MLK Jr. Day: What’s Open? What’s Closed?

If you're off work for this federal holiday and planning an outing to a museum or restaurant or even a day of shopping, here's what's open.

On this federal holiday commemorating Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, there are so many meaningful ways to celebrate the civil rights movement and its inspiring leader. Start your day out right with some uplifting quotes by MLK. If you’re lucky enough to be off work, watch a movie or visit a museum that teaches you something you never knew about the civil rights movement. Patronize a black-owned business or two—whether it’s shopping you have in mind or eating out with friends and family. A few spots may be closed to honor MLK Day, but many will be open—and some that usually charge admission will be free. Scroll on to find what’s open and what’s not.

The mail

As it’s a federal holiday, the United States Postal Service will be closed, which means regular mail will not be delivered. But if you need to get a package out today, UPS and FedEx will be open with regular business hours and will also be delivering packages.


Most museums are open today—and many are free! In some, like Chicago’s Field Museum, you’ll need to show proof of residency. But others, like the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston and the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, are free for everyone regardless of where you live.


Most major restaurant and grocery store chains will be open, including Costco, which shuts down for Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and a few others.

National parks

While the federal government gets a break on MLK Day, the National Parks do not. The good news for you is every national park and national monument is free on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. That makes it the perfect time to visit one of these 10 national parks that are off-the-beaten-path.


While banks will be closed, you can still access your cash via an ATM.


Expect libraries around the country to be closed for the holiday.


Most stores will be open and keeping normal business hours, so it’s a good time to snag some deals at MLK Day sales. This is the best time of year to shop for a mattress or appliances.

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Danielle Braff
Danielle Braff regularly covers travel, health and lifestyle for Reader's Digest. Her articles have also been published in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, Boston Globe and other publications. She has a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University, and a master's degree in musicology from Oxford University in England. Danielle is based in Chicago, where she lives with her husband and two children. See her recent articles at You can follow her on Facebook @Danielle.Karpinos, Twitter @daniellebraff, and Instagram at danikarp.