How to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Indianapolis, IN

Did you know Martin Luther King Jr. has ties to the Circle City? We’re sharing the story and ways to honor his legacy in Indy.

A sculpture of Martin Luther King Jr. reaching his hand out to the sky

One half of the Landmark for Peace Memorial.

Photo via the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana

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Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day and we’re breaking down his presence in the Circle City and what you can do to honor his life and legacy.

How is Dr. King connected to Indianapolis?

He visited the Circle City several times, often staying with his friend and fellow civil rights leader Rev. Andrew J. Brown. He also spoke downtown in 1958 at the Cadle Tabernacle on Ohio and New Jersey streets. The church was demolished 10 years later and townhomes have taken its place.

Does the city have a dedication to Dr. King?

The Landmark for Peace Memorial — located within Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park on the near north side — is a memorial to both Dr. King and Robert F. Kennedy, who gave an improvised speech about unity to a large crowd in Indianapolis upon hearing the news of Dr. King’s assassination. He was in the city on April 4, 1968 for his campaign tour.

What can I do to celebrate?

Service and community were essential themes to Dr. King’s work, so many of Indy’s public attractions are free on this day. Pro tip: Keep in mind that the celebrations at the Madam Walker Legacy Center and Children’s Museum are already sold out and some others require registration in advance.

Museums and attractions that are free:

Other ways to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. today:

  • Shining a Light Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. | Friday, Jan. 13-Monday, Jan. 16 | 6:30, 8, and 9:30 p.m. | Monument Circle | Free | Stop by Monument Circle for the Shining a Light display, highlighting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s mission for the public to “make a career of humanity” on the AES Indiana building.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend: Building a Beloved Community | Saturday, Jan. 14-Sunday, Jan. 15 | 11 a.m.-4 p.m. | Newfields | Museum admission | Visit Newfields during MLK weekend to be inspired by music, performance, spoken word, and dance.
  • MLK Day Self-guided Hike | Sunday, Jan. 15-Monday, Jan. 16 | 10 a.m.-6 p.m. | Earth Discovery Center, Eagle Creek Park | Free | Pick up a quiz on the meaning of MLK Day and do a half-mile hike to find the answers.
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