The seat of Jefferson County, Alabama’s most populous county, Birmingham, is perhaps best known for playing host to the country’s oldest and most extensive Veterans Day celebration.
Besides being Alabama’s largest city, Birmingham is also the only place on the planet where one can obtain all the elements for making iron – coal, iron ore and limestone, everything within a ten-mile radius. Once an industrial center that was driven primarily by its steel industry, the city has now transformed into a diverse metropolis, replete with history and culture.
From breathtaking historic landmarks and splendid museums to delightful restaurants and serene parks, the city truly does pack it all. If you haven’t previously set foot in this gorgeous city, now’s a time as good as any! And to make matters further convenient for you, we’ve penned down this article wherein we’ve curated a list of some of the best places to visit and things to do in Birmingham. Check out these places and enjoy these activities in Birmingham, and you’ll realize why it’s called the Magic City.
The Haunted Sloss Furnaces
We are well past Halloween, but it’s never a bad time to tickle your spooky nerve, is it? Factually speaking, the Sloss Furnaces were a fully operational iron-producing facility from 1882 to 1971. So, where is the haunted angle coming from? Well, you see, these days, it serves as the site of the annual “Sloss Fright Furnace” that takes place on Halloween.
Besides this, the furnaces also host guided ghost tours where they regale you with stories of one James “Slag” Wormwood, an imaginary foreman who used to work the graveyard shift. If watching horror movies is your go-to recreational hobby, visiting the Sloss Furnaces will no doubt be one of the fun things to do in Birmingham for you.
By DXR, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link
Address: 20 32nd St N, Birmingham, AL 35222, United States | Timing: Tuesday to Saturday: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/TdAQVJ5nU8B77Ck9A | Phone Number: +12052542025
Featuring among its prime attractions, a visit to the zoo is undoubtedly among the must things to do in Birmingham. Sprawling over roughly 122 acres, it plays host to as many as 230 species of animals.
Every year, the zoo experiences a footfall of almost half a million. A rank favorite among families and kids, it is recognized as a leader in animal conservation, harboring endangered species from six different continents within its premises.
The zoo is also home to hundreds of butterflies spread across 20 species, every single one of them being native to Alabama. Kids also have the opportunity of availing a ride atop the zoo’s thoroughly exciting Red Diamond Express as well as the animal-themed carousel.
Address: 2630 Cahaba Rd, Birmingham, AL 35223, United States | Timing: Wednesday to Sunday: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://g.page/BhamZoo?share | Phone Number: +12058790409
McWane Science Center
There are more things to do in Birmingham. If you are a science geek, you’ll have the time of your life at the McWane Science Center.
True to their mission statement that says, “Change lives through science and wonder”, the center gives its visitors a first-hand taste of the wonders of science through its multiple interactive exhibits.
The best part? The center has one section dedicated to dinosaurs alone that is extremely popular among children and adults alike.
By Chris Pruitt, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
Address: 200 19th St N, Birmingham, AL 35203, United States | Timing: Wednesday to Friday: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Saturday: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Sunday: 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/KpAGZ2Z9qX1dz7BP9 | Phone Number: +12057148300
Birmingham Museum of Art
Wondering about the things to do in Birmingham this weekend? Home to an eclectic collection of European, African, Asian, and Native American artworks, the Birmingham Museum of Art is where you’d wanna be to soothe your artistic senses.
Its collection of over 25,000 drawings, paintings, and prints are bound to keep you sufficiently and delightfully occupied for an entire afternoon. Originally starting with a gift of Chinese textiles in 1951, the museum’s Asian art collection is now the largest in the Southeast, harboring upwards of 4,000 objects.
Entry is free at all times, barring all those occasions when there’s a special exhibition. Couples would be happy to know that the museum also extends itself to hosting elaborate wedding ceremonies and receptions.
