On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, discover celebrations and local volunteering opportunities for you and your kids around San Diego

When is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day? MLK Day takes place the third Monday in January each year, and this year, MLK Day is on January 17. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a day for all Americans to unite to honor the legacy and tireless work of this champion of civil rights. In addition to celebrating King’s legacy, this holiday has also become a National Day of Service—encouraging Americans to volunteer and do good in their communities. Here are all the ways to celebrate MLK’s life and how your family can give back to your community, right here in San Diego.

How to Celebrate MLK Day in San Diego


1. Minecraft March on Washington (Virtual Event)

Jan. 14 & 16: As part of LA Works MLK Day of Service, this virtual event builds upon the anti-racism movement through an interactive march on Washington in Minecraft and an in-person event at LA Memorial Coliseum. Tour a virtual exhibit of the 1963 March on Washington and interact with civil rights leaders like Rev. Dr. King himself. The event takes place from noon-9 p.m. on Jan. 14 and 10 a.m.-9 p.m. on Jan. 16. Advance registration is required and closes at 5 p.m. on Jan. 11. Once you register, LA Works will email a link to attend the event. Access to Minecraft (Java or Bedrock edition) is required. Event details.

2. 2nd Annual MLK Community Day of Service

Jan. 14: Join District 1 Council Member Consuelo Martinez and the City of Escondido for a day of service in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.. Volunteers will work together to remove litter and green waste from Washington Park and 2 miles of our community bike trail. Our park and creek trail are accessed by community members of all ages to enjoy riding bikes, jogging, walking, skateboarding, and giving access to many of the city’s parks and amenities. Event details.

3. 41st Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade

Jan. 15: One of the largest celebrations of its kind in the United States in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The parade is filled with dazzling floats, phenomenal high school bands, drill teams, colleges and universities, fraternities, sororities, churches, peace and youth organizations. Coordinated by the Zeta Sigma Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., the oldest African American fraternity in America, founded in 1906. This event supports scholarship opportunities for the youth of San Diego. Event details.

4. WorldBeat Cultural Center's 33rd Annual MLK Day Celebration

Jan. 16: Join the WorldBeat Cultural Center in its 33rd Annual Martin Luther King Day Celebration celebrating unity in the San Diego community. In honor of Martin Luther King Jr, the free celebration a family-friendly festival with live music, dancing, vegan food, an outdoor cultural arts & craft vendors marketplace, and more. The event also includes multi-cultural performances and special guest speakers. Event details.


5. 35th Annual All Peoples Celebration

Jan. 16: Alliance San Diego is excited to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with the 34th Annual All People's Celebration. The event will be held in person, however, tickets for the in-person event are sold out. You can join virtually through a live, dynamic program. There will be amazing performances and a powerful keynote from disabled rights activist Rebecca Cokley. Event details.

6. MLK Day Critter Camp at the Animal Center

Jan. 16: Kids can learn so much through interacting with animals. Most importantly, they discover that all living beings deserve compassion and understanding—a lesson Martin Luther King Jr. fought every day to teach. This year, in honor of MLK Day, Critter Camp at Helen Woodward Animal Center is focused on creating a more humane world. Campers will interact with a goat, Madagascar hissing cockroach, chicken, snake and guinea pig while learning how to be compassionate to all animals. Event details.

7. 15th Annual Interfaith Day of Service

Jan. 16: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. famously proclaimed, “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do…you have to keep moving forward.” This year, you and your family can partake in an event that brings people of different faiths and cultural backgrounds together for a wonderful morning of hands-on community service, fun and fellowship. Families are encouraged to participate together on this day of community work, suitable for all ages. Event details.

8. Create Your Own Day of Service with AmeriCorps

Looking for a way to volunteer with your kids but haven't found the right fit? Visit AmeriCorps to learn more about how you can create your own event and encourage kids in your community to volunteer and be of service—because serving others has a profound positive benefit on those who volunteer. Need extra encouragement to kick off your day of service? Kids who volunteer are three times more likely to volunteer as adults, and steady volunteering (even one hour a week) reduces negative behaviors in kids. Event details.



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