Once a center of the civil rights movement, Alabama’s largest city has emerged from its troubled past as an exciting spot full of attractions.
Transformed beyond its industrial roots into a leading center for banking, medical research and service-based industries, Birmingham is growing in stature for its mix of history, culture, music and outdoor recreation.
Birmingham offers numerous outdoor activities in its location in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Visit the 9,940-acre (4,022-hectare) Oak State Mountain Park. Swim in its lakes, hike the trails, take a guided horseback tour or have a picnic.
Enjoy more outdoor fun at Railroad Park, an eight-block green space downtown. Unwind by the lake or exercise at the outside gym. Walk along tree-lined lanes and streams or find a quiet place on the lawns. Children can play in the skate park and playgrounds.
Birmingham is home to Rickwood Field, one of the oldest baseball stadiums in the U.S. Visit Barber Motorsports Park with one of the world’s largest motorcycle collections.
Explore the city’s industrial heritage at Sloss Furnaces, a former iron-manufacturing complex, now a museum offering tours of the buildings, machinery and Underground Railroad tunnel.
In the mid-1900s, Birmingham was marked by bombs, rioting and racial hatred. Tour the Civil Rights District, a six-block tribute to the struggles that shook America’s conscience. Study the period’s people, places and events at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and Kelly Ingram Park. Although racial issues are largely in the past, Birmingham still has some crime-ridden areas stemming from poor economic conditions.
Birmingham’s lively music scene includes many downtown clubs and numerous festivals and events throughout the year. August offers the Stokin’ the Fire BBQ and Music Festival. In May, attend Do Dah Day, a huge charity concert and celebration in Caldwell and Rhodes parks.
The airport is in Birmingham’s city center. A train runs to New York and Washington D.C. Renting a car and using the metered parking found throughout the city is the best way to get around.
Visit this Southern city to understand a major piece of U.S. history and enjoy its modern offerings.