10 Ways Atlanta Families Can Celebrate & Serve on MLK Day

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Celebrate the life, legacy, and leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with your kids

MLK Day is right around the corner. If you’re looking for ways to honor and serve on January 16, there’s no better place to explore Dr. King’s legacy than in his birthplace—Atlanta. With school officially canceled for this important holiday, your family can explore our city’s important Civil Rights landmarks, engage in activities and educational experiences at the city’s museums, and find ways to be of service. Let’s remember to make this a day on, as we continue to work toward Dr. King’s dream of an equitable and just world.


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2023 King Holiday Observance at The King Center

The King Center is a celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and legacy all year long. Their mission is to empower people to create an equitable and peaceful world through youth work, service projects, and more. To commemorate MLK Day, The King Center hosts a 10-day observance, starting January 16 with a kick off reception at Freedom Hall Atrium. They'll also host a Community Service Project that families can easily participate in. Simply drop off needed items (like socks, coats, blankets, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and more) at the King Center Freedom Hall Plaza on January 16, between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.  

449 Auburn Ave. NE
Atlanta
Online: thekingcenter.org

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Visit the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park

After visiting The King Center, explore other monuments and historically important places at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park. What better way to honor Dr. King than to head to where it all started? Families can tour King's birth home, where he spent his first 12 years, Mondays through Saturdays, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The Visitor Center, Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, and Freedom Hall are also all on the campus, open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesdays through Fridays. All sites are free to the public.

Good to Know: There will be a Beloved Community Commemorative Service at the Ebenezer Baptist Church from 10 a.m. to noon on Jan. 16.

450 Auburn Ave. N.E.
Atlanta
Online: nps.gov

Celebrate the Legacy of Dr. King at The Center 

The National Center for Civil and Human Rights believes in justice and dignity for all and the power of people to make this idea real. They inspire visitors with immersive exhibitions, dynamic events and conversations, plus engagement and education/training programs. The Center's King Day program starts a bit early, on January 12 and runs through MLK Day (Jan. 16). It includes interactive storytimes, artist talk backs, spoken word performances, and more.

The early start for this year's event coincides with the opening of National Center for Civil & Human Rights' new King exhibit, Now is the Time. Focused on King's March on Washington for Jobs & Freedom and its 60th anniversary. The exhibit runs through Juneteenth (Jun. 19) of this year.

National Center for Civil & Human Rights
100 Ivan Allen Jr. Blvd. NW
Atlanta
Online: civilandhumanrights.org

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MLK Celebration at Children's Museum of Atlanta

Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthday with the Children's Museum of Atlanta and explore his life and legacy on the Stage, at the Science Bar, and in the Art Studio. This year's celebration will include seed planting at the Tree of Change with guest artist, Martell Belle. Kids can also share ways they can help shape a world Dr. King would be proud of on the Dream Collaborative Mural.

275 Centennial Olympic Park Dr. N.W.
Atlanta
Online: childrensmuseumatlanta.org

Watch the HBCU Battle of the Bands

Although this isn't a traditional MLK Day celebration, it should be an exciting and inspiring one for kids, in a different way. The State Farm Arena is where you can watch HBCU Culture's Battle of the Bands. Doors open at 4 p.m. and performers will include Jackson State University, Miles College, Alabama A & M, and more.

State Farm Arena
1 State Farm Dr.
Atlanta
Online: hbcuculture.com

Atlanta History Center Celebration

Bring the kids to the Atlanta History Center to experience hands-on activities on MLK Day, Atlanta families. Civil-rights themed trivia, crafts, performances, and a chance to simulate a Freedom Rider experience on an authentic Greyhound Bus will keep the kids engaged and learning during the visit. This event is free, and registration is recommended.

Atlanta History Center
130 W. Paces Ferry Rd. N.W.
Atlanta
Online: atlantahistorycenter.com

Take & Make Martin Luther King, Jr. Craft 

Swing by the Embry Hills Library to pick up a free Martin Luther King, Jr. craft kit (while supplies last) on January 14. Spend time with the kids putting the kit together and talking about the work of Dr. King. 

Embry Hills Library
3733 Chamblee Tucker Rd.
Chamblee, GA
Online: events.dekalblibrary.org

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Enjoy Free Entrance at Georgia's National Parks

Experience the national parks for free on Jan. 16 in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Day, including these Georgia parks that normally charge an entrance fee: Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, Cumberland Island National Seashore, Fort Pulaski National Monument, and Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park. Get the scoop on some of Georgia's best national parks for families with our Tinybeans Guide.

Participate in MLK Jr. Day of Service

Throughout January 2023, thousands of Atlantans will celebrate and honor the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.—taking the day ON. Help build Dr. King’s Beloved Community and get involved in one of the many service events hosted by Hands On Atlanta. There are so many places to volunteer, starting January 11.

Online: handsonatlanta.org

Related: 6 Places Atlanta Families Can Volunteer Year-Round

MLK 5K & Drum Run

Celebrate Martin Luther King Day in the spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood with fellowship and fitness. This 5K walk/run will take place entirely on New Peachtree Road, with a 3.1-mile drumline all along the race course. The party starts at 9 a.m. and the course is fast and flat. Let Freedom Run!

First Baptist Church of Doraville
5935 New Peachtree Rd.
Doravill, GA
Online: mlkday5k.com

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