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If you’re looking for a way to learn more about Alabama’s rich Civil War history, look no further than Birmingham Alabama. The state’s largest metropolitan region has plenty of opportunities for visitors to enjoy. Ranging from arts and culture to nature and more!
And it has all the ingredients needed to make your trip one that will remain close to your heart long after your departure. Rooted in the steel and iron industries, Birmingham is loaded with historical landmarks paying homage to that period of time. Let’s explore the unique things to do in Birmingham, Alabama.
If you’re headed to Alabama, then Birmingham is a great city to check out. It’s the largest city in the state and it has some great museums, beautiful architecture, and plenty of restaurants with delicious Southern food. Plus, if you know where to look, there are some fantastic thrift shops!
Whether you’re looking for a new pair of shoes or just want something unique for your house, there are tons of gems waiting for you here. There are also many colleges in Birmingham so there’s always something going on no matter what time of year it is.
Fun Things to Do in Birmingham Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama is often overpowered by its larger neighbor to the west – Atlanta. However, it has a lot of great things to see and do that should appeal to just about any traveler. Whether you love art, science, or history – or all three, Birmingham has you covered. If you’re looking for a place that’s bubbling with the gossip of history but still offers lots of modern attractions, then Birmingham is the perfect destination for your next trip.
Home to a number of museums and cultural attractions. It also has a thriving arts scene, with regular events taking place at the Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama Theatre, Red Mountain Theatre Company, Alabama Symphony Orchestra—the list goes on! And if you’re looking for great food after an eventful day, you can find that in abundance here too. Here are some fun things to do in Birmingham:
- Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum
- Birmingham Museum of Art
- Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
- McWane Science Centre
- Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark
- The Alabama Theatre
- The Market at Pepper Place
- Rickwood Field
- The Birmingham Zoo
- Kelly Ingram Park
- Southern Museum of Flight
- Red Mountain Park
- Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame
- Vulcan Park and Museum
- The Summit
- Virginia Samford Theatre
- Railroad Park
- Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve
- Grand Bohemian Hotel
- Mary Charles Doll House
- Museum of Fond Memories at Reed Books
- African Village in America
- Donor Memorial
- The Storyteller
- Heaviest Corner on Earth
- Quinlan Castle
- Escape Room
Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum
The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum is a non-profit museum located in Birmingham, Alabama, and houses a collection of vintage racing cars and motorcycles that span the history of motorsports, including many famous race cars such as the Ferrari 330 P3/4 and the Porsche 962C.
The museum is located at 919 East Third Avenue in Birmingham, Alabama. The museum contains over 300 cars from various manufacturers and time periods. Many of these cars have never been shown outside of Europe or Asia before they were brought to this museum, which makes it especially exciting for car enthusiasts to see them in person.
Birmingham Museum of Art
The Birmingham Museum of Art is one of the finest collections in the Southeast, with more than 24,000 paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, and decorative arts in its permanent collection. The museum features works by masters such as John Singleton Copley and Thomas Gainsborough as well as important American artists such as Winslow Homer and Mary Cassatt. The museum is free to the public and offers guided tours on a regular basis.
Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, located in the Civil Rights District near the iconic 16th Street Baptist Church in downtown Birmingham, documents the struggles of African Americans during the Civil Rights era. The museum features exhibits that include audio recordings and artifacts from past protests as well as interactive displays.
Visitors are encouraged to take part in hands-on activities such as creating signs for protests or sitting on a bus like Rosa Parks did when she refused to give up her seat.
McWane Science Centre
McWane Science Center is a state-of-the-art museum established in 1998 that features hands-on activities, and amazing permanent exhibits that teach about dinosaurs, sea monsters, weather cycles, marine biology, and nature. It showcases engineering and mathematics as well as technology exhibits with some of the most popular being its shark and stingray touch tanks; astounding demonstrations; a magical city; an art gallery.
