There are many great things to do in Montgomery, Alabama's charming capital city, known for its legacy of activism during the American Civil Rights Movement in the 20th century. Elegant dining destinations abound, including acclaimed spots like Vintage Year, a favorite of many of Alabama's former governors. Hip spots like Itta Bena pay homage to the city's jazz and blues music legacy, serving up delicious Gulf seafood fare and showcasing live music performances.

1. Central, Montgomery, Alabama

Central, Montgomery, Alabama
© Central

Central is Montgomery's top-rated restaurant, located within the heart of the city's lovely downtown entertainment district. One of the best romantic getaways in Alabama, the upscale-casual restaurant features airy, romantic interiors and a reclaimed wood full-service bar.

Farm-to-table fare focuses on wood-fired fish and chops, crafted with locally-sourced seasonal ingredients.

Couples can choose from a variety of land and sea entree selections, including wood-fired grilled ribeyes with summer squash and fried shallots, peach-glazed barbecue pork chops with local peaches and golden raisins, wood-fired salmon with okra and sherry vinaigrette, and Gulf catch platters filled with Bayou crawfish and seasonal bean succotash.

Vegetarian pasta entrees are also served up, along with unique appetizer selections like Cajun seafood corn dogs with Creole beer mustard.

129 Coosa St, Montgomery, AL 36104, Phone: 334-517-1155

2. Charles Anthony's Restaurant At The Pub

Charles Anthony's Restaurant At The Pub
© Manpeppe/

Charles Anthony's Restaurant At The Pub was originally founded in 1972 by restauranter Charles Anthony Kamburis, Jr., relocated to its current location on the Chantilly Parkway in 2005.

One of the best things to do in Alabama, the restaurant specializes in hand-cut steaks and fresh seafood offerings, prepared in house from scratch daily.

Diners can enjoy excellent land and sea offerings like grilled snapper with jumbo lump crab meat, trout Almondine prepared with Greek-style fish sauce, chicken supreme with toasted almonds and famous cream sauce, and creamy alfredo pasta topped with broccoli, squash, and carrots.

Couples can also share unique appetizer selections like steak roulades, fried fresh Bay oysters, pan-seared ahi tuna, and Gulf shrimp cocktail.

10044 Chantilly Pkwy, Montgomery, AL 36117, Phone: 334-281-3911

3. The City Grill, Montgomery, AL

The City Grill, Montgomery, AL
© The City Grill

The City Grill is the oldest and most prestigious white-linen restaurant in Alabama's River Region, located in Montgomery's Hampstead district since 1998.

One of the best places to visit in Alabama, the locally-owned restaurant offers upscale-casual dining experiences in its elegant dining room, along with casual seating in its full-service bar, which offers high-definition televisions and a beautiful outside seasonal patio.

Couples can select from high-quality entree options like pan-seared cowboy ribeyes with Bordelaise sauce, grilled duck breast in port fig sauce, miso-glazed salmon with crabstick sushi rolls, and surf and turf platters showcasing filet of beef, grilled shrimp, and potato cakes.

An ever-evolving wine list pairs with cocktail and liquor selections from the restaurant's bar.

5251 Long Acre St #112, Montgomery, AL 36116, Phone: 334-244-0960

4. Firebirds Wood Fired Grill

Firebirds Wood Fired Grill
© Alexey/

Firebirds Wood Fired Grill is a delicious American-style restaurant and steakhouse known for its top-notch wood-fired steaks and seafood entrees, served up in an upscale-casual lodge setting by executive chef Quintin Davis.

Diners can enjoy scratch-prepared fare at lunch and dinner throughout the week, served up in the restaurant's elegant dining room or outside on its spacious seasonal patio.

Prime cuts include center-cut filet mignon, aged ribeyes, chile-rubbed Delmonico, and Kobe beef meatloaf drenched in portabella mushroom sauce with spiced pecan green beans.

Surf and turf platters are also offered, along with specialties like pineapple chicken kebabs and signature Durango burgers, stuffed with pepperjack cheese and fried onions. Read our Alabama day trips guide for more unique ideas in the area.

7078 Eastchase Pkwy, Montgomery, AL 36117, Phone: 334-819-5132

5. Itta Bena

Itta Bena
© Itta Bena

Itta Bena is a delightful restaurant located atop Montgomery's B.B. King's Blues Club, named in honor of the town where the legendary blues singer was born.

