15+ Memorable Things to do on MLK Weekend in Atlanta

Looking for things to do over the MLK Weekend in Atlanta? We have some suggestions for you from celebrating the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. to enjoying some time with your family either in town or on a quick weekend getaway .

If you are wondering when is Martin Luther King Day in 2019? It is Monday, January 21, and is a United States Federal holiday, so start planning now. Below are some suggestions on Things to do on MLK Day in Atlanta and ways to celebrate this iconic civil rights leader.

Courtesy of Flickr/m01229

We also added some additional options for an MLK Jr. Day of service and a few getaways (my favorite are the MLK ski weekend getaways) if you don’t mind traveling a bit.

What are you up to this MLK Day weekend? Let us know in the comments section.

Visit the MLK Historic Site: The Martin Luther King Historic Site is part of the National Park Service. Kids can pick up a Junior Ranger booklet at the front desk to help guide them through the museum.

Trading cards are available at the desk as well. We pick these up whenever we visit a National Park and have quite a collection now.

If you want to visit the King Center or MLK Birth Home, get there early. Tickets to see Dr. King ‘s home are free, but on a first come, first served basis and MLK weekend is sure to be very busy for both places.

Don’t miss Ebenezer Baptist Church. You can take a self-guided tour of the church, or visit on Sunday for services. And plan to spend some time just walking the streets of MLK’s beloved community.

Eat Around the World: Near the MLK Jr. National Historic Site is the Sweet Auburn Curb Market, the oldest public market in Atlanta.

Inside you’ll find vendors hawking local Southern cuisine like Sweet Auburn BBQ, or a favorite of our readers, Grindhouse Burger, but you’ll also find specialty treats from around the world.

My favorite, a Venezuelan street food called an arepa from Arepa Mi, a perfect lunch for MLK weekend or anytime.

Volunteer at a State Park: “Everybody can be great because anybody can serve,” was a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebrate the holiday volunteering at Georgia State Parks.

Panola Mountain has a structured days of service during the MLK Weekend.

MLK Jr. Day of Service: In addition to the Georgia State Parks, several organizations are celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day with events for the MLK Day of Service including Oakland Cemetery, Hands On Atlanta, Georgia Tech, and Decatur Service Project.

Learn African American History at Oakland: Oakland Cemetery is one of the best places to learn history in Atlanta. For MLK weekend, take a walking tour and learn about the men and women who shaped Atlanta and the African American experience in Atlanta. Best of all the tour is FREE.

Center for Civil and Human Rights: This is the best civil rights museum of its kind. See how long can you sit at the lunch counter with people jeering in your ear, or stand on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel. MLK Weekend is a perfect time to visit this museum. You’ll leave understanding why it is so important to dedicate a Civil Rights day, as why we should consider it a basic human rights day as well.

Visit the Atlanta History Center for FREE: The Atlanta History Center is hosting a FREE admission day on Martin Luther King Day, and invites you, your family, your friends, and anyone else you might think of to come celebrate the holiday by exploring the history of the region, plus delving deeper into subjects from Civil War slavery to civil rights movement-sparked integration.

FREE admission includes access to the museum exhibits, living history experiences at the Smith Family Farm and the famous Swan House, and access to the 22 acres of gardens and trails. The Margaret Mitchell House in Midtown is also included in the offer.

This year, join the conversation through immersive museum theatre performances and talk-back sessions following a screening of Paul Laurence Dunbar: Beyond the Mask, a documentary sharing the life of one of the most influential African American poets in American literature.

See a show for FREE at the Alliance Theatre: Young artists from the Alliance Theatre’s Palefsky Collision Project for teens explore the issues and ideas that challenge their generation to change the world. Under the guidance of playwright Pearl Cleage and director Patrick McColery they will present free readings of a new work based on Dr. King’s letters at the Woodruff Arts Center at 3 pm.   Tickets are free, but an RSVP is requested.

Take your Preschooler to the Children’s Museum: The Children’s Museum of Atlanta has special programming for kids with a MLK birthday bash on MLK day. Before you go, check out our post on the Children’s Museum, as well as these other toddler friendly spots in Atlanta.

