 drop-in all ages salsa dancing in Seattle
- How to get discount tickets to Seattle Mariners baseball games (vs. Orioles September 3, 2018)
- 50+ of Seattle’s best sports bars
- Our happy hour list includes Sunday nights
Fairs & Festivals
- Free family-friendly blackberry festival in Bremerton
- $12 Evergreen State Fair in Monroe
- $14 (kids get in free on Labor Day) Washington State Fair in Puyallup
- $16 family fun park all summer in Carnation
- Getaway: Kittitas County Fair in Ellensburg
- Getaway: rodeo in Ellensburg (110 miles SE of Seattle)
Food, Picnics & Barbecue
- Free online grilling cookbook and videos from Sunset Magazine
- How to throw a picnic for less
- How to save money on a summer party
- Cheap recipes for your barbecue
- Free guides on how to barbecue safely
- Free food safety guides for summer barbecues, picnics, and camping
- Save money with healthy summer salads
- Easy recipes with cheap summer sweet corn
- Keep the kids cool with DIY ice pops