Several events to be held downtown in celebration of MLK Day

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Central Indiana residents will have the chance to celebrate the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by taking advantage of special offerings in Downtown Indianapolis on the holiday. FREE admission to Downtown’s top attractions, appearances by local celebrities and more help make this year’s tribute to the iconic Civil Rights leader a fun, meaningful one for the entire family!

FREE admission to many Downtown attractions

Every year, one of the most popular options for Downtown visitors on MLK Day is the chance to visit some of Downtown’s top attractions at no charge.

White River State Park: FREE admission to the following attractions from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with donation of one non-perishable food item per person, per attraction for Gleaner’s Food Bank.

  • Indianapolis Zoo
  • IMAX Theater

Born To Be Wild” and “To The Arctic” shown for FREE until 5 p.m.

  • NCAA Hall of Champions

Former Butler basketball star Ronald Nored will lead storytime for kids from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

  • Indiana State Museum
  • Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art
  • Victory Field

FREE health screenings. Screening participants receive two FREE tickets to Opening Day at Victory Field April 4.

The Children’s Museum: FREE admission from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Indianapolis Museum of Art: FREE admission

Rhythm! Discovery Center: FREE admission from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Starting at 11 a.m., open discussion with Indy drummer Lawrence Clark III and performance with Clark, Gene Markiewicz and others.

Indiana Historical Society: FREE admission from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Special celebrationincluding performances by Metropolitan Youth Orchestra, Traci’s Urban Dance Jamm Studio and storyteller Deborah Asante, plus live stream of President Obama’s inauguration in the Basile Theatre and more.

Madame Walker presidential inauguration viewing plus annual breakfast, Freedom March

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holds a special significance this year as it coincides with the second inauguration of our nation’s first black president. Madame Walker Theatre Center will stream the inauguration ceremony live for FREE inside the historic 937-seat theatre as part of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Program at 11 a.m. Prior to the program, there will be a FREE community breakfast at the Indianapolis Urban League (777 Indiana Ave.) starting at 9:30 a.m., followed by a “Freedom Walk” back to the Madame Walker Theatre Center at 10:30 a.m. Visit for more information.

Dr. King Celebration at IPS Crispus Attucks Museum

From 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., IPS Crispus Attucks Museum visitors can experience the newly enhanced Civil Rights exhibit entitled “The Man and the Movement” and view the rarely-seen video documentary, “Legacy of King.” The museum will also host a live showing of President Obama’s inauguration with light refreshments.

“Day of Service” volunteer opportunity through IUPUI

Now in its twelfth year, the IUPUI Day of Service will gather hundreds of students, faculty and guests to volunteer in multiple capacities at various sites around Indianapolis as a tribute to Dr. King’s fervent commitment to social freedom and justice. This year’s theme is “BE RELENTLESS.” The event will run from 8 a.m. until roughly 1 p.m., and volunteers will meet at the IUPUI campus center for registration starting at 7:30 a.m. Registration is required by Jan. 15 and walk-ins may not participate due to the size of the event.

Volunteer at Indy Reads Books

Downtown’s newest used bookstore supporting adult literacy offers another way to give back on MLK Day. Adults and kids alike are invited to help organize shelves, stamp books and sort through donations from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Mass Ave bookstore. Visit for more.

Harlem Globetrotters at Bankers Life Fieldhouse

The incredibly skillful, hilarious barnstorming basketball team comes to Bankers Life Fieldhouse on MLK Day for some afternoon family fun. The game tips off at 2 p.m. and tickets start at $25. Ever seen a 4-point shot in basketball? You just might…

Indiana Historical Society “Indiana Black History Challenge” kicks off

All Hoosiers are invited to participate in this special challenge for a chance to win Indians tickets, Pacers tickets to their home game against the Lakers, or a “Family Fun Pack” that includes an overnight stay at the JW Marriott, $50 to The Capital Grille, four tickets to both the Indiana State Museum and Children’s Museum and a household membership to the Indiana Historical Society. Contestants must answer all 10 questions correctly on a quiz about Hoosier African-American sports figures by Feb. 28. Each entrant will receive FREE admission to the Indiana Historical Society. The contest is only online this year and can be accessed at

Before Jan. 21:

Gary Brackett, Golden Singers Choir at FREE Indiana Statehouse event Jan. 17

Former Indianapolis Colt linebacker and Super Bowl Champion Gary Brackett will deliver the keynote address at the “Living in the footsteps of a king” program inside the Indiana Statehouse. The program will also feature the Indiana Civil Rights Commission and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission, plus a performance by the Broad Ripple Magnet School Golden Singers Choir. The event will begin at 12:30 p.m. and is FREE to attend, although space will be limited.

IUPUI 44th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Dinner Jan. 20

More than 600 IUPUI students, faculty and Indianapolis community members will gather at Indiana Roof Ballroom for a unique celebration that encompasses, in addition to honoring the legacy of Dr. King, a chance to network and engage in dialogue. The guest speaker this year will be Bobby Seale, a co-founder of the Black Panther Party in 1966. The dinner will begin at 6 p.m. Jan. 20 and costs $25 for IUPUI students, $65 for faculty and staff and $75 for the general community. Find more information at