Best Things to Do in Montgomery, Alabama
Montgomery, Alabama, often called the “Capital of Dreams,” is a city rich in historical significance. The best things to do in Montgomery, Alabama, include visiting unique museums, civil rights centers, charming parks, and other family-friendly attractions.
If you anticipate visiting Montgomery in the near future or simply want to learn a little bit more about this fantastic city in the American deep south, keep reading to learn all about the many sights and attractions that Montgomery is known for.
Civil Rights History
Montgomery is home to some of the most significant civil rights events in history and has many sites to commemorate them. One of these is the Civil Rights Memorial Center.
Civil Rights Memorial Center
The memorial center honors various civil rights icons from multiple generations who have since passed away.
Visitors will learn the stories of the 40 people whose names are engraved on the memorial adjacent to the center. The memorial was created by Maya Lin, who also designed the famous Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC.
The center houses various exhibits and shows visitors a short film explaining the pivotal role Montgomery has played in the American civil rights movement.
Rosa Parks Library and Museum
At the Rosa Parks Library and Museum, you’ll learn more about this incredible civil rights hero and how she inspired the Montgomery Bus Boycott and contributed to the eventual integration of public transportation in the city.
The museum sits at the site of the event, which happened in 1955. It houses an auditorium where you can watch presentations about the event and is filled with many other interesting exhibits. Some exhibits you’ll come across include a replica of the bus Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat in, a 1950s station wagon, sculptures, original art, and more.
Visitors will also experience exhibitions that show them what life was like in the segregated South. To learn more about renowned civil rights figurehead Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., head to the Dexter Parsonage Museum.
Dexter Parsonage Museum
The museum is in Dr. King’s old house, where he lived with his family and still has some of their original furniture. The house has been restored to its original state when it was occupied by Dr. King, and visitors will be able to see some rare photographs of Dr. King and other church leaders from around the time of the bus boycott.
Dexter Avenue, King Memorial Baptist Church
Not too far from the museum is the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, which has now been declared a National Historic Landmark. This church is where Dr. King got his start as a minister and offers free tours.
One unique feature is the mural in the church basement, which depicts his life and legacy.
Freedom Rides Museum
Another great place to learn more about civil rights history is the Freedom Rides Museum.
This museum is dedicated to the Freedom Riders, the volunteers who changed history by challenging and doing their part to eradicate racial segregation on public transportation. Through the museum’s award-winning exhibitions, you’ll learn more about the freedom riders’ harrowing journey across the South.
The National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the Legacy Museum
Finally, there is the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the Legacy Museum. This is a place for education and reflection. The 6-acre memorial is the only one in the country to put a spotlight on racial injustices against African Americans from the days of slavery all the way up to the present day.
The memorial features an astonishing 800 six-foot-tall monuments to symbolize victims of racial violence and also features sculptures and art to tell stories.
The adjacent museum houses many interactive exhibits, artwork, powerful music and imagery, and animated short films from award-winning creators and even some celebrities.
If you’re a fan of the outdoors and love spending time in nature, be sure to visit the city’s Riverfront Park.
City’s Riverfront Park
Here, you’ll find wide paths for taking a stroll or riding a bike along the Alabama River. You can have a picnic or take the fun to the water for some fishing or kayaking.
It also features a splash pad to cool off on a hot day. Another activity you can do on the water is to go on a relaxing riverboat cruise. The 19th-century vessel offers live shows, dancing, and dinner. At the edge of Riverfront Park, you’ll find an amphitheater with seating for 6,000 people.
The outdoor venue hosts many concerts, plays, and events. The area is also home to Riverboat Stadium, which holds minor league baseball games at the ballpark.
Blount Cultural Park
Another scenic park to visit is the Blount Cultural Park. The 77-acre space features miles of hiking trails, ponds, and unique statues.
It also has a dog park and open play space if you’re toting kids. This park is also home to the n play space if you’re toting kids. This park is also home to the world-famous annual Alabama Shakespeare Festival, which sees more than 300,000 visitors from over 60 countries.
Fittingly, the park has an area called Shakespeare Gardens. Here, you’ll find all the flowers and plants that are mentioned in William Shakespeare’s plays. There are only six other gardens in the United States similar to this one.
