Things to Do

MLK Day Events Around DC

You can celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy with events and service projects.

Photograph by Sergiy Galyonkin/ Flickr.

Martin Luther King Jr.’s observed birthday has a special resonance in DC, the site of his “I Have a Dream” speech and a jurisdiction that has hosted a parade in his honor since 1979. This year you can celebrate King’s legacy with a variety of events and service projects.

MLK Holiday DC Fifth Annual Prayer Breakfast

1901 Mississippi Ave., SE, Suite #101
MLK Holiday DC’s Prayer Breakfast will be held at THEARC Black Box with clergy and faith leaders from throughout the DC area. This year’s theme is “Recapture the Dream – Lift Every Voice ’til Victory is Won.” Details: Saturday, January 14, 10 AM to 12 PM Purchase in-person tickets at $25 per person or free virtual tickets here.

MLK Holiday DC Peace Walk & Parade

MLK Jr Ave. & Howard Rd., SE 
The 42nd Annual Parade will begin at 9:30 AM from R.I.S.E. Demonstration Center. The Peace Walk, coordinated by the Coalition for Peace, will begin at 10 AM in Shepherd Park and follow 2 miles along MLK Avenue. Details: Monday, January 16, 9:30 AM. Register here for free tickets.

MLK Jr. Birthday Tribute Reading

901 G St., NW
The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library will host a reading that combines poetry with historical speeches, titled “Not Just Another Day Off.” The DC Public Library and Folger Shakespeare Library tribute will include works from James Baldwin, Malcolm X, MLK Jr., Frederick Douglass, and Gandhi. Details: Monday, January 16, 11 AM to 1 PM. Register here for free.

National Museum of African American History and Culture Community Event

1400 Constitution Ave., NW
The People’s Holiday event will include hands-on activities, tours, music, and food on three floors of the Smithsonian Museum. Rex Carnegie and the House Band will perform music inspired by King, and a culinary station will feature some of his favorite foods. There will also be a service project to benefit unhoused and foster children. Details: Monday, January 16, 11 AM to 3 PM. Register here for free tickets.

Carter Barron Amphitheater Cleanup

4850 Colorado Ave., NW
Rock Creek Conversancy and the National Park Service host a service event at Carter Barron Amphitheater. The project will include removing debris, paint, and leaf litter, and weeding, sweeping, and trimming invasive plants. Details: Monday, January 16, 12 PM to 2 PM. Register here.

Mount Vernon Trail Invasive Plant Removal

1198 N Fairfax St., Alexandria
The Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail invites participants to help remove invasive kudzu vines that kill nearby trees. Details: Monday, January 16, 10 AM to 12 PM. Register here.

Oasis Restoration at Fort Slocum

5800 Kansas Ave., NW
This MLK Day volunteer event at Fort Slocum Park will include removal of invasive plant species to help protect the forest. Details: Monday, January 16, 1 PM to 3 PM. Register here.

Oasis Restoration at Reservation 630 East

2801 Quebec St., NW 
Hosted by Rock Creek Conservancy, the National Park Service, and Rock Creek Weed Warrior leader Rena Subotnik, restoration at Reservation 630 East will remove invasive plants. Details: Monday, January 16, 10 AM to 12 PM. Register here.

Sandy Spring Museum Transcribe-A-Thon

Virtual program
Sandy Spring Museum is hosting a service opportunity where volunteers transcribe archival documents. Anyone ages 13 and up can sign up for a two-hour session to help make more museum artifacts searchable. Though the event is virtual, the museum’s Transcription Coordinator will be available over Zoom to answer questions. Details: Monday, January 16, 10 AM to 3 PM. Register here

Anacostia Riverkeeper Clean Waterways

2900 M Pl. SE
Anacostia Riverkeeper is partnering up with Pope Branch Park Restoration Alliance and Sierra Club DC for an MLK Day cleanup. All supplies are provided for this service event. Details: Monday, January 16, 10 AM to 1 PM. Sign up here

YMCA Service Events

Multiple locations 
Several DC-area YMCA locations will have service opportunities on January 16th. Silver Spring will host a coat drive that begins on January 16 and goes through the end of the month. Arlington is partnering with St. Lucy Food Project for a food drive; you can donate in person or online using this Amazon wishlist. Reston is also hosting a food drive collecting non-perishables from January 16 through January 20. Camp Letts will host a clean-up day in Edgewater, Maryland for MLK Day. 

This post has been updated.

Katie Kenny
Editorial Fellow