Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

do Americans celebrate Columbus Day

Today is Monday October 9th and it’s a national holiday in the United States. It’s Columbus Day!

In today’s episode we’ll find out how Americans spend Columbus Day. Is it a big holiday? Does everyone have the day off work?

How can you find out which restaurants and shops are open and which ones are closed?

You’ll find out all of this today.

Let’s start with a listener question:

Hi Lindsay! I’m from Brazil, I live in São Paulo. Have you ever been here? Well, I’m a huge fan of All Ears English podcast! Congrats!

I have a question for you and Michelle. It’s not about the English language itself, but regarding American culture. What happens in your country on Columbus Day? Is that a big holiday? Are there any parades in the cities? Are the stores and restaurants opened?

I’ll be in Miami in October, and I accept suggestions on what to do on this day.  🙂

I’m pregnant, so please don’t suggest any crazy thing. hahahahaha

Thank you a lot!!!!!

Carolina Velloso


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What is Columbus Day?

It’s national holiday that commemorates when Columbus came to the US on October 12, 1492.

It’s always the Second Monday in October.

It’s a controversial holiday.

Many people get the day off work but not everyone. It depends on the workplace or the institution.

There is a parade in NY.



Are most stores open?

In my mind, Columbus Day does not get the attention that Christmas, Easter, New Years Day get—also not Memorial Day or Labor Day.

This holiday always seems more minor to me.

I imagine that most businesses are open.


Things to remember:

-We don’t really wish people a “Happy Columbus Day”

-Some places may close for this holiday.

– There aren’t any specific traditions but many people make it a long weekend if they have the Monday off. If people live in a place where the leaves change then they might escape into nature to observe the foliage. This is one of the peak travel weekends in New England states like Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.


When you are traveling, how to find out about something on a holiday:

If you are calling a place to ask: Excuse me, do you stay open on _________?, Excuse me, what are your hours on____________?

If you are at a hotel: Excuse me, do you know of any events going on for Columbus Day? I’d like to see how it’s celebrated around here!

Asking a local: So what’s ____________ like around this area? I want to be part of the celebration! Where is the best place to go to celebrate _________________? Are there any special parties happening for _____________ in town?



It’s mostly not a huge holiday.

States celebrate it differently. We are not sure about Florida and how it celebrates!

There are parades in some places.

Some places don’t observe, some celebrate.

Some places are off, some aren’t!

There are not many set rules.

Feel free to practice your English when you are in the US and ask. Use the phrases that we gave you above.

You could even call ahead to help you plan!

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