Looking for something to do to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday, January 18, 2021? See our list of things to do on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Columbus.
The first section contains specific events in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the following section contains links for activities in Columbus for you to enjoy if you have the day off from school and work.
2021 Martin Luther King Jr. Day events
Where Do We Go From Here? Documentary Film Festival
Fri, Jan 15, 2021 – Mon, Jan 18, 2021
The Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University hosts a free, four-day film festival and webinar. The festival features twenty documentaries as well as musical performances and conversations that speak to Dr. King’s unanswered question: “Where do we go from here?”
The webinar will consist of a Zoom meeting room with our director Dr. Clayborne Carson that will take place throughout the weekend, in which he will speak with registrants on a variety of subjects, from Bay Area civil rights history to the legacy of the African American Gandhians.
The films and documentaries cover a range of topics, from the history of the civil rights and anti-apartheid movements to James Baldwin and Martin Luther King’s global visions. Films are organized thematically into days, but registrants can view these films throughout the King Holiday weekend on their own schedules via links sent to your email via Eventbrite on 1/15. See full list of films, and register for free on Eventbrite to receive the links.
Sat., Jan. 16, 2021 • 7 p.m. Virtual
Where Do We Go from Here? MLK’s Vision for a Fair and Just America.
Shortly before his death, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. published his last book, Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community, a powerful explication of his thoughts and ideas on how to create a more democratic society. This talk with Dr. Hasan Jeffries will explore the blueprint for the future that King laid out, highlighting the elements of his vision that are most applicable today.
Registration is required. $15/Nonmember Free/Member
January 18, 2021, at 8:00 a.m.
Due to circumstances related to COVID-19, this year’s Westerville Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration will be offered virtually and at no cost to the public to attend.
If you’re in the position to make a donation of $30 (the same price as an individual registration in years past) or a donation of any amount, these will ensure that this annual celebration continues for our community and the conversation on racial diversity and inclusion in Westerville doesn’t go quiet. Register here.
The MLK Legacy Project is a collaborative group of volunteers comprised of Leadership Westerville alumni and community members who strive for to reach Dr. King’s Beloved Community in Westerville through the planning of this annual event and for over four years hosting Community Conversations.
January 18, 2021 at 8:30 am on Facebook
The Delaware County Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee and Ohio Wesleyan University invite you to learn how to better promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within your area of influence during a virtual panel discussion debuting at 8:30 a.m. EST Jan. 18 on Facebook.
The panel, moderated by Dawn Chisebe, Ohio Wesleyan’s interim chief diversity officer, will feature local experts who will analyze civil rights issues and efforts over the past year and discuss the way forward to improve equality within their areas. The discussion marks the celebration committee’s 28th annual commemoration event. See details here.
January 18, 2021 from 9 a.m. – 10 a.m.
Online event: “NOW Is The Time”
The City of Columbus takes great pride in its observance of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The Martin Luther King Breakfast Committee, Inc. invites the public to the Columbus signature King Holiday event attended by thousands of diverse multicultural. The largest event of its kind in the United States honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Join us at the flagship event on MLK Jr. Day, the national holiday commemorating Dr. King the fallen civil rights leader. Keynote speaker: Melissa Harris-Perry, Maya Angelou Presidential Chair at Wake Forest University, Professor & Writer.
Tickets are $20 and are limited; see more details and purchase tickets here.
January 18, 2021 from 10 am – 3:30 pm
Celebrate the 30th anniversary of Capital University’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Learning. The theme of the 2021 event is “Why We Still Can’t Wait,” a reflection on Dr. King’s 1964 book about nonviolence and the struggle against racial segregation – a topic that is just as relevant today as it was 56 years ago.
The MLK Day of Learning Speaker will be award winning filmmaker and novelist, Trey Ellis.
Even though the 2021 event will take place virtually, students, staff, faculty, and members of the Central Ohio community will have an opportunity to be challenged by the keynote speaker, engage in meaningful dialogue during the workshops, and enjoy music that will touch the soul.
You must sign up for the workshops you wish to attend in advance in order to receive a link to participate. Click on the link for workshop selection at this page.
January 18, 2021 at 11:00 am
Join the Worthington community to celebrate and honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for the 2021 virtual Martin Luther King Community Celebration. The program will be presented online with a collection and music, remarks and reflections about King’s legacy from people in the Worthington community.
January 18, 2021 from 12 pm – 2 pm; Virtual
The King Arts Complex presents the annual MLK Open House on the observance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday. Explore the impact of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
This annual community event is an excellent opportunity for children, families and friends to enjoy musical and live theatrical performances. The event is also a unique opportunity for visitors of all ages to learn about the civil rights movement and view the (now virtual) art exhibition.
This event will be premiered to the King Arts Complex YouTube channel at Noon on January 18, 2021. The video will subsequently be shared to the KAC Facebook and Instagram channels. The program will also be premiered on the KAC website; direct link will be shared upon availability.
