Situated on seven hills overlooking the Alabama River, Montgomery played an exceptionally large role in American history. You can watch the passage of history by strolling through the Montgomery historic district with its beautiful antebellum mansions, the First White House of the Confederacy, the 1851 Alabama State Capitol, and the Dexter Parsonage Museum where Dr. Martin Luther King and his family lived. Montgomery has a lively art scene with the popular Alabama Shakespeare Festival, the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts and Performing Arts Center. Beautiful parks, nature centers, wedding venues, a zoo and many family attractions all make Montgomery a wonderful place to visit on a day trip or weekend getaway.
1. Rosa Parks Library and Museum
© Rosa Parks Library and Museum
Part of the Montgomery Campus of the Troy State University, Rosa Parks Library and Museum is located on the site of the historic Empire Theatre, near where Rosa Parks made her courageous stand in 1955 which changed the country’s history. The museum has a range of permanent and temporary exhibits and a 103-seat multimedia auditorium.
The six distinct areas of the museum tell the story of courage of early civil rights fighters. Some of the most interesting artifacts are a restored 1955 station wagon, a copy of the city bus on which Rosa Parks made her stand by refusing to give her seat to a white man, and some original historical documents from that era. The purpose of the Rosa Parks Museum is to interpret and preserve materials related to the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
252 Montgomery St, Montgomery, AL 36104, 334-241-8615
2.Civil Rights Memorial Center
© Civil Rights Memorial Center
Located in downtown Montgomery in an open plaza in front of the Civil Rights Memorial Center, the Civil Rights Memorial is dedicated to 41 people who fought and died during the American Civil Rights Movement for equal integrated treatment, regardless of race, between 1954 and 1968. The Civil Rights Memorial Center is located next to the Memorial.
It features exhibits about the martyrs of the Civil Rights Movement, a 56-seat theater, a classroom and the Wall of Tolerance. The 20 by 40 foot Wall digitally displays the names of over half a million people who promised to stand against hate and work for tolerance and justice in their lives. All visitors can pledge to take a stand against injustice, hate and intolerance and their names will be added to the continuous digital flow of the names.
400 Washington Ave, Montgomery, AL 36104, 334-956-8200
3.First White House of the Confederacy
© First White House of the Confederacy
The First White House of the Confederacy is a beautiful Italianate mansion in the historic area of downtown Montgomery that served as theJefferson Davis familie’s in 1861, when Montgomery was the Capital of the Confederacy and Jefferson Davis was its president. Mrs. Davis received held many lavish parties and receptions and the house became the social center of the South during her reign.
The charming old house was built near the Alabama River, was moved to its current location in the shadow of the Alabama State Capitol, completely restored and opened to the public in 1921. Many of the Davis family personal possessions, furniture and art pieces were gifted by Ms. Davis to the White House Association of Alabama which operates the house to, offer a glimpse of the life of one powerful family during those turbulent times. The house is open to the publicand has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places
644 Washington Ave, Montgomery, AL 36130, 334-242-1861
4.Things to Do in Montgomery, AL: Montgomery Zoo
© Courtesy of kenny 42952 - Fotolia.com
Travel through the jungles of South America, explore the savannas of Africa, the mountains of Asia and grassy plains of North America, to see the zebras, tigers, camels and monkeys, all roaming free on 40 beautiful acres near the Montgomery downtown, without cages or barriers. Montgomery Zoo is the home of more than 500 animals from all over the world.
Walk around the lush greens between habitats, take a ride on the charming miniature train, take a behind-the-scenes tour of the elephant or tiger habitats, visit baby giraffe, Connye, or give the kids an exceptional gift by enrolling them in the day long Montgomery Zoo Summer Camp.
2301 Coliseum Pkwy, Montgomery, AL 36110, 334-240-4900
5.Dexter Parsonage Museum - Dr. Martin Luther King Home
© Dexter Parsonage Museum
The house that holds the Dexter Parsonage Museum, a nine-room clapboard home built in 1912, was home to 12 Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church pastors from 1920-1992, including Dr. Martin Luther King and his family. They lived in the parsonage from 1954 to 1960. The house has been renovated to appear the way it looked when Dr. King and his family lived in it, and it includes living and dining room, bedroom and study furniture used by Dr. King.
