Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is Monday, January 15.  No school for this important holiday means your kids have a chance to honor and explore Dr. King’s inspiring legacy through family activities. Read on for the best MLK happenings!

photo: MSI Black Creativity Innovation Studio

Museum of Science and Industry’s Black Creativity Innovation Studio
Celebrate science on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, with the Museum of Science and Industry’s newest exhibit, Black Creativity innovation Studio. Learn how African-Americans are remaking Chicago and inspiring the next generation by discovering scientists, engineers, tech professionals and healthcare leaders transforming our city. You’ll also have the chance to show your inventive genius when you turn everyday materials into solutions for bigger challenges using design thinking and the innovation process. Design your own prototype and test it out in the studio.

Jan. 15-Feb. 21; 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Cost: Free for IL residents
Museum of Science and Industry
5700 S. Lake Shore Dr.
Hyde Park

Chicago Sinfonietta’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Tribute Concert: Ask Your Mama
Chicago Sinfonetta’s MLK Tribute Concert, a cherished Sinfonietta tradition since its founding in 1987 by Dr. Paul Freeman, celebrates the life, legacy and vision of Dr. King through a diverse program featuring symphonic masterworks and gospel music. This year’s performance includes words penned in 1960 by Langston Hughes that still resonate as if written by a lyricist today, amplified by a cast including orchestra, opera, jazz vocals, spoken word, and archival audio samples. Grammy award-winning Ask Your Mama is the single epic, multi-media jazz/symphonic composition that will mark our 30th anniversary MLK Tribute concert.

Jan. 14; 3 p.m.
Wentz Concert Hall
North Central College
171 E. Chicago Ave.

Jan. 15; 7:30 p.m.
Orchestra Hall of Symphony Center
220 S. Michigan Ave.

Cost: $10-$99

photo: courtesy of Rowland Scherman

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at the Chicago History Museum
Commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Chicago History Museum’s day-long family event. The Writers Theatre will present The MLK Project: The Fight for Civil Rights, see a performance by the Chicago Chamber Choir and little ones can learn more about Dr. King’s legacy of peace and justice with storytelling and crafts.

Jan. 15; 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Cost: Free of IL residents
Chicago History Museum
1601 N. Clark St.
Lincoln Park

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: Say it Loud at the Art Institute of Chicago 
Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by bringing his message to life through art. Raise your voice in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy through storytelling, art making and reflecting on the past . . .and imagine what you can do to enhance our future together, Join artists, storytellers, and families from around Chicago for this day of creativity, justice, and peace. Hearing poets ages 9-14 from the award-winning Reborn Poetry Ensemble perform original work in tribute to Dr. King and engaging in a teen-led conversation will have you experiencing the museum’s collection in new and unexpected ways.

Jan. 15; 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
Cost: Admission to Ryan Education Center and to the museum is always free for ages 14 & under
Art Institute of Chicago
111 S. Michigan Ave.
Grant Park

chi-childrens-mlkphoto: Chicago Children’s Museum

What Does It Mean, Dr. King? at the Chicago Children’s Museum
What Does It Mean, Dr. King? is a musical that invites families to investigate the Civil Rights movement. Little ones will be asked what they would have done if faced with some of the situations that took place during the Civil Rights Movement, including the Montgomery bus boycott, the integration of a New Orleans elementary school by six-year-old Ruby Bridges and the March on Washington where Dr. King delivered his iconic I Have a Dream speech. At the end of the 20-minute show, kids can write their own letter to King, sharing what they’ve learned and asking questions of their own.

Jan. 15; 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m. & 3 p.m.
Cost: Free with museum admission ($14/children & adults; free for ages 1 & under)
Chicago Children’s Museum
700 E. Grand Ave.
Navy Pier

Celebration at DuSable Museum of African American History
Home to hundreds of artifacts from the Civil Rights Movement, Chicago’s DuSable Museum of African American History celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a day dedicated to his life and lasting impact.


Jan. 15; check link for more details as they’re released
Cost: $10/adults; $3/ages 6-11; free for ages 5 & under
740 E. 56th Pl.
South Side

What do you plan to do on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day? Let us know in the Comments section below.

— Amy Bizzarri