Alabama Attractions December 15, 2022
by Lisa Sammons The Best Things To Do In Birmingham: 25 Top-Rated Attractions & Hidden Gems
Birmingham is one of the largest cities in the South, and it’s full of attractions for locals and tourists alike . Are you looking for great places to take the kids? How about a romantic date night out on the town? Or do you just like exploring all that The Magic City has to offer? Whatever it is you want, Birmingham, Alabama has got it. It’s such a unique place with such a fascinating history that’s unlike anywhere else in the country. Read on to see some of the top Birmingham attractions that are worth a visit.
Top Tourist Attractions in Birmingham
A vacation to Birmingham is an absolute delight. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a tourist visiting from another state (or country!) or a newly-arrived local looking to get to know the town better, there’s something for everyone in Birmingham . We’ve got amazing scenery, world-class museums, and a rich history like nowhere else. There are so many great attractions in Birmingham, Alabama! 1. Birmingham Civil Rights Institute Address: 520 16th St N, Birmingham, AL 35203 Neighborhood: Fountain Heights Website: https://www.bcri.org/ Pro Tip: Make sure to check out the nearby 16th Street Baptist Church while you're in the Civil Rights District. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a frequent speaker at the church, which was the site of a 1963 bombing that killed four young girls.
The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is considered one of the top human rights museums in the country. This comes as no surprise since Birmingham played such a huge role in the national civil rights movement.
The museum features both permanent and traveling exhibits and is entirely self-guided. There are a variety of multimedia exhibits here, including videos, news articles, artwork, and even recorded oral histories.
The museum presents the material in an easy-to-understand fashion, but since some of the topics covered are emotionally difficult, it's probably best suited for kids ages 10 and up.
General Admission is $15 and advanced timed tickets are required for entry. You can purchase tickets on the
Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, 520 16th St N, Birmingham, AL 35203, USA
2. Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum
The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum is part of the massive 880-acre Barber Motorsports Park, which also has a 2.38-mile racetrack. The track is visible from inside the museum, so keep your eyes peeled and you might see cars racing around the track. The museum and racetrack were founded by George Barber, a pro racecar driver-turned-businessman.
You'll find the
world's largest collection of motorcycles
and Lotus race cars here. There are over 1,000 models in the museum, including plenty of beautifully restored antiques.
The museum takes about 2-4 hours to walk through - you'll want to allow yourself extra time if you are a motorcycle enthusiast, as there's a lot to see here!
Tickets are $18 for adults and can be purchased in advance on the
or at the museum's entrance.
Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, 6030 Barber Motorsports Pkwy, Leeds, AL 35094, USA
3. Southern Museum of Flight
The Southern Museum of Flight is one of the largest aviation museums in the region, with over 75,000 square feet of space. It's home to around 100 vintage aircraft dating back nearly 100 years.
You'll find a fascinating exhibit on the Tuskegee Airmen, the nation's first African American unit of airmen. The museum is also home to the Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame.
A self-guided tour of the museum takes about 1-2 hours. It's suitable for children, who are sure to get a big kick out of the flight simulator that will let you feel like you're flying a real plane.
Tickets are currently $5 for adults and can be purchased at the door. Kids three and under are free.
Southern Museum of Flight, 4343 73rd St N, Birmingham, AL 35206, USA
4. Vulcan Park and Museum
The Vulcan statue is the official symbol of the city of Birmingham. The 56-foot-tall statue is the
largest cast iron statue in the world
and is also one of the tallest statues in the United States. The sculpture weighs 120,000 pounds and stands atop a 123-foot tall pedestal.
Vulcan was the Roman god of fire and forge, and here he's depicted holding tools for ironworking. The sculpture was crafted for the 1904 World's Fair and has a fascinating history. In 1936, it was moved to its permanent home, now called Vulcan Park, atop Red Mountain.
Admission into the 10-acre park will grant you access to the park, observation tower, and museum that details the history of both Birmingham and the Vulcan statue. The observation tower allows you to see a beautiful overlook of the city's downtown area. Tickets are $6 for adults and can be purchased at the gate.