The restaurant, which was opened shortly following King's death in 2015, serves up cool Southern-style cuisine offerings with Delta twists in a relaxed, hospitable atmosphere.

Diners can enjoy high-quality favorites throughout the week at dinner like jambalaya pasta with Andouille sausage, grilled Gulf snapper with acorn squash puree and almond-cranberry wild rice, and signature Itta Bena burgers topped with porter beer-marbled white cheddar, pastrami, and bacon jam.

Classic ribeyes and surf and turf platters are also served, along with Gulf favorites like jumbo shrimp and grits platters.

A fine wine list adds to the romantic ambiance, as do live music performances showcased throughout the week on select evenings.

1801 Eddie L Tullis Rd, Montgomery, AL 36117, Phone: 334-514-5129

6. Restaurants in Montgomery: La Jolla

Restaurants in Montgomery: La Jolla
© La Jolla

La Jolla is a casual contemporary dining experience that has offered high-quality American-style fare at dinner each night since 2002.

The restaurant is flanked by simple, elegant design elements, including a cyprus wood full-service bar and signature concrete countertops.

Small and large plates take center stage, including Gulf seafood favorites like Dutch-oven seafood gumbo, seared New Bedford scallops in tarragon-tomato cream sauce, and pan-seared Gulf fresh daily catches prepared with fresh corn and cauliflower risotto and lemon-basil vinaigrette.

Diners can also enjoy gourmet steakhouse chops preparations or share globally-influenced tapas like sauteed escargots, fried Louisiana oysters, and West Indies-style citrus crab salad.

More than 100 wines on the restaurant's wine list are paired with a rotating selection of eight regional beers on draft.

8147 Vaughn Rd, Montgomery, AL 36116, Phone: 334-356-2600

7. Sinclair's East

Sinclair's East
© Sinclair's East

Sinclair's East was originally opened as Sinclair's Cloverdale in 1992, striving to bring upscale-casual dining experiences to the Montgomery region. Though the original Sinclair's has shuttered its doors, the second East location has remained a staple on the city's dining scene since 1996, known for its casual atmosphere, full-service bar, and weekend brunch specials. Couples can select from a variety of steak, fish, and pasta entrees crafted with fresh seasonal ingredients, including European-style classics like chicken carbonara, seafood shrimp scampi, fettuccine alfredo, and homestyle Mama Nita's spaghetti pies. Clever homestyle fare includes stroganoff filet of tenderloin, chargrilled pepper jack chicken, ham and cheese puff pastries, and Pizza Delmar crafted with homemade marinara sauce and fresh steamed vegetables atop a flour tortilla.

7847 Vaughn Rd, Montgomery, AL 36117, Phone: 334-271-7654

8. Restaurant in Montgomery: Vintage Year

Restaurant in Montgomery: Vintage Year
© Vintage Year

Vintage Year was originally opened as the Chophouse at Vintage Year in 1984, reopened in its current incarnation in 2016 by new owners Jud Blount and Derk Lyerly. The restaurant, which is helmed by executive chef Eric Rivera, transforms a former gourmet lunch spot attached to a specialty wine shop into a full-service dining destination that has entertained the likes of Johnny Cochran and John F. Kennedy, Jr., throughout its tenure. It has been acclaimed in international publications such as The New York Times, Forbes, and USA Today as one of the American South's top dining destinations, awarded top honors from culinary institutions like Wine Spectator and OpenTable for its high-quality menus. Fresh hand-cut meats, prime Gulf seafood, and outstanding wines and spirits take center stage at lunch and dinner throughout the week in a romantic dining room area. Read our day trips from Birmingham guide and explore the surrounding area.

405 Cloverdale Rd, Montgomery, AL 36106, Phone: 334-819-7215

9. Yokohama Japanese Restaurant

Yokohama Japanese Restaurant
© chris/

Yokohama Japanese Restaurant was opened in 2015 by restaurateur Seong Cheon, the owner of Montgomery's popular Do Re Mi Karaoke nightlife destination. The restaurant specializes in unique and varied types of Japanese cuisine, expanding menu offerings past typical American focus on favorites like sushi and tempura. A spacious sushi and cocktail bar accommodates large groups and intimate pairings of diners alike, flanked by beautiful aquariums and giant-screen televisions. Indoor and outdoor dining spaces are offered throughout the year, serving up high-quality entrees at lunch and dinner. Diners can choose from combination platters showcasing favorites like donburi and udon, paired with teriyaki specials, sushi platters, and high-quality Japanese-style barbecue entrees.

