7 Ways to Celebrate MLK Day in Chicago

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is so much more than a holiday from school. It’s a day to celebrate the life and work of a Nobel Peace Prize recipient who struggled to make America a place of equality. Learn about Dr. King, the Civil Rights Movement, and others working for equality and progress at these special events.

MLK Tribute: Ask Your Mama by the Chicago Sinfonietta

A Grammy-award winning, multi-media jazz/symphonic composition combining orchestra, opera, jazz vocals, spoken word, and archival audio samples.

  • Sunday, January 14, 2018, at 3:00 pm at the Pfeiffer Concert Hall, North Central College, 310 E. Benton Ave, Naperville.
  • Monday, January 15, 2018, at 7:30 pm at the Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave, Chicago.
  • Tickets area available online and range in price from $10-$62.

What Does It Mean, Dr. King?

An interactive musical performance featuring songs of freedom and opportunities to discuss situations during the Civil Rights Movement. Recommended for children ages 4 and older.

  • Monday, January 15, 2018, at the Chicago Children’s Museum, Navy Pier, 700 E. Grand Ave, Chicago.
  • Performances at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm, and 3:00 pm.
  • Included in the general admission price for the Chicago Children’s Museum. Tickets are required and limited, but can be obtained at the museum on the day of the event.


Visit the Illinois Holocaust Museum to learn about history and how to stand up and speak out for what we believe.

  • Monday, January 15, 2018, from 10:00 am-4:00 pm at the Illinois Holocaust Museum, 9603 Woods Drive, Skokie.
  • Half-price admission for children and students on MLK Day.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Family-friendly event includes a production of The MLK Project: The Fight for Civil Rights by Writers Theatre, a musical performance by the Chicago Chamber Choir, as well as storytelling and crafts. Visitors can also explore the temporary exhibit Race: Are We So Different? which is open through July 15 and included in the general admission price.

  • Monday, January 15, 2018, at the Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark Street, Chicago.
  • Free admission for Illinois residents on MLK Day.

Martin Luther King Day Chess Workshop

Annual chess workshop offering specialized lessons, coaching, and supervised play.

  • Monday, January 15, 2018, from 9:00 am-3:00 pm at Edgebrook Lutheran Church, 5252 W. Devon Avenue, Chicago.
  • Pre-registration available online.
  • Full day is $80, half day is $50 if registered by January 14. Day-of registration is $90 for full day and $60 for half day.

School Day’s Off! Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Learn about Martin Luther King and create an art project celebrating Dr. King.

  • Monday, January 15, 2018, from 1:00-2:00 pm at the Des Plaines History Center, 781 Pearson Street, Des Plaines.
  • Intended for children ages 5-12 years old with an adult.
  • $3 per child.

Black Creativity Family Day

The Black Creativity Program is ongoing and includes the Innovation Studio, which focuses on the contributions of African Americans to STEM fields, and Career Showcase, which focuses on African Americans in art, science, and technology fields. Visitors can also explore the Juried Art Show, which showcases African-American art.

  • Family Day is Monday, January 15, 2018, at the Museum of Science & Industry. The Black Creativity Program is ongoing, and the Juried Art Show is open in January and February.
  • Admission to the Museum of Science and Industry is free for Illinois residents on January 15.

Show buttons
Hide buttons