Tag Archives: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Where to Celebrate MLK Day Around the DC Area

Visiting the memorials is one way to celebrate MLK


Whether you’re looking for ways to teach kids about MLK, want to give back on the Day of Service, enjoy live entertainment that pays tribute to his legacy, or hope to join a special event to observe the occasion, these recommendations will have you covered.

Day of Service
Where: Various locations around the DMV
When: January 20
Admission: Just your time

If you want to volunteer on the MLK, Jr. Day of Service, there are many ways and places you can do so around the area. Start here to find opportunities that suit your family.

More Family Volunteer Ops
Where: Various locations around the DMV
When: Ongoing
Admission: Just your time

For more places to volunteer as a family that aren’t included in the official MLK Day of Service database, this KFDC post has suggestions. All of the organizations listed welcome kids to help out, though some have age requirements, so be sure to note them.

MLK Jr. Family Program
Where: Anacostia Community Museum | Anacostia, DC
When: January 18
Admission: Free

Celebrate the Birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with the whole family at the Anacostia Community Museum! Inspired by Stevie Wonder’s Happy Birthday song, guests can create art using King’s familiar theme of the “Beloved Community” in a workshop led by art educator, Alma Robinson. Participants can also take part in a second workshop with art educator, Rain Young to create original balloon art of a peace medal or a “I Have a Dream” hat to take home. Both workshops include a guided tour of the exhibition “A Right to the City” with an emphasis on Dr. King’s visit to DC’s Shaw neighborhood. All materials will be provided. Register in advance!

The Kevin Durant MLK Classic
Where: The St. James | Springfield, VA
When: January 18, 11am – 6pm & January 20, 10am – 6:45pm
Admission: $20 per day

The Kevin Durant MLK Classic is an elite high school basketball showcase celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Top high school players will include freshman Elijah Fisher from Crestwood Prep, JT Thor from Norcross High School, and Mady Sissoko from Wasatch Academy. Local DMV highlight players include Cory Barnes Jr. and Tegra Izay from Archbishop Carroll High School, Erik Reynolds and Rodney Rice Jr. from Bullis School and more. All games will be played at The St. James in Springfield, VA — the state-of-the-art 450,000 square foot complex is home to more than 30 sports, including Team Durant at The St. James, Kevin Durant’s youth basketball organization. Read about what else is at The St. James in this KFDC post.

Portrait Story Days
Where: National Portrait Gallery | Penn Quarter, DC
When: January 18-19, 1-4pm
Admission: Free

Drop in to the National Portrait Gallery to listen to a story about Martin Luther King, Jr. and complete a hands-on art project. Read (and see) more about the program and museum here and here. And note this takes place both Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

MLK at the Library
Where: Libraries around the DMV
When: Through January 20
Admission: Free

Many public libraries are hosting MLK-inspired events and activities geared especially toward children. Learn to recite the famous “I Have a Dream” speech at Bellevue Library, join a “Social Justice” Family Story Time at Woodridge Library, celebrate MLK’s Legacy with Author Amy Nathan at Mount Pleasant Library. There are just a few activities in DC. For quick links to see what’s happening at other libraries around the area, see this KFDC post (scroll all the way down for library links).

Be the Light — Celebrating the Legacy of MLK Jr.
Where: Port Discovery | Baltimore, MD
When: January 18-20
Admission: $17.95/ages 1+, free for members

If you can dream it you can change it! Join Port Discovery in celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy during this “Be the Light” event. Experience the strength of celebrating differences in our community and learn how you, too, can become a Change Maker. Take part in interactive programs and performances designed to educate, inspire, and help children understand the positive impact that their actions can have, inspired by Dr. King’s message of promoting fairness. Activities are planned daily throughout the entire weekend — check the website for a daily schedule.

Artsy MLK Days
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden | Dowell, MD
When: January 18-20, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King with community art activities. Each year on this weekend, Annmarie Sculpture Garden invites guests of all ages to help create a community art installation in honor of a dream. Baltimore artist Gary Webb leads the 20120 MLK Days project titled, “Faces of a Dream.” Guests of all ages can create a wire mask using using his “webbing technique” of twisting and bending different kinds of wire into a self-portrait mask, which will be added to an ever growing wall of faces, celebrating the diversity and beauty of the community. Read more about the wonderful Annmarie Sculpture Garden here.

KanKouran West African Dance Company
Where: Dance Place | Brookland, DC
When: January 18, 8pm & January 19, 4pm
Admission: $15-30 (1 child free with adult paid ticket*)

KanKouran West African Dance Company returns to Dance Place for their annual celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Introducing the essence of traditional African dancing and drumming to audiences, KanKouran enriches American cultural heritage through the integration of authentic West African arts and promotes intercultural understanding. The annual MLK Day concert celebrates over 35 years of fulfilling their mission of “giving back that which was lost.” The Sunday 4pm performance is part of the Family Series – Get 1 free ticket for a child 12 & under with paying adult.

