Martin Luther King, Jr
Martin Luther King day is marked on the third Monday of January AFP / Getty

Martin Luther King day was first officially observed in January 1986 and since then, the federal holiday has served as a reminder of the civil rights leader's work and legacy of peaceful protest for over three decades.

This year, the day falls on Monday 16 January - four days before President-elect Donald Trump is formally inaugurated as the 45th leader of the US, which will be a focus of some of the events planned for MLK Day.

New York

The Brooklyn Academy of Music will host the biggest, free public celebration of King, featuring a talk by civil rights activist and Black Lives Matter movement co-founder Opal Tometi. The event is ticketed and begins at 10:30am.


The Please Touch Museum is inviting children to learn about the legacy of the civil rights leader through various activities, including stories, art and more. Admission is free from Saturday 14 January through to Monday 16 January, from 11am until 4pm.

San Francisco

Celebrate King's life and work with the 2017 MLK Day festival, march and parade around Yerba Buena Gardens, which will take place from 11am on Monday 16 January. The march will begin at the San Francisco Caltrain station and stops at Willie Mays Plaza at AT&T Park to commemorate the crossing of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in symbolic Selma.

Washington DC

The Washington National Cathedral will host a celebration of King through music and poetry, presented by the local arts community. After the service, the Cathedral will host a commemorative pilgrimage, which will explore the relationship between King and fellow civil rights icon Rosa Parks.

Martin Luther King
MLK Day falls on Monday 16 January Getty


The King Center, established in 1968 by Coretta Scott King, will host its annual 10-day celebration of King's accomplishments, ranging from workshops to performances to music and more. You can access the full line-up of events here.


Admission to the Chicago History Museum is free on MLK Day - and the museum will host various family-friendly events, from theatrical and musical performances to crafts and storytelling to reflect King's life.


The largest MLK Day celebration in the region hosts workshops, a rally with speakers, poetry and music and a march Monday at Garfield High School. It's the 33rd year for the annual event, which draws thousands to honor King and continue his call for racial equality, economic justice for all people, nonviolence and peace.

Los Angeles

The annual Kingdom Day Parade, the largest parade in the country celebrating King, will begin along Martin Luther King Jr Blvd. and Western to Crenshaw and Vernon in Leimert Park. It will include marching bands, floats and local organisations. This year's theme is "Now More Than Ever, We Must All Work Together".