Martin Luther King Parades in Georgia

If you are looking for free things to do on Martin Luther King Day, a parade is a great answer. Here area  few around the state of Georgia

Gwinnett County MLK Parade. A parade, food vendors and performances to honor Dr. Kings legacy in Lawrenceville, Ga. The parade kicks off at 11 am.

Martin Luther King Parade in Dublin. Held on Saturday, Jan. 19, this is the second largest MLK parade in Georgia.

Savannah MLK Parade. Held on Martin Luther King Day, the Savannah MLK parade kicks off at 10 am. Expect more than 300 parade entrants to entertain and remind us of Dr. King’s legacy.

MLK Day Weekend Getaways

Visit Birmingham, AL: The summer of 1963 was a pivotal time in the Civil Rights movement, and Birmingham. AL was the center of the struggle. Learn what happened that summer with a MLK Day weekend visit to Birmingham, AL.

Visit with the Gullah Geechee of St. Simons: The Gullah Geechee are decedents of the slaves that worked the cotton and rice plantations of the Georgia coast. Visit the St. Simons African American Heritage Center at the Harrington School, or take an African American Heritage tour of the island to celebrate Martin Luther King weekend.

Visit the Tubman Museum. Opened in 1981, and named after Harriet Tubman, the Tubman Museum is the largest museum in the southeast dedicated to African American art and history.  The museum is centrally located on Cherry Street in downtown Macon, and I think has one of the coolest pieces of art: a 55-foot long mural that travels through time showing the feats of African Americans.

Learn about slavery in Savannah. To get a true picture of the history of Savannah, you must understand the part slavery played in the city’s past, as well as the bravery and unbreakable spirit of the Gullah Geechee, the name given to the African slaves brought to the city from the rice and grain regions of Sierra Leone in Western Africa.

MLK at Disney World. If you are looking for MLK weekend vacation deals, January is normally a slower month at Walt Disney World (although the Martin Luther King weekend at Disney World tends to be a bit more crowded than the rest of the month). Note: slower times of the year are when Disney shortens hours and closes rides for refurbishment, so be sure to research the park you would like to visit to ensure you can experience your favorite attractions. On the plus side, smaller crowds mean you won’t necessarily need extended hours.

MLK Ski Weekend Getaways

Hit the Slopes: MLK Weekend is a popular time to hit the slopes at Beech Mountain or any of the other North Carolina ski resorts. If you aren’t a skier, you may want to head north to do some snow tubing and just playing in the snow. Of course you can also find snow in Atlanta at places like Stone Mountain.

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Spend MLK Weekend in Atlanta learning about the amazing life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr. We have inspiring ideas for learning, serving or just enjoying family at home or with a quick getaway.

Spend MLK Weekend in Atlanta learning about the amazing life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr. with a quick getaway.

Sue Rodman | Co-Founder

Sue came to Atlanta after finishing the Walt Disney World College Program where she was a tour guide then guest relations hostess (and no she did not moonlight as Snow White). Sue spent 25 years in PR before adding freelance travel writing to her resume. Prior to 365 Atlanta Traveler, Sue published an award winning family travel blog called Field Trips with Sue for eight years, and produced a TV segment with the same name on CBS Better Mornings Atlanta. Her favorite place to visit is anywhere with her husband and three sons. Sue believes anytime is a good time for dessert and there are no bad field trips, just better stories. @SueRodman

Sue Rodman

Sue Rodman

Co-Founder at 365 Atlanta Traveler
Sue came to Atlanta after finishing the Walt Disney World College Program where she was a tour guide then guest relations hostess (and no she did not moonlight as Snow White). Sue spent 25 years in PR before adding freelance travel writing to her resume. Prior to 365 Atlanta Traveler, Sue published an award winning family travel blog called Field Trips with Sue for eight years, and produced a TV segment with the same name on CBS Better Mornings Atlanta. Her favorite place to visit is anywhere with her husband and three sons. Sue believes anytime is a good time for dessert and there are no bad field trips, just better stories.
Sue Rodman

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