With so much to see and do in Birmingham, it’s hard to narrow down the choices. Here are a few places that are favorites with visitors. All attractions are taking necessary precautions for the safety of their guests.
1. The Birmingham Civil Rights District, now a national monument, is a must-see for visitors. Birmingham was Ground Zero for the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. The most famous landmark, the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church was the site of the infamous September 1963 bombing that killed four little girls. Denise McNair, 11, Cynthia Wesley, Addie Mae Collins, and Carole Robertson, all 14, were killed in the dynamite explosion set by Ku Klux Klansmen. Across the street is historic Kelly Ingram Park, which served as a congregating area for demonstrations, including those in which police dogs and fire hoses were turned on the marchers. The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, also in the district, tells the stories of the struggle for equal rights in Birmingham and around the country.
2. The Birmingham Museum of Art has one of the finest collections in the Southeast. More than 24,000 pieces represent a rich panorama of cultures, including Asian, Pre-Columbian, and Native American. Other highlights include Vietnamese ceramics, the Kress collection of Renaissance and Baroque paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts, and a world-renown collection of Wedgwood, the largest outside museums in England. An excellent café on site is expected to reopen when COVID-19 subsides.
3. Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum is home to the world’s largest collection on antique and contemporary motorcycles and the largest collection of Lotus cars. The five-story museum attracts bike enthusiasts from around the world and grew out of the private collection of Birmingham native George Barber. The museum is adjacent to Barber Motorsports Park, a world class 2.3-mile road course and home to the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.
4. Vulcan Park and Museum should be the first stop for attractions during your Birmingham visit. This towering oddity is the largest cast iron statue in the world and delights tourists with his enormous bare buttocks. Vulcan is patterned after the mythical god of fire and forge and was built to reflect Birmingham’s industrial beginnings. Birmingham entered the statue in the 1904 World’s Fair and won first prize. Vulcan has a storied history that unfolds in the halls of the museum.
5. The Alabama and Lyric Theatres are downtown treasures and active entertainment venues. The Alabama Theatre is one of the few remaining movie palaces from the 1920s. Its schedule features first-run and revival films, concerts, and other special events. The “Mighty Wurlitzer” organ still rises from the orchestra pit for concerts or to accompany silent movies. Just across the street, the smaller but equally beautiful Lyric Theatre was built for vaudeville shows and now hosts concerts by top-name performers.
For much more to explore, visit our website at inbirmingham.com.
Vulcan Photo Credit- Art Meripol