22 Things to Do with Kids MLK Day: 2023 DC Area and At Home

Winter Activities Washington DC Virginia Maryland

22 Things to Do with Kids on MLK Day and Weekend in DC, Maryland, Virginia, and At-Home including the memorial, volunteer opps, and free events!

MLK Day DC Memorial

Table of Contents:

  1. In-Person Kid-Friendly Events
    1. DC (4)
    2. Virginia (3)
    3. Maryland (3)
  2. Volunteer Opportunities (3)
  3. National Parks are Free on MLK Jr. Day! (5 near DC)
  4. Winter Activities (3)
  5. At-Home Ideas (3)


MLK Day DC Events - All Free!

1) MLK Holiday DC Peace Walk & Parade - Monday January 16 at 9:30

  1. 9:30 AM: 42nd Annual Parade starting at the R.I.S.E. Demonstration Center.
  2. 10 AM: Peace Walk begins in Shepherd Park and follow 2 miles along MLK Avenue.
  3. 11AM - 1 PM: Wellness Fair at 2006 MLK Ave SE.

All the details on the website!

2) Visit the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the DC Mall

  • Open daily
  • Restrooms are located across the street on the side of the Gift Shop.
  • There are about 15 paid street parking spots in front of the memorial and dozens on Ohio Drive Southwest in front of the playing fields.
  • 7 Interesting Facts about the Memorial here.

restrooms at the mlk memorial dc

Restrooms are located on the left side and were very clean when we went in 2023!

3) Anacostia Community Museum Creativity and Action - Thursday January 12

"Join the Anacostia Community Museum and Roach Brown to learn how theatre, poetry and performance can disrupt mass incarceration."

Free tickets but register on Eventbrite.

More about this museum here.

3) Kennedy Center Free Concert Celebrate with the Let Freedom Ring Concert - January 16 at 6 PM

**Tickets are first come, first served (2 per person) and will be distributed at the box office starting at 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 16.

"The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Georgetown University present the Let Freedom Ring Celebration featuring Leslie Odom, Jr. and THE LET FREEDOM RING CHOIR, Nolan Williams, Jr., Music Producer In a musical tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Monday, January 16, 2023 at 6 p.m."

Kennedy Center Even page here.

*Note the NMAAHC Community Event has reached capacity but theinfo is here for next year.


Virginia MLK Day/Weekend Events for Kids (near DC)

1) Frying Pan Farm Park Service and Learning Day - 1/16/2023 10:30 am 11:30 am

Cost $8 and Sign up here.

"Introduce your young ones to the Martin Luther King Jr. Day as we gather at the Frying Pan Farm Park Visitor Center to learn about Martin Luther King Jr. and the importance of giving back to our community. Rotate through stations to hear about the Civil Rights Movement, participate in a service project, and reflect on the power of community cooperation.

The program runs from 10:30 to 11:30 am. Instruction will be split into age groups with participants able to choose between the younger group (4-9 encouraged) and the older group (10-18 encouraged). If you are able to donate an unused hygiene/personal, we will be donating collected items to a local shelter."

2) Reston Community Center MLK Celebration

3) Falls Church MLK Day March for Social Justice, Unity and Racial Healing at Tinner Hill Monument - January 16 at 12 PM

More details here about this 3rd annual march for social justice in Falls Church. Just learning about the Tinner Hill Monument and its history is fascinating.


Maryland MLK Day/Weekend Events for Kids

1) American Visionary Art Museum Dare to Dream

Join in a free celebration honoring one of history's greatest visionaries. Open Mic, art-making, music, dance and more! More info and register at their website.

SCHEDULE: 

  • 10:00 AM - noon Wear Your Dream Button workshop, JRVC 3rd floor Create a button sharing your dream for the world.
  • 11:00 AM Abu the Flutemaker drum performance, JRVC 1st floor
  • 1:00 PM Open Mic and Poetry Slam, JRVC 3rd floor. Register for our open mic when you arrive OR pre-register here, cash prizes awarded. 
  • 2:00 PM Storytime with Author Tellie Simpson "A Girl In a Museum World," JRVC 2nd floor classroom. Local Author Tellie Simpson reads her book “A Girl In a Museum World,” a story about a little girl named Sophia who visits a museum.
  • 3:00 PM Keur Khaleyi African Dancers, JRVC 1st floor. Sharing traditions of African singing, dancing and drumming, Keur Khaleyi performs and invites the audience to participate!
  • ALL DAY:
    • Meet our AVAM docents in the galleries giving pop-up tours
    • Explore AVAM’s Visionary Artists of Color, labeled throughout the museum
  • COLLECTING DONATIONS:
    • Collecting new, unused toiletries, winter hats and gloves for Paul’s Place:  providing programs, services, and support that strengthen individuals and families, fostering hope, personal dignity, and growth.

2) Strathmore Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Tribute and Celebration - January 16 at 4 PM

  • Free but please register for tickets here.
  • Location: The Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane North Bethesda, MD 20852

3) B&O Railroad Museum: MLK Jr. Weekend A Celebration of Freedom

Event Schedule

Sunday, January 15
11:30 AM: Train Ride*
10 – 2 PM: Educational activities in the Roundhouse for kids
1 PM: Train Ride*
2 – 3 PM: Union Baptist Choir and Children’s Choir performance 
3 PM: The Underground Railroad: Freedom Seekers on the B&O Public Tour 

Monday, January 16
10 AM – 1 PM: Educational activities in the Roundhouse for kids
12 PM: Train Ride*
1 – 1:30 PM: From Slavery to Civil Rights public tour 

Check out all the details here!


National Parks are Free on MLK Jr. Day Around DC!

Big thanks to Yatzi at KidsQuarantineandMefor sharing this tip that National Parks are open for free on MLK Jr. Day.

The closest national parks to DC are:

  1. Great Falls National Park (MD) and Great Falls(Virginia)
  2. Prince William Forest Park
  3. Shenandoah National Park
  4. Harpers Ferry National Historic Park
  5. Assateague National Seashore

milk day with kids great falls

Great Falls, Maryland side!


Volunteer Opportunities MLK Day DC, VA and MD

  1. MLK Day of Service Americorps Website with a hundreds of locations
  2. Volunteer Fairfax MLK, Jr. Weekend of Service
  3. Volunteer Arlington MLK Day of Service
  4. Montgomery County MLK Week 2022: Journey's Crossing


Winter Activities for MLK Day and Weekend in the DC Area

  1. Ice Skating in the DMV
  2. 8 Snow Tubing Hills in Virginia (7 of the 8 make their own snow!) *Reserve tickets asap as holiday weekend will fill up.
  3. Blackwater Falls Sledding in West Virginia *Reserve tickets asap as holiday weekend will fill up.

Snow Tubing in Virginia!

Snow Tubing in Virginia!


At-Home Ideas to Celebrate and Honor MLK Day with Kids

  1. Watch MLK's I have a Dream Speech on YouTube and discuss afterwards (Just 6 minutes long!)
  2. Watch Seasame Streets free MLK Day episodewhere Elmo and his friends make a Peace Tree and consider making your own!
  3. Spread kindness by volunteering! Tons of ideas above!

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