How to spend your Labor Day weekend in Atlanta

Labor Day weekend will soon be upon us, Atlanta. Representing the all-too-soon, unofficial end of summer.

A three-day grindstone sabbatical. A weekend that could otherwise be called "Gridlocalypse" due to all the events around the city.

 Start planning your weekend now with our guide to the area's holiday happenings.


Dragon Con: Sept. 1 - 4  (Downtown)Nerd out (and cosplay) all weekend long at the largest sci-fi/fantasy convention full of games, panel discussions, fan events and celebrity meet and greets with Hyatt Regency Atlanta as the center. Dragon Con has something for everyone's inner child from Star Wars to Doctor Who to anime to superheroes. Parking limited. MARTA encouraged.

RELATED: 4 best spots to view the Dragon Con parade in all its glory

AJC Decatur Book Festival: Sept. 1- 3

Atlanta Black Pride Weekend: Aug. 30 - Sept. 5

Join one of the largest Black Gay Pride events in the world. This year, events will take place all over the city, including symposium, seminars, social events, entertainment and signature events.

The Atlanta Weekender: Aug. 31- Sept. 4(4th Ward) A soulful dance party preamble to HITP (House in the Park, see above), The Atlanta Weekender allows music enthusiasts a chance to gather throughout the long weekend at various venues in the Edgewood district to shake it to their favorite and emerging artists in the genres of soul, house afrobeat and more. Passes start at $40.

The annual Sky High Hot Air Balloon Festival at Callaway Gardens will take place Labor Day weekend. FILE PHOTO

Sky High Hot Air Balloon Festival: Sept. 1 - 3(Callaway Gardens)

Starting Friday night with the Night Balloon Glow, spend Labor Day weekend hot air balloon-hopping (or viewing,) listening to live music, attending a classic car show or playing games at the beach. This festival guarantees a unique experience for everyone who attends, all under a brightly-colored, balloon-covered sky. Admission is per person, per day and based on age.  Tethered Balloon Rides are an additional $10 per person. For detailed pricing chart, click here

Stone Mountain Labor Day Weekend: Sept. 2 - 4Grab your picnic basket, lawn chairs and frisbee and head to Stone Mountain for a weekend of rock climbing, hiking and sun-worshipping. Stay for the famous mountain-side laser show, followed by a special fireworks display.

MORE: 5 ideas for getting away on Labor Day weekend

Art in the Park: Sept. 2- 4  (Marietta) Art in the Park is a fine arts festival featuring artists and photographers from around the country. Shop the artist market, let your kids get creative in the children's art alley or take an historic walking tour of Marietta Square. Daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. Free deck and street parking.

Chick-fil-A College Football Kickoff games: Sept. 2 and Sept. 4 Say goodbye to summer and hello to the start of college football! Celebrate the South's other religion with fan events and a visit to the College Football Hall of Fame before heading to the big game. The Alabama Crimson Tide will take on the Florida Seminoles at 8 p.m. Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets will face the Tennessee Volunteers at 8 p.m. Monday. Tickets from the site are all sold out, but tickets and MVP packages are available at PrimeSpot, a ticket exchange and hospitality provider.

Check out the several fan events before the game at the Georgia World Congress Center and the International Plaza. Pay for parking in advance using Parking Panda or take Marta. 


Dragon Con parade What could beat the rabid fandom of college football? The equally devoted Dragon Con participants. Join the throngs of fans, families and the curious along the nearly one-mile route down Peachtree Street for the most spectacular, fantasy-laden people-watching ever. Parade begins at 10 a.m. Early arrival recommended for optimal viewing. Parking limited. Use MARTA. Attending Dragon Con? Here's how to survive.


Lowcountry boil and pig roast Pay homage to summer and the South with Oak Steakhouse and Colletta in Alpharetta at their low country boil and pig roast. Head over to Avalon's Palmer Plaza from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. for a night of live music and enjoy a pigroast along with a variety of special sides, desserts and cocktails. There will be a bounce house, bocce ball, cornhole and face painting for all to enjoy, especially the kids. $40 for adults. $20 for kids(ages 6 to 12). Oak Steakhouse and Colletta, 950 3rd Street, Alpharetta.

House in the Park  Join DJ Ramon Rawsoul and a host of local, regional and international DJs and artists in Grant Park from noon to 8 p.m. for an all-day, house music extravaganza. Free. Parking limited. Use MARTA. 537 Park Avenue Southeast, Atlanta


Big Peach Sizzler 10K An Atlanta Labor Day tradition, this 10K course from Chamblee to Buckhead raises funds for cystic fibrosis research while securing a Peachtree Road Race qualifying time. Celebrate your finish at the big, post-race bash featuring food, music and freebies. Lace up your running shoes and be ready to race for a cause at 7:30 a.m. $50 race fee before September 1 and $55 after.

Labor Day dining options

The Iberian Pig Dine on Spanish tapas and charcuterie while sipping sangria at this Decatur staple before, during or after the book festival.

Pittypat's Porch Say goodbye to summer and peach season at this  downtown  Atlanta institution with a peach margarita and a plate of fried chicken.

Shake Shack Head to Buckhead's Shack and inhale their elusive "Shack-cago Dog" with a side of cheese fries. Finish your meal off with a "Pecan Pie Oh My Concrete" (frozen vanilla custard and H&F pecan pie.)

Bantam + Biddy  Ansley, Lenox and Avalon are all open regular hours. Visit the Ansley location for $3 tacos on Monday nights. 

Headed downtown for DragonCon? Check out the full scope of the area’s best attractions and downtown restaurants, like Der Biergarten , Max's Coal Oven Pizzeriaand more, with our AJC guide to Downtown Atlanta. 

Marlow's Tavern will keep its doors open at all 14 metro Atlanta locations on Labor Day to serve up their hearty American fare.

Revival in Decatur will be open for dinner from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday serving up supper family-style with dishes inspired by chef Kevin Gillespie's southern family tree.

Why grill out? Smokebelly BBQ in Buckhead will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. for barbecue, sweet tea and cold brews.

The Big Ketch Saltwater Grill in Buckhead has got your seafood cravings covered from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m with live music throughout the evening on their covered deck.

 Time for oysters, barbecue and cocktails on the patio at The Pig & The Pearl. Open 11:30 a.m.  over Labor Day weekend.

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