The museum also has an Interpretive Center, and the outdoors King-Johns Garden for Reflection. The Interpretive Center features a permanent exhibit that includes photographs of all 12 pastors that lived in the Dexter Parsonage, a wall of Pastoral Wisdom with various pastor’s inspiring quotes, and previously unpublished photographs of Dr. Martin Luther King, Montgomery ministers who participated in the bus boycott, and much more.
309 S Jackson St, Montgomery, AL 36104, 334-261-3270
6.Museum of Alabama, Montgomery, Alabama
© Museum of Alabama
The Museum shares a beautiful stately building, built in 1940, with the Alabama Department of Archives and History. The museum is located just across the street from the Alabama State Capitol in downtown Montgomery and tells the story of Alabama's past - from prehistoric times to the present.
Some of the most significant permanent exhibitions at the Museum are The Land of Alabama, about the natural resources and geology that affected the state's history, and The First Alabamians, a diorama about fourteen thousand years of Native American culture, featuring colorful murals and many original artifacts.
The centerpiece of the Museum is the exhibit Alabama Voices, which describes dramatic events in Alabama history from the early 1700s to the modern era. The Museum holds over 800 artifacts, hundreds of documents and images, and hosts twenty-two contemporary audiovisual programs about the wars over land, the cotton economy, the bloody Civil War, world wars, the raise of civil rights and much more.
36130, 624 Washington Ave, Montgomery, AL, 334-242-4435
7.Alabama State Capitol
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Completed in 1851 in the Greek Revival style with evident Beaux-Arts influences, Alabama State Capitol is located in downtown Montgomery on what was once known as Goat Hill. It is a National Historic Landmark which contains a museum about Alabama State politics and history, the seat of the state governor and other officers of the executive branch. The Capitol building was the seat of the Confederacy government in 1861after the Confederacy was born in the Senate chamber in this building.
The 1965 Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March finished in front of the building. A seven-starred version of the Confederate flag Stars and Bars flew over the Capitol building for 30 years, until a state court decision barred it in 1993. The grounds around the Capitol were landscaped by famous landscape artist Frederick Law Olmsted in 1889, and many of the trees he planted still stand.
600 Dexter Ave, Montgomery, AL 36130, 334-242-7100
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8.Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts
© Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts
Founded in 1930, the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts is the oldest of its kind in the state of Alabama. The museum's permanent collection contains sculptures, paintings and other works of art created by regionally and nationally renowned artists. The American Collection’s most important part is the Blount Collection of American Art with 41 paintings by Edward Hopper, John Singer Sargent and Winslow Homer.
The collection of prints by Old Masters includes works by Dürer, Rembrandt, and Whistler. In addition to the permanent exhibits, the museum frequently hosts diverse temporary exhibitions presenting American and international art collections. An important part of the Museum is ARTWORKS, a hands-on art studio and gallery for kids. More Alabama vacations
1 Museum Dr., Montgomery, AL 36117, 334-240-4333
9.Things to Do in Montgomery, AL: The Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum
© The Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum
The Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum in Montgomery, Alabama is the world's only museum dedicated to writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, best known for his book Great Gatsby, and his wife, Zelda, an icon of the 1920s, and the founder and star of the "Flapper Movement." She grew up in Montgomery, and the couple moved to the two-story brick and clapboard house in the Old Cloverdale neighborhood in 1931 after prolonged travel through Europe.
Julian McPhillips bought the house in 1986 and turned it into a museum. It is open to the public and hosts annual galas and many social events. The museum has a number of photos, letters, books and other personal possessions and memorabilia that belonged to the Fitzgerald’s.
919 Felder Ave # 919, Montgomery, AL 36106, 334-264-4222
10.Montgomery Riverwalk Stadium, Montgomery, Alabama
© Montgomery Riverwalk Stadium
Open in 2004, Montgomery Riverwalk Stadium is a minor league baseball ballpark and the home of the baseball team Montgomery Biscuits of the Southern League. This modern ballpark was built into the historical train station and seats 7,000, including the seating on the general admission lawn in right-center field.