2767 Bell Rd, Montgomery, AL 36117, Phone: 334-517-1891

The 9 Best Restaurants in Montgomery, Alabama near me today according to local experts are:

More Ideas: Rosa Parks Library and Museum

The Rosa Parks Library and Museum at Troy University in Montgomery, AL is a commemoration of the life of Rosa Parks, an icon of the Civil Rights Movement. The museum is also an active memorial to the lessons learned from the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which led to transportation being racially integrated and brought civil rights to the attention of the international community. Situated in the downtown area of Montgomery, it's the country's only museum devoted to Rosa Parks.

The Rosa Parks Museum is located at the very site where the civil rights icon was arrested. The museum's mission is to commemorate the legacy of Rosa Parks, as well as the importance of the bus boycott, by offering a platform for civic engagement, positive social change, and scholarly dialogue. The collection at the museum includes several important historical artifacts, such as a 1955 bus from Montgomery's fleet of city buses and the original fingerprint record from the arrest of Rosa Parks. Original artwork including quilts and statuary, a restored station wagon that once transported boycotters in 1955, police reports, and court documents can also be seen within the museum exhibits.

In addition to collecting, preserving, and displaying artifacts related to the lessons and life of Rosa Parks, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Rosa Parks Library and Museum offers a variety of education programs and resources. These programs, designed for both students and adults, aim to raise social consciousness, educate visitors of the museum, promote peace, and encourage acceptance and cultural appreciation through temporary exhibits and annual events. The museum also promotes economic development and tourism in Alabama, and has been a significant cornerstone in Montgomery's downtown area's redevelopment since its opening.

Through a variety of artifacts and exhibits found within the Rosa Parks Museum, visitors have the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the social and political climates of Montgomery during the 1950s. Information about the very people who organized the Montgomery Bus Boycott also offers guests a chance to learn more about the significant civil rights event. Exhibits allow visitors to hear the voices and look at the faces of the brave people who fought both effectively and peacefully for freedom and equality. The exhibits found throughout the museum provide a glimpse into the past, a view of the once-segregated South, as well as a look at the significance of interracial partnerships, women, and strategy within the Civil Rights Movement.

The Rosa Parks Library and Museum provides visitors with an opportunity to broaden their understanding on the Civil Rights Movement in general. Between sitting inside a 1955 Montgomery city bus or witnessing the arrest of Rosa Parks, museum guests can learn for themselves how the Montgomery Improvement Association sustained the movement's resolve with only 19 station wagons. Visitors will also learn about the mass worldwide effect of the Civil Rights Movement and Montgomery Bus Boycott.

252 Montgomery Street, Montgomery, AL 36104, Phone: 334-241-9576

More Ideas: The Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum

The Fitzgerald Museum in Montgomery is the preserved historical home in which the Fitzgerald’s last lived as a family. The museum’s mission is to preserve and protect the home and its artifacts, as well as to educate the public on the lives, work and influence of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. It is the only museum in the world dedicated to the life and legacy of the Fitzgeralds.

The home, built in 1909, was completed in 1910. The Fitzgeralds lived in the two-story Georgian home with their daughter Scottie from 1931-1932. The collection of the museum is divided into four main areas, which span 6 different time periods. The museum’s timeline begins in 1913 when Scott Fitzgerald left home to attend Princeton University, and ends with the year 1985 when the couple’s daughter, Scottie, passed away at the age of 64 in Montgomery. The museum is located on the first floor of the house. Tours begin with a 30-minute video that educates guests on the Fitzgeralds, their lives and their time in Alabama. The video includes interviews with friends who knew them while they lived in Montgomery. The collection at the two-room museum includes books and letters, photographs, and personal artifacts belonging to Zelda and Scott. Several of Zelda’s paintings are on display, an art she took up while the couple lived in France. Fitzgerald-related memorabilia is for sale in a small gift shop area. While living in the Montgomery home, Scott Fitzgerald wrote his book “Tender is the Night” while Zelda completed the outline for “Save me the Waltz.” They moved from the home in 1932 when Zelda was hospitalized for her second major psychological breakdown after the death of her father, she would be in and out of hospitals for the remainder of her life in Montgomery.

