Labor Day Weekend fun
Houston's best Labor Day weekend events: Giant sharks, lush lagoons, mind-bending illusions, and more
For some Houstonians, Labor Day weekend means heading out of town to cooler climates or beachy Gulf Coast destinations (see our guide here) or beyond.
But for those staying home, the long weekend means pool and park time, yard word, streaming binges, and backyard barbecues. While temps will still flirt or sit at triple digits, plenty of events await locals who venture out. With that in mind, here are our picks for what to do this Labor Day weekend (Friday, September 1 through Monday, September 4) in Houston.
Our beloved Houston Astros will make a weekend home stand against the (ugh) New York Yankees from Friday through Sunday. Friday's match starts at 7:10 pm; get to Minute Maid Park early for the Pregame Happy Hour presented by Budweiser (5 pm to 7 pm) at the Michelob Ultra Bar. Fans can enjoy $5 Ultra Drafts, a live DJ, and the stellar Minute Maid Park views.
Game times for Saturday, September 2 and Sunday, September 3 against the boys in pinstripe are 6:10 pm. Find tickets for all dates here.
Food and drink
The Bellaire Boulevard restaurant celebrates its first anniversary with an omakase experience. From August 30 through September 3, diners can enjoy 19 various dishes for $135 or a premium omakase of 23 curated items for $225. Raise your spirits with 30 percent off Aya's sake collection and 30 percent off of premium highballs.
Planning a party for the holiday weekend? All Dessert Gallery locations are offering Labor Day-themed cookies for $4.95 each. From an American flag to a beachy flip flop, the whimsical designs add a bit of flair to any gathering.
The Galveston Island Wine Festival
From September 1 to 3, Moody Gardens hosts weekend of wine tastings with penguins, food experiences with renowned chefs like Christina Ha, David Cordua, Paul Miller and James Lundy, and master sommelier Guy Stout, live music, fireworks and fun. Poolside happy hours, Champagne socials, and Freedom Stories and Bourbon Tasting are all part of the lineup. The Moody Gardens Hotel offers stay-and-play packages for the weekend, with rates around $409 per night that include lodging and event access.
Marriott Marquis Houston
The downtown hotel is throwing an end-of-summer bash at its rooftop pool on the sixth floor on September 4. Spritz and Stripes is a pool party with two live DJs, photo opps, special drink spritzes, and more. Hotel guests get automatic access. Those not staying at the hotel can purchase a guest pass to the event, pending availability. The action happens from 2 to 5 p.m.
The Marriot Marquis offers Texas-sized fun. Photo courtesy of Marriott Marquis Houston
Museums and attractions
The famed warship, which served in World Wars I and II and was the first U.S. battleship to mount anti-aircraft guns and to launch an aircraft, has been in dry dock in Galveston for repairs. On Sunday, September 3, however, it's open to tours. For $150, visitors can get an up close look at the ship's history and gain an understanding of its importance.
Boat Tours on Buffalo Bayou
Aside from a host of regular boat tours, the Buffalo Bayou Partnership has special, Spanish-language boat tours on September 2. The 45-minute tours depart from 1019 Commerce Street beginning at 10 a.m. Guests will sail along the bayou, while tour guides point out birds, plants and animals, and explain the history that makes this waterway so unique. $15 adults, $12 children.
The Upper Kirby attraction is open Labor Day Weekend, and visitors can check out the latest exhibit, "RGBHTX,” which showcases our city's vibrant diversity through a blend of primary colors that create images that intertwine crawfish and cowboys, skyscrapers and spaceships. Admission prices start at $29.
Peek at the new exhibits at Color Factory Houston.Photo courtesy of Color Factory Houston
The downtown park offers yoga class on Saturday, September 2 and a Spanish-language yoga class on September 4. Discovery Green is open throughout the Labor Day Weekend, and gusts can experience the newly re-opened John P. McGovern Playground, offering play spaces and fun for kids.
Holocaust Museum Houston
The museum's newest exhibit, "The Negro Motorist Green Book," explores the history of this annual guide, first published in 1936. (Read more in our preview here.) The brainchild of Victor Green, it offered valuable information on restaurants, gas stations, department stores and other businesses that welcomed Black travelers during the era of Jim Crow. The museum, usually closed on Mondays, will be open Labor Day from 10 am to 5 pm Admission is $22 for adults and free for those under 18.
'First day of Memphis integration, TN, 1961,' from "The Negro Motorist Green Book." Dr. Ernest C. Withers. Collection of theSmithsonian National Museum of AfricanAmerican History and Culture. (C) Ernest C.Withers Trust
Houston Museum of Natural Science
For those who haven't seen the massive, 50-foot Great White shark at the museum, the Labor Day holiday night be the perfect time to experience it. The sea creature is part of the museum's Sharks! The Meg, The Monster & The Myths exhibit, now on view. The three-day weekend is also a great time to explore the museum's permanent collection, take in a movie on the giant screen, or check out the a living butterfly habitat. Museum admission starts at $25 for adults and $16 for children.
The zoo is open on Labor Day, and visitors can explore the new Galápagos Islands exhibit, along with other attractions. Meet the three guinea fowls, named Ross, Rachel, and Joey, who recently made their public debut. Or, come on Saturday, September 2 to celebrate Shasta VII's birthday. Tickets start at $24.95.
