Updated for 2020!
The legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. lives on in Atlanta, the city in which the famous minister and scholar led the American Civil Rights Movement.
There is no shortage of things to do on MLK day, which is Monday, January 20, 2020. Celebrate Dr. King’s memory through one of these activities. Be sure to browse the whole list, as the more suburban events and celebrations are toward the bottom.
You can also check our full events calendar for January 20th, or scroll down to the bottom for a general list of activities, like snow tubing, ice skating, food deals, and more.
MLK Day of Service
Did you know that MLK Day is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service? If you want to volunteer for a project designed to improve your community, you can find a service opportunity through the link below — just enter your zip code and use “MLK” as your search keyword.
Examples of service projects include cleaning up a park, delivering meals, planting flowers, painting murals, and more.
You can also find a service project through Eventbrite.
The APEX Museum
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Take advantage of this FREE admission day to browse museum galleries that celebrate black heritage. Exhibits include Sweet Auburn, Women in STEM, The Georgia Negro, and more. The mission of the African-American Panoramic Experience (APEX) Museum is to accurately interpret and present history from an African-American perspective.
The Apex Museum is located at 135 Auburn Avenue in downtown Atlanta.
Children’s Museum of Atlanta
11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Enjoy scheduled activities that include MLK Storytime, MLK Music & Movement, Super Spectacular Science Show, and more. All special programs are free with a paid museum admission. Check out the link above for ticket information and a full schedule of activities. Note that you can save $2 on the admission fee by buying in advance online.
Atlanta History Center
10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Take advantage of FREE admission to the Atlanta History Center and Margaret Mitchell House in honor of Martin Luther King Day.
In addition to the regular exhibits, enjoy special programming that highlights the stories of African Americans in Atlanta, immersive museum theater performances, and special family-friendly activities and crafts. A detailed program schedule is available through the link above.
Commemorative March in downtown Atlanta
1:45 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Join in the commemorative march, which will start on the intersection of Peachtree Street and Baker Street and end in front of The King Center. It is FREE to attend and open to all.
Martin Luther King Birth Home
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
It can be tricky to get a spot on this 30-minute, ranger-led tour of the home where MLK spent the first 12 years of his life. The FREE tours are limited to 15 people and are filled on a first-come, first-served basis on the day of the tour. There are no advance reservations. The first tour is at 10 a.m. and the last tour of the day begins at 4 p.m.
Your best bet for getting a tour spot? Arrive early in the day, sign up for an empty time slot, and be prepared to wait several hours — you can spend the time visiting the other MLK attractions and historic landmarks nearby.
The King Center
Admission and parking are always FREE at the King Center. Most of the historic park is self-guided, so you don’t need a ticket — with the exception of the guided tour at the MLK Birth Home (see tour/ticket details above).
During the week leading up to MLK Day, the King Center has a wide variety of activities planned, from a march and rally to a voter registration drive. You can see the complete schedule in a PDF document, available online.
If you visit the King Center, leave time to visit other MLK sites nearby. These include:
- The Visitor Center and MLK exhibits in Freedom Hall
- Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church
- King Center outdoor campus (crypt of Dr and Mrs King, eternal flame, reflecting pool)
- Martin Luther King birth house
Ebenezer Baptist Church
10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Annual Commemorative Service is the hallmark of the King holiday observance. The church service is held each year on the federal holiday at historic Ebenezer Baptist Church located near The King Center. Both Martin Luther King, Jr. and his father were preachers at this church. The service is FREE and open to the public, although seating is limited.
The MLK Annual Commemorative Service is an ecumenical endeavor, engaging members of various religious traditions, as well as state, national, and international governments. On this day, the King Center encourages the world to engage in volunteer service as a way to celebrate the the work and life of Dr. King.
Center for Civil and Human Rights
Community Dinner at the Georgia World Congress Center
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
This FREE event is open to all. Listen to stories of the civil rights movement, and enjoy food and live music. The MLK Dinner was started in the ’70s by Hosea Williams, to feed the hungry children in the Georgia community.
Thomas Murphy Ballroom, at the GA World Congress Center
MLK Day 5K at Piedmont Park
Starts at 9 a.m. sharp
This family-friendly walk/run takes place entirely within Piedmont Park. The 5K course traverses pavement, gravel, grass, wooden bridge, and dirt paths—with a 3-mile drum line surrounding the entire looped course. According to the organizers, “This 5K will have a vibe like no race ever run.” The event starts at 9 a.m. at 10th Street, near the Park Tavern.
Art & Film Festival in Sandy Springs
1:00 to 4:00 p.m.
The city of Sandy Springs is rolling out its first festival of this kind. Help to paint a peace mural, and watch Our Friend Martin at special screenings scheduled for 1:15 p.m. and 2:45 p.m.
Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center is located at the City Springs development (1 Galambos Way, Sandy Springs).
Henry County MLK Day Celebration
The march begins at 10 a.m.
Afterward, at 12:30 p.m., there is a FREE program at Henry County Performance Art Center.
Brookhaven’s MLK Day Celebration
5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The dinner is $10 to attend.
Gwinnett County’s MLK Day Celebration 2020
11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Bands and community groups will flow down Lawrenceville Hwy in an exuberant tribute to the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, as the United Ebony Society of Gwinnett County will hosts the 18th edition of this annual parade.
It all starts at 11:00 a.m. on MLK-Day with a short presentation in front of the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center (75 Langely Dr, Lawrenceville). The parade line-up begins at 11:20 and the parade will continue down Lawrenceville Hwy for approximately two miles. Don’t forget to bundle up!
There will be food trucks and vendors on site.
Cobb County’s MLK Day Celebration 2020
10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
This FREE event takes place at the Jennie T Anderson Theater, located at 548 South Marietta Parkway SE in Marietta.
While the event is free to attend, you must get a free ticket via Eventbrite.
Visit a National Park for FREE on MLK Day.
For the National Parks closest to Atlanta, click here.
11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Paschal’s Restaurant was a common meeting place for civil rights leaders, including Martin Luther King. It has moved from its original location to a spot at 180 Northside Drive, but the walls are still lined with framed photos of influential leaders from the past. You can read a timeline of Paschal’s history on its website. This restaurant is famous for its fried chicken.
And if you write a review, you’ll be entered in a random drawing — the winner will be chosen on Feb. 1st.
Other activities and events happening on January 20th:
(check out discounts for snow tubing, ice skating, Zoo Atlanta, LegoLand, and more!)
Monday, January 20, 2020
Jennie T Anderson Theater
Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center
Lynwood Park Community Center (Brookhaven)