The stadium has 20 luxury suites and offers picnic areas in left-center field and along the third base line that can fit up to 4,000 fans. There is a children's playground area near the third base line. The scoreboard is a video board with a large LED screen with a instant replay capacity.
200 Coosa St, Montgomery, AL 36104, 334-323-2255
11.Hank Williams Museum
© Hank Williams Museum
Located in the downtown Montgomery, the Hank Williams Museum pays tribute to America’s first country music superstar and shows how Hank Williams planted the seeds of contemporary American music, blues, Rockabilly and Rock and Roll. One of the most iconic figures in American music, who was a prolific musician, song writer and performer, Hank Williams died in the back seat of his blue Cadillac from heart failure when he was only 29.
The iconic blue Cadillac is the highlight of the museum collection of Hank Williams' memorabilia. Displayed are also his suits, guitars, portraits, ties, records and much more.
118 Commerce St, Montgomery, AL 36104, 334-262-3600
12.Riverfront Park, Montgomery, Alabama
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Located on the banks of the Alabama River, surrounded by the Union Station Train Shed, Amphitheatre and the Harriott II Riverboat, Riverfront Park is one of the most popular parks in Montgomery. It offers a boat ramp for an access to the river, beautiful paved hiking and biking trails, green picnic area, a kids’ playground, baseball in Riverwalk Stadium, kayaking on the river, fishing, and much more. The Amphitheater hosts frequent events such concerts and plays.
Once in the park, take a trip along the river on the Harriott II Riverboat, elegant restored 19th century riverboat that offers leisurely rides with dinner, dancing, and live shows. The park is often a background for fireworks displays.
13.Old Alabama Town
© Old Alabama Town
Old Alabama Town is a collection of authentic, lovingly restored 19th and 20th century homes and structures such as mansions, churches, taverns, schools and grocery stores. It occupies six blocks in the center of downtown Montgomery, Alabama.
The town is a history museum that depicts the historical architecture and lifestyles of Montgomery residents, from rich cotton plantation owners in their elegant townhouse to rural pioneers, reflecting the lives of the people of all backgrounds who settled and lived in central Alabama. Old Alabama Town was developed and is managed by the Landmarks Foundation of Montgomery, a non-profit corporation founded in 1967, which now owns and has restored 50 buildings, whichall part of the Old Alabama Town.
301 Columbus St, Montgomery, AL 36104, 334-240-4500
14.Freedom Rides Museum, Montgomery, Alabama
© Freedom Rides Museum
The Freedom Rides Museum is located in the old Greyhound bus station. Visitors can learn about the fateful events of the 1961 on a timeline that is located on the exterior walls. For those visiting Tuesday through Saturday, 12pm-4pm CST, there is a guided tour.
Knowledgeable guides will explain the history of the bus terminal, the Freedom Rides movement, and the art gallery within the bus station walls. There is a cellphone guide to go along with the wall displays.
210 South Court Street, Montgomery, AL 36104, 334-414-8647
15.Things to Do in Montgomery, AL: W.A. Gayle Planetarium
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The W.A. Gayle Planetarium, operated by Troy University, is an astronomy education facility as well as a multimedia theater. In February, the Super Mediaglobe II was installed and it is the world’s first full-color single-lens digital planetarium.
The new technology improves the experience for visitors to the Planetarium and allows for exploration of Earth through the use of constantly updated satellite datasets of Earth’s land, ocean, atmosphere and climate of the entire planet. This is the only planetarium in Central Alabama. The planetarium is surrounded by a beautiful park. The W.A. Gayle Planetarium offers public shows throughout the week and no reservations are required.
1010 Forest Ave, Montgomery, AL 36106, 334-625-4799
16.Montgomery, Alabama Attractions: Governor’s Mansion
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The Alabama Governor’s Mansion is a 107-year-old home built in the neoclassical style. Originally the governor’s mansion was located in another structure but since 1950, the current mansion has housed all of Alabama’s first families. Tours of the Mansion are guided and are approximately 30 minutes in length.