The Martin Unites Exhibition, in partnership with Blick Art Supplies and Wild Goose Creative, will premiere during the MLK Day Celebration.
January 18, 2021 at noon
Amid a global pandemic, the Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Virtual Parade will take place virtually on January 18, 2021, at 12 noon via YouTube.
Across the nation and the world, Dr. King’s life and legacy is commemorated by a day of service and promoted as A Day On and Not a Day Off. The Martin Luther King Jr. Parade symbolizes the need to continue Dr. King’s work and reinforces the idea reflected in his words, “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.
Be sure to follow on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @mlkholidaydc115. Also viewable on mlkholidaydc.org; and the Washington Informer website. Register for free here.
January 25-29, 2021.
Columbus State Community College will celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at its 31st-annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Celebration. This year’s event is all virtual, and expands the traditional day of recognition to a full week of events focused on modern civil rights strategies to further understanding and realization of Dr. King’s vision for equality.
Vivil rights attorney Benjamin Crump is the keynote speaker for the signature annual event honoring Dr. King 10 a.m.-noon Wednesday, January 27. Known by the nickname “Black America’s Attorney General,” Crump has established himself as one of the nation’s foremost lawyers and advocates for social justice.
Access to all virtual events will be available from this page. Access details will be added as they become available. All events are free of charge and open to the public. Events include documentaries, presentations, conversations, and performances.
Other related events
Spaghetti Warehouse MLK Jr. weekend deal
January 16 – January 18, 2021
Family Feast for 4 only $35! Pick 3 of 4 entrée options, and receive double portions of each on a family-size platter. Options include: 15 Layer Lasagna, Chicken Parmigiana, Spaghetti & Meatballs, and Fettuccini Alfredo. Does not specify if it applies to carryout, so call to verify.
397 West Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215 614.464.0143
January 17, 2021 from 11 am – 1 pm
Child Coat Giveaway with ‘A Tribute to African Americans Committee, Inc.’ at 670 Meridian Way, Westerville
Call 614-344-5018 ext 101 for questions or more details.
Special winter camp for MLK Day! Both full and half-day options are available. Come prepared to have fun, learn ninja and parkour skills, and meet new friends!
When: Monday, January 18th
- Full Day: 9am-4pm (campers bring their own lunch!)
- Morning: 9am-12pm
- Afternoon: 1pm-4pm
Registration is filling up, so sign up now!
Members: full-day $75, half-day $40
Non-members: full-day $95, half-day $50
January 18, 2021 from 9:00AM-1:00PM
$40 & $35 for siblings
This is a half day camp where your child can explore our entire facility doing a variety of athletic activities, games and more! This camp will be guided by our enthusiastic instructors giving your child a fun experience! Please have your child wear athletic clothing and bring socks and a water bottle. Please send snacks and lunch with your child.
Anytime through January 31, 2021.
Children and their families will honor the legacy of Dr. King by creating 5+ bookmarks and selecting one or more books from Harper’s Corner booklist to donate to Dunloe Elementary school library to promote caring and inclusive conversations. Families may participate from home anytime in the month of January. Bookmarks should be mailed and book donations made by January 31st. Full project details will be provided in your service packet.
Registration is free and will include packet with project instructions. Each family will spend approximately $15 for supplies and book donations.
One Book-One Community Discussion: Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds
January 17, 2021 @ 7:00pm: Register here
January 24, 2021 @ 4-5 pm: Virtual Author Talk Register here (replay available to registered participants)
Nine Central Ohio libraries have partnered in the presentation of One Book-One Community. They are inviting teens and adults to read Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds. This initiative is designed to cultivate conversations around race and social justice based upon the shared reading experience of the greater Columbus community. Through the reading of a singular book, the community can reflect together upon the institutional and systemic inequalities that have impacted our community and nation for far too long.
Join the free community event featuring author Jason Reynolds. The “Let’s Talk About Race” virtual author talk takes place Monday, January 18 and Sunday, January 24th. Watch from your computer or mobile device. Can’t attend the live stream? Sign up and watch the replay through Jan. 31.
Schools out! Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, January 20
10 am – 4 pm, with free admission for all. $10 parking per vehicle for non-members still applies.
Special event skating parties Friday – Monday! All Children Between the Ages of 3-17 Are Required to Pay Admission and Skate Rental Upon Entering. Adults 18+ not skating, may enter for free.
Special skating sessions are available through the long weekend of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
Will we have snow? No one knows, but if we do, a day off is a great chance to hit the hills.
Whether you want to brave the outdoors, or skate in a temperature controlled rink, you’ll have a blast on the ice!
Its just a short drive from Columbus and you’ll burn calories on those hills, whether you ski, board, or tube. Offering extended hours over Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend
It’s going to be COLD! You don’t have to be trapped inside though – check out one of the 50+ indoor play areas. Many are free! Please check links for holiday or weather closures.
Need more options? Here are some other fun things for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Monday, January 18, 2021
Black History Month: February
Columbus Metropolitan Libraries celebrate Black History Month with events and activities during the month of February, in addition to celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday in January.