As the summer sun begins to cast its radiant glow across the United States, one holiday glimmers with a unique historical shine. We’re referring to Juneteenth, a day that commemorates the official end of slavery in the U.S. Occurring annually on June 19th, this event marks a pivotal moment in the nation’s history. When we celebrate Juneteenth, it’s about more than just acknowledging its existence — it’s about immersing oneself in the rich tapestry of African American culture, history, and achievements.

If you’re wondering how to celebrate Juneteenth this year, then read on for three cities in the United States with an abundance of historic sites and black-owned businesses to support.

1. Atlanta, Georgia

Woman interacting with exhibits at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta.

This city of Atlanta stands out as a beacon of Black history and culture. Atlanta is deeply rooted in the Civil Rights Movement and is widely known as the birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In the spirit of celebrating Juneteenth, consider visiting the following landmarks in Atlanta:

  • Apex Museum. Get immersed in African American history through visual storytelling and interactive exhibits. Apex is a must-visit for those who value cultural education!
  • National Center for Civil and Human Rights. Experience the brave struggle of civil rights activists and engage in thought-provoking exhibits about human rights across the globe.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park. Walk in the footsteps of Dr. King and visit his childhood home — a profound way to reflect on his remarkable life.
  • The King Center. Just across the street from the park, this educational hub promotes the legacy of Dr. King and his commitment to nonviolent social change.
  • Madam C.J. Walker Museum. Marvel at the achievements of America’s first African American self-made female millionaire and learn about her groundbreaking work in the beauty industry.

Black-Owned Businesses to Support in Atlanta

Atlanta is an ideal destination if you need Juneteenth celebration ideas. There are plenty of Black-owned businesses you can support. Here are a few places to consider:

  • Hodgepodge Coffeehouse. Start your day right with locally sourced coffee and delectable pastries in this community-centric café. Not only famous for its coffee, the Hodgepodge Coffeehouse also doubles as an art gallery for local artists.
  • The Village Retail Market. A vibrant marketplace featuring a variety of Black-owned businesses, this retail market is perfect for unique shopping experiences.
  • Brave + Kind Bookshop. This is an independent bookshop filled with thoughtfully curated books for children, toys, merch, stationery, and a selection of adult books.
  • Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours. Enjoy soulful, innovative dishes paired with handcrafted drinks in a lively atmosphere. This busy spot has won awards for its incredible food.
  • Hippin Hops Brewery. Quench your thirst with locally brewed beers at this popular Black-owned brewery. Hippin Hops is also available for events and private hire, making it a great place to celebrate Juneteenth with friends!
  • The Corner Grille. Satisfy your taste buds with American comfort food that has a Cajun-Creole twist. Everything is cooked to order and all their sauces are homemade from scratch.

2. Montgomery, Alabama

Red wooded planks at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice.

Known as the birthplace of the civil rights movement, Montgomery holds a special place in American history and is another ideal city if you’re looking for ways to celebrate Juneteenth. The city is filled with important landmarks that take visitors on a journey through a pivotal era in U.S. history. Explore these historic sites in Montgomery for a rich Juneteenth experience:

  • Freedom Rides Museum. Step into the old Greyhound bus station, now a testament to the courageous Freedom Riders who challenged segregation in 1961. Tracing the story of the Freedom Riders, the museum includes photographs, artifacts, and videos from that pivotal moment in history.
  • Rosa Parks Library and Museum. Discover the story of the seamstress whose brave act sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The museum includes photographs and interactive reenactments of the events that led to her arrest.
  • National Memorial for Peace and Justice. Visit this powerful memorial dedicated to the victims of racial injustice in America. This thought-provoking monument features over 800 steel columns representing all counties across the U.S. where lynchings took place.
  • Civil Rights Memorial Center. Learn more about the civil rights movement and the 40 martyrs who lost their lives during this tumultuous period. Sponsored by the Southern Poverty Law Center, this landmark showcases the stories of these inspirational individuals.
  • The Legacy Museum. Delve into the tragic history of slavery and racial inequality in America at the Legacy Museum. Located across the street from the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, this museum illustrates how racism continues to exist today in the form of mass incarceration.
  • Dexter Parsonage Museum. Explore the home of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during his tenure as pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. This museum offers a unique glimpse into the history of the civil rights movement from an inspiring leader.