Each tour showcases the main floor of the house and its grounds. Upon completion of the tour, guests are invited to enjoy complimentary cookies at the Governor’s Mansion Gift Shop. The Gift Shop is a small four room establishment, but it is an excellent source for all things Alabama.
1142 S Perry St, Montgomery, AL 36104, 334-834-3022
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17.Huntingdon College, Montgomery, Alabama
© Huntingdon College
For more than 160 years, Huntingdon College has sent graduates out in the world with these inspirational words: “Enter to Grow in Wisdom; Go Forth to Apply Wisdom in Service”. The charter of Huntingdon College was signed by Alabama Governor John Winston on February 2, 1854.
The College’s beautiful Montgomery campus was designed in 1908 by the son of the designer of New York’s Central Park. Frederick Law Olmsted also planned the landscapes for such projects as the Biltmore Estate and Boston’s system of parks and parkways. The campus is a highly walkable 70 acres and a walking map is available at the Huntingdon College website.
1500 East Fairview Ave., Montgomery, AL 36106, 800-763-0313
18.Montgomery, Alabama Attractions: Montgomery Ballet
© Montgomery Ballet/Facebook
The Montgomery Civic Ballet has been providing the community of Montgomery and the state of Alabama with community enrichment since 1958. The ballet, the only professional ballet company in the city of Montgomery and one of only three in the state of Alabama, has been a professional company since 1987 .
The 2016-2017 season will feature such performances as “Sleepy Hollow”, “The Nutcracker”, “Two for Love”, and “The Messiah.” A particularly fun performance is the annual outdoor performance of Ballet and the Beasts at the Montgomery Zoo.
2101 Eastern Blvd. Ste. 223, Montgomery, AL 36117, 334-409-0522
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19.Garrett Coliseum, Montgomery, Alabama
© Garrett Coliseum
Three miles northeast of downtown Montgomery, the Alabama Agricultural Center is a one hundred eighteen-acre multipurpose complex that houses the world famous Garrett Coliseum. With seating for upwards of 12,500 the coliseum has hosted such famous acts as Prince, Elvis, Elton John and Hank Williams.
The coliseum also annually hosts the Southeastern Rodeo Association Black Rodeo. Visitors travelling to Montgomery can check the Garret Coliseum website for a continually updated list of acts and performances.
1555 Federal Drive, Montgomery, AL 36107, 334-356-6866
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20.Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Factory Tour
© Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Factory Tour
The Hyundai Factory Tour provides visitors with the opportunity to get a close-up view of robots and humans working side-by-side to produce Hyundai’s Sonata and Elantra models. Guests will see everything from robots stamping car pieces out of sheet metal, to welding robots, to employees installing carpets, and beyond.
The factory makes 1500 cars per day and the tour takes visitors through the whole process from beginning to end. Reservations are required and can be made by via the website. There is no cost and a gift shop is available at the conclusion of the tour.
700 Hyundai Blvd, Montgomery, AL 36105, 334-387-8000
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21.Harriott II Riverboat, Montgomery, AL
© Harriott II Riverboat
The Harriott II riverboat is a relaxing and/or raucous way to step back in time. The 19th century riverboat is docked beside the Riverwalk Amphitheater and is one of the premier entertainment destinations in Montgomery. The Harriott II offers dinner, dancing, and live entertainment so whether guests are traveling alone, with friends or with their entire family there is an adventure waiting up the river for them.
Featured cruises include “2nd Saturday Fireworks Cruise”, “4th of July Fireworks Cruise”, “Blues Cruise”, “Brew's Cruise”, “Father's Day Dinner Cruise”, “Getaway Cruise”, “Dinner Cruise”, and “Mother's Day Brunch or Dinner Cruises.” Tickets must be purchased 48 hours in advance and can be bought at the Harriot II website.
22.Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Montgomery, AL
© Alabama Shakespeare Festival
The Alabama Shakespeare Festival, in Montgomery is a fully professional regional theatre that produces around ten productions each season with a primary focus on Shakespeare’s plays. The company however also produces musicals, children’s theater and American classics. Each year the production company will present 14 top-notch performances.