Head to the waterfront entertainment complex for fireworks at 9 p.m. on September 3. For $40, guests can enjoy a Boardwalk Beast Fireworks Cruise. Boarding is at 8:30 p.m. and guests must purchase tickets from the ticket booth. There's also the Boardwalk FantaSea Fireworks and Dinner Cruise available for $99.99. Tickets can be purchased online. Those looking to make a day of it will find plenty to do at the Boardwalk, including amusement park rides and dining at several restaurants.
The beach club and adventure park is throwing a big bash Labor Day Weekend. Lago Mar Live brings country music icons Aaron Watson and Kevin Fowler to the waterfront pleasure spot on Saturday, September 2, from 5 to 9 pm. The Blue Lagoon Bar and Grill Lago Mar offers specials like a watermelon margarita and the Freedom Dog, a foot-long beef frank topped with chili, cheddar cheese, diced onions and pickled jalapeños. Admission is $45.
Hang in the hangar in the must-visit and soaring Lone Star Flight Museum.Photo via Lone Star Flight Museum
Already a must-visit venue for any proud Houstonian, the museum offers all the normal sights — think vintage war planes, stunning aircraft, hair-raising simulators, immersive exhibits, and more — as well as space-aged journeys via NASA modules for just $10 on Monday (Labor Day). The discounted, $10 admission includes a free hot dog, chips, and drink while supplies last. Watch for special activities and tours (like the DC-3, Howard 250, and Rover tours), an Eggstronaut skills test, arts, crafts, and more. 10 am to 5 pm. $10.
The museum, usually closed on Mondays, is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and general admission is $19. The MFAH movie theater has a 2 pm showing of Close to Vermeer, taking viewers behind the scenes at at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam for "Vermeer," the largest exhibition of works by Johannes Vermeer ever mounted. Tickets are $9.
Museum of Illusions Houston
The much-anticipated immersive experience opens September, just in time for Labor Day Weekend fun. Guests can currently book times to visit the new space, which features 6,000 square feet, more than 60 exhibits and two installations by beloved Houston artist Donkeeboy.
River Oaks District
Houston's most exclusive shopping address hosts a silent disco to say goodbye to summer on Saturday, September 2 from 8 to 10:30 pm. Guests can grab a headset and groove to tunes by two live DJs. The Traveling Spirit Bar will also be onsite serving complimentary disco-themed cocktails and mocktails, while Wonder Pops will showcase complimentary boozy and kid-friendly popsicles. The event is free.
Stages presents the outrageously funny feminist farce POTUS: Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass Are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive. The show opens September 1, and guests can use the code LABORDAY to receive 25 percent off tickets for performances September 1 through 20, excluding September 7. The Washington Post called the show a combination of Saturday Night Live and Veep. The all-female cast incudes several Houston actors, including Deborah Hope and Alexandra Szeto-Joe.
Select staycations: Galveston and Woodlands
Long known as the only truly historic beachfront hotel on the Gulf Coast, the Galvez has seen guests since 1911. The AAA 4-Diamond landmark hotel and spa known as the "Queen of the Gulf" has just undergone a massive renovation and update throughout the entire space and all 219 rooms, courtesy of new owners Mark and Lorenda Wyant.
The sweeping East Loggia at the Grand Galvez.Photo via Grand Galvez Galveston
True to its name, the Galvez dazzles with iconic, beachside and pool views, a grand entry and communal spaces, and lavish, old world design evoking Great Gatsby-era living. Don't let the fact the Galvez is considered the most haunted hotel in Texas deter from booking a room at 20 percent off the published rate for Labor Day (be sure to call the hotel directly to book).
San Luis Resort, Spa and Conference Center
Stay on the beach for the holiday weekend, and enjoy all of the Galveston hotel's amenities. On September 1 and 2, the resort's Pickleball Pros will assist guests and members of the general public who wish to take part in a serious of friendly Pickleball Paddle Battle tournaments. All levels of pickleball experience are welcome; the cost is $35. Guests who prefer to try out goat yoga can do so with a class on Saturday, September 2. The cost to participate is $45. The event is open to guests and the general public.
One of the oldest standing properties in Galveston, the Tremont dates back to 1839, when it was originally constructed. Nestled in a historic area in the city, the Tremont is a local and state favorite for its rooftop bar (a must for any visit) overlooking the city and site to sweeping sunsets and 360-degree views. Now part of the Tribute hotel group, the Tremont has also seen major updates and renovations to all 135 guestrooms and suites. In a nod to the hotel's past, the Tremont now is home to the 1872 Toujouse Lobby bar, on loan from the Galveston Historical Foundation, but the live piano sessions are also a draw. Unlike many hotels, the Tremont is entirely pet friendly and provides water bowls outside of the main entrance, dog beds, and a pet amenity.
For Labor Day, the Tremont is promoting a Stay For Breakfast in Galveston package, which includes breakfast in the hotel restaurant for up to two adults and children 12 years old and under (registered in the same room).
The Woodlands Resort
The resort offers a weekend of family-friendly activities, kicking off September 1. Enjoy activities such as Frozen Friday's at Cool Water Bar & Grill; Arts and Crafts; Karaoke; a bubble foam party, turtle feeding; and live music at Back Table Kitchen & Bar. Dive-in Movie Nights start at 8:15 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Rates start at $833.