Martin Luther King Jr. Day: How to Celebrate in San Diego

He had a dream, and it continues to live on in the hearts of many Americans.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the most influential African-American leaders and civil rights activists in history, playing a prominent role in the Civil Rights Movement and the end of legal segregation. He grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, received a Ph.D. in Systematic Theology and became a Baptist minister in the south.

In December 1955, after Rosa Park was arrested, King lead the Montgomery Bus Boycott and became a leader in the civil rights movement. He gradually shot to fame with his charismatic, energizing speeches and nonviolent protest tactics. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. Toward the last years of his life, his focuses included fighting poverty and opposition to the Vietnam War. He was assassinated in 1968 when he was only 39. His birthday, January 15th, became an official U.S. federal holiday in 1986.

Honor this great man’s memory and ideals by celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend with one of the following no-cost events:


39th Annual Martin Luther King Day Parade

When: Monday, January 21, 2019 at 2:00 PM until 5 p.m.
Where: Harbor Drive – Embarcadero
What to expect: This MLK parade in San Diego is one of the largest in the country. It will include beautiful floats and a wide variety of participants, including members from youth, high school, college, religious and peace groups.

Day of Interfaith Service

When: Monday, January 21, 2019 at 8:45 a.m. until 12:00 p.m.
Where: Balboa Park, at the end of President’s Way on the lawn between the Automotive Museum and International Cottages
What to expect: This diverse community service event will bring local San Diegans of different ages, religions and cultural backgrounds together to clean Balboa Park in a day of service. Clean up will be followed by musical entertainment and a complimentary picnic lunch of hot dogs and chips.

30th Annual Martin Luther King Day Celebration

When: Monday, January 21, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. until 8 p.m.
Where: WorldBeat Cultural Center in Balboa Park, 2100 Park Blvd
What to expect: Celebrate Dr. King’s life by visiting the WorldBeat Cultural Center to experience various musical artists, outdoor cultural crafts, vendors and vegetarian food.

The 31st All Peoples Celebration

When: Monday, January 21, 2019 at 10 a.m. until 12 p.m.
Where: Balboa Activity Center in Balboa Park
What to expect: More than 1,000 business, political, religious and community leaders are expected to attend this annual event to honor Dr. King’s work. There will be musicians, multimedia presentations, and inspirational speakers, including this year’s keynote, youth leader and DACA recipient Greisa Martinez Rosas, deputy executive director of United We Dream.

Keep your family healthy while at a MLK Day event:

  • Eat a well-balanced breakfast or take a healthy portable lunch with you
  • Bring plenty of water and snacks (Granola bars, snack mixes, fruit, etc)
  • Wear sunscreen to prevent damage from the sun’s rays
  • Wear comfortable clothes and shoes
  • Stay together as a group

Celebrating inspirational Americans like Martin Luther King Jr. teaches your children the importance of equality, the effectiveness of free speech and the history of our country’s Civil Rights Movement. For more fun or educational San Diego events, check out Scripps Affiliated Medical Groups’ articles.

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