Is safe to live in Birmingham Alabama

Sightseeing in Birmingham, Alabama

Info / recommendations | Alabama | 02/24/2019 | Photo: CHRIS GRANGER

Welcome to Alabama's largest city! Birmingham is known to many for its moving history in the context of the civil rights movement. In this article, we'll tell you which sights are to be discovered in Birmingham on this topic and beyond.


Birmingham is an absolutely exciting city with a lot to tell visitors. During the day there are numerous discoveries for travelers, in the evening there is an exciting gastronomic landscape and of course the best live music, as you can expect almost everywhere in Alabama. Here's a sneak peek of Birmingham before we start sightseeing!



"Pittsburgh of the South"
Birmingham was once called the "Pittsburgh of the South" - and if for a different reason, this nickname can still be understood today. Because like Pittsburgh, Birmingham has reinvented itself and presents itself to visitors not as a former city of the steel industry or as a civil rights focal point, but rather as a modern city that deals with the past and illuminates it in an interesting way. At the end of the 19th century it was found that all raw materials that are needed for steel production can be found underground. The city grew quickly and there was a lot of industry, but there is hardly anything left to be seen. But what can still be seen is awesome! Today, the Birmingham art scene can be seen in an old blast furnace, so our first sightseeing tip is the Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark. Here you can learn about the former steel production, there are workshops on the subject of metal art, an annual, two-day festival on the site (Sloss Music and Arts Festival - see picture below right) and much more. By the way, the best overview of the city is appropriately obtained from the "volcano", a huge iron statue, which reminds of the importance of Birmingham as the center of the steel industry in the south (see picture below left). The iron colossus is the world's largest cast iron statue!



Civil rights movement
No city has been as rigorous in racial segregation as Birmingham. It is from this particularly hard line that African Americans suffered, as one can imagine, particularly when compared to other cities. And this also explains why this city was specifically chosen by civil rights activists for rallies and demonstrations. The tense situation often led to riots, which of course attracted media interest. And so this powder keg was used deliberately to a certain extent. An attack on 16th Street Babtist Church by the Ku Klux Klan is particularly sad. He claimed four lives - all of them little girls. Sculptures in Kelly Ingram Park opposite the church commemorate the attack (see picture below left). The Civil Rights Institute is also located nearby (center picture). It has a museum character and lets visitors learn about the really moving past. Since whites and blacks were sitting together in a bar at that time, unlike today, the black population played music among themselves. People met, mostly in the garden or in the shed, ate, drank and made music. African American neighborhood bars like this are called juke joints, and you can actually visit one last real one near Birmingham: Gip's Place!



Largest motorcycle museum and largest lotus collection in the world
Even those who are not enthusiastic about motorcycles will be positively surprised by the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum (picture on the left in the following picture bar). There are over 1,200 historical machines here, all of which have been made roadworthy again - excitingly refurbished. With a premium admission ticket you get a lecturer's tour at selected times on the weekend and can look into the heart of the museum, namely the preparation on the restoration floor. There is also a huge exhibition of over 50 Lotus racing cars in the museum. You won't find a bigger one anywhere else in the world either!



More Attractions
The Alabama Theater and the Lyric Theater (see above, center picture) are popular photo opportunities in Birmingham. In the best case, there is a concert or an interesting event taking place for which you can still get tickets at the box office! In addition, the botanical garden is very worth seeing. Here you can enjoy the peace and quiet in the countryside. Incidentally, that works very well in Lake Lurleen State Park. Mounds of earth that testify to prehistoric civilizations can be admired in the Moundville Archaeological Park. And if you want to travel back in time and see what it must have been like at the time of the American Revolution, you should definitely pay a visit to the "American Village" in nearby Montevallo! The zoo is not only recommended for families with children. There is also a beautiful pre-war villa in Birmingham, which can be visited, Arlington Antebellum Home & Gardens (see picture on the right).