What is Labor Day, and why do we celebrate it? For many Americans, it’s a three-day weekend concluding the summer. But there’s more to it than just a great end-of-season party or tasty barbecue food. It’s a national holiday celebrated in the U.S. on the first Monday in September each year. Labor Day is a time to remember and celebrate the role tireless workers played in fighting hard for workers’ rights and America’s growth and development. If you are looking for something to do in the Bay Area, have no fear, there’s tons to do with concerts, fun-filled events, and on-the-water experiences that will make your holiday unforgettable. Labor Day weekend  2024 is right around the corner, so let’s dive into the history of how and when it all began and what to do in San Francisco this year to celebrate. 


Cheers to the Workforce: History of Labor Day  

The Industrial Revolution of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries brought jobs and commerce to the United States, but what it did not bring was safety regulations, fair pay, or guidelines for the number of hours people should work each day and each week. It was not uncommon for the average American to work twelve or more hours per day, or to see young children working in harsh conditions. People took notice and strikes and rallies were organized, and they were sometimes violent. During this time of discontent and unrest, the idea of Labor Day was formed. The holiday was designated as a day to acknowledge Americans’ contributions to our country, and it was made a national holiday under President Grover Cleveland when he signed it into law in June 1894. It’s not entirely clear who first proposed the holiday for workers, but two men can lay claim to at least founding the Labor Day title. Many believe that machinist Matthew Maguire first proposed the holiday, but others credited Peter McGuire with the idea. The true founder has yet to be identified. Today, Labor Day is celebrated in the United States to remember and acknowledge the long history of American workers and their enormous contributions to the country’s success. To many, it signifies picnics, parades, and most importantly a day off from work and represents the unofficial end of summer. 

The Painted Ladies Victorian houses San Francisco#LaborDayWeekend in San Francisco: Things to Do in 2024 

San Francisco is buzzing with fun-filled events, concerts, cruises, and waterfront activities that will make your holiday a memorable one this year. Whether you’re a local, or visiting from out of town, mark your calendars as the city comes alive with something for everyone in the Bay Area. Here are some ideas for how to make the most of the holiday this year with some top things to do in San Francisco for Labor Day weekend. 

Let the Music Play on Labor Day 

Many concert venues in San Francisco and the Bay Area will offer shows over Labor Day weekend.  

  • Golden Gate Park Band opened its 142nd season on April 28th and will continue Sundays through October 6th. There will be special concerts on July 4th and Labor Day. Check out this free performance for a fun-filled day for all. Click on the link for a variety of musical events. 
  • Belvedere Concerts in the Park offers free concerts with a vast musical repertoire, all-star ensembles, dancing, and enthusiastic performers. Get to Belvedere Park Gazebo for a great time. 

Take Me Out to the Ballgame: National Pastime on a National Holiday 

Nothing says “America” quite like baseball. Head on over to Oracle Park and cheer on the San Francisco Giants Labor Day weekend. Have an amazing time rooting for the Giants whether you’re a die-hard fan or new to the area, you won’t be disappointed.  

Toast to the Good Life in the Bay Area

Enjoy live music and entertainment for the Bay Area’s biggest and best – Millbrae Art & Wine Festival Labor Day weekend celebration. There will be talented artists and crafters, refreshing treats, wine, beer, champagne, and specialty drinks along Broadway. Stroll, browse, and relax with this end-of-summer celebration featuring two days of crowd-pleasing festivities. 

Cruise San Francisco Bay in Style 

Woman taking a picture of four women with Golden Gate Bridge in background.

Do something exciting and adventurous this Labor Day with a refreshing experience aboard a Labor Day Brunch Cruise. Send your summer off in style as you enjoy a two-hour brunch cruise. Delight in an American-style brunch buffet, free-flowing Champagne and beer, live background music, and the ultimate view of the San Francisco skylines and landmarks on this brunch cruise. 


Labor Day: Relax, Refresh, Recharge with City Cruises San Francisco 2024 

Labor Day weekend is a great time to get outside, take a little break from the stresses of life and work, and enjoy some well-deserved good old-fashioned fun with your family and friends. Soak in the best beaches in the Bay Area over the long weekend, vibe to some live music, stroll around a festival, and dive into the last weekend of summer with a dining cruise with City Cruises. You simply cannot go wrong with any of the events in and around town to make the most of your time off. It’s also a time to reflect upon the social and economic achievements of American workers and realize how far we have come. Work hard, and play harder with City Cruises San Francisco! 

city cruises boat on san francisco bay

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