MLK Weekend in NYC: Little Laffs, Tributes, Shows, Frozen Forest

Things to Do with NYC Kids on MLK Weekend | Jan. 14-16, 2017

The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend in New York City routinely offers a bonanza of kid- and family-friendly events. Museums dominate: check out the MLK-day celebrations at Brooklyn Children’s Museum and the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. Even outdoor-centered spots like Prospect Park and Wave Hill launch their own MLK celebrations. Cooler still, meet Rasheeda Ali, hit the Fifth Annual Black Comic Book Festival, or enjoy the FREE BAM-hosted tribute to MLK in Brooklyn.

Temperatures are expected to dip again this weekend, perfect conditions for snowmaking. Day trip it to a nearby mountain with our Ski and Snow Sports Guide, or stay local with outdoor ice skating. Prefer cozy and warm? Check out these 50 things to do indoors in NYC all winter. Theater and music choices fall from the sky this weekend, too, with a Little Laffs variety show for kids, a Rolie Polie Guacamole concert, and the final weekend for Oh Boy! at the New Victory Theater.

Other spots to consider for the long weekend in NYC include bowling, or another family fun sports zone or low-key play space for the tots. Speaking of tots, check out the Wonderkids Frozen Forest dress-up party this weekend. Meanwhile, the big kids can play train operator at this NY Transit Museum workshop.

Our top picks for the long weekend are below. Looking for more ideas? Our NYC Children’s Museum and Art Guide offers lots of hidden treasures and you can find even more seasonal fun in our NYC Winter Activities Guide for Families, as well as in our January GoList.​

All Weekend

Help create a stained glass mosaic at CMOM's Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration. Photo courtesy of the museum.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration — Upper West Side
The Children’s Museum of Manhattan’s full slate of weekend fun includes dance performances, book crafts, and a collaborative mosaic, all celebrating Dr. King. Included with museum admission.

MLK Jr: I Have a Dream Celebration — Crown Heights
The Brooklyn Children’s Museum’s action-packed weekend includes a workshop with artist Kehinde Wiley, a screening of the animated film Our Friend Martin, and postcard and poster-making sessions. Sunday and Monday only. Included in museum admission.

The City and the Young Imagination: Art from Studio in a School — East Harlem
The Museum of the City of New York celebrates Studio in a School with an exhibit of works produced by schoolchildren served by this groundbreaking program since its 1977 inception. Included with suggested museum admission.

Wave Hill Celebrates the Heritage of Martin Luther King Jr. — the Bronx
An afternoon tea, a family art workshop, and a live performance of I Go On Singing: Paul Robeson’s Life in Song all round out Wave Hill’s MLK weekend.

Train Operators Workshop — Downtown Brooklyn 
Wanna drive the A train? Kids 10 and up are invited to use innovative software simulating the piloting of a subway train. Included with museum admission.

Oh Boy! — Midtown West
It's closing weekend for Oh Boy!, Théâtre Du Phare's U.S. debut, at the New Victory Theater. Created for family audiences, this one-man show delves into themes of loss, illness, and homophobia.

Saturday, January 14

Fifth Annual Black Comic Book Festival — Harlem
A January GoList honorable mention, this year’s festival will bubble with talk about Netflix’s Harlem-filmed Power Man as well as the new graphic novel adaptation of Octavia Butler’s Kindred. FREE

Michel Lauziere: Science of Sound — Flushing, Queens 
Another January GoList honorable mention, this hilarious but educational one-man show on the science of sound includes a pre-show workshop with Mr. Lauziere.

Lunar New Year: Festival – Year of the Rooster — South Bronx
The New York Chinese Cultural Center goes bang at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, with performances, paper cutting, and calligraphy to celebrate the Lunar New Year. FREE

Rolie Polie Guacamole's Live on the Fourth of July Album Release Party! — Gowanus, Brooklyn
Kindie duo struts out their new Independence Day-captured live album way before July’s warmer temps, but maybe some Lunar New Year fireworks will stand-in.

Celebrate winter at Wonderkids Frozen Forest event.  Photo courtesy of the event.

Wonderkids Presents: the Frozen Forest — Lower East Side
This safe and fun dress-up party invites kids to arrive costumed (or not!) as their favorite winter characters or animals for an afternoon of dancing and magic activities.

Two Juice Minimum — Astoria, Queens
Led by YouTube sensation Mark Malkoff, this kid comedy showcase works like a under-12 version of your favorite evening variety show.

See all Saturday events.

Sunday, January 15

Rise Up and Sing! — Gowanus, Brooklyn
Sporting an all-star kid-folk lineup, this mini-Live Aid will donate all proceeds to the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center. Suggested donation.

Third Sundays at Sugar Hill Children's Museum — Sugar Hill
Celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a fun-filled day of art, storytelling, and surprise musical performances. Activities include What Does it Mean to Be a Global Citizen, Peace Tent, Projecting Civil Rights, and more.

Elsewhere Editions Preview with Jill Schoolman & Kendall Storey Park Slope, Brooklyn
This spring, Archipelago Books launches Elsewhere, a new children’s imprint, and this preview will include editors Schoolman and Storey reading from three children’s books in translation. FREE

Little Laffs Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn 
The Jalopy Theater provides a variety show of juggling, songs, jokes, and balloon animals for the ages 4 to 11 crowd.

Boro-Linc: Webop “ABCs of Jazz” — Lower East Side
Jazz includes a rich history of tributes to Martin Luther King, Jr, and the civil rights movement as a whole, making this a special kid-focused jazz event. FREE

See all Sunday events.

Monday, January 16

Martin Luther King Day in Prospect Park Prospect Park
Prospect Park’s Audubon Center and Lefferts Historic House offer their regular animal encounters and birding programs with the added bonus of Freedom Songs and Stories with Tammy Hall. FREE (unless noted)

I Am Ali Film Screening: Meet Rasheda Ali! Central Park West
Hear Muhammed Ali’s daughter, Rasheda Ali, share personal memories of her father and discuss his active role in the civil rights movement at the New-York Historical Society. Included with museum admission. 

Students take to the mike at Manhattan Country School's MLK Jr. commemorative march. Photo courtesy of the school.

2017 Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative March — Morningside Heights
Another January GoList honorable mention! Each year, eighth graders from the Manhattan Country School march on MLK day. This year’s theme, We Will Not Be Silenced: A Call to Action, addresses the continued and renewed need to vocally challenge institutionalized intolerance. FREE

31st Annual Brooklyn Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. — Fort Greene, Brooklyn 
Brooklyn Academy of Music goes big on MLK day, and this 31st celebration is no exception with Opal Tometi, activist and Black Lives Matter co- founder followed by performances by the Institutional Radio Choir and the Campbell Brothers. FREE

GingerBread Lane House Giveaway — Flushing Meadows/Corona Park
And yet another January GoList honorable mention! Remember those gingerbread houses you made at the New York Hall of Science? Somebody has to eat them. FREE

See all Monday events.

Top photo: Manhattan Country School's MLK Jr. march. Photo courtesy of the school.