Things To Do

Things To Do This MLK Day Weekend in Los Angeles [1-12-2024 to 1-15-2024]

January 11, 2024 by Brian Champlin and Christina Champlin
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial overlooking DTLA at Kenneth Hahn Park. Photo by Brian Champlin

Need plans for the imminent holiday weekend? We’re on it.

From January 12-15 in Los Angeles, you’ll find multiple celebrations in remembrance of Martin Luther King, Jr. (including some of the biggest parades in the country) along with a host of other events featuring live music, poetry and spoken word performances, free fitness classes, art openings, the Asian American Expo at Fairplex, and the SoCal Slack Key Fest in Redondo Beach. Let’s get into the full list belowl.


Things To Do This Weekend

M = Less than .5 miles from an L.A. Metro Station, FA = Free Admission, TP = Top Pick

Tolliver + L.A. Times 404 at Lodge RoomM TP > We Like L.A. fave Tolliver stirs up a good time at the Lodge Room in Highland Park this Friday, bringing his signature brand of funk/soul/camp to the stage for an evening that’s sure to get you moving. Team members from the L.A. Times 404 squad (one of our favorite IGs) will be in house to mix and mingle, and you’ll also catch a reading from writer/artist Aiden Arata. Tickets are $15. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., and the show starts at 8:30. More info here.

The Prose: A Night of Spoken Word with Get LitM FA > This Friday at The Crawford Family Forum in Pasadena, award-winning youth poetry group Get Lit teams up with LAist for an evening of spoken word performances, drinks, DJ-spun tunes, and treats from Cinnabon. The program’s featured poet will be Salome Agbaroji, and the lineup will also include players from the Get Lit troupe. GA tickets are free/pay-what-you-will, or you can get preferred seating for $15. Runs 7 to 8:15 p.m. More info here.

Ivy Station Night Market – M FA > The Ivy Station Night Market returns this Friday fresh edition of the monthly night market on the Ivy Station lawn in Culver City. Shop 25+ local vendors, food trucks, craft beer, games, and music. Runs 5 to 10 p.m. More info here.

Dance The Line: Line Dancing Lessons at Trademark Brewing -> Grab some friends and head to Long Beach’s Trademark Brewing for a line dancing lesson on Friday. No experience is needed an instructors will guide you through the steps. $10 cover. Runs 7 to 9 p.m. More info here.

2024 FitspoLA Series at The BlocM FA > This Saturday, the 2024 FitspoLA series kicks off at The Bloc with a Pilates class featuring a combination of interval training, traditional fitness, and contemporary style Pilates. The class is free and open to the public. Starts at 10 a.m. Make sure to bring water and a yoga mat. More info here.

ReStart YOU 2024M FA > Get a head start your 2024 fitness and wellness goals with free outdoor classes and experiences at Ivy Station. Activations include a yoga session with YogaSix, stretches from StretchLab and boxing with Mayweather Boxing + Fitness. All events free to attend, but certain experiences need an RSVP to reserve a spot. More info here.

Westside Coalition’s MLK Events FA > The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Westside Coalition and the Santa Monica Symphony commemorates the legacy of Dr. King with a free afternoon concert performing symphonies from Coleridge-Taylor to Gershwin, all taking place this Saturday starting at 3 p.m. The concert is free, but is ticketed, as space is limited. More info here.

Lift Every Voice The Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles Celebrates MLKFA > On Saturday, the Skirball Cultural Center welcomes the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (ICYOLA) to the stage for a moving performance in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The largest Black majority orchestra in the nation ICYOLA features over one hundred musicians and choir singers raising their instruments and voices in song to honor the memory of MLK’s and his commitment to civil rights for Black America. Free to attend. More info here.

Long Beach MLK ParadeFA > The 36th Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade and Celebration begins at 10 a.m. this Saturday, kicking off at the intersection of Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue and Anaheim Street. An adjacent celebration is slated to go from noon to 5 p.m. at Martin Luther King Jr. Park. where guests can catch performances, a health and wellness area, a youth area, food and merchandise vendors, and information booths. More info here.

