Visiting the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site (Tips & Advice)

by - 6:30 AM

I always check for the best places to eat and sight-see when I travel anywhere! TripAdvisor features a lot of articles on how to make the most of your trip in 3 days or less. The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site (or MLK Museum) is ranked #2 in attractions in Atlanta and also featured on "3 Days in Atlanta" on the website. Check out the Trip Advisor reviews of the MLK Site here.

Explanation of how to get around:
The museum and self-guided tour is completely free and a once-in-a-lifetime experience! The fact that it is self-guided gives you as much time as you need to go through all of the parts of the tour. We took a taxi from our hotel, the Sheraton Downtown, and it was about an 8 minute drive ($12 each way for two people).
The taxi driver gave us his number so we could call him to pick us up when we were done.

The visitor's center is where you should stop in first. You can pick up a map of the whole site here and, if you come early enough, you can get tickets to gain access INTO the Kings' Birth Home. But there is limited spaces and first come is first served. We went around 1:00pm and by then there were no more spaces available for birth home tours. But luckily for us, right at when we walked in at 1:00, a sign was displayed above the information desk that read "Birth Home - Next Showing 1:00" inside the theater. The short film was a virtual tour of the home and told the story of what life was like in the King home. Very inspiring and easy to follow.

After the film, we walked over to the exhibits. It wasn't too crowded, but to look at some of the popular sections you had to wait a couple minutes. There are also restrooms and a gift shop. After the exhibits, we looked at our map and walked across the street to the Reflection fountain, burial site of Dr. King and his wife, Coretta, and the eternal flame. All of which are in the same general area. Right next to this area is the church where Dr. King, his father, and his grandfather all preached. The church is on the corner at the end of the block. The Park Ranger inside will answer any questions you have about walking around the church. There is also a small gift shop inside the church.

After the church, we walked to the opposite end of the block towards the intersection of Auburn and Houge where you will find the historic fire department building, the row of historic "shotgun" houses, and the King Birth Home. You cannot enter the Birth Home unless you've scored those tickets from earlier but access to the home's front yard and front porch are permitted. In the house next door, there is another gift shop. Total time for myself and Chhally to go through everything was about 2 hours.

The neighborhood, from what we saw, looked fairly safe. There are plenty of staff in the visitors center and church, as well as other tourists walking all over and throughout the site. If you take regular precautions as you would in any place you are unfamiliar with then you should be fine. Keep your family close together, especially young children. The streets that the points of interests are located on are busy streets with cars passing through every moment. The distance between each point are also not that far of a walk. If you follow the map and stick to the area of the site, you shouldn't experience any shady people.

All information and questions about the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site can be found on this website.

*Spoiler Alert* The rest of this post is filled with photos we've taken while experiencing the museum and site. If you do not wish to view these pictures, do not scroll down!

Photo Tour: 
After the film, we walked over to the exhibits. Right away the first one we noticed was the Freedom Road exhibit. Walking amongst the Freedom "foot soldiers" and seeing how the expressions on their faces are represented to convey the emotions felt back in those days is unexplainable.

The other sections of the exhibit hold lots of artifacts and actual objects from Dr. King's life and the civil rights movement. Looking and being so close to them were really touching and hold much more impact than reading about it from a history book. 

This is the actual chariot that carried Dr. King's casket during the funeral procession.

This quote is one of the many quotes by Dr. King that moved me close to tears.

The beautiful reflection pool with the burial tomb in the middle of the water.

The whole experience of the site was touching. You felt like you can be a part of history and you can't help but wonder how different life would be right now if this man, and his supporters, never existed.  Definitely humbling and tear-jerking. I would recommend a visit to this place for anyone looking to sight-see in Atlanta. We had to choose between here and the Georgia Aquarium and, although I don't know what I missed out on at the "World's Largest Aquarium," I'm glad we visited the Martin Luther King Jr. Site.

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