Paint for Peace
Where: Art Jamz | Dupont Circle, DC
When: January 18 & 19
Admission: $12-20

Bring the whole family Art Jamz for their Painting for Peace Weekend. In honor of MLK Day, they are donating $5 per canvas order to DC Central Kitchen, a local organization that helps combat hunger and poverty. During the event, they encourage the creation of original art under the guidance of local artists and with inspiration from their jamming social art studio and lounge. There will be plenty of images and quotes inspired by Martin Luther King Jr. plus stencils to help you create a unique masterpiece! Book your session in advance here.

Free Parking
Where: National Parks
When: Jauray 20
Admission: Free!

In honor of MLK Day, it’s the first fee free day of the year for national parks, which means there’s no cost for entry where they usually charge to get in. Take advantage of complimentary admission and the day off from school. Some ideas: Hit the trail at Shenandoah or Great Falls, explore Prince William Forest Park, go to Fort McHenry, or visit Harpers Ferry.

Visit Memorials
Where: National Mall & Tidal Basin, DC
When: January 20 (and ongoing)
Admission: Free

Pay tribute to Dr. King at places that honor his legacy. Visit the MLK Memorial, a powerful and poignant site along the Tidal Basin. From 9-10am, there will be a special ceremony honoring Dr. King with speakers, the placing of a wreath on the memorial, and a song. Later, you can take a tour with a Park Ranger — they will be offered at 2pm & 6pm. From there, you can head to the Lincoln Memorial, where Dr. King gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech and see if you can find his words etched in the stone there at the top of the steps. And for a longer guided walking tour that includes those locations, check out DC by Foot, which offers name-your-own-price tour options.

MLK Dare to Dream Day
Where: American Visionary Art Museum | Baltimore, MD
When: January 20, 10am -6pm
Admission: Free

The American Visionary Art Museum will pay lively tribute to one of the world’s greatest visionaries, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with its annual, all-ages-welcome event. The intergenerational community party honors the great Dr. King’s legacy and vision with birthday cake, a Power Patch printmaking workshop, an artist talk by exhibiting artist Kyle Yearwood, a poetry slam and open mic, and more — all of it free for everyone! Read more about the wonderful AVAM here.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Tribute & Celebration
Where: Strathmore | Bethesda, MD
When: January 20, 4pm
Admission: Free, but tickets are required

Montgomery County celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King’s life through dramatic readings, and musical and dance performances with the theme, “Children of the Dream.” In addition, there will be the presentation of the Humanitarian Award, Children of the Dream Awards as well as a visual arts display honoring Dr. King. Free tickets are required for this event and will be distributed on-site on the day of the performance starting at 3pm.

MLK Parade, Peace Walk, & Fair
Where: Throughout SE, DC
When: January 20
Admission: Free

Commemorate the life of MLK, Jr. on a peace walk and parade along Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave. The Peace Walk begins at 11am and the Parade will commence at 11:30am from Good Hope Road near the Anacostia Park entrance and continue up MLK Avenue, concluding at the campus of St. Elizabeth’s East with a Health and Community Fair at the Gateway Pavillon located at 2700 Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE. All ages are welcome to join.

Rockville Celebrates MLK
Where: Montgomery High School | Rockville, MD
When: January 20, 11am – 1pm
Admission: Free

Rockville’s 48th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration will include multicultural performances, awards, and a keynote speech a keynote speech focused on the theme “Light in the Midst of Darkness.” The celebration is free and open to all ages. Free refreshments, information booths, and community service projects will also be part of the festivities.

Let Freedom Ring!
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom
When: January 20, 6pm
Admission: Free

At this annual performance in honor of MLK Day, the Kennedy Center and Georgetown University host a musical celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy. This year, the musical tribute features ten-time Grammy Award winner Chaka Khan with the Let Freedom Ring Choir led by Music Director Rev. Nolan Williams Jr. Georgetown University will also present the 18th Annual John Thompson Jr. Legacy of a Dream Award to Sandra Jackson, executive director of House of Ruth. Free tickets will be given away, up to two per person in line in the Hall of Nations starting at 4:30pm on a first-come, first-served basis.


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The Weekend Round-Up: January 17-19

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As we head into the weekend, I’ve got another special shout-out for a birthday honoree — and I’m not talking about MLK. My baby boy, the big kid pictured right above, whose chubby 2-year-old face also lights up the banner on this blog, is turning 9. And despite sounding utterly cliché I have to say that, wow, time flies. It seems like yesterday he was born and this whole wild, wonderful adventure of parenthood began. And as the cliché goes, it sure has been fun. That’s in no small part because of my bright, curious, amusing, dynamic, immensely loved little man.

