On the heels of returning to school from a long holiday vacation comes Martin Luther King, Jr. Day—yet another holiday and another day off work and school for many (let freedom ring!). Instead of hanging at home or spending the day plugged in, remember the iconic civil rights leader by reflecting and serving. Here are 10 ways to commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. King, guaranteed to inspire your kids—and you, too.

northwest african american museum

photo: Northwest African American Museum Facebook page

1. Take the fam to the Northwest African American Museum to learn about the legacy of Dr. King and his “I Have a Dream” speech.

2. Garfield High School will host a slew of events honoring Dr. King. Enjoy family workshops and then a special rally and march to Westlake Park.

3. Did someone say free admission? In celebration of Dr. King’s legacy, the Washington State History Museum is offering free admission all day long.

Washinton State History Museum

photo: Jeff C. via Yelp

4. In honor of Dr. King and his legacy of service, observe the day by giving back to the community. That’s right! Put on your rubber boots and raincoat and help collect litter along the Interurban Trail. Trash bags will be provided.

5. Join hundreds of other families at the City of Tacoma’s signature event – the 27th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration – to celebrate Jan. 19 as a day on, not a day off. The event will include a performance by the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts with spoken word vignettes, dance, shadow play and historic images.

6. Volunteer with the Nature Consortium and help restore an important habitat in Seattle’s largest remaining forest. After the work party, stick around for a post-event celebration featuring live music, refreshments, and art activities in the park.


 photo: USACE HQ via Flickr Creative Commons

7. Celebrates Dr. King’s role in the environmental justice movement by exploring one of our state’s three National Parks for free!

8. If you can’t make it to a National Park, enjoy a Washington State park for free. In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Discover Passes will not be required to visit.

9. Help spruce up Tacoma’s parks alongside other volunteers and give back to the community through a day of service. After, head over to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium to check out the many indoor exhibits.

urban forest restoration

photo: Brietta Tatro

10. Start your morning off with the 3rd  Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast. Hear from former Mayor of Seattle Norman Rice and the award-winning University Presbyterian Church Gospel Choir and see who wins this year’s Mountaintop Awards.

What do you and your family plan to do on MLK Day? Tell us about your plans in the Comments below. 

—Kristina Moy