Labor Day is generally celebrated as a day for workers to kick back and relax, but if you stay at home all weekend you will miss some unique events in metro Atlanta.
Two nationally recognized events — Dragon Con and the Decatur Book Festival — are expected together to draw approximately 165,000 participants to the downtown area.
From hot air balloons to costume parades and sporting events to live music, the city will be bustling with activity all weekend.
Don’t miss these top things to do in Atlanta over Labor Day weekend.
Go to a Festival
Taking place over five days at five host hotels and beyond, Dragon Con celebrates all things pop culture and sci-fi and includes a parade, a gaming convention and lots of celebrity sightings. Check out our Guide to Events at Dragon Con 2018 for detailed information. Also get your little ones in on the action at Children’s Museum of Atlanta’s TinyCON Sept. 1 and 2.
Get a view of Pine Mountain from the sky aboard a tethered balloon or participate in family-friendly events at Callaway Gardens’ annual Sky High Hot Air Balloon Festival. Visit the Marietta Square for Art in the Park, a fine art extravaganza that includes more than 175 artist booths.
The Decatur Book Festival brings more 600 authors and tons of books to downtown Decatur Aug. 31 through Sept. 2. Read our comprehensive Guide to the 2018 Decatur Book Festival for more details.
Attend a Sporting Event
Celebrate the return of college football as Georgia State takes on Kennesaw State University on Thursday evening at the Georgia State Stadium downtown (formerly Turner Field). On Sept. 1 see the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game featuring Auburn vs. Washington at Mercedes-Benz Stadium or head to Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd Stadium for the Yellow Jackets’ opening game. Your local watering hole is sure to have plenty of games on view as well.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium will also be abuzz Thursday night as the Atlanta Falcons play the Miami Dolphins in a preseason game.
The Atlanta Braves are in town at SunTrust Park all weekend and play the Chicago Cubs on Aug. 30, the Pittsburgh Pirates Aug. 31 through Sept. 2 then the Boston Red Sox Sept. 3 through 5. Friday’s game also includes a post-game concert by Zedd.
See a Local Play
There are several local theater companies with main stage shows over Labor Day weekend. Theatrical Outfit presents “Book of Will,” which follows a group of William Shakespeare’s devotees who scramble to publish his plays in an effort to preserve his legacy, or for a more traditional Shakespearean play see Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales at Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse.
If musicals are more your style, check out Aurora Theatre’s “Disney’s NEWSIES,” inspired by the real-life Newsboy Strike of 1899, or Atlanta Lyric Theatre’s “AIDA,” an epic tale of love, loyalty and betrayal. Both shows close Sept. 2.
For the kids consider Center for Puppetry Arts’ “The Tortoise, the Hare & Other Aesop’s Fables” or a showing of “Oceans: Our Blue Planet 3D” or “Earthflight 3D” in Fernbank Museum of Natural History’s giant screen theater.
Enjoy some Live Music
Atlanta’s Lakewood Amphitheatre hosts the Lynyrd Skynyrd: Last Of The Street Survivors Farewell Tour on Sept. 1.
At Park Tavern’s free “Sunset Sessions” event see performances by THE NIGHTOWLS and Angela Perley & The Howlin Moons on Sept. 2. The music spills over to Sept. 3 during its Labor Day Blues BBQ, which features music from John Nemeth, Jontavious Willis and others.
The free Taste of Soul Atlanta: Food & Music Festival takes place Sept. 1 and 2 and features a long list of live musicians along with family fun, soul and Southern food, a 5K run and more.
If you prefer to work up a sweat and preemptively crush some calories over the weekend consider a good workout! The Lantern Run along the Beltline is designed to let runners focus on running versus the fanfare surrounding some traditional events. There are morning, afternoon and evening waves of participants scheduled for Sept. 1.
The annual Labor Day Big Peach Sizzler 10K and 5K takes place Sept. 3. The 5K starts at the Brookhaven MARTA Station and the 10K starts at the Chamblee MARTA Station. Both races end at Buckhead Station Shopping Center with post-race festivities.