There is no shortage of things to do on MLK day! Celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King at one of these events or historic venues.
Good news! While many of Atlanta’s famed MLK-related historic sites have been closed due to the partial government shutdown, a generous grant from Delta has them open again — From January 19 through February 3 (so Super Bowl visitors can visit them while in town).
The following list includes free and cheap things to do on MLK Day, January 21, in Atlanta.
The APEX Museum
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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.
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 are free with a paid museum admission. Check out the link above for ticket information and a full schedule of activities.
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.
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. 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
2 p.m. to 4 p.m in Freedom Hall
This interactive book event was designed for kids, especially those between the ages of 8 and 12. It features book readings, activities, a book drive, and talks by a children’s author and illustrator. The event focuses on inspiring our youth to read, as a means of acquiring the leadership skills that will help the rising generation to change the world. It will be a FUN way to promote literacy and community service.
If you’re attending this event, leave time to browse the exhibits in Freedom Hall and to see the other MLK-related sites nearby. These include:
- The Visitor Center
- 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 noon
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 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.
This year, the keynote speaker will be Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative.
Center for Civil and Human Rights
11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
In partnership with the Alliance Theatre, the Center invites the public to attend this riveting performance. Dear Dr. King is an original script by Atlanta-based playwright Pearl Cleage. The work will be performed by members of the Palefsky Collision Project, which is a community initiative from the Alliance Theatre. For three weeks each summer, the Alliance assembles a diverse group of 20 teenagers from metro Atlanta to explore and unpack a classic text under the guidance of a professional playwright and director. This program is free with a paid admission to the Center.
MLK Day 5K at Piedmont Park
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 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 8 a.m. at 10th Street, near the Park Tavern.
11 a.m. to 1 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 17th edition of this annual celebration.
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!