We’re lucky to live so close to dozens of historical sights and monuments. So this year, make Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 16) more than just a day off of school or work. From ceremonies and parades to service opportunities perfect for the whole family, we’ll help you celebrate the man and commemorate the day.

6314757763_ee34a931a3_zPhoto: Mark Haller via Flickr

Wreath Laying at MLK Memorial
We can’t think of a better day to visit the MLK Memorial. Find a park ranger to learn more about King’s role in the civil rights movement and reflect upon some important pieces of our history. Get there at 8 am for a wreath laying ceremony and then make your way to the Lincoln Memorial to see another important spot in King’s life. The National Park Service is commemorating the day by offering free admission to all National Park’s so for the rest of your day, the sky’s the limit!

When: Wreath Laying at 8 am–8:30 am
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial
Independence Ave., SW & West Basin Dr. SW
Online: nps.gov/mlkm

MLK Jr. Parade
Part parade, part peace walk, the event in Anacostia usually includes a marching band and representatives from a number of local communities.

When: Parade begins at 11 am
Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE and Milwaukee Place SE, Washington DC (Anacostia)
Online: mlkholidaydc.org

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade
Whether Baltimore is a closer drive or you’re looking for something slightly out of town, check out Baltimore’s parade. More than 50 different bands, dance squads, civic organizations and more gather to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. along the streets of Baltimore.

When: Parade begins at 12 pm
Online: promotionandarts.org

A Tribute to Dr. King
Songs and stories come together in this celebration of King’s legacy which ends with everyone assembled making a mutual commitment to reconciliation. While not necessarily a great choice for little-little ones, the stories, songs, and theme of reconciliation offer important perspective for older kids, and for yourself.

When: 2 pm– 4 pm
National Cathedral
Online: cathedral.org

Fairfax Give Together
In 1994, MLK Day was designated as a day of service. Volunteering for your local community is a fantastic way to honor Dr. King’s life and work. Head to Fairfax for a number of volunteer activities designed for elementary age school children and families Opportunities include fleece blanket tying for veterans, Valentines cards for foster kids, and braided doggie chew toys.

When: All day – various shifts available
Fairfax, Va
Online: volunteerfairfax.org

MLK Day Community Art Activity
Get a head start on the day and participate in a community art project. Since it will take about an hour to get here, spend some time after your art is complete to tour the center’s exhibits. All of them are free throughout the weekend.

When: Jan. 14-Jan. 16
Dowel, Md
Online: annmariegarden.org

How will you commemorate MLK Day this year? Tell us in the comments below. 

–Tricia Mirchandani