This weekend is nice and long (didn’t we just get the kids back to school?) to celebrate Martin Luther King Day and it’s a great time dream big dreams and celebrate big ideas.  In addition to super suggestions for honoring Dr. King with your family, we’ve got dreams in the form of music, books, inventions, building on the beach and even celebrating the lunar New Year.  Be outside, be inside, and be our guest as you explore, create and have fun.



Hip Hop Meets Classical
Run D.M.C. meets Rachmaninoff with Black Violin, who manages to merge their classical music training with their love of hip-hop seamlessly.  This music is unlike anything you’ve heard, and kids will adore it (you will too!). Sat, 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Downtown. Free. Ages 3 and up. Event details.

A Celebration of Dr. King & Nelson Mandela
These two pillars of peace went from jails to justice, and today is a chance to honor the legacy of these two great men, and learn about the time each spent in LA.  Experience music, theater and dance performances all afternoon. Sun, 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. Exposition Park. Free. All ages. Event details.

Pasadena Area

Lunar New Year Festival
Ring in the Year of the Horse at the Pacific Asia with lion dancing, taiko drumming, Taekwondo, Vietnamese and Korean dancing, a theater company and more. Sat., 11 a.m. Pasadena. Free. All ages. Event details.


Meet Bad Kitty
It’s time to “Meet the Author” of the popular Bad Kitty books, and see a drawing demonstration. There will also be a face painter to give fans kitty faces. Fri., 4 p.m. West LA. Free. Ages 6-10. Event details.

Ethiopian Rock at the Getty
Rooted in tradition and soaked with attitude, Krar Collective bases its repertoire on traditional Ethiopian songs using a rock beat.  The Getty’s gorgeous auditorium is the perfect place to see this unique show. Sat. & Sun., Various times. West LA. Free. All ages. Event details.

Cirque du Soleil’s Totem
The Big Top is back at the Pier!  This mind-boggling Cirque creation traces the journey of the human species from its original amphibian state to its ultimate desire to fly. Fri. – Sun., Various times. Santa Monica. $50-$150.  Ages 5 and up. Event details.

Build a Snow, er, Sand Man
We may not get snow, but Los Angeles is never without sand!  So spend a day at the beach building “snowmen” out of sand. You might learn a little too… Sat., 11 p.m. – 12 p.m. Malibu. Free.  All ages 5. Event details.

South Bay

Underwater Parks Day
It’s a celebration Ariel would approve of – a day to celebrate underwater parks. Our celebration site of choice is Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, but there are plenty of other places in the Southland to visit, if you want to find a spot near you.   Sat., 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. San Pedro. Free. All ages. Event details.

Ben’s Electric B-Day Celebration
The Printing Museum invites you to come celebrate Founding Father Ben Franklin’s birthday with cake & punch, making your own Almanac “the 18th century way” and hand printing your own Colonial keepsakes using antique type and printing presses. Sat., 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Carson. $8. Ages 4 and up. Event details.

Worth the Drive

Beauty and the Beast
It’s Disney’s classic-movie-turned-classic-stage show, and a long weekend is the perfect time to take a drive and catch the musical with unforgettable characters, lavish sets and costumes, and totally sing-able songs. Fri. – Sun., Various times. Costa Mesa. $29-$99. Ages 4 and up. Event details.

Bonus Monday Holiday Event:

The Kingdom Day Parade
This 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. Mon., 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Leimert Park. Free. All ages. Event details.

What have you dreamed up for this weekend?  Share your plans with us in the comments.

-Meghan Rose

Photo credits: Mel5545 via Creative Commons and the Pacific Asia Museum.