There are also special events throughout the year including an Easter egg hunt for kids ages 12 and under, hosted annually during Easter weekend at 11 am where you can win prizes for finding eggs placed around their outdoor grounds, bear in mind that they do close at 6 pm. It’s a great place to take your children because they have something for everyone from toddlers to teenagers so it’s not just a massive load of educational stuff, as there are fun things to do!
Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark
The Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark is a blast furnace site located in Birmingham, Alabama. The furnaces were operated as a pig-iron-producing blast furnace site from 1882 all the way until 1971. Today, the Sloss Furnaces site serves as an interpretive museum of industry and hosts a metal arts program that is recognized all over the world. It also serves as a festival and concert venue – probably one of the most unlikely places to do so!
The structure itself was built on 50 acres of land donated for industrial development by Rufus A. Lewis in 1881, who would later become Mayor of Birmingham in 1889 (and then again from 1893-1896). When it began operation two years after its construction began in 1886, it was one of only two such sites operating in America at that time.
Today, there are only four left standing: theirs being one such example now open for tours seven days per week between 9 am till 5 pm daily except Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Day when they close early at 2 pm instead (last entry time being 3 pm).
The Alabama Theatre
The Alabama Theatre is the oldest continuously operating movie palace in the South. It was built in 1927 and has been open for almost 100 years. This is one of the last remaining examples of luxurious movie palaces that were built in the 1920s, with their ornate architecture, gilded columns, and chandeliers.
The Alabama Theatre hosts live music concerts and classic films every week that are open to the public, be sure to purchase a ticket beforehand. There are also special events such as performing art displays from local artists or community groups, so don’t miss out!
The Market at Pepper Place
The Market at Pepper Place is a year-round indoor and outdoor market that provides locally sourced produce and delicacies. Opened in 2000, the market was established as a link connecting farmers to Birmingham locals. To enjoy locally sourced foods, you can purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from The Market’s diverse offerings change with the season, allowing you to enjoy new fruits and vegetables, as well as herbs and dairy products.
The market’s vibrant atmosphere also offers a bakery, local artists selling their work on-site for easy picking up after your trip to the market or before hitting the road again!
The market’s eclectic bevy of unique markers includes a patisserie offering sweets from across America; an artisan cheese shop that specializes in farmstead cheeses; an aged meat facility offering custom cuts of beef along with other specialty meats such as lamb chops & pork belly bacon; an olive oil and vinegar tasting bar offering samples of their most popular blends, such as sweet basil olive oil mixed with balsamic vinegar drizzled over freshly baked breadsticks, dipped into hummus made from sunflower seeds, crushed into a paste by hand just hours earlier.
Rickwood Field is the oldest professional baseball field in the United States. It was built in 1910, and it has hosted thousands of games over its 110 years. Today, Rickwood Field hosts minor league baseball games for the Birmingham Barons and hosts lots of seasonal events as well.
If you’re a fan of baseball, then this is definitely a place that you want to check out. You can see how things were done back in 1910 by taking part in throwback games during which players dress up as they did during that time period. There are also plenty of photo opportunities with old-fashioned vehicles on display at Rickwood Field, including fire trucks and ambulances from that era!
The Birmingham Zoo
The Birmingham Zoo is home to over 1,500 animals and is one of the largest zoos in Alabama. It was opened in 1955 beginning with a small collection of exotic animals and now sits on 50 acres of Birmingham parkland providing habitat to many species from around the world. The zoo is located in the city of Birmingham and is home to an alligator swamp, multiple aviaries, a flamingo lagoon, a predator building (which houses lions), tortoise yard for smaller reptiles like turtles and snakes.
There are also various exhibits such as camel rides for children at certain times throughout the year during spring break or summer vacation week where they get an opportunity to ride these large beasts through their corral area. Other activities include an interactive aviary where visitors can feed birds from cages outside while others watch them fly around inside cages containing parrots like cockatiels or macaws.
