Explore the Best of Birmingham: A Local’s List of Activities

Things to do Birmingham AL guide

Birmingham has a special place in America’s history because it is the origin of the civil rights movement, Veteran’s Day, and vast deposits of minerals.

Yet, these things are just the tip of the iceberg because there are many more things to do in Birmingham, Alabama.

From experiencing baseball at Regions Field to camping in Oak Mountain State Park, a trip to the capital of Jefferson County is worth it.

If you plan a trip to the landlocked city of Birmingham, below are the top-rated tourist attractions and things to do in the city.

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1. The Birmingham Zoo

Do you enjoy petting and feeding wild animals?

Take your family or crew to the Birmingham Zoo for up-close observation of Josh the African lion or some playful moments with Ruby the giraffe.

Birmingham Zoo Alabama in Birmingham
Birmingham Zoo Alabama

There are more than 900 animals from over 200 different species.

Explore the various animal areas to see reptiles, South American primates, African cats, and birds as your children play in the designated Nature Play area at Henley Park Lawn.

Moreover – There is an annual Glow Wild event, where visitors celebrate wildlife with hundreds of zoo lights, including lanterns.

2. The Oak Mountain State Park

Outdoor adventures like hiking, fishing, and biking are the perfect way to spend a weekend away in a foreign city.

Head to the famous Oak Mountain State Park for the wildest and most fun-filled experiences in the mountainous area of Terrace Dr. Pelham.

Visit Oak Mountain State Park
Oak Mountain State Park

There are beautiful trails along the park, and you can enjoy a quiet camping trip in the wild.

Other activities you can indulge in include:

  • Horse riding
  • Bike riding
  • Fishing – there are two lakes here

3. The Birmingham Botanical Gardens

The Birmingham botanical gardens at the foot of the Red Mountain are a sight to behold, especially on the sunny mornings of spring.

You’ll learn a lot about indigenous wild plants like ferns, wildflowers, and rare woodlands that have been protected for decades.

Birmingham Botanical gardens
Birmingham Botanical gardens

The gardens are open all year round, and there’s free parking.

From incredible photography and savory lunch at the Gardens Cafe to learning about the different flora in the Birmingham botanical library, you’ll enjoy your date with nature’s finest.

Additionally, you can take home exciting gifts from the Leaf and Petal gift shop. 

4. The Alabama Theatre

Is watching a lovely film on a magnificent screen in a packed theatre one of the must-do things on your bucket list?

You can have the time of your life in the Alabama Theatre in Birmingham, watching classic movies.

Besides the films, you can enjoy jaw-dropping performances and live music, from symphonies, ballets, dance, comedy, and drama.


If you are more interested in the craftsmanship and marvelous features of the theatre, you can book a tour to walk the Lyric and Alabama Theatre halls with friends.

5. The McWane Science Center

This science center is one of the best places for kids and adults to have fun in downtown Birmingham.

McWane Science center in Birmingham
McWane Science center

Here, you’ll find:

  • An aquarium, museum
  • Research center
  • Eateries
  • Gift shops
  • A movie theatre
  • An indoor playground

If you have kids, take them to McWane Science Center to learn how to construct things, play with sharks or have a feel of dinosaur fossils.

The center is open seven days every week, but exceptions exist during the New Year celebrations.

It is pure fun and a lot of learning for the young and old, from watching movies at IMAX to exploring hundreds of artifacts and minerals in the museum.

6. The Birmingham Museum of Art

Museums are the ideal locations to learn about art, history, science, and culture.

The Birmingham Museum of Art offers many activities, which include:

  • Collection Galleries
  • Art Exhibitions
  • Museum Gifts
  • Great Food

Take your crew or family to see the evolution of Chinese Art on the Four Seasons in Chinese Painting, the works of visual artist Rico Gatson or the vast collection of art exhibits in the Light Play collection.

Your kids can experience making art at the facility’s Bart’s and Smartlab spaces.

7. Alabama Adventure and Splash Adventure

Alabama Splash Adventure in Birmingham
Alabama Splash Adventure

Located just outside the Birmingham city center, this family-owned water park is one of the most-visited tourist attractions in Alabama.

Go with family and friends for unique rides and slides, sunbathe in the clean amusement park, and have loads of yummy food. 

With over 26 attractions, rental cabanas, live performances, and events, you will enjoy your day or two at the amusement and water park.

8. The Legion Field Stadium

Also referred to as the Old Gray Lady, the Legion Field Stadium is a 17,000-seater outdoor stadium mainly used as a venue to play football tournaments.

You can buy tickets to watch a local match with your family and friends while vacationing in the city.


Besides football, the stadium holds entertainment events like concerts and music festivals.

When the performances are over, you can dine and wine at nearby food and beverage joints, including:

  • Burger King
  • Subway
  • Granny’s Fish’ N Grits
  • and Tiny’s Tavern

9. The Southern Flight Museum

Are you an aviation enthusiast? The Southern Flight Museum is one of the must-visit tourist attractions in Birmingham for various reasons.

You will love the sight of the small museum dedicated to preserving the history of legendary planes.

It houses over 100 aircraft that visitors explore, from understanding how the engine works and seeing the cargo spaces to sitting in the cockpits.

The museum gallery takes you back in history to scenes involving some legendary aircraft.

For Instance – You can look into what transpired in the Vietnam Scene with Cobra and the Little Bird.

The kids’ play area will keep the young ones busy as you dive deep into aviation history under the guidance of dedicated staff and guides.

10. The Barber Vintage Motor Museum

With a vast display of vintage motorcycles and cars, the Barber Vintage Motor Museum is arguably one of the best racing facilities in the United States.

You can take your family on a guided ride through the breathtaking park. The park has well-maintained lawns and hedges lining world-class raceways.

The Barber Vintage Motor Museum provides a tourist attraction to learn about motor racing.



Birmingham has a lot to offer tourists, with a couple of things to do and places to visit. If you are an outdoor person, you will love a tour of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Barber Vintage Motor Museum, or Alabama Adventure and Splash Adventure amusement park.

At the same time, your indoor-loving self will appreciate the art collection, legendary aviation artifacts, and rich history in the various museums in the city.

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