20 Ways to Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Greater Cleveland

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Honor and celebrate the legacy of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. this weekend in Greater Cleveland.

We’ve put together a guide to some of the events in Northeast Ohio celebrating MLK’s birthday on Jan. 15, and have included many of the events that take place on Monday, Jan. 17, when the holiday is observed.

Concerts, volunteer opportunities and educational events abound. Here are 20 events to discover:

(Photo by David Petkiewicz, cleveland.com)David Petkiewicz, cleveland.com

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Brooklyn Nets MLK Game of the Day

Video editing tributes, MLK Day-themed routines and a halftime performance by speed painter David Garibaldi are among the Cavs’ plans for Martin Luther King Jr. Day at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. The team will face the Brooklyn Nets at 3 p.m. .

1 Center Court, Cleveland

3 p.m., January 17


The Cleveland Museum of Art tackles complex racial and gender issues in

Portrait of his mother, 2020. Mequitta Ahuja (American, born in 1976). Oil on canvas; 72″ x 84″ Courtesy of Mequitta Ahuja and Aicon Art, New York. © Mequitta AhujaCourtesy of Mequitta Ahuja and Aicon Art, New York. © Mequitta Ahuja

Cleveland Museum of Art

Each year, the King Center launches a holiday theme – and this year, that theme is “It Starts With Me: Changing Priorities to Create Beloved Community”. The Cleveland Museum of Art will center the day around this theme, offering Discovery Packs, MLK Day Login Guides, and an “Action Challenge” where attendees can find inspiration. To free. The museum’s “Picture Motherhood Now” exhibit will also be free for the day.

11150 East Boulevard, Cleveland

10am-5pm, January 17


rock room

(Photo by Lynn Ischay, The Plain Dealer)

Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has announced a mix of virtual and in-person festivities for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Virtually, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has a few features for the day, including artist interviews and exclusive induction footage. At the museum, visitors can take advantage of free admission – however, tickets must be reserved in advance on the Rock Hall website. Marcus Smith, one of Rock Hall’s resident rockers, is scheduled to perform.

1100 E. 9th Street, Cleveland

January 17


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebrated at the Cleveland Museum of Art

(Photo by Lisa DeJong, The Plain Dealer)Lisa DeJong / The Ordinary Merchant

Tri-C Dr King Celebration

This year, Cuyahoga Community College will host its 45th Annual Dr. King Celebration virtually. The event will include musical performances, student speeches and scholarship presentations. To free.

2:30 p.m., January 16


Ice sculptures in downtown Cleveland by the lake

(Photo by David Petkiewicz, cleveland.com)David Petkiewicz, cleveland.com

ice cream party

North Coast Harbor will host Ice Fest on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, featuring over 30 impressive ice carving demonstrations, character meet and greets, free hot chocolate and crafts. The one-day event takes on the “Harry Potter” theme for 2022. Free.

North Shore Port, Cleveland

11am-5pm, January 17


The Great Lakes Science Center with its wind turbine in operation as seen Thursday, March 11, 2010 in Cleveland

(Photo by Peggy Turbett, The Plain Dealer)The ordinary merchant

Great Lakes Science Center

Astronauts from NASA’s Artemis team will introduce themselves, and the National Society of Black Engineers will discuss their work, as part of the Great Lakes Science Center’s virtual Martin Luther King Jr. festivities. The museum will also have a “lift-off” demonstration showing how rockets get into space, as well as other NASA videos and activities. Videos will be uploaded at 10 a.m. free.

10 a.m., January 17


People skate.

(Photo by Greg Ruffing, special for The Plain Dealer)The ordinary merchant

MLK Skating Weekend

Roller skate all day at Wickliffe’s weekend event. Light skates, adult late nights and other special events are planned for the weekend, with food specialties and family-friendly offerings. Price $9-$11, skate rental $5.

30325 Palisades Pkwy., Wickcliffe

January 14-17


Exterior of the Maltz Museum

(Photo by Jeff Piorkowski, special for cleveland.com)

Maltese Museum

The Maltz Museum will host virtual and in-person entertainment for MLK Day. Visitors can enter the museum for free all day. But if they want to stay home, they can access virtual programs like a “Stop the Hate” essay-writing workshop, a chat with Black History 101 Mobile Museum founder Khalid el-Hakim, readings books and dance performances. To free.