Vulcan Park and Museum, 1701 Valley View Dr, Birmingham, AL 35209, USA
5. Kelly Ingram Park
Kelly Ingram Park is a four-acre park that is one of many historical sites in Birmingham. During the civil rights movement, it served as a gathering place for protestors against segregation. Images of police confrontations with demonstrators here were broadcast across the country and led to increased support for desegregation.
The park is home to several monuments and plaques honoring major figures of the civil rights movement. It's a great place to relax and reflect on the city's history.
Kelly Ingram Park, 500 17th St N, Birmingham, AL 35203, USA
Things to Do in Birmingham with Kids
One great thing about Birmingham is that there’s so much for children to enjoy. There are so many family-friendly activities in Birmingham that are just perfect for adults and kids alike , whether you’re looking for educational museums or days in the park. 1. McWane Science Center
The McWane Science Center is a wonderful interactive science museum that is suitable for kids and adults of all ages. It's home to nearly 500,000 artifacts, including fossils, minerals, and more.
There's an on-site IMAX theater, several playgrounds for kids of various ages, restaurants, and even an aquarium with a touch tank. There are plenty of hands-on, interactive exhibits that are fun for young kids and adults alike.
You could spend all day here without much trouble, but it's recommended to at least budget for a 4-5 hour visit. There's a lot to see here!
Admissions are $16 for adults to enter the Adventure Halls exhibits and $13 for kids ages 2-12. Kids under age 2 are free. You can purchase tickets in advance on the
McWane Science Center website
McWane Science Center, 200 19th St N, Birmingham, AL 35203, USA
2. Railroad Park
Railroad Park is a 19-acre green space right in the middle of downtown Birmingham. There are several great trails here that provide wonderful views of the city, and it's a great place for a picnic. It's easy to see why it's one of the
most popular parks in Birmingham
There's a gorgeous lake here, and over 600 trees are planted within the park. There are a couple of playgrounds plus an informative history wall documenting Birmingham's fascinating history, so there's a lot to occupy the little ones.
There's no entrance fee to get into Railroad Park, and you can find free street parking along the outer edges of the park. Also note that metered parking is free after 6:00 p.m. on weekdays and all weekend long.
Railroad Park, Birmingham, AL 35233, USA
3. Birmingham Zoo
The Birmingham Zoo is the only AZA-accredited zoo in the state of Alabama. It's home to approximately 550 animals of nearly 200 species. You'll see everything from lions to giraffes here.
Admission is $18.95 for adults and $13.95 for children ages 2-12. You can purchase tickets in advance on the
to save time when you arrive.
Birmingham Zoo, 2630 Cahaba Rd, Birmingham, AL 35223, USA
4. Library In The Forest
Vestavia Hills's Library in the Forest is one of the best libraries in Birmingham. The library has a unique design with a reading room that juts out into the woods. The glass walls allow you to look out and feel like you're actually reading in the forest.
There's a great kids' section here, and with two floors, there's plenty to explore. The library frequently holds activities, many of which are geared toward children, so keep an eye on
Vestavia Hills's Facebook page
for upcoming events.
Vestavia Hills Library in the Forest, 1221 Montgomery Hwy, Vestavia Hills, AL 35216, USA
5. Birmingham Children's Theatre
There are typically several shows on the schedule throughout the year. There's a 950-seat main stage with stadium seating and an extra-large scene. You'll also find a 250-seat Wee Folks Theatre for younger kids under age 5.
Tickets typically run between $10-25, and shows are anywhere from 50-90 minutes. You can get information about specific shows and recommended ages on the theatre's website.
Birmingham Children's Theatre, 2130 Richard Arrington Jr Blvd N, Birmingham, AL 35203, USA
6. Regions Field
Regions Field serves as the home stadium for the Birmingham Barons, a minor league baseball team that won the Southern League Championships in 2013. It's also the second home field for the University of Alabama at Birmingham Blazers. The stadium can hold 8,500 attendees.
Ticket prices vary, but you can get them for around $20. Check out the schedule on the
Regions Field, 1401 1st Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35233, USA
What to Do in Birmingham for Couples
Love is always in the air in Magic City. Whether you’re looking for options for a first date to get to know a potential new partner or you’re just looking to add a little spice to an already existing relationship, there are plenty of romantic outings in Birmingham that are just perfect for an intimate outing for two.
1. Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve
For couples that love nature, there's nothing more romantic than lacing up your hiking boots and heading out to hit the trails. Ruffner Mountain is a 1,038-acre park featuring 14 miles of trails. The scenery is top-notch, and there are a number of wildlife species that call the preserve home. Did you know this is one of the
largest urban nature preserves in the country
If you're not a Ruffner Mountain member, a visitor parking permit costs $5. It can be purchased on-site with cash or a credit card.
Ruffner Mountain, 1214 81st St S, Birmingham, AL 35206, USA
2. The Alabama Theatre
If you like being entertained on your date nights, it doesn't get much better than a visit to the Alabama Theatre. This gorgeous old-style theater was built in 1927 as a movie palace. This is one of the
grandest theaters in the southeast
and it's been beautifully restored to its former glory. It now hosts 150 special events a year, showing everything from live musicals to beauty pageants to movie screenings.
Check out a list of upcoming events on the
Alabama Theatre's website
Alabama Theatre, 1817 3rd Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35203, USA
3. Good People Brewing Company
Breweries are especially perfect for first dates. They tend to be less awkward than a restaurant, and they're quieter than a bar, so you're able to get to know someone better than you could in a louder location. Luckily enough, we've got several great breweries in Alabama, and
Good People Brewing Company
is one of the best. This dog-friendly spot has televisions showing all the top sports, games of cornhole, plus live music and food trucks on select days. There's a great selection of locally-brewed delights here, especially if you love hoppy beer.
For information about upcoming events, check out the
Good People Brewing Company Facebook page
Good People Brewing Company, 114 14th St S, Birmingham, AL 35233, USA
4. Bistro Two Eighteen
Bistro Two Eighteen is a wonderful choice if you're looking for a romantic outing. It's one of the top fine-dining restaurants in Alabama. The atmosphere is not so elegant that you'll be uncomfortable, but it's definitely a quieter option than a bar or a more casual restaurant, so you'll have plenty of opportunities to talk. The menu combines French classics like duck confit with American favorites. There are vegetarian options available, as well.
Bistro Two Eighteen, 218 20th St N, Birmingham, AL 35203, USA
5. The Pizitz Food Hall
The Pizitz Food Hall is a wonderfully unique
Birmingham food hall
that currently houses 12 food vendors. It's a wonderful spot for a first date if you aren't sure what type of food your partner likes, or even for those in an established relationship if you have different palates. You can get a variety of different foods here, whether you're looking for Indian, Mexican, or sandwiches.
The Pizitz Food Hall, 1821 2nd Ave N #3112, Birmingham, AL 35203, USA
6. English Village Address: English Village Neighborhood: Mountain Brook | Greater Alabama Website: https://www.mtnbrook.org/ Pro Tip: If you want to make a day of it, check out some of Mountain Brook's other charming villages. These mixed-use developments each have their own personality and draws. Each features great shops and restaurants.
Mountain Brook is one of the
most charming towns in Alabama
. It's divided up into several mixed-use districts, known as villages. One of the best is English Village. Established nearly 100 years ago, this shopping and restaurant destination is an upscale location with European-style architecture and plenty of places to browse and shop.
English Village, Birmingham, AL 35223, USA
Where to Go in Birmingham at Night
The fun doesn’t end when the sun goes down in Birmingham. There’s tons of nightlife to enjoy here – we’ve got bars, restaurants, breweries, and some phenomenal music venues, all of which stay open late.
1. Iron City Birmingham
Iron City Birmingham is a concert venue in a historic building with three stages, a restaurant, and two bars. The venue books nationally-renowned acts and has had names as diverse as BB King, Rob Zombie, Demi Lovato, and Bone-Thugs-n-Harmony. If you love the nightlife in Birmingham, it doesn't get much livelier than a show at Iron City Birmingham.
For a calendar of upcoming events and to purchase tickets, check out the
Iron City Birmingham website
Iron City Bham, 513 22nd St S, Birmingham, AL 35233, USA
2. Dread River Distilling Co.
Dread River Distilling Company is a newer distillery in Birmingham that specializes in bourbon, whiskey, vodka, gin, and rum. The spirits here are made in small batches to ensure the highest quality. There's a small food menu of elevated bar food, and the upscale environment is incredibly comfortable and great for conversation.