Address: 2000 Reverend Abraham Woods Jr Boulevard, Birmingham, AL 35203, United States | Timing: Tuesday to Saturday: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Sunday: 12:00 am to 5:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/qw6YyLRB7Zgt6WXa9 | Phone Number: +12052542565
The Railroad Park is one of the major Birmingham attractions. Characterized by water features and green open spaces, it offers one a much-needed escape from the din and chaos of city life.
It goes without saying that spending an evening here is amongst the most peaceful things to do in the city. It doesn’t matter if you’re visiting this place alone or with a group of friends; either way, you will surely have a great time.
Address: 1600 1st Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35233, United States | Timing: Monday to Sunday: 7:00 am to 11:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/UXTyJ3eCPeWUpUd4A | Phone Number: +12055219933
Barber Motorsports Park
Opened in 2003, this Motorsports Park is a multi-purpose racing facility, best recognized for serving as the site of the highly popular IndyCar Series’ Grand Prix of Alabama since 2010.
It features a 17-turn, 2.38-mile road course designed by Alan Wilson, which is viewable from a host of naturally wooded and grass-covered banks. What makes this track particularly unusual is the fact that it contains no general-access spectator seating at the start/finish line.
By BarberVintageMotorsportsMuseum CC BY-SA 4.0, Link
Address: 6040 Barber Motorsports Pkwy, Leeds, AL 35094, United States | Timing: Monday to Friday: 8:30 am to 5:30 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/XTHbqPRQHB2KTzKk9 | Phone Number: +12056997275
Southern Museum of Flight
Are you fascinated by airplanes and their history? Then make it a point to add the Southern Museum of Flight to your itinerary.
Inside this 75,000-square feet landmark, you’ll be greeted by a wide range of civilian, military, and experimental aircraft.
A separate section of the Southern Museum of Flight, named the “Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame”, is dedicated to the memory of some of Alabama’s greatest pilots.
By Civilengtiger, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link
Address: 4343 73rd St N, Birmingham, AL 35206, United States | Timing: Tuesday to Saturday: 9:00 am to 4:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/c5Th1xY2db4houSU7 | Phone Number: +12058338226
Oak Mountain State Park
Spread across an extensive 9940 acres, the Oak Mountain State Park is the largest state park in Alabama and is the perfect spot for you to flex a muscle or two.
Why? Because this place abounds in outdoor activities. Hiking trails, a driving range, and a golf course are just a few of the many attractions that it has in store for its visitors.
On top of these, the Oak Mountain State Park also has a campground (replete with amenities) that is accessible throughout the year. Oh, and it also houses the spectacular Peavine Falls, which is highly Instagram-friendly!
Address: 200 Terrace Dr, Pelham, AL 35124, United States | Timing: Monday to Sunday: 7:00 am to 6:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/PmdREB4REasrwgPB6 | Phone Number: +12056202520
Named after the geologist William Henry Ruffner, the Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. From hiking to running to bird-watching, the beautiful trails of the Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve play host to a wide range of activities.
If you haven’t felt at one with nature for a while now, there is no better opportunity to rekindle that connection than paying a visit to this wonderful nature preserve in the mountains.
Address: 1214 81st St S, Birmingham, AL 35206, United States | Timing: Tuesday to Sunday: 7:00 am to 7:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/wMkzVQMLTZiYmE8d8 | Phone Number: +12058338264
If you have more time and are wondering what to do in Birmingham, well, pay a visit to the Alabama Theatre. Established by Paramount Studios in 1927, it has ever since entertained scores and scores of people through an exquisite assortment of movies, shows, and concerts.
Besides films, it also plays host to upwards of 300 events every year. Prior to becoming a theatre, it was the venue of the Miss Alabama pageant and the Mickey Mouse Club until 1987.
Catching a show over here and submitting your artistic senses to the brilliance and grandeur of the performances that ensue is hands down among the most fun things to do in Birmingham.
Address: 1817 3rd Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35203, United States | Timing: Visit https://alabamatheatre.com for more information | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/7vkxPQmccp8C8Jch6 | Phone Number: +12052522262
This 71,000-seater stadium designed for American football is named in honor of the American Legion. At the time of its completion in 1927, Legion Field had a seating capacity of 21,000.
