Bring everyone out this holiday weekend to pay homage to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and celebrate his inspirational legacy with music, art, dance, and service. From museums and parades to symphonies and tree planting, there is a little something for all ages to remember this important man and his dedication to diversity and love.
2020 MLK Celebration at California African American Museum
On Mon., Jan. 20, celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day and commemorate the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 at the California African American Museum. Kids can participate in art workshops, visit the museum’s exhibitions, and hear recitations of King’s speeches about keeping the spirit of democracy alive. Event details.
35th Annual Kingdom Day Parade
Bring your young leaders out on Mon. Jan. 20 to this annual parade (which happens to be the largest parade in the nation) in celebration of Dr. King. The parade route begins at Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. and Western and runs to Crenshaw and Vernon in Leimert Park. The celebration will include marching bands, drill teams, local organizations, and lots of floats. This year’s theme is “Equality For All Humanity, Our Next Step.” Event details.
Peace and Unity Parade and Celebration
If you want to catch a parade on the weekend, grab your camping chairs and head down to Long Beach for a front row seat for the annual Peace and Unity Parade and Celebration, taking place Sat., Jan. 18. The route begins at Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave. and Anaheim St. and ends at Martin Luther King Jr. Park for an afternoon music festival. Free parking and shuttles are available to get you to and from the parade. Event details.
Kidspace Children’s Museum: Kindness Rocks!
Join the Pasadena-based museum in celebrating all things MLK, taking place, not just on the weekend but on Mon., too (they’re usually closed!). Celebrate the message of Martin Luther King, Jr. as a community, by spending the day working together. Event details.
City Plants Tree Planting
Grab your mini gardeners (and some closed-toed shoes) and head to Dodger-Stadium-adjacent Elysian Park to honor both MLK Day and Tu B’Shvat or the Jewish New Year of Trees. The LA Department of Recreation along with City Parks and LA Conservation Corps will be hosting a family-friendly volunteer tree-planting event with hopes to add 70 new trees to the park by days end! Event details.
City of Inglewood Dr. King Fest
For 37 years the city of Inglewood has honored the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and it’s truly not something to miss! Come join many others for a full day of festivities that include a morning commemorative service, a parade through the city center, and a street festival. Market Street will be closed from Regent to Kelso and will feature two live music stages, food and craft booths, interactive games and lots more family fun. There certainly won’t be any shortage of joy on hand here as Dr. King’s values and ideals are celebrated with laughter and light. Event details.
SoCalMoms Annual MLK Play Day
With Martin Luther King Jr.’s message of inclusion and acceptance for all children, it’s only fitting that this year the SoCalMom’s play day is hosted in partnership with Inclusion Matters by Shane’s Inspiration at their recently remodeled Griffith Park playground! This organization supports the creation of inclusive playgrounds and educational programs that unite children of all abilities which is a lovely way to honor Dr. King’s philosophies. Come tire out the kiddos for a couple hours with live music from Jam with Jamie, tons of crafts and loads of snacks. Event details.
Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra’s Martin Luther King Weekend Concert
Enjoy a special orchestral concert in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. on Sat., Jan 18. This free event includes Steffe’s Battle Hymn of the Republic, Mozart’s Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen from The Magic Flute, and Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 5 in D Major/D Minor, Op. 107 among others. Event details.
National Day of Service
Turn this day off into a day “on” and get in the spirit of giving. L.A. Works will be hosting their annual Day of Service on Jan. 20. Volunteers will put their skills to use in various beautification projects throughout the school campus with the goal to enhance the learning environment with color, fresh paint, and murals.
Pretend City Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration
It will be worth the drive to Irvine to join the folks at Pretend City for their annual Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration. Here, everyone can have an open conversation about the importance of equality and fair treatment for all. The family can take part in storytime, music and movement and art projects that include self-portraits and building a cloud mobile to keep up the discussion of kindness and respect. Event details.
National Park Service Free on MLK Day
Another great way is to get outside with the family and visit one of our many majestic National Parks. And as an extra incentive, the National Park Services open its doors for free on MLK Day. These free days can save $25 to $30 per vehicle at 118 of the more than 400 national parks across the nation. Dr. King’s dream included inclusion for all. We think honoring these protected sites that exist for all is a perfect way to honor his memory.
-LeTania Kirkland Smith, Andie Huber & Jenifer Scott