Martin Luther King, Jr. is an inspiration for us all. Share his spirit with your kids and motivate them to make change in their own world by attending one of these events where you can hear his words and do good as he would have done. Spend the day off school in a way they will not soon forget!

 photo: Rowland Scherman via Wikimedia Commons

San Francisco

MLK Freedom March and Celebration
Walk side by side with thousands in commemorating the Selma to Montgomery, Alabama marches as well as the Voting Rights Act of 1965 with a march from San Francisco’s Caltrain station to the Yerba Buena Gardens. This year’s theme is “The Urgency of Now.”

This 1.5 mile journey heads over the Lefty O’Doul Bridge, stopping at Willie Mays Plaza at AT&T Park, mirroring the crossing of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma which symbolized both violence and victory in the civil rights movement.

When: Mon., Jan. 15, 11 a.m
Where: March begins at Caltrain Station at 4th and King.
Most activities in and around Yerba Buena Gardens at 750 Howard St., San Francisco, CA


MLK Volunteer Day of Service at the Presidio
Commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day by taking care of the Presidio. This event will feature habitat, forest, and garden stewardship projects in and around the Presidio’s Fort Scott District. All ages are welcome. Registration is required.

When: Mon., Jan. 15, 9 a.m.– 1 p.m.
Where: Fort Scott Field, 1299 Storey Ave., San Francisco

photo: Erik Hersman via Flickr

Free Museum Admission and Activities at MOAD
Take the family to MoAD—Museum of the African Diaspora and make a day of honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Not only is admission free to the museum, but so are programs throughout the day. There will also be film, art and musical performances to commemorate the importance of free speech and diverse communities. Through art, get the kids reflecting on their dreams, personal heroes and telling their stories.

When: Mon., Jan. 15, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
Where: 685 Mission St., San Francisco, CA

Dreaming a World in Story and Song at the Jewish Museum 
In celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. and his dreams for a better world, come for family time that rejoices in stories and songs from a myriad of cultures. Storyteller Muriel Johnson will take you on an amazing journey into other places and possibilities, while you gather within the exhibition Jewish Folktales Retold: Artist as Maggid.

When: Sun., Jan. 14, 11:30 a.m.–12 p.m.
Where: 736 Mission St., San Francisco, CA
Cost: $14/adults; children 18 and under are free (museum admission)

photo: Anthony Lopez via Flickr

East Bay

Perk up the Park District’s Memorial Grove and Marsh
Looking to inspire service in the smalls, you can start right here at the East Bay Park District at the MLK Jr. Regional Shoreline. This is their 10th annual Day of Service and they continue to hope people from all backgrounds will gather to further Dr. King’s visions: solidarity, improving lives, our country and closing the gap on social inequalities. You’ll spend the day restoring the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Grove and Damon marsh by cleaning and removing invasive plants so that wildlife and their natural habitat can improve.  Wear comfy, weather appropriate clothes. Register for the event online

When: Mon., Jan. 15, 8:30 a.m.–noon.
Where: MLK Jr. Damon Marsh, access from Oakport St.

Oratorical Festival and Poetry Slam
San Leandro students will perform original or well-known speach, essay or poem honoring MLK, Jr. and celebrating his message of peace, tolerance and social justice.

When: Mon., Jan. 15, 10:30 a.m.
Where: Senior Community Center, 13909 E. 14th St., San Leandro, CA

photo: Congregation Shir Hadash

Peninsula/South Bay

Mitzvah Day
Participate in a variety of projects for the benefit of local communities, including making and serving meals to the homeless, making blankets for those in need, park clean-up and more. Registration required.

When: Sun., Jan. 14, event times vary
Where: Shir Hadash, 20 Cherry Blossom Lane, Los Gatos, CA. Also, throughout the nearby community.

Ride The MLK Celebration Train
With stops in San Jose, Palo Alto and San Mateo, you can ride this free train to San Francisco to get to the MLK Day celebration. Free tickets include a return trip ticket. To snag free train tickets, head here.

When: Mon., Jan. 15, 9:45 a.m. (San Jose), 10:05 a.m. (Palo Alto) and 10:20 a.m. (San Mateo)
Where: San Jose, Palo Alto and San Mateo Caltrain stations


photo: jpellgen via Flickr

North Bay/Marin

Gospel Music Celebration and Community Soul Food Potluck
Start with a soul food potluck (seafood gumbo provided, guests are asked to bring a soul food side dish to share) and follow with gospel music and conversation.

When: Sat., Jan. 13. 7 p.m.
Where: Unity in Marin, 600 Palm Dr., Novato, CA

Muir Beach Habitat Restoration
Coho salmon are counting on you at this day of to-do’s. Improve their habitat, and spruce up the surrounding shores through planting and weeding.

When: Mon., Jan. 15, 10 a.m.–1 p.m.
Where: Muir Beach, CA

Stinson Beach Cleanup
A day of service, and a day at the beach, perfect win-win! Keep our Cali coastline pristine by pitching in today. All ages are welcome, but the under 15 crowd needs to be accompanied by an adult. Meet by the beach entrance on the northern end of the middle parking lot.  Special note: this event is on Sunday! Register for the event online

When: Mon., Jan.15, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Where: Stinson Beach, CA

How will your family give back on MLK day?  Let us know which community service project you picked!

–Kate Loweth, Meghan Kalkstein, Amber Guetebier and Erin Feher