Ways to Celebrate and Honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2023 in Chicago

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is observed on the third Monday of each year; this year January 16. To honor Dr. King’s life, work and legacy, here are nine ways to celebrate MLK Day through the arts, acts of service, education and more.

Jan. 15: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration at Nichols Concert Hall

Featured musician Ephraim Champion (left) and Evanston Mayor Daniel Biss to appear

In remembrance, on January 15 at 3pm, The Music Institute of Chicago will present a free musical celebration at Nichols Concert Hall — also available via livestream. The event will feature dance, art, music and more, including the world premiere of a “A Stone of Hope (Martin’s Song)” for soprano, cello and piano by Ephraim Champion — commissioned through the Hearing in Color Young Composer Residency. This special event is free to the public. Register on the Music Institute of Chicago website.

1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston

Jan. 16: Hyde Park Art Center South Side Stories

In collaboration with South Side spaces, Arts + Public Life, Court Theater, Lumpen Radio, and more, Hyde Park Art Center will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. and honor the legacy of historical Black leaders, spaces, and stories from the South Side of Chicago. RSVP on their website.

5020 S. Cornell Ave

Jan. 16: United Way of Metro Chicago, Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Join the United Way of Metro Chicago for a day of meaningful conversations and service projects. There will be a Zoom conversation with 2022 MacArthur Fellow Dr. Reuben Jonathan Miller, sociologist, criminologist, and author of Halfway Home: Race, Punishment, and the Afterlife of Mass Incarceration, to help deepen our understanding of this issue. The conversation will be moderated by Dr. Kimberlee Guenther, chief impact officer for United Way of Metro Chicago. RSVP on their website.

Jan. 16: One Warm Coat – MLK Day of Service

One Warm Coat is looking for individuals, groups and businesses to collect coats for people in need through its Coat Drive Program. One Warm Coat provides the resources to register, promote and manage the drives, and partners with nonprofits across the country to ensure every coat is distributed. Making a financial contribution or collecting donations is another way to help. For more information and to register visit One Warm Coat

Jan. 16: The Volunteer Center’s Annual Martin Luther King Day of Service

The Volunteer Center will host their annual day of service at the Community House in Winnetka from 11am – 2pm. Participate in a variety of service projects in support of multiple area nonprofits, and share your thoughts about Dr. King, Service and Social Justice. More details can be found at The Volunteer Center’s website.

620 Lincoln Ave, Winnetka

Jan. 16: Martin Luther King Jr. Day at The Chicago History Museum

The Chicago History Museum will host their annual family-friendly celebration on Monday, Jan. 16 from 10:30 am – 3:30 pm. The event will discuss King’s activism in Chicago, including virtual tours of the places he frequented, virtual storytelling and hands-on history art. The event is free for Illinois residents and the museum welcomes donations. To register, visit Chicago History Museum

1601 N Clark St

Jan. 16: My Block My Hood My City’s MLK Day of Service

My Block My Hood My City will honor Dr. King through a day of service helping seniors during this winter season. On Monday, Jan. 16 from 10 am – 12 pm, donations of food, PPE, winter apparel (hats, gloves, scarves) and home goods will be accepted for delivery to over 500 seniors across Chicago. Learn more on their website.

8350 S King Dr

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