10 Ways to Honor the Dream on Martin Luther King Day

Dreams, equality, friendship, solidarity and working together; these are all things that the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. taught us in his short life. Here are ten local celebrations that honor the life and legacy of Dr. King and his dream that will inspire your kids—and you, too.

KING1photo credit: Ash Crow via flickr

1. The California African American Museum is hosting their annual celebration that honors the legacy of Dr. King, beginning with their participation in the Kingdom Day Parade (see below). Then stay at the museum and celebrate with films, art workshops and live performances.  Event details.

2. Pretend City is celebrating Dr. King and his message of friendship and love by helping kiddos explore the big ideas and images surrounding Dr. King’s legacy. Kids create self portraits and engage in discussions that illustrate how we can all value and appreciate our differences. Event details.

3. Enjoy free admission to LACMA and then take in a tour, programs, art making activities and live music by Minyo Station, a Japanese group that celebrates world music and a message of global togetherness. Event details.

Ring in the “Noon” year at Kidspace with live music, streamers, sparkling cider, and a balloon drop as we celebrate the end of 2014 and beginning of 2015. Arrive early to make party hats and noisemakers, dance to the music of Clint Perry and the Boohoo Crew performing 11:30 am, and countdown to the “noon” year at 12:00 pm. Please plan to arrive early to ensure your child’s participation in the countdown, as admission lines get very long as we approach 12:00 noon.

photo credit: Kidspace Children’s Museum

4. Head over to Kidspace for a Cultural Diversity Day celebration. Honor Dr. King’s dream of bringing all kinds of people together by celebrating a variety of cultures with performances and activities from all over the world, including Maasai necklace making from East Africa, grape stomping, and an interactive Chinese storytelling experience. Event details.

5. In remembrance of the legacy of Dr. King, kids can visit the Zimmer Children’s Museum and share their own dreams for a better world. Event details.

Birthday Party Discount at the Zimmer

photo credit: Zimmer Children’s Museum

6. The Los Angeles Kingdom Day Parade is the largest parade in the country honoring the late Dr. King. There will be over 150 floats (more than the Rose Parade!) as well as marching bands, military units, dance groups and horses. After the parade you can join a day-long festival with music, dancing, delicious food and performances. Event details.

7. Grab a curbside seat for display of floats, marching bands and more at the Peace And Unity Parade in Long Beach. Following the parade is a celebration at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park. The afternoon kicks off with loads of live music, then you can visit Dreamland—an entire area dedicated to our youth to uphold the legacy of Dr. King, where there will be free carnival rides, arts & crafts booth, and another entertainment stage just for kids. Event details.


8. Storyteller Michael D. McCarty will present a program of stories from African American history and culture at Children’s Book World.  While you’re here, get some books to bring home about the great man.  Our two favorites are I Have A Dream by Martin Luther King, Jr., illustrated by Kadir Nelson (which comes with a CD of the speech) and My Daddy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., by Martin Luther King III (a book that resonated well with children). Event details.

9. At World City performances kids can learn more about the cultures which make up our “world city” of Los Angeles. The combination of unity and diversity makes the show a perfect way to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream. This weekend hear music from Africa with Ugandan musician Samite and the band H’Sao, a Montreal-based band originally from Chad. Event details.

It's Gehry, Gehry Good

photo credit: Disney Concert Hall

10.  Make Art for Social Justice at a family-friendly Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration, where kids will make wearable art and banners for a musical procession followed by food trucks and picnicking together on the lawn. Event details.

-Meghan Rose

What will your family do on MLK Day? We’d love to hear your plans in the comment section! And, if you’re looking for more things to do this weekend, don’t forget to check out our events calendar for the low-down on all the fun kids activities around town.