ABOVE PHOTO: AAMP — Photo by P. Meyer for Visit Philadelphia
Philly celebrates the civil rights leader — plus more things to do over the long weekend, January 15-17, 2022…
Every year, Philadelphia honors the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. with a day of giving back and an extended weekend of in-person and virtual activities to celebrate Dr. King across the city.
For 2022, Philadelphia museums and attractions — including The African American Museum in Philadelphia, Woodmere Art Museum, and the Museum of the American Revolution — hold special events, programs and workshops to celebrate King.
Volunteers can also find service opportunities during the Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service taking place on Monday, January 17, 2022.
Plus, residents and visitors looking for more things to do over the long weekend can find outdoor winter fun at Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest and Dilworth Park; meal deals during the ever-popular Center City District Restaurant Week; Jurassic Quest at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and more.
Make the most of the long weekend by booking the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package, which includes buy-one-get-one-free tickets to 33 Philly museums and attractions, free hotel parking (up to $100) and a comfy bed you don’t have to make.
Remember that beginning in January, residents and visitors must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to enter any establishment that serves food in Philadelphia, including restaurants, bars, casinos, theaters and more. Other attractions, shops and other indoor public spaces in Philadelphia require proof of vaccination and/or mask-wearing.
Guidelines and requirements vary in the surrounding Greater Philadelphia region. Advance tickets or reservations remain recommended or necessary at many spots, and events can be postponed or canceled at any time. Your best bet: Call ahead or check online ahead of time to get the latest info.
Below are our top picks for Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Philadelphia for 2022, along with an array of other events and activities to enjoy over the long weekend from January 15-17, 2022.
Note: Events are arranged in chronological order by section, starting with events that are ongoing.
01–2022 MLK Weekend Celebration at The African American Museum in Philadelphia
January 15-17, 2022
The weekend’s festivities at The African American Museum in Philadelphia center around the theme “Grassroots and Grand Strategies” with programming catering to efforts to promote equity, facilitate generational advancement, and protect the mental and spiritual wellbeing of historically oppressed peoples.
Saturday, January 15, 2022, offers hands-on art activities for kids, a scavenger hunt throughout the museum, a book discussion, and an in-person and virtual screening of the documentary A King in the Wilderness.
On Sunday, January 16, 2022, volunteers can sign up to transcribe historical documents from Christ Church and the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection, part of Temple University Libraries.
The weekend culminates on Monday, January 17, 2022, with a daylong voter registration drive and a memorial concert.
Where: The African American Museum in Philadelphia, 701 Arch Street
02–Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend at the Betsy Ross House
January 15-17, 2022
Throughout the weekend, visitors at the Betsy Ross House have the chance to “meet” Rev. Richard Allen, the first African American to be ordained in the ministry of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and one of early America’s most influential Black leaders. The attraction also offers short, interactive storytelling sessions detailing the contributions Black Americans have made throughout the country’s history.
Where: Betsy Ross House, 239 Arch Street
03–Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend at the Museum of the American Revolution
January 15-17, 2022
The Museum of the American Revolution celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. with programming that highlights the spirit of change both in his work and the American revolution. On Saturday, January 15, 2022, the Philadelphia Jazz Project presents an hour-long spoken word/musical performance of King’s 1963 “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” in Liberty Hall. Elsewhere, see a historical reenactment of abolitionist James Forten, a free Black Philadelphian and Revolutionary War veteran, and a painting featuring Forten commissioned by the museum.
Where: Museum of the American Revolution, 101 S. 3rd Street
04–MLK Weekend at the National Liberty Museum
January 15-17, 2022
The National Liberty Museum honors Dr. King’s legacy by focusing on sustainability as service. Throughout the weekend, the museum offers a special gallery guide informing guests about the legacy of Martin Luther King’s advocacy and service, in addition to exhibits about people worldwide taking a stand for sustainability. The museum also hosts hands-on workshops with Joel Spivak of the Philadelphia Dumpster Divers (Sunday, January 16, 2022) and Urban Creators Farm Manager Shawn Brody (Monday, January 17, 2022), giving participants the opportunity to make sustainable art and household items.
Where: National Liberty Museum, 321 Chestnut Street
05–Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service
Monday, January 17, 2022 | 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
What better way to celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. than by lending a hand in a service project? Volunteers can partake in one of dozens of in-person and virtual service projects during the Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service. Girard College serves as the hub for the day’s projects. Service projects this year include food distribution, community cleanup and blanket making.
Where: Various locations including Chosen 300 Ministries Inc, 1116 Spring Garden Street
06–Day Off Camp: Environmental Art at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education
Monday, January 17, 2022 | 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
Kids between the ages of five and 12 can spend their day off learning about and creating environmentally friendly art, and participating in a service project honoring Martin Luther King Jr.
Where: Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, 8480 Hagy’s Mill Road
07–Martin Luther King Day of Service at Bartram’s Garden
Monday, January 17, 2022 | 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Help beautify one of the city’s historic landmarks with a two-hour service activity. Volunteers collect trash and debris from around the garden and sanitize pots in the greenhouse in preparation for spring planting.
Where: Bartram’s Garden, 5400 Lindbergh Boulevard
08–Uhuru Furniture’s 25th Annual MLK Day Event and Outdoor Volunteer Project
Monday, January 17, 2022 | 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Uhuru Furniture & Collectibles — an organization dedicated to promoting Black economic self-reliance and fighting gentrification — commemorates the Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service with a virtual program and a socially distant volunteer project. Screenings of historic films about Africans’ struggles for freedom and equity feature civil rights champions Dr. King and Malcolm X. (Register in advance for a link to the screening.) Bonus: Volunteers receive lunch.
Where: Uhuru Furniture & Collectibles, 832 N. Broad Street
09–Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the National Constitution Center
Monday, January 17, 2022 | 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Visit the National Constitution Center — for free! — on MLK Day and enjoy readings of Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech, a family-friendly concert, storytelling, and arts and crafts. Guests can also perform an act of service and donate pens, pencils, crayons, copy paper, hand sanitizer, folders and age-appropriate books to the museum’s school-supplies drive supporting the School District of Philadelphia.
Where: National Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street
10–Dr. Martin Luther King Day at Eastern State Penitentiary
Monday, January 17, 2022 | 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Eastern State Penitentiary hosts a hybrid in-person and online event commemorating Dr. King’s 1963 “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” Students, educators, legislators, artists, and activists split the letter into four acts and offer intermissions between each section to provide space for reflection and connection along the way. In-person attendees can enjoy hands-on activities and a volunteer service project, too. The reading is streamed live via Eastern State’s Facebook and on Zoom.
Where: Eastern State Penitentiary, 2027 Fairmount Avenue
11–The Philadelphia Orchestra’s Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute Concert at the Kimmel Center
Monday, January 17, 2022 | 1 p.m.
The annual free tribute concert features works from Black composers, excerpts from Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and vocals from the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts Chorus. A recording of the HearTOGETHER podcast takes place at 11:30 a.m. in the Perelman Theater before the concert. The podcast episode examines the “American Dream” as it relates to the dream Dr. King had for America as well as the role music plays in social movements.
Where: Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad Street
12–Martin Luther King Jr. Day from the Woodmere Art Museum
Monday, January 17, 2022 | 2-3 p.m.
The Arpeggio Jazz Ensemble performs music from the Civil Rights Era during this virtual Martin Luther King Jr. event, hosted by Woodmere Art Museum. The program also includes lessons about King and his “I Have A Dream” speech through the art of Jerry Pinkney and the children’s book, A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech That Inspired a Nation.