Another fun thing you can do while visiting this area would be attending their sea lion show, where trainers show off tricks that they teach these animals so visitors get some insight into what goes into training them as well as learning more about how smart these creatures really are when given tasks such as retrieving items underwater using only their mouths!
The zoo itself offers many different types of entertainment including rides like carousels which typically have themes based on popular culture topics such as superheroes from comics books we read today (such as Superman).
Kelly Ingram Park
Kelly Ingram Park is a park located in Birmingham, Alabama. It was named after Reverend Kelly Ingram who was killed during the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in 1963. The park was created by the same organization that rebuilt it; the Birmingham Department of Parks & Recreation.
The park features lush greenery and large open spaces for picnics or parties. It also contains many sculptures depicting Civil War-era scenes including “The Spirit of Freedom” which depicts a freed slave with his child running towards freedom after being emancipated from slavery by Union soldiers during the war. There happens to be a similar statue that exists in Washington Dc. There is also a central fountain along with a commemorative statue for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Southern Museum of Flight
The Southern Museum of Flight is home to nearly 100 aircraft, as well as exhibits showcasing civilian, military, and probing aircraft as well as memorabilia and interesting aviation artifacts. The museum encompasses a 75,000-square foot space which ensures that the space is packed full of astounding sights.
In addition to the indoor exhibits, there are also several outdoor displays that showcase many different types of planes including an A-12 Blackbird. The main exhibit consists of biographical plaques highlighting notable aviators throughout history along with old war jets, some of which are hanging from the ceiling!
Red Mountain Park
Red Mountain Park is a 1,500-acre urban park that’s central to Birmingham culture. It sits on the edge of Red Mountain and is surrounded by a nearly five-mile portion of this majestic geological formation. This backdrop makes for some excellent views, so if you’re looking for an outdoor adventure, this is a great place to check out!
The park features plenty of hiking trails and scenic overlooks, as well as areas where you can pause and drink in the beauty of your surroundings, or do some picnicking with family and friends.
Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame
The Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame is a cultural attraction that celebrates the great contributions to jazz music. The museum honors the pioneers of jazz music through enlightening and educational exhibits such as instruments, photographs, recording equipment, and artifacts relevant to jazz demographics.
The museum seeks to educate visitors about the history of this diverse musical genre by showing how it has evolved over time. The location of this museum is in Tuscaloosa, Alabama which makes it easy for you to spend an afternoon learning more about this wonderful genre of music!
Vulcan Park and Museum
If you’re looking for a great day trip from Birmingham, Alabama, then a visit to Vulcan Park and Museum is the ticket. The park sits atop Red Mountain at an elevation of 1,073 feet and was established in 1963. It features the world’s tallest cast-iron statue—Vulcan 56 feet high—depicting the Roman god of the forge and fire.
The museum is jam-packed with interactive history exhibits that retell stories of The Vulcan and Birmingham in general. Surrounded by incredible views of Birmingham, visitors can enjoy hiking trails and picnicking areas while taking in all that this beautiful landmark has to offer!
If you’re looking for an upscale shopping experience with all of the bells and whistles, The Summit is where you need to go. With its unique blend of luxury retail stores and high-end dining options, this complex caters to the needs of Birmingham’s most discerning shoppers.
If you’re a fan of beauty products, healthy food, jewelry, or home décor then The Summit will most certainly have a store that will suit your needs. The Summit also provides 20 different restaurants within its premises so whether it’s dinner or lunchtime; there’s nowhere better than here for some delicious food!
Virginia Samford Theatre
The Virginia Samford Theatre is an entertainment venue for locals and visitors alike. With shows of all genres for all audience types, often hosting children’s shows, musicals, dance shows, and even comedies the options are endless!
The theatre is home to Birmingham’s longest-running musical—Memphis. Performances are held Tuesday through Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m.
Located in the heart of downtown Birmingham, Railroad Park offers a number of activities for visitors. The park is made up almost entirely of green space with trees and other landscaping surrounding it. In addition to its natural beauty, there are several man-made attractions as well.
