Please click this link for the original post in full by Rachel Hartman for US News. (Although we originally published this piece in 2018, we are republishing it in 2019 since it still offers some good free options in 2019.)
AS YOU PREPARE FOR Labor Day weekend, you’ll find a plethora of activities to choose from throughout the country. However, many of these events come with a steep price tag. To avoid overspending during the holiday, plan what you want to do ahead of time. With some research, you’ll be able to find plenty of free activities to make the most of the final days of summer. Here are some ideas to help you enjoy Labor Day weekend that won’t cost a dime.
Take a walk. Whether it’s around the block or on a local trail, spending some time moving is good for your long-term health. “Walking helps the heart to function properly and keeps blood vessels pliable to protect against arterial damage,” says David Nico, a health care strategist and wellness coach. If you’re starting out, talk to a doctor to get the green light on exercise. Then use Labor Day as a time to kick-start a walking program. “Just a 30-minute walk, three times a week, provides enough ‘brain food’ to prevent brain shrinkage,” Nico says.
[Read: Bargain Ways to Visit National Parks.]
Catch a free concert. From classical to jazz and country or rock, most regions offer special music events during the Labor Day holiday. Check on times and available seating before you go, as you may need to bring your own chair or blanket. Also find out if drinks and snacks are allowed. You may be able to dine while you watch the show.
House sit. If you want to be a tourist but don’t want to spend your travel budget, look for house-sitting opportunities. “From New York to Europe, Labor Day will find dog owners desperate for house and pet sitters,” says Elizabeth Avery, founder of Solo Trekker 4 U. Check house-sitting websites to see what’s available in your area.
Take in a local parade. Many communities hold a parade during the morning hours of Labor Day. If you live in a warm climate, bring plenty of bottled water, sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat or umbrella. Also pack comfortable chairs and go early to get a good spot.
Soak in a festival. From local food samples to music and games, many cities provide special events throughout Labor Day weekend. Check the starting times and prices, as some festivals include charges and some are free. To avoid the crowds and heat, plan to go early. If you opt to arrive later and linger, carpool with friends who can drive if you don’t want to go behind the wheel during the evening hours.
[Read: 25 Things to Do When You Retire.]
Get ready to head south. If you live in the north but plan to spend the winter in the south, take advantage of the warm weather to get your home ready for your absence. Invite children or grandchildren over to help clean debris from the gutters. Then prepare the outdoor water system for the cold. “Disconnect your water hose from the outdoor spigot,” says Doyle James, president of Mr. Rooter Plumbing. If you leave it connected, the hose can freeze, expand and cause indoor pipes to burst. Then shut off the water valves for outdoor spigots and drain water from the outdoor water lines. “Check outdoor faucets for drips and leaks,” James says.