Addressed fondly as the “The Old Gray Lady”, the stadium’s claim to fame involves playing host to the 1996 Olympic soccer as well as the Iron Bowl.
The inaugural game at Legion Field saw Birmingham Southern College pitted against Samford University, with the latter overpowering the former by a scoreline of 9-0.
Address: 400 Graymont Ave W, Birmingham, AL 35204, United States | Timing: Contact the stadium directly for timings and match schedules | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/XGHb4fNQbg6BDqkW6 | Phone Number: +12052542391
Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame
Does jazz get your ball rolling? Then you’ll be thrilled to bits at the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in Birmingham. Founded in 1978, its initial intention was to showcase the extraordinary exploits of the jazz legends native to Alabama.
Opened as a museum in 1993, the Jazz Hall of Fame offers visitors a deep insight into the lives, both personal and professional, of some of the most gifted jazz artists to ever grace the face of this planet like Lionel Hampton, Duke Ellington, Erskine Hawkins, and Nat King Cole.
By Chris Pruitt, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
Address: 1701 4th Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35203, United States | Timing: Tuesday to Saturday: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/FDcSvYpxAMhSqzW2A | Phone Number: +12053279424
Have fun time with family at Alabama Splash Adventure
One can’t possibly compile a list of fun things to do in Birmingham, Alabama, without including the Alabama Splash Adventure in it.
This massive family-owned water park and amusement park is an excellent spot to provide you with a memorable family outing.
From water coasters to splashdowns to flumes to wave machines- you’ll always find something or the other to keep you engaged while at the Alabama Splash Adventure.
By Martin Lewison, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link
Address: 4599 Splash Adventure Pkwy, Bessemer, AL 35022, United States | Timing: Monday to Sunday: 10:30 am to 5:30 pm | Google Map Location: https://g.page/AlabamaAdventure?share | Phone Number: +12054814750
Revisit the Civil Rights history at Kelly Ingram Park
Located in the Birmingham Civil Rights District, the historic Kelly Ingram Park was at the heart of the American Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.
During that time, it played witness to numerous civil rights demonstrations, rallies and confrontations, all of which would later make it an intimate chapter in American history.
However, in May 1963, the park became the center of the world’s attention when the city’s police and firemen assaulted peaceful protesters, including children and high-school students, with fire hoses and police dogs. Multiple statues and sculptures depicting the scene of that particular day now punctuate the park’s premises.
Address: 500 17th St N, Birmingham, AL 35203, United States | Timing: Monday to Sunday: 8:00 am to 8:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/nQJyqp6LJs8tzrwe9 | Phone Number: +12054588000
Red Mountain Park
Looking for an ideal place to go hiking in the Magic City? Don’t look any further than the trails of the Red Mountain Park.
Situated on Frankfurt Drive, this 1500-acre landmark has more than 14 miles of trails, historic mines, three treehouses, a six-acre off-leash dog park, and two city overlooks that provide views.
The trails of the Red Mountain Park are conducive for both walking as well as mountain biking. Additionally, they also provide a pair of off-road wheelchairs that give those with mobility issues an opportunity to explore the surroundings to the fullest.
Address: 2011 Frankfurt Dr, Birmingham, AL 35211, United States | Timing: Monday to Sunday: 7:00 am to 6:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://g.page/redmountainpark?share | Phone Number: +12052026043
Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum
Bike lovers and gearheads, this is perhaps as close as you will ever get to experiencing paradise on earth. A single trip to this Vintage Motorsports Museum is bound to restore your faith in everything good that exists in this world.
Built by former race driver George W. Barber, it is home to the largest collection of motorcycles in the world, comprising upwards of 1400 bikes from 200 different manufacturers. But wait, that’s not all there is to this place.
Ever since 2010, it has been the site of the IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Alabama, a spectacle that attracts enthusiasts from all over the country. The next time you find yourself wondering what to do in Birmingham, visit the thrilling premises of the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum.