Black-Owned Businesses to Support in Montgomery

While in Montgomery, you can support the local Black community while celebrating Juneteenth by visiting any of these places:

  • Mrs. B’s Home Cooking. Relish Southern-style home-cooked meals reminiscent of grandma’s kitchen. This hidden gem serves up delicious favorites like fried chicken, casserole, and collard greens.
  • JoZettie’s Cupcakes. Indulge your sweet tooth with mouthwatering cupcakes at a local favorite. JoZettie’s offers delightful flavors like strawberry cheesecake, red velvet, German chocolate, and key lime.
  • Plant Bae. Try plant-based dishes that are as delicious as they are nutritious. Plant Bae is a comfort food haven with a vegan twist.
  • The Seafood Bistro. Enjoy fresh seafood cooked to perfection in a warm, inviting environment. This Cajun-style restaurant serves up favorites like gumbo and po’ boys.

3. Washington, D.C.

Statue of Martin Luther King Jr. in Washington, D.C.

Washington D.C. is a trove of African American history and culture, which makes it an excellent location to celebrate Juneteenth. A few notable spots to visit while you’re in the nation’s capital include:

  • National Museum of African American History & Culture. Explore five floors of exhibits detailing the rich tapestry of African American experiences. From pre-colonial history to the modern era, this institution details the triumphs, hardships, and cultural contributions of African Americans.
  • African American Civil War Memorial Museum. Honor the African American soldiers who fought for freedom during the Civil War. The museum offers an informative journey into their lives, featuring artifacts and personal stories of these often-overlooked heroes.
  • National Museum of African Art. Admire diverse artworks representing the vibrant cultures of Africa for your Juneteenth celebrations. Its extensive collection boasts traditional and contemporary pieces, encapsulating the artistic heritage of the continent.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. Visit the impressive memorial to one of the most influential leaders of the civil rights movement. Here, you can reflect on the wisdom of Dr. King, etched in stone, against the backdrop of his iconic statue.

Black-Owned Businesses to Support in Washington D.C.

Be sure to visit and support the following establishments during your D.C. trip:

  • Creole on 14th. Savor the flavors of Creole cuisine in a chic, modern setting. This bustling eatery serves authentic dishes from Louisiana and the Caribbean with a selection of craft cocktails for those who fancy them.
  • Georgia Brown’s. Celebrate Juneteenth with some Southern-style cuisine in an elegant environment. Georgia Brown’s is a fine-dining restaurant serving up classic Southern dishes, such as fried green tomatoes and shrimp & grits.
  • Culture Coffee Too. Experience community and coffee coming together in this local café. Art and music abound in this friendly spot, with locals gathering to enjoy fresh-brewed coffee, tea, and other beverages.
  • Lee’s Flower Shop. Find beautiful, unique flower arrangements in this family-run business. With unique hand-arranged bouquets and creative floral designs, Lee’s Flower Shop is the perfect place to pick up a gift for someone special.
  • Boombox Boxing Club. Get fit and have fun at this welcoming, inclusive boxing club. With a unique “box to the beat” class, Boombox is a great place to learn the basics of boxing with some amazing music in the background.
  • Mahogany Books. Find a wide variety of books celebrating the African diaspora in this local bookstore. With books from new and established authors, Mahogany Books is a great place to find literature that celebrates Black culture.

Other Ways to Get Involved

Portrait of two smiling young African-American entrepreneurs standing welcomingly together behind the counter of their trendy cafe.

Even if you can’t travel to the above destinations, there are plenty of ways to celebrate Juneteenth. Here are a few ideas:

  • Volunteer. You can make a difference by volunteering your time and skills with local organizations that support the Black community. This not only benefits those you’re helping, but it also enriches your understanding and connection to African Americans.
  • Donate. Financial contributions to charities dedicated to racial justice can have a meaningful impact. These organizations often rely on donations to continue their important work, so your generosity directly supports their efforts.
  • Support Black-owned businesses. Find local Black-owned businesses to support year-round. This support can help these businesses thrive and foster stability within the Black community.
  • Attend local Juneteenth events. Check online for local Juneteenth celebration ideas. Joining local celebrations such as parades, festivals, and community gatherings is an engaging way to honor Juneteenth. These events can offer valuable insights into the history and significance of this important day.
  • Educate yourself. Read books, watch documentaries, or listen to podcasts to learn more about African American history and the ongoing struggle for racial justice.

Celebrate Juneteenth With VacationRenter

Celebrating Juneteenth is a journey of historical and cultural exploration. We offer a wide range of accommodation options in cities rich with African American history and culture. Start planning your Juneteenth trip with VacationRenter today and make your journey a powerful tribute to freedom.