MLK Day Atlanta, Martin Luther King Day in Atlanta, things to do on MLK Day
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 17, 2022, or over the holiday weekend.
We invite you to celebrate Dr. King’s memory through one of these activities or events.
You can also check our full events calendar for January 17th, but remember that some activities, like those hosted by the King Center, will start the week before the Monday holiday.
At the bottom of the post, you’ll find a calendar listing of general activities taking place over the MLK Day holiday weekend — including ice skating, drive-in movies, and more.
During this time of frequent cancellations, please verify that an event is actually happening as planned, before you head out.
Things to do over the MLK Day weekend
NOTE: Once again, we’re in a period of frequent cancellations, and events that are being moved to a virtual platform. Please verify that an event is on or a venue is open, before you head out. We don’t want you to be disappointed!
Volunteer for an MLK Day of Service Project
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, you can find an MLK Day of Service project at this clearinghouse site. Just check the box for “MLK Day” and enter your zip code in the green box. You an also specify how many miles outward you want to search.
Examples of service projects include cleaning up a park, delivering meals, planting flowers, painting murals, and more.
There is a very long list of MLK Day service activities on the Hands on Atlanta site, ranging from Jan. 13th to 17th.
Want to focus your efforts on your immediate community?
You can find MLK Day service projects through community newsletters, municipal websites, Facebook groups, etc. Most of the city calendars we look at regularly include service projects. And if you have a favorite park or non-profit organization, check its website or social media pages to see if there’s a scheduled Day of Service this year.
Cheer on a parade in Dekalb
Monday, Jan. 17, 2022
Noon to 2 p.m.
FREE & open to the public
The NAACP DeKalb Branch will observe the MLK Holiday with a parade. The theme is “Marching to the Sounds of Justice.” The procession will launch from the Green Pastures Christian Ministries (5455 Flat Shoals Pkwy, Decatur) and march to MLK High School (3991 Snapfinger Rd., Lithonia). This is about a 2 mile route down Snapfinger Rd.
More info here
Join the FREE celebration in Cobb County
Monday, Jan. 17, 2022
10 a.m. to noon
UPDATE: The celebration will be virtual, due to the current Covid surge.
You can watch on Cobb County’s YouTube channel
County leaders and the local branch of the NAACP host this annual celebration. It is FREE and open to the public. The celebration usually takes place at the Jennie T. Anderson Theatre at the Cobb Civic Center. It includes music, dance, spoken word, and other performances — as well as the presentation of a local service award.
Enjoy FREE admission at the Marietta History Center
Saturday, Jan. 15th
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
There are four galleries presenting local history, plus a special film that features never-before-seen images.
The History Center is located at:
1 Depot Street
Marietta, GA 30060
more info here
Explore the Center for Civil and Human Rights
This museum shows, through exhibits, how the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s-1960s connects with the global human rights movements of today. It is operating during limited hours, and you must purchase a timed ticket for entry — about $16.
On Saturday, Jan. 15th and Monday, Jan. 17th, there is a wide variety of MLK Day special programming that is free with a paid admission. It includes storytelling, spoken word, music, trivia, and more. See the schedule here.
The permanent galleries are open including, including the exhibit “Fragments,” which is a stunning illuminated sculpture of King’s handwriting and phrases. Another exhibit, “Rolls Down Like Water,” immerses visitors in sights, sounds, and interactive displays depicting the courage of civil rights activists.
Visit the APEX Museum
Open Tuesday thru Saturday
11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The APEX Museum is currently requiring visitors to reserve a timed ticket online in advance. For $6 to $8, you can 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.
Explore MLK’s legacy at the Children’s Museum of Atlanta
MLK Day Celebration
Monday, Jan. 17th, 2021
2 timed entry sessions, beginning at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Enjoy scheduled activities that celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Learn about Dr. King’s life and his famous “I Have a Dream” speech on stage, then explore his legacy through activities in the Creativity Café, and work on a collaborative mural.
Head to the Atlanta History Center
MLK Day special programming
Unfortunately, the History Center is not offering its usual FREE admission day in honor of Martin Luther King Day in 2022.
Instead, there is limited-capacity in-person programming, plus some virtual events. You can RSVP for a spot thru the link above.
Tour the Martin Luther King Birth Home & Visitor Center
Unfortunately, the FREE live tours have been suspended during the pandemic, and the buildings are closed right now.
But if you have an organized group, you can arrange a virtual tour on Wednesdays, Thursdays, or Fridays.
Pay your respects at the Crypt
While many of the buildings remain closed, visitors can still stop by the tomb of Reverend and Mrs. King, with its eternal flame — a symbol of the continuing effort to realize the dream.
The MLK World Peace Rose Garden is also open, although there’s not much in bloom in January.
Attend a service at Ebenezer Baptist Church
In-person services have been suspended, but there may be a virtual service on Monday, Jan. 1th — this was the case in 2021. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Annual Commemorative Service has been the hallmark of the King holiday observance.
Sunday services are being streamed each week, at 9 and 11 a.m. via Facebook Live, the church YouTube Channel, and the Ebenezer Baptist website.
Immerse yourself in a Webinar & Virtual Film Festival
January 14th thru 17th
FREE with registration
Honor the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. through this documentary film festival and webinar, which address the global freedom struggle that stem from MLK’s unanswered question, “Where do we go from here?”
The four-day film festival and webinar are FREE, but you must register for access.
Complete info and film listing here
Pop into a National Park
Visit a National Park for FREE on MLK Day.
For a list of the best National Parks closest to Atlanta, click here.
Run the MLK Day 5K
Let Freedom Run — this race is famous for the 3-mile drumline all along the course. There is a new location this year — the race starts at the First Baptist Church of Doraville (5935 New Peachtree Road, Doraville, Ga 30340), which is just across from the Doraville MARTA Station.
Come early for the music, beginning at 8 a.m. The run starts at 9 a.m.
Register online, for $35.
Take in a virtual tribute from home
The city of Sandy Springs is presenting an encore video presentation featuring local students and honoring Dr. King’s message of hope and service to others. The video will be available for viewing on Monday, Jan. 17th online, and it is FREE.
Head to Henry County for a parade!
The parade starts at 10 a.m. at the Henry County Performing Arts Center.
CANCELED: Gwinnett County’s MLK Day Parade
Attend Brookhaven’s MLK Day Celebration
Drive-in Dinner & Celebration at the Brookhaven MARTA Station
January 17, 2022
5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Brookhaven will host its sixth annual MLK Day Dinner and Program. Visit the Facebook event page.
This year it takes place in the Apple Valley Road parking lot of the Brookhaven MARTA station, located at 1268 Apple Valley Road NE. It is a drive-in event, featuring “dinner in a bag” and speakers on a stage.
Tickets are $10 per person.
Other activities and events happening over MLK Day weekend:
Friday, January 14, 2022
Saturday, January 15, 2022
Sunday, January 16, 2022
Monday, January 17, 2022
Stone Mountain Park
Jennie T Anderson Theater
Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center
Lynwood Park Community Center (Brookhaven)