Best Things to Do in Birmingham

With all of the things to do and see in a city, deciding how to spend your time can be quite an agonizing decision. 10Best has narrowed all of the available attractions in Birmingham to a list of the most appealing and reputable, to aide in your decision making. You can rest easy knowing that any choice you make from our list is sure to please.


This summer park has it all. Cool off while playing in the water in Splash City. Everyone enjoys the thrilling rides in the Magic City section, and Marvel City has rides geared towards the little ones. Eat and shop on Celebration Street. A summer concert series features former American Idol finalists. Fun for the entire family!

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Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Gardens of roses, camellias, wildflowers, ferns and irises flourish in this quiet, panoramic setting. A Japanese garden and teahouse, serene in their simplicity, are high points of your tour. You will also find the largest greenhouse in the Southeast.

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Take a meandering walk on the wild side, visiting over 1000 animals and birds housed in their natural habitats. The zoo features ongoing and constantly changing special exhibitions, as well as many "interactivities" for children.

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Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark

A national monument that pays tribute to the steel industry for which Birmingham is famous. The Sloss furnaces were in operation from 1882 to 1971. The monument gives visitors a chance to see both an important piece of Birmingham's industrial history and innovative artwork by resident metal sculptors. Many concerts and special events are held here in the old steel shed that's since been converted to an amphitheatre. Guided tours are available and last two hours; be sure to call at least two weeks in advance to schedule one.

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No, your eyes aren't playing tricks on you; this is the world's largest cast-iron sculpture. A beautiful, massive sight, "Vulcan" pays tribute to Birmingham's early iron industry. Weighing over 60 tons and standing 55-feet tall, the statue was made in 1904 for the St. Louis World's Fair. It stands alongside an observation tower in the center of 10-acre Vulcan Park. Exhibits at the nearby Vulcan Center chronicle the rich history of Birmingham.

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Birmingham's only antebellum home pre-dated the city's founding in 1871. Arlington Antebellum Home is a fully restored Greek revival mansion built between 1845 and 1850 and set on beautifully-landscaped grounds. The mansion houses wonderful antiques and a collection of decorative arts from around the world. Truly a visit to a more genteel time. Two annual festivals, the Arlington Country Fair and Christmas at Arlington, are held here.

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The site of one of the most horrific occurrences of the American Civil Rights Movement (a bomb shattered the quiet of a Sunday morning and took the lives of four young girls), the 16th Street Baptist Church is a landmark to both people's inhumanity and their capacity for love and forgiveness. The congregation is vibrant, and the sanctuary quite beautiful with its Wales stained glass window. Please make sure to call ahead to schedule a tour of the church.

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This is the historic site where the Confederate Army replenished its iron supply during the Civil War. Quiet and peaceful, it belies the tragic events that took place on March 31, 1865, when Union forces arrived and set fire to the ironworks and workers' cabins. The site is now a state park with horseback riding, hiking trails, picnic and camping areas, an iron museum and log cabins.

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This area features the Civil Rights Institute and Museum, Kelly Ingram Park and Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Also nearby in the district is the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame and historic Carver Theater for the Performing Arts. Honoring Birmingham native and Temptations lead singer Eddie Kendrick, is the Eddie Kendrick Memorial Park, just down the block. The area is east of the downtown business district.

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This museum's galleries will lead you through the era of segregation and the Civil Rights Movement. Multimedia exhibitions depict dramatic events which took place in Birmingham and other cities. The museum also serves as a research facility on human rights issues and hosts many educational seminars.

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