Explore Philadelphia

Where to Celebrate Martin Luther King Day 2020 in Philadelphia

This year marks the 91st anniversary of the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr., with the annual holiday falling on January 20 this year. Here are eight great ways Philadelphia is commemorating the civil rights leader and Nobel Prize winner.

25th Annual Great Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service
This is the largest such event in the country. Thousands of people from the tri-state region volunteer their time in multiple ways in appreciation of Dr. King's message of service and unity. 215.851.1811

The African American Museum in Philadelphia
The museum hosts a service day project on Jan. 18 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., a family-oriented event where visitors can create care packages for less fortunate Philadelphia families. Guests can also join in the Audacious Freedom Scavenger Hunt, participate in arts and crafts projects and more. On Jan. 20, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the museum presents a series of programs including the Citizens Bank Scavenger Hunt (10 a.m.-5 p.m.), Carlo Campbell's reenactment of Dr. King (10 a.m.-2 p.m.), a memorial concert (3-5 p.m.) and more. 701 Arch St., 215.574.0380

MLK Day activity at The African American Museum in Philadelphia (Photo by M. Edlow/Courtesy of AAMP)

Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
On Jan. 17 at 8 pm the Zellerbach Center presents "We Shall Overcome: A Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr." Damien Sneed and a group of other talented artists perform a repertoire of African American music traditions, from classical and Broadway tunes to gospel and jazz, weaving Dr. King's speeches into the performance. 3860 Walnut St., 215.898.3900

'We Shall Overcome' at the Zellerbach Center (©Frank Stewart)

Eastern State Penitentiary
The historic site offers free events Jan. 18-20 including daily readings and discussions of Dr. King's 1963 "Letter from Birmingham Jail" at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. On Jan. 20, there will be special family activities, and at 1 and 3 p.m. performances by local musician Justin Griggs. 2027 Fairmount Ave., 215.236.3300

Museum of the American Revolution
Included with admission, the museum offers a 30-minute tour of the main galleries, Jan. 18-20, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., featuring stories about people of African descent and their experience in the Revolutionary War. On Jan. 18 from 3-4 p.m., the Philadelphia Jazz Project performs "We Shall: A Lyrical MLK Celebration," a blend of spoken-word, instrumentals and singing incorporating excerpts from Dr. King's sermons and speeches. The performance is also included in the price of museum admission. 101 S. Third St., 215.253.6731

Museum of the American Revolution (Courtesy Museum of the American Revolution)

National Constitution Center
On Jan. 20, admission to the center is $5. Commemorative events include a reading of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech as well as a theatrical performance of "Frances Ellen Watkins Harper: The Great Problem to Be Solved," about the Reconstruction-era African American activist and writer. 525 Arch St., 215.409.6600

National Museum of American Jewish History
The events scheduled at the museum include arts and crafts (10 a.m.-3 p.m.), storytime (10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m.), talks with a docent from the civil rights movement (11 a.m., noon 1 p.m., 2 p.m.), a performance by Drummers With Attitude (noon-12:30 p.m.) and a screening of the documentary "Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Movement." 101 S. Independence Mall East, 215.923.3811 

Philadelphia Museum of Art
The museum presents "MLK: Dreams for Different Futures," a full day of activities. It starts at 10 a.m. with a discussion, until 3 p.m., about engaging the community in the city's design. From 10:30 a.m. to noon, visitors may participate in a conversation about the impact of Dr. King's legacy on the future, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Balcony Studio guests can take part in hands-on artmaking. In the Future Therapies Lab, from 1-2:30 p.m., local activists, designers and community organizers share their thoughts on how to positively impact the future. 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, 215.763.8100