Located in central Alabama, Birmingham is packed with memorable (and delicious) activities and attractions. In this guide, we’ll look at 12 fun things to do in Birmingham, Alabama that you won’t want to miss!
One of my best friends lives in Birmingham, Alabama, and over the years, I’ve taken many weekend road trips to visit her. She’s an excellent tour guide and always seems to find the neatest places to see. So as you can imagine, I’m so excited to share our round-up of 12 amazing things to do in this unique southern city.
Original post published December 2016. Updated April 2021
12 Fun Things To Do In Birmingham, Alabama
Let’s take a look at some of the best things to do in Birmingham!
Take a Tour of Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark
When visiting Birmingham, you’ll definitely want to stop by the Sloss Furnaces, a historic iron factory that was turned into a museum. You can explore the metal-working history of Birmingham and see impressive metal sculptures.
Currently, you can only visit the Sloss Furnaces with an appointment. You can make your appointment on their website.
Vulcan Park and Museum
If you love sweeping city panoramas (who doesn’t!) and diving deeper into Birmingham’s history, check out the Vulcan Park and Museum. In this urban park, you can visit the Vulcan statue, a 56-foot tall cast-iron statue set atop a hill overlooking the city. You can even take an elevator up to the top of the statue for a memorable view!
Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum
Motorcycle and car fans, get excited! Birmingham is home to the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum which houses an impressive collection of motorcycles and rare vehicles from around the world.
Tour vintage and modern cars in a truly breathtaking museum – a must for any automobile enthusiast!
Birmingham Museum of Art
If you’re an art fan, the Birmingham Museum of Art is an amazing addition to your Birmingham, Alabama itinerary. This expansive museum contains thousands of diverse works of art and includes a sculpture garden and a children’s interactive experience. When we visited, we could have easily spent all day walking through the exhibits and galleries.
Birmingham Civil Rights Museum
The Birmingham Civil Rights Museum is devoted to exploring and preserving the story of the American Civil Rights Movement. Visitors will start by watching a video containing information about the Civil Rights movement. Then, you will move through the galleries at your own pace to see real artifacts like a letter written by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute currently requires all guests to book tickets in advance, which can be done here.
Kelly Ingram Park
Kelly Ingram Park is a small sculpture park in Birmingham that tells the emotional and inspirational story of Civil Rights activists in the city. You can even call a phone number to listen to a free audio tour while you walk among the powerful sculptures.
This park is right next to the Birmingham Civil Rights Museum.
Birmingham Botanical Gardens
The Birmingham Botanical Gardens are the perfect place to get back to nature! It’s free to visit and they’re open every day from sun-up to sun-down. Each time I go I discover something new and delightful, like a greenhouse full of colorful cacti or a striking wildflower garden!
Birmingham Scavenger Hunt with Operation City Quest
When I visited friends in Columbia, South Carolina, we did an Operation City Quest scavenger hunt and loved it! Operation City Quest is a scavenger hunt you do on your phone using an app. You’ll use your app to explore the city and earn points for finding landmarks and completing challenges.
All you need is a smartphone and your best scavenger hunting skills! Check out Operation City Quest Birmingham here!
Explore the Birmingham Food Scene
Did you know that Birmingham, Alabama has an amazing food scene? You definitely won’t run out of tasty bites on your trip to Birmingham! A great place to start your Birmingham food tour is El Barrio! I highly recommend the tostadas and don’t forget to order a mountain of queso to go with it.
Another delicious option is Melt, a fancy grilled cheese food-truck-turned-restaurant. Grab a starter of fried pickles, nachos, or honey-baked goat cheese followed by a sandwich made with all the cheesy goodness your heart desires.
The cherry on top? You’ve got to try a popsicle from Steel City Pops. I loved the coffee-flavored pop with ground coffee beans and espresso.
Grab a Pint at Carrigan’s Beer Garden
Carrigan’s Beer Garden is a must for a casual evening out in Birmingham. The facility has a cool industrial vibe with a massive outdoor garden space, perfect for relaxing on a nice day with an enormous pretzel in hand. With a large beer menu and delicious German-inspired cuisine, you might not want to leave. They’re also kid and dog friendly!
We visited 55th Place Thrift Store in Woodlawn in search of quirky plates and art pieces to use in a gallery wall. They had an impressive selection of clothes, books, and other homewares. You can also check out Sozo Trading Company, a thrift store in Birmingham with highly rated reviews for being well organized and stocked with treasures.
Enjoy the View at Tip Top Grill
Before visiting, I didn’t realize that Birmingham had such a stunning hilly landscape! Tip Top Grill had a beautiful overlook and plenty of outdoor seating where you can enjoy the scenery. They’re open Monday through Saturday from 6:30 am to 3:00 pm and you’ll get to experience one of the best natural viewpoints in the area!
Best Guided Tours of Birmingham, AL
Guided tours can be a great way to dive deep into a destination. I personally love taking a walking tour when I first arrive in a new city to learn my way around. Below are some popular tours of Birmingham, Alabama you can check out to enhance your trip!
- Historical Highlights of Birmingham: Visit notable attractions around Birmingham by bus with an enthusiastic tour guide.
- Birmingham Civil Rights Tour: Visit some of the most important locations in the Civil Rights Movement with a knowledgeable guide, transportation between sites and entrance fees are included.
- Best of Birmingham Food and Drink Tour: A great way to discover local restaurants around the city! This tour includes all food and beverage tastings.
- Birmingham Brewery Tour: Taste beers from 3 breweries while learning about Birmingham’s brewing history.
Where To Stay In Birmingham, Alabama
If you want to stay in the heart of downtown, check out the Elyton Hotel, Autograph Collection. The Elyton Hotel is located in a stunning historical building and the rooms are stylish and updated. There’s even a rooftop patio and bar that offers impressive city views.
You can also check out the Redmont Hotel Birmingham which is centrally located near the Birmingham Museum of Art and the Birmingham Civil Rights Museum. The Redmont Hotel features an onsite cafe and modern design elements.
Final Thoughts: Fun Things To Do In Birmingham AL
Whether you’re looking for a weekend getaway or some new things to do around town, Birmingham, Alabama won’t disappoint. Have you been to Birmingham, Alabama? What’s your favorite thing to do?