These include a nine-acre open lawn space that’s perfect for running, picnicking areas, lovely water features including a picturesque lake as well as rippling ponds and trickling streams, amenities such as a ranger station, restrooms, and outdoor gym equipment, skate parks, playgrounds, and most importantly – free parking!
Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve
Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve is a nearly 1,100-acre nature preserve located in Birmingham’s historic district. It hosts incredible nature education, eco-arts programs, and amazing opportunities to explore and learn about Alabaman wildlife. Within the park, 14 nature trails bring visitors face to face with wilderness, wildlife, and majestic water features such as a lake and a natural spring.
Additional preserve features include a quarry, where you can see how they used to mine coal, a picnic pavilion – a great spot for family reunions, wetlands also home to many different kinds of birds, and a mining site with an interpretive tour, though reservations are required, and scenic overlooks that offer views of downtown Birmingham.
Grand Bohemian Hotel
When you are in Birmingham, Alabama, and looking for some fun things to do, take a trip downtown to the Grand Bohemian Hotel. Located in Birmingham’s historic neighborhood, this hotel is close to many premier attractions, including Vulcan Park and Museum. The hotel is only steps away from many premier attractions and restaurants.
Additionally, this hotel has an amazing rooftop bar and restaurant that serves spirited drinks, farm-to-table recipes, and an all-around good time! If you don’t have time for a full meal but want a quick bite before heading out on your evening adventure then stop by the bar for some nibbles like truffle mac & cheese or chicken wings!
The Grand Bohemian also has an extensive fitness center as well as an inviting outdoor pool where you can enjoy some sun while taking in views of the downtown Birmingham skyline.
Mary Charles Doll House
If you’re a collector of dolls, or just love looking at them, Mary Charles Doll House beckons you. This doll house museum has an insane collection of dolls and accessories. The shop features Madame Alexander dolls, Steiff teddy bears, classic Barbie dolls, and accessories galore!
Mary Charles Doll House was established in 1973 as an antique store but eventually evolved into a haven for unique dolls and doll-lovers alike. The owners were at one time avid collectors themselves before they realized they had enough merchandise to start their own business. They have been in business for more than 40 years now specializing in curating, repairing, and marketing unusual dolls from around the world.
Museum of Fond Memories at Reed Books
Bookstores are a charming part of Americana, and luckily for some – Birmingham has several. But the most unusual one is Reed Books, which houses a museum of Fond Memories in its basement. Founded by Jim Reed in 1965 and now run by his son John Reed, this shop has an assortment of stickers, toys, albums, trinkets, posters, and other objects that Jim collected over the years.
Reed Books is not only a rare book store but also houses the “Museum of Fond Memories.” This unique shop contains books as old as 500 years and more contemporary books including first editions signed by authors who visited Birmingham such as James McBride (The Colour of Water) or William Faulkner (Light in August). The collection is eclectic but Jim Reed knows where everything is located!
African Village in America
African Village in America is an open-air folk art sculpture garden located at 803 Southside Drive SW, near Birmingham, Alabama. The man behind the project is Joe Minter (b. 1937), a self-taught African American sculptor who came up with the idea for this unusual installation in the 1970s. He began building it by hand with whatever materials he could find: straw, scrap metal, and other found objects that included footwear, lawn decorations, toys, and sporting equipment.
The little village makes itself known by Minter’s recreations of feathered headdresses and African masks. He also includes sculptures that he has built over time—works such as “The Freedom Ride Blues Singer” which depicts a woman singing while being beaten by police officers; “Ain’t I A Woman” which depicts Sojourner Truth sitting on an overturned chair; or “I am Albert White” which shows Albert Einstein dressed in blackface with a top hat on his head.
These sculptures tell stories about Black Americans from all walks of life—from West African poets to warriors during slavery days through to today’s political climate—and their history can be explored here as well.