Address: 6030 Barber Motorsports Pkwy, Leeds, AL 35094, United States | Timing: Monday to Saturday: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Sunday: 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/amGixqvwvXPEHiru9 | Phone Number: +12056997275
The 8508-seat multi-purpose Bartow Arena is home to the University of Alabama at Birmingham Blazer’s men’s and women’s basketball teams and the women’s volleyball team.
Formerly known as the UAB Arena, it was later renamed to Bartow Arena following the retirement of coach Gene Bartow in 1996.
In the first-ever game conducted at the arena, the University of Alabama’s men’s team emerged victorious over Vanderbilt, inflicting a scoreline of 76-69.
By Chris “Mojo” Denbow, CC BY 2.0, Link
Address: 617 13th St S, Birmingham, AL 35233, United States | Timing: Contact university directly for timings | Google Map Location: Visit https://www.uab.edu/ for more information | Phone Number: +12059758221
Alabama Museum of Natural History
Located in Smith Hall at the University of Alabama campus in Tuscaloosa, the Alabama Museum of Natural History is the oldest in the state, founded in 1831.
It is home to a wide range of collections and hosts exhibitions and quality teaching programs that celebrate Alabama’s natural history.
If you’re keen to spend an entire day surrounded by thousands of irreplaceable specimens gathered from all lines of scientific research, this is the place to be.
By Shadowgate, CC BY 2.0, Link
Address: 427 6th Ave, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487, United States | Timing: Monday to Saturday: 10:00 am to 4:30 am | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/86rmYEMFaXoAxEHF8 | Phone Number: +12053487550
Buy Fresh Veggies at Pepper Place Saturday Market
There’s no better place in the city to procure local produce than its renowned Pepper Place Saturday Market.
Established in 2000 with the intention of connecting local family farmers with city residents, the Pepper Place Saturday Market has, over the years, accrued immense popularity thanks to the healthy, seasonal, and high-quality produce that it provides to its customers.
Besides local produce, one can also find baked foods, jewelry, animal products, and artwork and crafts in this market.
Address: 2829 2nd Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35205, United States | Timing: Saturday: 7:00 am to 12:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/gCLnRbyYyD8znkxW9 | Phone Number: Visit https://pepperplacemarket.com/ for more information
Built on former mining land owned by U.S. Steel, the Oxmoor Valley is home to the famous Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, widely recognized as the largest golf course construction project ever attempted.
Fashioned out of the valleys and peaks of the Appalachians, this 54-hole golf facility houses courses that navigate through multiple creeks, picturesque forests and tricky elevation changes.
Even if you don’t know how to drive a golf club, we suggest that you still visit the Oxmoor Valley, simply to relish the peace and calm of its scenic surroundings.
Address: 100 Sunbelt Pkwy, Birmingham, AL 35211, United States | Timing: Monday to Sunday: 7:00 am to 5:30 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/9MXkTddc5hod8B2h8 | Phone Number: +12059421177
Vulcan Park and Museum
This is the site of the 56-foot statue of Vulcan, which is the largest cast-iron statue in the world. Forged out of 100,000 pounds of the metal, this statue of the Roman God of Fire, which pays tribute to Birmingham’s iron origins, guards the city atop the Red Mountain.
The observation deck here accords visitors a splendid view of the city. It also contains an excellent history museum that educates everyone on the statue as well as the city’s history.
Address: 1701 Valley View Dr, Birmingham, AL 35209, United States | Timing: Monday to Sunday: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://g.page/visitvulcan?share | Phone Number: +12059331409
Erected in 1910 by Rick Woodward, Birmingham’s Rickwood Field is America’s oldest surviving professional baseball park.
Listed in the US National Register of Historic Places, Rickwood Field also has the reputation of being the first concrete and steel stadium in the minor leagues. Since 1992, the park has been in the care of an organization named, “The Friends of Rickwood”, who are, at present, restoring it as a working museum.