Dread River Distilling Company, 2400 7th Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35233, USA
Zydeco is the type of small music venue that many adore. It's a tiny dive bar that's standing-room only, and extremely intimate. It's the second-oldest bar and music venue in Birmingham and it's beloved by many music lovers in the Magic City.
Zydeco also serves food and drinks in the pub, and there's a great all-weather patio that features a full bar.
For a full schedule of events, check out the
Zydeco, 2001 15th Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35205, USA
Free Things to Do in Birmingham
What’s better than fun things to do in Birmingham? How about fun
free things to do in Birmingham? Money is tight for a lot of travelers right now, and if you’re watching your budget, don’t sweat it! We’ve got tons of free activities in the Magic City that won’t cost you a cent. 1. Birmingham Museum of Art
The Birmingham Museum of Art is so fantastic that it's hard to believe general admission is free! It showcases more than 24,000 works of art and spans 180,000 square feet, including an outdoor sculpture garden. It's one of the top art museums in the southeast and has a great variety of modern art, art from Alabama artists, Asian art, European art, and Native American art. This is one of the best
free things you can do in Alabama
and it's definitely worth a visit.
Birmingham Museum of Art, 2000 Reverend Abraham Woods Jr Boulevard, Birmingham, AL 35203, USA
2. Birmingham Botanical Gardens
The Birmingham Botanical Gardens is a great way to stretch your legs and enjoy the beauty of nature in Alabama. There are 67.5 acres to explore here, so make sure you have your walking shoes on. You'll find more than 30 gardens here, with over 12,000 different types of plants. It's an absolutely amazing
Alabama day trip in the spring
, but even in the off-season, this is still a beautiful place to explore. Both parking and admission are free.
Birmingham Botanical Gardens, 2612 Lane Park Rd, Birmingham, AL 35223, USA
3. The Farmers Market At Pepper Place
This Alabama farmers' market is the perfect place to get locally-grown food while supporting local farmers. The market is open nearly year-round (it’s closed for a few weeks at the beginning and end of each year) and occurs on Saturdays downtown. It’s held rain or shine and is a great event for the whole family - it’s even dog-friendly. There’s live entertainment and also homemade crafts and wares for sale. This is such a great way to eat healthier while helping the local economy.
4. Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark
The Sloss Furnaces operated as pig iron blast furnaces for nearly 100 years before closing down in 1971. Alabama was once one of the country’s leading producers of steel and iron ore, and the Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark honors that heritage today with its fascinating museum. A self-guided tour takes about 1.5 hours, and guided tours are available by appointment only. Walking through this place is a fascinating look back in time, and it’s truly surprising how much of the grounds you can enter while touring the facility. Ghost hunters would be wise to keep their eyes peeled, as it's allegedly among the most
haunted places in Birmingham
Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark, 20 32nd St N, Birmingham, AL 35222, USA
5. Rotary Trail Birmingham
Since it is an urban area, you might think there aren’t many great trails in Birmingham, but you’d be wrong. The Rotary Trail is a wonderful 0.5-mile linear park that connects Sloss Furnaces to Railroad Park. There are several benches along the trail if you’d like to stop and relax, and you’ll also find murals and sculptures.
Rotary Trail Birmingham, 2098 1st Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35233, USA
Birmingham is one of the largest cities in the south, and there are so many things to see and do here. If you’re heading out with the whole family, make sure to check out some of our
favorite things to do in Birmingham with kids. From popular tourist destinations to hidden gems, we’ve truly got it all, so get out and explore the Magic City!
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The OIYS Visitor Center
January 01, 1970
What is the best time of the year to visit Birmingham?
If you're looking to enjoy the outdoors, the best time to visit Birmingham in the spring or fall. It can get pretty hot in the winter and you may find activities like hiking to be more enjoyable in the cooler seasons.
Are there any famous landmarks in Birmingham?
There are numerous famous landmarks in Birmingham including:
Is Birmingham safe?
Of course, there can be danger lurking in any large city, but overall, Birmingham, Alabama is considered pretty safe, especially when compared to other cities of a similar size. Many of the
safest cities in Alabama are suburbs of Birmingham.