Before you know it, summer will fade into the beautiful Arizona horizon. Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 2) lets you savor the last precious moments of vacation season. Whether you crave just one more relaxing day by the pool or want to accompany the kids on an adventure before school gets into full swing, Labor Day weekend is your window of opportunity. To help you make the most of the holiday, we have gathered our favorite Labor Day weekend events in Greater Phoenix.
The 9th Annual Phoenix Cooks! will ignite your appetite on Saturday, Aug. 31, at Westin Kierland Resort and Spa. Phoenix Cooks! is a food-lover’s paradise, designed to make taste buds salivate and stomachs satisfied. For one day, the Valley’s best chefs convene to share tasty dishes that will intrigue your palate and broaden your culinary experience “” all while benefitting Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Tickets are $75 in advance and $90 at the door.
Spend the day or an afternoon tubing the Lower Salt River in the beautiful Tonto National Forest. Just minutes from Phoenix, the cool waters of the Salt River are the perfect complement to a hot, late-summer day. You can choose a two-, three- or five-hour trip along this mountain stream. The trips include float time and a shuttle-bus ride, weather and water flow permitting. Tube rentals and shuttle service are available seven days a week starting at 9 a.m. Costs is $17 per person/tube. The 2013 season for the Salt River begins to wind down after Labor Day with tubing reduced to only Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through the end of September.
Hotel Palomar will host its final hot yoga session of the summer on Labor Day. The class is led by a local instructor and held poolside on the hotel’s rooftop, with sweeping views of downtown Phoenix. Stay after the session to enjoy happy-hour food and drink specials at LUSTRE Rooftop Garden.
Celebrate the peak of the apple season all weekend with tree-ripened Red Delicious, Golden Delicious and Rome Beauty apples at Apple Annie’s Orchard. Experience the fun of picking your own fruit or select from already picked apples. Come early to enjoy a delicious, all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast served with hot apple topping or cider syrup. Breakfast is served each day from 7:30-10:30 a.m. Apple-wood-smoked burger lunches are served from 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Free wagon rides will take you to the orchards for picking. The orchard is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Admission to Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff is free on Labor Day for children under 18. The observatory will be open for kids activities such as science demonstrations, telescope viewing of the sun, grounds tours, and multimedia presentations. Don’t miss out on the last day of the Great Balls of Fire! exhibit when you visit.
Visit Wet ‘n’ Wild Phoenix on Labor Day weekend for family fun all day and all night long. In addition to the slides and attractions, the park will put on a fireworks display Saturday and Sunday evenings beginning at 9:30 p.m. The park will offer $17 off general admission to any guests who donate a 6-pack of socks to Packages From Home. Plus, current and active duty members of the U.S. military and first responders get in free all weekend.
Come to Queen Creek Olive Mill to enjoy live music by the Rocket 88s, grilled goodies, local craft beer on tap, and wine by the glass or bottle (with more than 200 labels available for purchase). You can enjoy wine tasting in the olive grove or peruse the marketplace for locally produced extra virgin olive oils, Balsamic vinegars, tapenades, stuffed olives, olive oil skin care, and a great selection of local foods. While you’re there, take an educational tour of the olive mill.