2929 Richmond Road, Beachwood

10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., 17 Jan.


New to Ohio

(Photo courtesy of Akron Zoo)

Akron Zoo

Take a walk on the wild side at the Akron Zoo on Monday. Visitors can enjoy free admission and can learn about the activities of Phi Delta Kappa and the Akron Chapter of the NAACP.

500 Edgewood Ave, Akron

11am-4pm, Jan 17


Akron Art Museum Struggles to Rebound After Turbulent Year Marked by Alleged Workplace Violations

(Photo by Steven Litt)Steven Litt, Cleveland.com

Akron Art Museum

Games, educational videos, studio projects and more will be scheduled at the Akron Art Museum for MLK Day – and the institution will also be offering free admission. The fun is part of the museum’s “Family Days” series.

1 S. High St., Akron

11am-5pm, January 17


Old Brooklyn Service Day

Join the Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation for a day of service on Monday. Help tidy up Pearl Road and bring items and supplies for the neighborhood resource closet.

2339 Broadview Road, Cleveland

10am-12pm, January 17


Lorain Branch NAACP Annual MLK Celebration

Pastor Michael Howard will be the keynote speaker for the Lorain branch of the NAACP’s MLK Celebration, held this year at Wesley United Methodist Church.

220 W. 7th St., Lorain

4 p.m., January 16


Wingfoot Church Reading

Tune in for a virtual event from Wingfoot Church in Akron, where Pastor Jon reads Martin Luther King Jr’s letter from Birmingham Jail. King wrote the letter after leading a nonviolent protest in 1963 in Alabama following his arrest. The event will take place on Zoom.

4 p.m. Jan 16; Noon January 17


Despite offers of pay and other incentives, restaurant owners are struggling to find workers.

(Photo by Marc Bona, cleveland.com)

Scene75 entertainment center

A big discount awaits Scene75 attendees on MLK Jr. Day – 50% off all attractions except arcade games. That means lower prices on laser tag, go-karts, mini-golf, mini-bowling and more. The price of attractions ranges from $3 to $10.

3688 Center Road, Brunswick

11am-9pm, Jan 17


bop stop music venue in cleveland has smaller crowds due to covid restrictions.

(Photo by David Petkiewicz, cleveland.com)David Petkiewicz, cleveland.com

Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Concert at Bop Stop

The Bop Stop will present a virtual concert featuring Music Settlement faculty members and guest artists. The show will include music written by African American composers, with a mix of sacred and secular selections. Free, but $5 donations are encouraged.

3 p.m., January 16



(Photo courtesy of Bishop Joey Johnson)

MLK conference: “Health or health? by Bishop Joey Johnson

Akron-Summit County Library will host a webinar with Bishop Joey Johnson, discussing King’s critical issues regarding health care, segregation and inequality in the United States. Johnson is the Presiding Bishop of Beth-El Fellowship of Visionary Churches, and he chairs the Racial Equity and Social Justice Task Force. To free.

2 p.m., January 16


Clarence Bozeman

(Photo by Beth Mlady, special for cleveland.com)

Celebration breakfast in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.

Clarence Bozeman, personal driver for King and his wife, will be the emcee for Cleveland State University and the annual Tri-C Celebration Breakfast, presented virtually this year. Bozeman, who is a lecturer on civil rights, will be joined by student leaders from both schools to talk about visions for the future. To free.

8:00 a.m., January 18


Day of service and celebration

The Lake County NAACP will celebrate the work and life of MLK at Morley Music Hall and discuss issues and projects in Lake County at this event. Free, masks required.

391 W. Washington Street, Painesville

6 p.m., January 17


MLK Summit

Children, young adults and adults can listen to King’s “I Have a Dream” speech at three different time slots at Christ Community Chapel in Hudson during the church’s MLK Summit. A dinner is included in the high school and college slot. To free.

750 Streetsboro Street West, Hudson

Jan 17: 10-11 a.m., 1-2 p.m., 5-7 p.m.


Martin Luther King Jr at a press conference

(AP Photo, File)PA

The King’s Center

Throughout the weekend, The King Center — a nonprofit founded by Coretta Scott King — will host virtual events honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Get access to puppet shows, book readings, a memorial service and much more online. To free.

January 13-17


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