by Allie Pape - 10 Reviews - 45 List
While Labor Day (Sept. 5, 2011) marks the end of the summer for most of the country, it's just the beginning for San Franciscans, offering one of the city's few guaranteed warm weekends. For those who want to stick around town and soak up the sun, we have some ideas, and for those itching to get out of the city and explore, we've also compiled a list of fun getaways, from hiking to whale-watching. (Photo: Yosemite Falls by John Robinson)
Updated: August 08, 2011
A boat cruise may sound cheesy or touristy to some, but a day on the water can provide a view of the bay and bridges that few people, tourist or local, get to see. Pack a picnic lunch for before or after your sail, and dine with a view of the water.
For young city-dwellers, a sunny Saturday usually means a trip to Dolores Park is in order, with a six-pack in tow. With so many folks out of town for the holiday, Labor Day is a rare opportunity for locals to catch some rays at the park without the big crowds. Be sure to grab a cone at Bi-Rite--Labor Day weekend is one of the few when the lines don't go around the block.
The free Film Night in the Park series screens new films and classics alike in parks around the Bay Area. Over Labor Day weekend, San Anselmo's Creek Park has a packed lineup: "Young Frankenstein" on Friday, Sept. 2, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1" on Saturday, Sept. 3, and "North by Northwest" on Sunday, Sept. 4. Bring a bottle of wine and a blanket, and you're good to go.
Mountain View is reliably sultry and gorgeous this time of year, and 2011's Labor Day weekend headliner is none other than freshly-released jailbird and New Orleans folk hero Lil' Wayne. He'll play on Friday, Sept. 2, offering a perfect start to the long weekend.
The baseball season is starting to wind down, so book a ticket to cheer on the Giants as they seek a playoff berth against the Diamondbacks on Friday and Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon (Sept. 2-4). Want a more hands-on experience? Labor Day itself will offer Juma Ventures' "Field of Dreams" fundraiser, with the chance to get coached in pitching and hitting by pros, run the bases, explore the dugout, and more.
Santa Cruz offers one of the West Coast's few classic boardwalks, just an hour-and-a-half drive down gorgeous Highway 1. Take a ride on the Giant Dipper coaster (built in 1924, it's the fifth-oldest wooden coaster in the U.S.); then cool off with an ice cream sundae before heading to the final Free Friday Beach concert, with headliners Papa Doo Run Run, on Friday, Sept. 2.
Tahoe is a perennial holiday-weekend destination for San Francisco residents, but many locals miss out because the price of renting a holiday share is so astronomical. Never fear: This beautiful park in South Lake Tahoe offers plenty of campsites for cheapo vacationing, along with hiking, swimming and water sports.
If you haven't been down to Monterey, Labor Day is a great time to go--it's the heart of blue-whale season. Though you might get lucky and catch a view off a dock, a charter is the best way to see the gentle giants in person. Complete your day of marine biology by visiting Monterey's famed aquarium.
Johnson's Beach in Russian River offers a calm, relaxing day of water fun, with kayaks and paddle boats available for rent. Before you head over for the day, stop by this charming old five-and-dime for towels, sunscreen, snacks and other supplies.
Warm Labor Day weather is ideal for enjoying this world-renowned park's rock formations and forest of giant sequoias. Yosemite's massive square footage means plenty of space and privacy in all but the most iconic locations. Can't make it this weekend? There's a free admission day on Saturday, Sept. 24, which will save you $20 per car.