How to celebrate MLK Jr. Day in the Bay

Community day in the Yerba Buena Gardens, youth spoken word, civil rights movie screenings, and places to volunteer (it's called a service day for a reason, people)


Use your national day of service wisely --  jump in one of of the day's volunteering fairs, take in a black history flick, catch some awe-inspiring youth spoken word, learn about colleges 

“In the Name of Love” MLK musical tribute

Mavis Staples, the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, Youth Speaks (that group's going to be busy! See below), and Oakland's Children's Community Choir occupy the deco wonderland of the Paramount for this stirring tribute to the great man's work. Hyped as the only non-denominational musical tribute to MLK Jr. in Oakland, the program also features the presentation of humanitarian awards. 

Sun/15 7 p.m., $18 

Paramount Theatre

2025 Broadway, Oakl.

Freedom Trains

Planning on spending your MLK Day in the city? Every year, the Martin Luther King Jr. Association of Santa Clara sponsors the Freedom Trains so that everyone can afford to make it to the celebrations. Instead of paying $17.50 for a round-trip ticket on Caltrain, today it's just $10 – and you'll be treated to in-route presentations on the importance of the civil rights movement in our lives. 

Mon/16, $10

Departs San Jose 9:30 a.m., arrives in San Francisco 10:55 a.m. (see website for stops in-between)

Rod Diridon train station

65 Cahill, San Jose


“Renewing the Dream” MLK Jr. birthday celebration

A health fair, a civil rights film festival, children's reading celebration, interfaith commemoration, special presentations, and free entry to the Contemporary Jewish Museum, Museum of the African Diaspora, and Children's Creativity Museum give you and yours plenty to do if you feel like spending your Monday in San Francisco's (greener, sorry Union Square) living room. Down to attend? Check your local transportation agency for possible discounts to the event.

Mon/16 11 a.m.-5 p.m., free

Yerba Buena Gardens

Mission between Third and Fourth Sts., SF


“What is Your Dream?” MLK Jr. day of service

Soak in the spirit of the day by spending it at MoAD. The regular museum offerings (currently featuring “Collected: Stories of Acquisition and Reclamation,” about the contributions of people of African descent to the American zeitgeist) will be free to the public, there will be screenings of MLK films and a documentary on a barber who turned into a civil rights leader during the 2008 elections, chalk drawings outside on the sidewalk, and vision boarding galore. But the day's not just for remembering and dreaming – the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Fair will be providing concrete information on education for tomorrow's march-leaders and soul-freers. 

Mon/16 11 a.m.-5 p.m., free

Museum of the African Diaspora

685 Mission, SF

(415) 358-7200

Parks Conservancy's MLK Jr. day of service