Birmingham Alabama

Birmingham is the largest city in Alabama, and if you're interested in history, you won't want to miss it when visiting the state. Founded in 1871, Birmingham sprung up around a significant railroad crossing, quickly becoming a place where fortunes could be made. With the coming of the Great Depression, Birmingham Alabama experienced its fair share of bad times, though things would only get worse before they got better. These days, prosperity and good times are back at the heart of things, and Birmingham vacations are growing in popularity because of it. It's the mix of history and culture that attracts most visitors to Birmingham Alabama, though you might be surprised how much more there is to enjoy here.

Due to the discovery of limestone, iron ore, and coal in the area, Birmingham Alabama not only figured as a major railroad stop in its early days, but also an industrial center. So quick was the city's growth at the turn of the century that it earned the nickname "the Magic City." After getting hit particularly hard by the Great Depression, the following decades in Birmingham were a mix of good times and bad times, the bad times gaining much more international attention. The civil rights struggles of the 1950s and '60s are not a shining moment in U.S. history, and Birmingham was often at the center of things during these trying times. One of the main attractions in Birmingham is the 16th Street Baptist Church, where one of the country's ugliest civil rights related incidents took place. In 1963, Klu Klux Klan members bombed the church, protesting the civil rights movement. The bombing killed four black girls, marring the mostly successful racial protests that had taken place earlier that year in Birmingham.

Since so many people who enjoy Birmingham vacations are interested in the civil rights movement, the city's Civil Rights District is often first on the agenda. In addition to finding the 16th Street Baptist Church in this district, you can also visit the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and take a walk through Kelly Ingram Park. The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is a wonderful place to learn all about the history of the civil rights movement in America, and if you come on Sunday, admission is free. Kelly Ingram Park is just across the street from the institute, and its Freedom Path is one of the top civil rights-related attractions in Birmingham. The sculptures that line this paved path commemorate the intense 1960s Birmingham race riots.

While the Civil Rights District is a must-visit during Birmingham vacations, those who are looking for a different experience might head just south of the downtown Birmingham area to check out the mostly upscale restaurants and shops in The Five Points South area. Shopaholics can also plan a trip to nearby Hoover to see what the Riverchase Galleria has to offer. Should you be interested in exploring some downtown attractions in Birmingham before branching out, the Birmingham Museum of Art is worth considering. The museum boasts more than 20,000 works of art, so you can easily spend a few hours there. For those who like museums, two other attractions in Birmingham that you'll want to add to the itinerary include the Alabama Jazz Music Hall of Fame Museum and the Southern Museum of Flight. Should you be traveling with kids in tote, the Birmingham Zoo makes for a great stop on the agenda, as it features a children's section and an IMAX theater. There are some very interesting animals at the Birmingham Zoo, including red pandas and Bengal tigers. Another Birmingham attraction that kids will love is Alabama Adventure, which is the area's main amusement park. It's just fifteen miles outside of town, making it quite easy to reach.

Exploring the area around Birmingham yields plenty of delights, and if you like the outdoors, you can take to the Appalachian foothills that surround the city for some sightseeing. Oak Mountain State Park, which is the largest state park in Alabama, can be found in nearby Pelham and is worth the trip. The Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park is another terrific place to go for outdoor recreation. In addition to hiking, visitors to this 1,500-acre park can also go horseback riding and do some camping. Don't worry if camping isn't your thing, as there are plenty of good Birmingham hotels to choose from. If you can't make it out to the countryside for some hiking, spending some time at Birmingham's Vulcan Park is a great way to relax. Vulcan Park, which overlooks the city, is where you'll find the world's biggest cast iron statue. This grand statue gives testament to the city's industrial roots.

There's no shortage of fun things to do in Birmingham, and in addition to the things listed so far, visitors might also consider taking to the nearby Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail for some great golf. If you like sports, heading over to Rickwood Field for a look is a must, and you might even take in a AA baseball game at Regions Park. For motorsports fans who are enjoying Birmingham vacations, the city's impressive Barber Motorsports Park is not to be missed, nor is the famed Talladega Speedway, which is just a short drive away to the east. If you haven't yet noticed, Birmingham vacations offer something for everyone, so plan yours today and see for yourself just how much there is to enjoy here.

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