Where: Hyatt Regency Atlanta, Atlanta Marriott Marquis, Hilton Atlanta, Sheraton Atlanta, and Westin Peachtree Plaza
When: September 1-4
Cost: $10-$140, depending on day or membership
Details: Nerds, unite. It’s that time of the year when more than 70,000 fans pack the streets of downtown dressed as their favorite characters. Keep an eye out for celebrities such as Star Trek‘s William Shatner, Star Wars’ Peter Mayhew, Mario’s Charles Martinet, and Big Hero 6‘s Scott Adsit who will be attending, signing autographs, and holding panels. Saturday will hold the largest events, including the Dragon Con Parade and Dragon Con Night at Georgia Aquarium.
Decatur Book Festival
Where: Decatur Square
When: September 1-3
Details: What bookworm wouldn’t want to spend a long weekend attending book signings, author readings, poetry slams, and writing workshops at the largest independent book festival in the country? Bestselling authors and world-renowned authors will be at the event, including Southern cuisine novelist John T. Edge, Georgia Public Broadcast host Celeste Headlee, and The Best of Us author Joyce Maynard. This year’s keynote focuses on the role of journalism in today’s political climate, with a panel including a New York Times editor and a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter.
Lanier Islands Labor Day Weekend Celebration
Where: Lanier Islands
When: September 1-4
Cost: $15 for Sunset Cove and beach access. $31-$42 for LanierWorld access.
Details: There’s nothing like spending Labor Day on the lake. Throughout the weekend, Lanier Islands will hold a low-country boil, a seafood buffet, live DJs, a screening of Grease, and two nights of lakeside fireworks.
Oak Steakhouse Labor Day Pig Out
Where: Oak Steakhouse
When: September 3, 5-8pm
Cost: $40 for adults, $20 for kids
Details: At this all-you-can-eat feast, held by Colletta chef Jason Stern and Oak Steakhouse chef Stuart Rogers, you can pig out on backyard barbecue favorites such as brisket, ribs, mac and cheese, potato salad, and blueberry cobbler, and play lawn games on Avalon’s Palmer Plaza.
Goo Goo Dolls and Phillip Phillips
Where: Chastain Park Amphitheatre
When: September 4, 7:30 p.m.
Details: You do still remember all the words to “Iris,” right? Bring your cooler to the first open table you can find, crack open a cold one, and watch the ’90s pop-rockers and American Idol winner play Chastain Park as part of their “Long Way Home” tour.
Stone Mountain Labor Day Weekend
Where: Stone Mountain Park
When: September 2-4
Details: The park’s Lasershow now features drones synced to new music, animations, and water effects, plus extended fireworks for Labor Day weekend. Let the kids burn off energy at the nation’s largest adventure course or explore plenty of dinosaur attractions.
Chick-fil-A Kickoff Games
Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium
When: Alabama vs. Florida State, September 2. Georgia Tech vs. Tennessee, September 4.
Cost: Alabama vs. Florida State, starting from $360. Georgia Tech vs. Tennessee, starting from $84.
Details: No, it’s not the Super Bowl just yet, but Mercedes-Benz is getting some high-intensity action for its college football debut. Coming off a loss in the championships last year, No. 1 Alabama will take on No. 3 Florida State and unranked Georgia Tech will face No. 25 Tennessee.
Atlanta Black Gay Pride Weekend
Where: Various locations
When: August 30—September 4
Details: It began as informal house parties and eventually grew into what it is now: the largest black gay pride celebration in the world. For its 21st year, dozens of parties, workshops, and seminars will be held at clubs throughout Atlanta.
Sky High Hot Air Balloon Festival
Where: Callaway Gardens
When: September 1-3
Cost: Free for children 5 or younger, $15 for children 6-12, $25 for seniors 65 or older, $30 for adults
Details: Spend an evening watching glowing hot air balloons soar into the night sky—or better yet, step into your own basket. The Callaway Gardens will hold balloon-related events throughout Labor Day weekend, including meet and greets with the balloon pilots, fireworks, a screening of Disney’s Up, and live music. Tethered hot air balloon rides are available—just pray the weather will play nice.
Taste of Soul Atlanta
Where: 10 Northside Drive, Atlanta
When: September 2-3
Cost: Free for festival, $39 for 5K, $50 for art and drink mingle, $85-$135 for concert
Details: It’s a two-day family festival through some of Atlanta’s most historic neighborhoods. Push yourself in a 5K through Atlanta’s Westside, enjoy plenty of Southern food while listening to live music from a large lineup, including former American Idol contestant Frenchie Davis and R&B artist Ricco Barrino, and join ARTTOSA—an art and drink mingle at Castleberry Hill.
House in the Park
Where: Grant Park
When: September 3, 12-8 p.m.
Details: 15,000 people are expected to descend on Grant Park—all gathering to celebrate house music with four local DJs: Kai Alce, Kemit, Salah Ananse, and Ramon Rawsoul.
Big Peach Sizzler 10K
Where: Chamblee MARTA Station, 5200 New Peachtree Road
When: September 4, 7:30 a.m.
Details: It’s an Atlanta Labor Day tradition—and for a good cause. Run 6.2 miles through Chamblee, Brookhaven, and end at Buckhead Station to a post-race party including music, food, giveaways, even massages. Proceeds are donated to Miles for Cystic Fibrosis, which helps cystic fibrosis families in need and supports research for a cure.
Art in the Park
Where: Marietta Square
When: September 2-4, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Details: Since 1986, Art in the Park has been a tradition that gathers artists from around the country. More than 45,000 people are expected to gather to view works of more than 100 graphic art, photography, pottery, jewelry, and woodworking artists. Be sure to bring the young ones to the Chalk Spot, where children will have 3-square-feet spaces to show off their skills.