by Jonathan Baker - 319 Reviews - 185 List
Of all the seasons, summer deserves a proper goodbye, and Labor Day in Atlanta (Sept. 5, 2011) gives us a chance to do just that. Yes, that last long weekend before we get drop-kicked back to working reality should be taken advantage of fully. From Braves games, barbecues and beaches, to Atlanta traditions such as Dragon*Con and the Drive Invasion, our top 10 ways to celebrate Labor Day in Atlanta.
Updated: September 12, 2011
We hope the Braves still have a shot at winning the East (or at least the wild card) when Labor Day rolls around. And if so, Turner Field will be electric when the Braves host the Dodgers Friday through Sunday of the holiday weekend. Go Braves!
If you want to hold on to the last days of summer, what better spot than a bar that thinks it's summer all year round? Labor Day invites us to drink, and we think that after you've sucked down a few of Flip Flops' alcoholic slush puppy-like beverages, you'll forget that summer is over. So, pop the collar of your favorite Lacoste shirts and get ready to mingle among the imported palm trees of tropical Midtown.
Not only is the Starlight one of the coolest spots to catch a flick, but the ever-popular Drive Invasion has returned to its usual calendar position of Sunday, Sept. 4. Expect classic cars, classic flicks, live bands, food and booze. Tickets are $28, and the gates open at 10am.
There's nothing like combining a getaway from the city with classic amusement, and Callaway Gardens spends Labor Day weekend doing just that with its 13th annual Sky High Hot Air Balloon Festival. For those totally fixated on riding in a balloon, YES, there are balloon rides for attendees not participating in the festival. Everyone else can get their thrills by rock-climbing, swimming, playing golf or scoping out that weirdly cool butterfly house.
The laser show at Stone Mountain Park is a summer rite of passage for kids in Atlanta. Singletons in their 20s may have no interest in heading to the park built on a giant rock, but those with tweens and teens, take note. This is your children's last chance to run off with their friends before curfew gets severely tightened.
If you want true beaches on this long holiday weekend, you'll need to trek five hours to St. Simons or Charleston. But, for those on a time crunch, look no further than 45 minutes north. The Chattahoochee Rapids Beach & WaterPark at Lake Lanier is open for one of its final weekends of the year, plus there is golf, hiking, horseback riding and a spa.
No pool has made a bigger splash over the last few summers than the new aquatic center at Piedmont Park. Free swim on weekday afternoons (3pm-5pm) and uber-cheap rates ($2 for kids, $4 for adults) make this in-town swimming hole the choice for a Labor Day dip. While everyone knows swim weather stays with us till late September, the pool's last open day is Labor Day.
Combining three no-brainers--good 'cue, good blues and good views--the 26th annual Labor Day Blues BBQ Festival takes place at the scenic Park Tavern on Monday, Sept. 5th. Get there early to see throwback heartthrobs Blair Crimmins and the Hookers. Cover charge is $20, and things get underway at 1pm.
When saying goodbye to summer, we get to say hello to fall. And for the South that means football. The annual tradition of the Chick-fil-A College Kickoff gets a little local flavor as the 22nd-ranked Georgia Bulldogs take on sixth-ranked Boise State at the Dome. True die-hards should hit Centennial for ESPN's College GameDay that morning (and all Corso heckling is encouraged).
While college football fans descend upon Centennial Park, a very different crowd attends the decade-old Dragon*Con just a few blocks away. There are plenty of highlights (besides attendees' outlandish costumes) during the extravaganza of sci-fi, gaming, comics, fantasy, art, music and film that's headquartered at the Hyatt Regency Downtown. The must-see event is the parade down Peachtree Street on Saturday morning. Just don't forget your Storm Trooper costume.