While many Americans rightly associate King with his Atlanta birthplace, the nation's capital also boasts a unique and substantial connection to the leader.
Visitors to Washington who would like to explore civil rights beyond the new memorial have plenty of options — from walking tours to exhibits and other stirring experiences. Here are 10 recommendations for following King's legacy:
•Civil War to Civil Rights walking tour. Cultural Tourism DC offers this self-guided tour through downtown Washington. There are 21 recommended stops along the route, marked by placards. Go to culturaltourismdc.org. Also, Destination DC has created a pocket guide with commentary, maps and a short history of the 1963 March on Washington — "Experience the Dream: The Official Washington, DC Travel Information Guide for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial."
•The Lincoln Memorial. The site where King delivered his now-famous speech, while overlooking a massive crowd on the Mall during the March on Washington. Footprints mark the spot.
•U Street area. The scene of riots after King's assassination in 1968, the revitalized area is now hip and trendy with shops, clubs and eateries. Visit The African-American Civil War Memorial and Museum for history of the U.S. Colored Troops. Afterward, drop into locally owned Ben's Chili Bowl, a restaurant patronized by Bill Cosby and Obama.
•The National Cathedral. King preached his last public sermon here. Four days later, he was slain.
•The Willard Hotel. The hotel is known for hosting U.S. presidents and royalty, and King composed part of the "I Have a Dream" speech in one of its swank rooms.
•Madame Tussaud's. The renowned wax museum boasts a statue of King.
•Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, 901 G St. N.W., 202-421-8608. Among its current exhibits is "King in Magazines (1957-1968)," which highlights his charismatic leadership and tragic assassination in actual issues of Life, Time, Ebony and Jet magazines.
•Howard University, the National Museum of American History, National Archives, etc., can be used to do research on King.
•Raise a toast to King. Hot restaurants DC Coast, Ceiba and Acadiana have created specialty cocktails in King's honor. The Dream is a blend of bourbon, apple cider and honey, garnished with a cinnamon stick.
The Liaison Capitol Hill. The hotel has a dramatic oil portrait of King, measuring 6 feet by 6 feet, created by Arizona artist Randy Slick. It's part of series displayed in the lobby near other political leaders such as Ghandi, Dwight Eisenhower and Winston Churchill.