History: Zelda Sayre was born in Alabama in 1860, the Southern Belle daughter of Supreme Court Justice, Anthony Dickinson Sayre. She first met Scott Fitzgerald in Montgomery in 1918. Fitzgerald was a Princeton University dropout reporting to duty at an army base in Montgomery as a 2nd Lieutenant. For Fitzgerald, it was love at first sight. Fitzgerald described the first meeting between the two in “The Great Gatsby” when Jay Gatsby first meets Daisy Buchanan at the train station. Although the real-life meeting took place at a Montgomery Country Club dance, the story remained the same. Fitzgerald allegedly rewrote the character of Rosalind Connage in his first novel, “This Side of Paradise,” to more closely resemble Zelda. Much more than a muse, Zelda contributed to Fitzgerald’s writing, and portions of the novel were taken verbatim from Zelda’s journal, which she had shared with Fitzgerald. Zelda was presumed destined to marry a much wealthier man, however in 1920, Fitzgerald sent Zelda a ring from New York City, where he was living at the time. The two were enganged, and Zelda agreed to marry when his first novel was published. “This Side of Paradise” was an immediate success. The couple was known for their heavy drinking and wild parties. The pair, affectionately referred to as the “darlings of the jazz age,” were icons of their time. Zelda is frequently referred to as “America’s first flapper.” The couple lived in Paris from 1924 to 1930 while Fitzgerald wrote “The Great Gatsby” and Zelda allegedly suffered through an attempted suicide after an affair. The couples lives were rift with alcohol abuse, drama and extra marital affairs, which likely enhanced their celebrity status. In 1930, Zelda was hospitalized in France and diagnosed with Schizophrenia. Shortly thereafter, the couple returned to Montgomery, where their arrival was widely publicized in the local press. After they left the Montgomery home in 1932, it was split into separate apartments and used as a boarding house. Having fallen into disrepair after several years of neglect, the home was saved from demolition in 1986 when local residents Julian and Leslie McPhillips purchased the property with the intent of opening the museum.

Ongoing Programs and Education: The museum is host to an annual “Excellence in Writing” award. The 2017 award went to Katherine Clark, the author of two oral biographies based in Alabama. The museum hosts a short story and poetry writing contest each year with cash prizes going to winners in the categories of high school students, college students, and instructors. Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald Day was celebrated on July 24th. The event included an opening of the museum’s recent acquisitions, Zelda’s artwork, and photographs. A local boutique was on hand with items inspired by “America’s first flapper.”

919 Felder Avenue, Montgomery, AL 36106, Phone: 334-264-4222

More Ideas: Montgomery Zoo

What began as a tiny downtown park in Montgomery, Alabama, is now officially called the Montgomery Zoo/Mann Wildlife Learning Museum and has become a leading American zoo. Montgomery Zoo, Alabama, was launched on a small scale – a children’s zoo, in fact, which was part of a local community park in the 1920s. At its Oak Park location, the zoo offered visitors a look into the lives of monkeys, bears, and alligators, among other animals. A small train and carousel dotted the landscape, too.

Some 80 years later, in 2003, Montgomery Area Zoological Society purchased the Mann Wildlife Learning Museum and relocated it to the Montgomery Zoo. Its stunning collection of large animals was taken with bow and arrow by trophy hunter George Mann. Visitors at the Mann Wildlife Learning Museum are keen to touch the furs and antlers of the wild animals.

Mann Wildlife Learning Museum is huge: it’s a 28,000 square foot facility with over 270 displays. Situated next to the zoo, it is ensconced in the zoo’s wildlife and flora, and is like no other museum in the world. Its collection boasts complete families of North American deer, skunk, bear and others. The museum shows various species and other elements, giving visitors a view of the species in its natural environment. An education/seminar room holds better than 200 people and features digital surround sound.

The animals are displayed in a three-sided format so visitors can get us close to see the animals in their natural environs. All displays feature natural material and real plants, trees, rocks, critters, sand and dirt collected from the actual site where the animals lived their lives. There is a fish room, where visitors can marvel at the mounted fish on display, including sharks, stingrays, blue fin, marlin, and an orca, or what’s commonly known as a killer whale.

The Museum is intended to house a lifetime of the study of wildlife and a collection of one of the most complete compilations of Alabamian and North American wildlife: reptiles, birds, fish, and animals.

From his first encounters with trapping, fishing and hunting, George Mann was committed to learning and valuing the singular living habits of the animals he came upon so that he could completely understand their behavior.