And with that, here are your recs for fun over the next few days. Happy Weekend! And a very Happy Birthday to my sweet O.

Smithsonian MLK, Jr. Celebration
Where: National Museum of the American Indian
When: Friday, 7pm
Admission: Free

Join the Anacostia Community Museum to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and legacy with the theme, “The Beloved Community, “ in the American Indian Museum’s Rasmuson Theater. Enjoy entertainment by the Washington Performing Arts Children of the Gospel Choir, Alfred Kiger Savoy Players in collaboration with DC Youth Ensemble, and the 2014 DC Schools Latin Dance Competition Winners. Kica Matos, Director of Immigrant Rights and Racial Justice, Center for Community Change, will be the keynote speaker. Sign up for the event here.

More Ways to Celebrate MLK
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies

MLK Day may be on Monday, but there are events and activities to honor and celebrate it throughout the weekend. If you’re looking for ways to observe the holiday, this post has a few ideas.

Super Fly
Where: National Building Museum
When: Sunday, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free

The birds won’t be the only thing flying around the Building Museum this weekend. The DC Maxecuters are back to demo all kinds of model planes in and across the Great Hall, and all ages are welcome to drop in on Sunday and spectate. And I can tell you from experience, it’s quite mesmerizing to watch the many varieties of model crafts soar. Of course, you can enjoy all the other NBM offerings the rest of the weekend, including the PLAY WORK BUILD exhibit ($8/adults, $5/children, free for members).

Children’s Theater Festival
Where: Artisphere
When: Saturday, 11am – 5pm
Admission: $15/adults, $10/ages 4-13, free for under 4

Enjoy a full day of theater and so much more. Artisphere presents six hours of “Teatro de la Luna,” featuring all kinds of artistic activities to delight the entire family. Coloring, reading, drawing, ballet, music, and dance performances will be part of the day’s festivities. And all of it is presented Bilingual.

Show Time
Where: Local Theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

* See theatre “by kids for kids” at Encore Stage & Studio’s production of Cinderella (look for a deal on tickets)
* 101 Dalmations is on the Imagination Stage
* And little ones will enjoy interactive theatre with Inside Out at the Bethesda theatre
* Be part of opening weekend of “Circus!” at The Puppet Co. at Glen Echo Park
* Justin Roberts is playing 11am & 2pm show at Jammin’ Java on Saturday
* Bastian & Batsianna, a comic fairy tale opera-musical by the 12-year old Mozart, will be at the Source Theatre
* Mockingbird opens at the Kennedy Center this weekend (look for a deal on tickets)
* The Great Zucchini is doing a special holiday show at Jammin’ Java on Monday

Archaeological Adventures
Where: Freer Sackler Gallery
When: Saturday & Sunday, 2pm
Admission: Free

Kids with an interest in archaeology and art will dig this workshop related to Unearthing Arabia: The Archaeological Adventures of Wendell Phillips. After taking a self-guided tour of the exhibit, guests can explore a mini “excavation site” that includes shards found in Yemen and create clay models inspired by works in the exhibition. Recommended for ages 8-14.

College Hoops
Where: Local universities & Verizon Center
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Ticket prices vary

See some exciting basketball action on local college courts. The #11 Maryland men take on Michigan State on Saturday. (Go Terps! Tickets here.) And the Terp women play Illinois on Sunday (tickets here). It’s a Revolutionary Rivalry as the GW Colonials play the George Mason Patriots on Saturday (tickets here). The Hoya men’s team is hosting Butler on Saturday and Villanova on Monday (tickets here). And American University’s women are hosting Lafayette on Saturday (tickets here).

Skate Under the Sky
Where: Local ice rinks
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

Glide the day away at an ice skating rink. Skate amid art at the Sculpture Garden; join Canal Park’s Cartoon Skate on Saturday from 10am – 12pm; skate by the Potomac at Washington Harbour; or shop then skate at Pentagon Row, Veteran’s Plaza, or Reston Town Center. This post has details on both al fresco and indoor ice skating options in the area.

Wizards vs. Sixers
Where: Verizon Center
When: Monday, 2pm
Admission: Ticket prices vary

Spend some time with John Wall and the gang on the day off. The Wizards are playing the 76ers at the Verizon Center on Monday for some rare weekday afternoon basketball action. Check for a ticket deal here.

The Ins & Outs
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

Looking for ways to stay active and entertained, yet still warm? Then The Great Indoors post, a list of over 60 ideas for places to go inside, should have you covered. And if you find exploring in the cold air exhilarating, The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids, has a bunch of recommendations, too.

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