The Donor Memorial is a tribute to organ donors who donated their organs purely for medical purposes and for training. The memorial is located on the campus of the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, you can find an eye-catching, metallic sculpture standing in a concrete space that appears to have been forsaken by the campus architects.
The sculpture serves as a symbol of gratitude, a memorial to the total-willed body donors. Sometimes the donors’ families may be seen visiting the site, taking a tracing or rubbing of the carved names even you can stop by and visit the sculpture for a quiet moment of reflection and perhaps gain an appreciation for the giving spirit these people practiced in life.
If you’re looking for a place to relax in Birmingham, check out The Storyteller fountain. This bronze statue of a ram reading to other animals is meant to symbolize a mother grieving over her son’s passing. It was commissioned by a mother who lost her son at an early age and wanted to create something special that would bring joy and happiness into the world after his death.
The Storyteller fountain at Five Points South is open to the public and can be seen when driving down 20th street in downtown Birmingham; it’s also open 24 hours a day if you’re feeling a tad spontaneous, and want to soak in some good vibes at late hours of the night.
Heaviest Corner on Earth
In the heart of downtown Birmingham, you’ll find the Heaviest Corner on Earth. This spot is actually located at the intersection of 1st Avenue North and 20th Street North. Surrounded by a number of imposing buildings, it’s easy to see why this intersection has been dubbed The Heaviest Corner in the World.
And if you’re wondering why it is called that, then there are several possible reasons: to start with, because this corner looks like a cross between an old-fashioned town square and a place where people get their portraits made (which might seem strange but if you’ve ever been to New York City then you’ll know they’re common there).
The second reason is that all of these buildings look so heavy in comparison to everything else around them; specifically, their brickwork makes them seem very solid and sturdy—like something from another time period altogether!
It’s hard to tell what exactly you’re looking at when you drive by Quinlan Castle, a medieval-style four-story apartment building built in Birmingham, Alabama in 1927. The street was named after Bishop Quinlan, who bought the land where the structure stands to use as the grounds of Birmingham’s first Catholic church.
The castle is unique for its award-winning architecture and artistic details that can be seen in its beautiful arch-topped windows, battlement topping each wall and tall round turrets in each corner. Two of these towers house small, black cannons and may be visible with keen eyesight.
Escape rooms are one of the top things to do in Birmingham Alabama! Escape room adventures are a great way to spend time with family and friends, try something new, get out of the house, and challenge yourself. Escape rooms come in all shapes and sizes: from zombies and serial killers to gangsters and treasure hunts. You will be locked inside a room for 60 minutes where you must solve puzzles, find clues, decipher codes, or complete other objectives in order to escape before time runs out.
The best part? Most escape rooms have cooperative elements so you can work together as a team! There’s no better way to spend your free time than getting locked up with your friends or family members while trying to solve puzzles (and maybe even get scared too).
Birmingham, Alabama is a great place to visit. The city offers many things to see and do. With a large variety of places to eat, drink, and shop for unique items. Visitors can enjoy an abundance of entertainment options including live music, theatre performances, and other events offered throughout the year. You can even explore the outdoors by taking in some nature at one of the many parks or hiking trails located throughout Birmingham!
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Is there Anything Fun to do in Birmingham?
There are many ways to spend your day or weekend in Birmingham Alabama, how about a trip to the Vulcan Park and Museum? Or perhaps you’d like to connect with the variety of intriguing animals at Birmingham Zoo. You’ll never find yourself bored whilst visiting Birmingham.
What is Birmingham AL Famous For?
Birmingham is known as the founding city for hosting and celebrating Veterans day. Not to mention the fact that Birmingham also happens to be the only place in the world where all the ingredients for making iron are present.
What is Something You Might See in Alabama?
There are some unique spots worth visiting in Alabama, don’t miss visiting the Cathedral Caverns; US Space and Rocket Centre; Noccalula Falls, Russel Cave, and more!
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