Address: 1137 2nd Ave W, Birmingham, AL 35204, United States | Timing: Monday to Friday: 8:30 am to 4:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/GPnnqxJrkN3FiU1o8 | Phone Number: +12059223725
Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
Talking about other stuff to do in Birmingham, is there any better way of learning history than by frequenting places that archive the past with precision? Yes, we’re talking about the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, of course.
Situated at the junction of Sixth Avenue North and Sixteenth Street, the institute comprises the foundation of the Civil Rights District. It abounds with exhibits that revolve around the city’s Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s as well as the present-day human rights struggles.
Address: 520 16th St N, Birmingham, AL 35203, United States | Timing: Tuesday to Saturday: 10:00 am to 3:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/GXp2ENC8bsb6tL7W7 | Phone Number: +12053289696
Birmingham Children’s Theatre
Situated on Richard Arrrington Jr Boulevard N, Birmingham Children’s Theatre features among the US’s largest and oldest professional theatres for kids.
Alabama’s only professional touring theatre company, its objective is to use professional theatre as a medium to entertain, educate, and enrich children’s lives.
Additionally, it also strives to bridge the gap that exists in the art curriculums of many schools by providing study guides, out-of-school outreach programs, and engaging digital content, among other things.
By Chris Pruitt, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
Address: 2130 Richard Arrington Jr Blvd N, Birmingham, AL 35203, United States | Timing: Visit https://www.bct123.org/ for more information | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/zdMHpxktJ6JfXZ9J8 | Phone Number: +12054588181
Avondale Brewing Company
Have a hankering for a cold and delicious glass of beer? You are sure to find your fix at the Avondale Brewing Company. It is best known for being home to some of the best hand-crafted brews in the city.
Some of its choicest offerings include a Belgian style wheat ale, Spring Street Saison, Kings Wit Belgian Wheat, and Streetcar Kolsch, among countless others.
Address: 201 41st St S, Birmingham, AL 35222, United States | Timing: Monday to Wednesday: 12:00 pm to 10:00 pm, Thursday: 12:00 pm to 11:00 pm, Friday to Saturday: 12:00 pm to 12:00 am, Sunday: 1:00 pm to 10:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/XnMLvBUfFHf41UYS9 | Phone Number: +12052034546
Sixteenth Street Baptist Church
One of Birmingham’s foremost historical sites, the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church was the first-ever Black church to be opened in the city. On the fateful day of September 15, 1963, it witnessed Ku Klux Klan bombings, which resulted in the demise of four girls who were at the time attending Sunday school within its premises.
This incident is hailed by many to have set into motion the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act, making the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church an intimate part of anti-racism movements all across the globe. If you’re a history buff, you will absolutely fall in love with what a guided tour of the city’s Civil Rights landmarks would have in store for you.
Oh, and while you’re over here, don’t forget to catch sight of the church’s iconic stained glass window and an interactive museum, which was set up to honor the four girls.
By John Morse, CC BY 2.5, Link
Address: 1530 6th Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35203, United States | Timing: Monday to Sunday: 9:00 am to 2:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/cqyFFJPMndSDUEFH6 | Phone Number: +12052519402
Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Garden, nature, and plant enthusiasts, the Birmingham Botanical Gardens is a must-visit destination for you.
From native local plants to lilies and rhododendrons – the gardens harbor an extensive range of flora within its boundaries. If you’ve got a camera on you, make sure that you capture the magnificent glass conservatory that will greet you when you enter through the Queen’s Gates.
A hotspot for both private and corporate events, this Birmingham attraction a crowd favorite especially for weddings.
Address: 2612 Lane Park Rd, Birmingham, AL 35223, United States | Timing: Monday to Sunday: 7:00 am to 6:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/YC7egUL9hHKoKTH86 | Phone Number: +12054143950
Want to enjoy some magical moments with your loved ones this holiday season? Well, pack your bags and take off to the Magical City of Birmingham!