Corey Helford Gallery’s 10th Annual Art Collector Starter Kit FA > This Saturday, Corey Helford Gallery hosts an opening reception to launch its tenth annual Art Collector Starter Kit group show. The exhibition will showcase affordable 12” x 12” works from over 75 established and emerging artists worldwide. Running in the Main Gallery until February 17, ACSK X aims to provide newer collectors and budget-conscious enthusiasts an opportunity to acquire original pieces, aligning with the gallery’s mission of making art appreciation and collection accessible to a broader audience. Reception runs from 7 to 11 p.m. More info here.

Cooking with LACMA: Michael Twitty -> On Saturday, LACMA welcomes writer and culinary historian Michael Twitty to Crafted Kitchen for an exploration of the intricate connections between spices, past, and present diasporic communities in Southern California and the broader United States. There will be a cooking demonstration and hands-on spice blend workshop. Tickets cost $40. More info here.


Canoga Park Block PartyFA > The January edition of the Canoga Park Block Party pops up this Saturday, featuring 50+ vendors, live entertainment, classic cars and a food truck festival. Runs 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Free to attend. More info here.

Asian American Expo -> The Asian American Expo returns to the Fairplex in Pomona this Saturday and Sunday for the largest Lunar New Year extravaganza in America, featuring 7 exhibition halls, 1,000+ vendors, 9 performance stages, and 3 food courts. Runs 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tickets cost $20 per day. More info here.

SoCal Slack Key Festival -> This Sunday, The 17th annual Southern California Slack Key Festival takes fans on a Hawaiian musical journey showcasing slack key guitarists, hula dancers, a number of performers and an Island Marketplace. The concert takes place at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center. Tickets start at $25. More info here.

About Last Night -> About Last Night is a monthly storytelling series that began in San Francisco, and will be making a stop this Sunday at The Three Clubs in Hollywood. Tellers will offer true tales of night stands that are parts hilarious, embarrassing, intimate and most importantly, entertaining. Tickets are $15. Show starts at 7 p.m. More info here.

Free Second Sunday at UPAMFA > The USC Pacific Asia Museum is Pasadena offers free admission every second Sunday of the month. Visitors can check out the museum’s permanent galleries, along with The Painted Poetry of Agnes Lee, which will be on view through January 28. More info here.

39th annual Kingdom Day ParadeFA > On Monday, the 39th annual Kingdom Day Parade returns to Leimert Park for one of the biggest Dr. Martin Luther King celebrations in the world. The 2024 theme is “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop, Going To The Promised Land”. Free to attend. Runs 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. More info here.


39th Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration in Santa Monica FA > The Martin Luther King, Jr. Westside Coalition’s official MLK Day celebration takes place this Monday at the SGI-USA Santa Monica Pacific Peace Center. Expect a morning of engaging speeches, powerful performances, student award presentations, and plenty of positive vibes. Runs 9 to 10:30 a.m. Free, and no ticket needed for entrance. More info here.

Dining & Drinking

(picks by Christina Champlin)
The 2024 grand reopening slate of vendors at Smorgasburg. Photo credit Smorgasburg Instagram.

The Return of Smorgasburg LA -> Smorgasburg LA re-opens for 2024 this Sunday, welcoming nearly a dozen new vendors to the weekly food pop-up. Introducing fresh small businesses has become an annual tradition for Smorg, and this weekend’s lineup features vendors who may be unfamiliar to you now but are likely to become Angeleno’s new food obsession in the coming years. Among the new additions are Battambong BBQ, Basket Taco Co., Glad, HGG Tanghulu, House of Empanadas, Kavahana, Miya Miya Shawarma, Rice Gang by Moom Maam, Softies, and Taste of the Pacific. Smorgasburg LA takes place at ROW DTLA from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.

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