Honoring the American labor movement, Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer. Get in one last hurrah with a trip to a city that has made major contributions in regard to knowledge, productivity, innovation and the economy. When you charter a flight to one of the following destinations, you’ll notice how hundreds of years of geographic, demographic, religious, political and industrial development shaped them into what they are today.
Labor Day Destinations: Cities that Shaped America
Founded as “la Ville d’Etroit” (the City at the Straits) in 1701, Detroit is one of the oldest cities in the Midwest. It was once a strategic trading post that was often compared to Paris because of its stunning architecture and picturesque parks. The evolution into Motor City put Detroit on the map, making it one of the largest metropolitan areas in the country. In addition to being the home of Motown, the city is also a major steel producer and has one of the busiest ports in the world.
During your stay, visit the Detroit Institute of Arts to see art created during the last five millennia. The Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History, the largest museum of its kind, features exhibits and presentations about the black experience in America.
A major metropolis with a capitol building and Major League Baseball stadium, Denver distinguishes itself with impressive snow-peaked mountains serving as a backdrop. A hub for engineering services, the “Mile High City” transitioned from being an old western cowboy town to a modern city that enjoyed oil and energy revenues in the 1960s and -70s. Thanks to development, modernization and a relatively stable economy, Denver has attracted many major national corporations.
During your trip to Denver, stop by Larimer Square, the oldest street in the city. It traded its rough edges for upscale restaurants and shopping. It’s also a party district with an active nightlife. The Denver Museum of Nature & Science is the largest natural history museum in the western part of the country. It features more than 775,000 objects and a planetarium. See unique works at the Denver Art Museum, whose building is an architectural masterpiece. Here, you’ll find art by John DeAndrea, Claude Monet, and Charles Dean, as well as pre-Columbian and Native American art.
St. Louis, Missouri
The “Gateway to the West,” St. Louis is an aircraft manufacturing hub where explorers Lewis and Clark stopped for provisions during their famous journey west. The city’s ideal location where the Mississippi and Missouri rivers meet facilitated rapid growth in the 1800s, making it a center for finance and government. St. Louis University and Washington University make the city a leader in social and scientific research.
Wander the amazing Cathedral of St. Louis to see a collection of mosaics across its walls, ceilings, and domes. Then catch a show at Forest Park’s Muny Opera, the largest and oldest outdoor musical theater in the country. Housing a celebrated collection of 19th-century American art, the world-famous St. Louis Art Museum features the early works of many famous painters.
With a rich past, Boston bursts with Yankee pride and a bright present. As a hub for higher education, culture, and American history, it’s a city with many stories to tell. The treasure trove of Americana blends its historic charm with modern vitality, just as its cobblestone streets complement the contemporary architecture.
Catch the last blossoms of the season at the 28-acre Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, which was established in 1872. The bonsai and penjing collection at the arboretum’s Larz Andreson Collection of Japanese Dwarfed Trees features several specimens that are more than 100 years old. Catch a game at Fenway Park and cheer on the Red Sox as they battle for a spot in the World Series. Then window-shop at the three-block-long Faneuil Hall Marketplace, or Quincy Market, whose shops and cafés are housed in structures designed in 1826 by Alexander Parris.