When not performing the Bard’s classics, the Alabama Shakespeare Festival can be found bringing the works of such playwrights as George Bernard Shaw, Tennessee Williams, and many others to life. The Shakespeare Gardens is also worth a visit. The garden, only one of seven such gardens in the United States, is located within the Blount Cultural ParkThe Shakespeare Garden contains plants and flowers featured in Shakespeare’s plays.
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23.The National Center for the Study of Civil Rights and African-American Culture
© The National Center for the Study of Civil Rights and African-American Culture
The National Center for the Study of Civil Rights and African-American Culture was established in 1997 with a mission of serving as a repository for information about Montgomery’s pivotal role in the modern civil rights movement. The Center also preserves and shares the history of African-Americans in Montgomery.
The National Center Annex was developed and opened in 2001 to help fulfill the mission of the National Center by hosting programs, displaying collections, and presenting exhibits. The Annex hosts guest lectures, events for all ages, and the opportunity to view the Center’s unique artistic collection. For hours, guests should check the Center’s website.
1345 Carter Hill Road, Montgomery, AL 36101, 334-229-4824
24.Montgomery Performing Arts Centre, Montgomery, AL
© Montgomery Performing Arts Centre
Located within the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa at the Convention Center, the Montgomery Performing Arts Centre is an 1800 seat theater that serves as Montgomery’s premier performing arts venue. The center is state of the art, yet small enough to provide an intimate experience no matter for any performance.
The theater supports a wide variety of arts and artist, featuring everything from Broadway shows, to comedians, to rock and country concerts. For a full and regularly updated list of upcoming events, visitors should access the Montgomery Performing Arts Centre’s website.
201 Tallapoosa Street, Montgomery, AL 36104, 334-481-5100
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25 Best Things to Do in Montgomery, Alabama
- Rosa Parks Library and Museum, Photo: Rosa Parks Library and Museum
- Civil Rights Memorial Center, Photo: Civil Rights Memorial Center
- First White House of the Confederacy, Photo: First White House of the Confederacy
- Things to Do in Montgomery, AL: Montgomery Zoo, Photo: Courtesy of kenny 42952 - Fotolia.com
- Dexter Parsonage Museum - Dr. Martin Luther King Home, Photo: Dexter Parsonage Museum
- Museum of Alabama, Montgomery, Alabama, Photo: Museum of Alabama
- Alabama State Capitol, Photo: Courtesy of Robert Hainer - Fotolia.com
- Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts , Photo: Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts
- Things to Do in Montgomery, AL: The Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum, Photo: The Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum
- Montgomery Riverwalk Stadium, Montgomery, Alabama, Photo: Montgomery Riverwalk Stadium
- Hank Williams Museum, Photo: Hank Williams Museum
- Riverfront Park, Montgomery, Alabama, Photo: Courtesy of mccallk 69 - Fotolia.com
- Old Alabama Town, Photo: Old Alabama Town
- Freedom Rides Museum, Montgomery, Alabama, Photo: Freedom Rides Museum
- Things to Do in Montgomery, AL: W.A. Gayle Planetarium, Photo: Courtesy of Martin Capek - Fotolia.com
- Montgomery, Alabama Attractions: Governor’s Mansion, Photo: Courtesy of radub 85 - Fotolia.com
- Huntingdon College, Montgomery, Alabama, Photo: Huntingdon College
- Montgomery, Alabama Attractions: Montgomery Ballet, Photo: Montgomery Ballet/Facebook
- Garrett Coliseum, Montgomery, Alabama, Photo: Garrett Coliseum
- Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Factory Tour, Photo: Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Factory Tour
- Harriott II Riverboat, Montgomery, AL, Photo: Harriott II Riverboat
- Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Montgomery, AL, Photo: Alabama Shakespeare Festival
- The National Center for the Study of Civil Rights and African-American Culture, Photo: The National Center for the Study of Civil Rights and African-American Culture
- Montgomery Performing Arts Centre, Montgomery, AL, Photo: Montgomery Performing Arts Centre
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of mccallk69 - Fotolia.com