Museums and Attractions
A visit to Montgomery isn’t complete without a visit to the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts.
Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts
Their permanent collections feature works by notable American artists during the 19th and 20th centuries. It also has a large amount of European and African artwork, decorative art, sculptures, fabric art, and an atrium full of impressive glasswork.
They have an interactive art gallery for children as well, with exciting exhibits and the opportunity for kids to create their own artwork with a number of different mediums.
For a unique experience and a chance to take a glimpse into life as a rural pioneer, head to Old Alabama Town, a historical landmark in historic downtown Montgomery.
It has a collection of fifty restored 19th and 20th-century buildings and structures that reflect the lives of the people who contributed to the development of central Alabama.
Some places you’ll find here are a church, schoolhouse, pottery building, cotton gin, quilting room, and more. They have walking tours, and visitors will come across actors depicting life in that period with hands-on education and demonstrations.
Museum of Alabama
For more on Alabama’s history, the Museum of Alabama is a great place to visit. Here, you’ll find compelling exhibitions, murals, and dioramas that tell the story of the first people who settled in Alabama.
Through over 800 artifacts, hundreds of images, documents, letters, and short films, you’ll learn more about the history of different events that have affected the state of Alabama and how that fits into a bigger picture.
Visitors will hear about the experiences of Alabamians who lived through industrialization, wars, the civil rights era, the space race, and more. There is also an interactive and hands-on gallery for children, where they can make crafts, hear stories, play with toys from older generations, and play dress-up with period costumes.
The Alabama State Capitol
The Alabama State Capitol is another attraction you won’t want to miss. This is a National Historic Landmark and is also the site where the famous Selma March converged.
An architectural beauty inside and out, the building has eight murals depicting some important events in Alabama history. There are many areas available to the public, like the Rotunda, House of Representatives, Old Supreme Court Chamber & Library, and Senate Chamber.
The Capitol also functions as a museum, where visitors can gain more insight into the state’s history and politics or take a guided tour. The museum’s store includes souvenirs, books, food items, and unique gifts made by local Alabama residents. You can also spend time outside on their grounds, where you’ll find monuments, statues, and gardens.
Montgomery has multiple attractions that families and kids of all ages can enjoy.
40 acre Montgomery Zoo
One of these is the 40-acre Montgomery Zoo. Here, you’ll find over 700 animals from five continents, including many exotic creatures and endangered animals.
Visitors can also have close encounters with animals, with the opportunity to get up close and personal with elephants, giraffes, tigers, and bison. The zoo also features a petting zoo, a South American bird aviary, sea creature exhibits, a stingray tank, a parakeet cove, a reptile house, and more.
Mann Wildlife Learning Museum
After your zoo visit, visitors can go to the adjacent Mann Wildlife Learning Museum for a different type of intimate animal experience. This unique museum features large animal trophy displays with an almost 360-degree view.
The exhibits are made up of natural materials like rocks, dirt, and small critters taken from that animal’s natural habitat. You’ll also see some sea creatures on display, including a shark and a killer whale.
W.A. Gayle Planetarium at Troy University
Another place for fun, educational learning for adults and children alike is the W.A. Gayle Planetarium at Troy University. The planetarium is the largest in the southeast and is unique for being the world’s first full-color single-lens planetarium.
With their full-dome projection system, they can simulate the night sky and take visitors on a virtual journey through our galaxy and solar system, exploring the expanses of the universe.
In the planetarium’s theater, you can watch immersive and visually compelling films about all things astronomy. There is also a section for exhibitions, where visitors can see a replica Hubble telescope and learn more about astronomy through art and planetary imagery.
If you are a business-minded person, then all these attractions and places may make you wonder if you could get property in Montgomery, Alabama.
Searching property in Montgomery, Alabama?
Montgomery Alabama has some great cash-flowing markets, as the 2020 census showed a population of just over 200 000, which made it the second most populous city in the state behind Huntsville.
The Maxwell Air Force Base is also stationed in the Montgomery area, so that provides a fairly large military population as well. With such a great attraction and population, you can get a commercial property, and for that, Montgomery commercial real estate professional are here to help.
That concludes our list of the best things to do in Montgomery, Alabama. When you visit the city, what is one of the first attractions you want to visit?