Following the Civil War, three farm towns in north-central Alabama merged to form Birmingham. It came to be known as “The Magic City,” in recognition of the dramatic growth that followed.
What Makes Birmingham, AL, a Fun Travel Destination?
Birmingham is easy to get to thanks to a network of interstate highways and Birmingham-Shuttlesworth international Airport. Parks, gardens, preserves and the zoo offer ample opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. Indoors, there’s a flourishing arts and culture scene, and shopping opportunities abound.
There’s also a wide selection of restaurants and eateries. Visitors can dine on farm-to-table fare crafted by James Beard award winners. Or, they can sample some of the finest barbecue anywhere.
Top 15 Things to do in Birmingham, AL
There’s always something to do in Birmingham. Visitors select from a wealth of opportunities both indoors and out.
1. Barber Motorsports Park
The 880-acre Barber Motorsports Park is a multi-purpose racing facility. The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum houses the world’s largest motorcycle collection. It represents about 200 manufacturers from 20 countries.
2. Vulcan Park and Museum
The Vulcan Park and Museum pays homage to the city’s heritage as a major iron and steel producer. You can’t miss the statue of Vulcan, the Roman god of forge and fire. he 56-foot creation is the largest cast iron sculpture in the world.
3. Southern Museum of Flight
The Southern Museum of Flight is home to more than 90 aircraft. The outdoor exhibit includes an A-12 Blackbird, a supersonic reconnaissance plane capable of Mach 3.5+ speeds.
4. Birmingham Museum of Art
The Birmingham Museum of Art includes more than 26,000 works. It houses the largest collection of Asian art in the southeastern United States.
5. McWane Science Center
The McWane Science Center is in the historic Loveman’s department store building. The complex includes a science museum, aquarium and IMAX Dome Theater. Exhibits include the shark and ray touch tank and the "Itty Bitty Magic City."
6. Alabama Theatre
In 1927, Paramount Studios constructed the Alabama Theatre to showcase its films. Today, it hosts hundreds of events throughout the year. It is beautifully decorated for the Christmas season.
7. Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
Learn more about the civil rights movement at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. Join the two million visitors who explored the exhibits the past two decades.
8. Birmingham Zoo
The Birmingham Zoo is home to more than 900 animals representing more than 230 species. Ride the Red Diamond Express Train. Attend the Sea Lion Show. The giraffe and flamingo feedings are also popular.
9. Birmingham Botanical Gardens
The 67-acre Birmingham Botanical Gardens is at the southern foot of Red Mountain. Look for intriguing sculptures hidden amid the lush greenery as you enjoy your stroll.
10. Moss Rock Preserve
The 349-acre Moss Rock Preserve is a wooded oasis. Explore streams, waterfalls and 12 miles of trails. Climbers enjoy taking on the boulder field.
11. Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve
Ruffner Mountain is an urban nature preserve in the heart of the city. Recharge and rewind along its 14 miles of trails.
12. Alabama Sports Hall of Fame
Check out the 6,000 sports artifacts at the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. It is next to the convention center. There is memorabilia from every inductee since 1969.
13. Riverchase Galleria
Riverchase Galleria is the largest enclosed shopping mall in Alabama. Its Facebook page describes the 150-store complex as “a world of soaring glass and sparkling lights.”
14. The Market at Pepper Place
The Market at Pepper Place is a large downtown farmers market open on Saturdays from April to December. Live music on multiple stages adds to a festive atmosphere.
15. Oak Mountain State Park
Oak Mountain is Alabama’s largest state park. Enjoy hiking and mountain biking across 50 miles of trails. The lakes offer swimming, fishing and boating. Other activities include golf and horseback riding.
Best Hotels in Birmingham AL
You'll find an excellent selection of accommodations in Birmingham. Some hotels represent well-known chains, while others are independently owned.
Hyatt Regency Birmingham - The Wynfrey Hotel
1000 Riverchase Galleria
A $20 million renovation makes The Wynfrey Hotel more special than ever. Plush Hyatt Grand Beds offer a relaxing night’s sleep. Amenities include concierge services, outdoor rooftop pool, fitness center and nightclub. The hotel is close to the Riverchase Galleria.
The Westin Birmingham
2221 Richard Arrington Jr. Boulevard North
The Westin is a 4-star hotel centrally located in Birmingham. It is close to the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame and the Birmingham Museum of Art. Guests enjoy an outdoor pool, fitness center, restaurant and two bars/lounges.
Bohemian Hotel Mountain Brook
2655 Lane Park Road
The 4-star Bohemian Hotel Mountain Brook is near the Birmingham Botanical Gardens and the Birmingham Zoo. The hotel offers concierge services, an outdoor pool and a 24-hour fitness center.
Fairfield Inn & Suites - Birmingham Colonnade
3930 Colonnade Parkway
Guests at the Fairfield Inn & Suites enjoy amenities like an outdoor pool and 24-hour fitness center. It is less than a 10-minute walk to the shops at The Colonnade. The Birmingham Zoo and Liberty Park are nearby.
1928 1st Ave North
The Elyton Hotel is a sanctuary amid the dynamic financial district. Guests enjoy pillowtop beds, concierge services and 24-hour room service. Enjoy Southern cuisine at The Yard. The hotel is in the heart of Birmingham near Regions Field and the convention complex.
Aloft Soho Square
1903 29th Avenue South
The art deco Aloft Hotel at Soho Square includes pillowtop beds, an indoor pool and 24-hour fitness center. It is close to the Birmingham Zoo and Vulcan Park.
Econo Lodge Birmingham
9225 Parkway East
Econo Lodge offers 87 rooms with private balconies. Guests receive a free continental breakfast. The hotel is near the Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve and Southern Museum of Flight.
Extended Stay America - Perimeter Park South
12 Perimeter Park South
Guests at the 138-room Extended Stay America enjoy fully equipped kitchens and a free breakfast. The hotel is close to Oak Mountain State Park and the Birmingham Zoo.
Plan Your Trip to Birmingham Today
Guest Reservations is an independent travel network offering more than 100,000 hotels around the world. View our recommended accommodations above, or browse all our Hotels in Birmingham AL.