Mann still spends about half of each year in the Alaskan wilderness, where he is a certified professional hunting guide. At home in Opelika, Mann continues with his family’s research on turkey, deer, and other animals native to the state. Among his achievements and memberships, Mann has been nominated for induction into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame and has been named as the Governor’s Wildlife Conservationist of the Year twice.

In the African realm at the Montgomery Zoo, visitors can see a Cheetah, chimpanzee, elephant, giraffes, a pygmy hippopotamus, and vultures among other creatures. Of special note is the baby giraffe calf, now on view at Giraffe Encounters. The zoo and museum are now the proud parents of Connye, which was born on March 23, and first shown to the public on April 22 during a weekly media briefing by Mayor Todd Strange. After this even, she and her mother, Ashley, can be seen at the Giraffe exhibit daily, pending unexpected circumstances.

This is the mother’s first calf and the father’s third calf. Willie, the father, is just about 12 years old, while Mom is eight years old.

The Red Kangaroo, the Wallaby, and the Warthog can be seen in the Australian Realm.

The Red Kangaroo is the biggest type of kangaroo. It is the largest mammal native to Australia, and the largest surviving marsupial. It can be sighted across mainland Australia, avoiding only the more fertile areas in the south, the east coast, and the northern rainforests. Males are larger than females. The marsupial has a markedly strong tail, which is used often to help it stand upright. Male red kangaroos can leap more than 30 feet.

In the South American Realm, adults and children alike can marvel at alligators, the Andean Condor, the Chilean Flamingo, an Emerald Tree Boa, a Python, assorted frogs, a Giant Anteater, a Jaguar, Spider Monkeys, Toucans and turtles, among other native animals.

The alligator is a big draw. The name alligator has its origins in the words, el lagarto, Spanish for "lizard." This is the name given to it by early Spanish settlers and explorers in Florida.

Believe it or not, alligators have had such luck adapting over 200 million years, that the species has remained virtually unchanged. Everyone knows that the alligator is synonymous for its bone crushing bites and has been dubbed a "living fossil."

In the Asian Realm, fee free to wander and behold an Axis deer, Sumatran tiger, an Indian rhinoceros, black swan and others.

Seeing a Sumatran tiger is a thrill. Such a tiger is actually a subspecies of a tiger found on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Between 400 and 500 wild Sumatran tigers were said to be alive in 1998, but that number dwindles.

Sumatran Tigers tend to prey on wild boar, deer, and Malayan Tapir. Sometimes, they will turn to smaller prey – monkeys, fowl and fish, for example. Sumatran Tigers are known to go for mice and similar prey when larger animals are limited. Orangutans are also potential targets, but since they only spend comparatively little time on the ground, they are not easy prey.

In the North American Realm, visitors may find some familiar faces. While some guests at the zoo may have had a chance to see one of these beautiful creatures – perhaps on a recent visit to one of our national parks – visitors can definitely find them at this exhibit. Find a bald eagle, bison, black bear, cougar, elk, river otter, white-tailed deer, and wild turkey.

The Bald Eagle is a bird of prey found in North America. Bald eagles are not actually bald; its name derives from the older meaning of "white headed." Most visitors know it is our national bird and symbol of the United States. It has a presence in most of Canada and Alaska, the lower 48, and in northern Mexico. Bald Eagles are generally seen by large bodies of water. These birds require an adequate food supply and they nest in old-growth trees.

It’s story of survival is a remarkable tale. In the late 1900’s, the Bald Eagle was nearly extinct in the continental United States, while it flourished throughout much of Canada and Alaska. In the continental United States, some populations returned, so it was eliminated from the U.S. government's list of endangered species. In 1995, it was then added to the list of threatened species. In 2007, the Bald Eagle has its name taken off the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in the Lower 48 States.

Zoo aficionados can give their children the gift of a lifetime – a summer at the Montgomery Zoo with one of the most unique wildlife adventures in the River Region. Enrollment is open to girls and boys, ages 5-12 years old for half and full-day sessions. Campers will experience scavenger hunts, live animal presentations, games, various educational exercises, water games and animal themed games, plus arts and craft projects. This year's theme is ANIMAL OLYMPICS so there will be competitions to win the GOLD, SILVER and BRONZE medals.

Dining at the Zoo

At the new Overlook Café, visitors will find a wide assortment of treats – from hamburgers and hot dogs, to sandwiches, salads, wraps and frozen desserts. The Overlook Cafe is open daily. A complete Overlook Cafe menu is available on the website

In addition, kiosks are located throughout the zoo, where visitors can buy drinks and snacks.