12 Parks in Birmingham, Alabama

Last Updated on February 24, 2024 by Emily Johnson


Birmingham, Alabama is home to some beautiful and unique parks that offer plenty of recreational opportunities for residents and visitors. From large green spaces to small neighborhood gems, Birmingham’s parks showcase the city’s natural landscapes and provide a place to relax, exercise, or spend time with family.

Park NameFeatures
Five Points ParksLarge green spaces, historical buildings, recreational facilities.
Highland ParkVictorian-style landscapes, tennis courts, disc golf course.
Avondale ParkRevitalized community space, playground, sports fields.
Linn ParkDowntown location, sculptures, playground, and memorials.
Railroad ParkLarge urban green space, sports facilities, walking trails.
East Lake ParkLake activities, playgrounds, natural scenery.
Historic Sloss FurnacesIndustrial history site with trails and events.
Ruffner Mountain Nature PreserveWilderness area with educational programs and trails.
Homewood Central ParkAthletic facilities, nature trails, playground.
Oak Mountain State ParkVast natural area with diverse outdoor activities.
Birmingham Botanical GardensBotanical displays, themed gardens, educational programs.

This article will highlight 12 fantastic parks located throughout Birmingham and give an overview of the amenities and features that make each one worth visiting.

Five Points Parks

Name and Location: Five Points Parks is located in the Five Points South neighborhood of Birmingham at the intersection of 11th Avenue South, 12th Street South and 14th Street South.

History and Significance: Five Points Parks consists of several small green spaces that have served as gathering places in Birmingham’s Five Points district since the early 1900s. They anchor the historic commercial neighborhood.

What to Expect: Visitors will find large oak trees, a fountain, benches and an open grassy area often used for relaxing, meeting friends or lunches from Five Points eateries. Occasional music and events happen here too.

Visitor Information: Five Points Parks are freely open to the public year-round from dawn to dusk as welcoming community spaces operated by the City of Birmingham Park & Recreation Board.


At nearly 200 acres, Five Points Parks is one of Birmingham’s largest green spaces spanning several blocks and neighborhoods near downtown.

History
Five Points Parks traces its origins back to 1887 when the city purchased the land and created Capitol Park along with smaller parks such as Arsenal Park and Short Park nearby. Over the years additional land acquisitions, renovations, and connecting pathways created the larger Five Points Parks complex that exists today. Some iconic buildings located on the park grounds include the Alabama Veterans Museum and Archives building with its green dome roofline and the 120 year old Ferguson Center.

Features/Amenities
Five Points Parks has something for everyone whether you want to relax, exercise, or enjoy the outdoors. Wide open green lawns, mature shade trees, and park benches invite visitors to stop and take a break. For those looking for activity, there are multiple playground areas, a skate park, sand volleyball courts, outdoor fitness equipment, and several miles of walking/running trails.

Inside the Ferguson Center are basketball courts, event spaces, and a game room. Five Points Parks also hosts special events and festivals throughout the year ranging from arts and craft shows to summer concert series.

With its central location and abundance of amenities, Five Points Parks is a Birmingham gem and popular gathering spot for people all over the city.

Highland Park

Name and Location: Highland Park is located at 10 8th Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35233 in the Highland Park neighborhood.

History and Significance: Founded in 1893, Historic Highland Park is Birmingham’s first suburban park and one of Alabama’s oldest landscape parks, designed by renowned landscape architect G.H. Miller.

What to Expect: Visitors enjoy scenic walking trails past historic pavilions, fountains, springs and woodlands along with playgrounds, an athletic field, tennis courts and a golf course nestled beautifully making it a popular spot.

Visitor Information: Highland Park is freely open to the public daily 5am-11pm. The park office can provide info on reservations, events and more available park amenities beyond basic access.


Nestled in the heart of Southside neighborhood near UAB, Highland Park offers a gorgeous botanical escape right in Birmingham’s midst.

History
In the 1870s, the land that Highland Park sits on today was a farm and country estate. By the early 1890s, it had caught the city’s attention as a prime spot for a Victorian-style park similar to parks built around lakes and water features gaining popularity across America during that time.

Landscape architects commissioned by the city set forth plans for a scenic paradise park complete with curved walkways, an irregularly shaped lake, and lush arrangements of foliage and flowers. Highland Park officially opened to the public in 1893 and has been a beloved community space ever since.

Features/Amenities
True to its original Victorian style and design, Highland Park showcases gorgeous landscapes and scenery. Visitors can meander along winding pathways shaded by mature hardwood trees and pass by colorful flower gardens and the park’s signature lake. Other amenities include playground equipment, a spray park for kids, picnic areas, and a pavilion event space that can be rented out.

Sports enthusiasts will also appreciate Highland Park’s lit tennis courts, disc golf course, and walking trail encircling the park. With its vibrant botanical beauty and variety of amenities, Highland Park makes an ideal spot for everything from family picnics to date nights to pick-up games with friends.

Avondale Park

Name and Location: Avondale Park is located at 4101 5th Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35222 in the Avondale neighborhood.

History and Significance: Established in 1887, picturesque Avondale Park is one of Birmingham’s oldest parks supporting recreation for 135+ years in an iconic central location, full of memories and landmarks.

What to Expect: This spacious park contains athletic fields, playgrounds, walking paths, fountains, historic monuments, a gazebo, picnic areas and a scenic duck pond for visitors to enjoy recreation amid beautiful scenery.

Visitor Information: Avondale Park is freely open to the public daily 5am-11pm as a beloved community space operated by Birmingham Park & Recreation. Some facilities can be reserved.


Situated alongside Avondale’s bustling center, Avondale Park serves as a community oasis and hub for recreation and events.

History
Previously a worn-down eyesore neighborhood, Avondale Park underwent major revitalization thanks to the vision and efforts of community members and the City of Birmingham. In the early 2000s, nearly $3 million dollars were invested to rehabilitate the park into a source of community pride and unity. Walking trails, sports fields, a playground, and other amenities rose up transforming the once neglected greenspace. When Avondale Park reopened in 2006 after completion of renovations, it marked a new chapter focused on health, wellness, and positive childhood development.

Features/Amenities
Avondale Park contains facilities and equipment for keeping active and spending time outdoors. Adjacent to the walking track you’ll find outdoor exercise equipment like ellipticals and lat pull machines that community members are welcome to use for free. Multi-purpose fields accommodate sports practices and pickup soccer or football games.

For younger kids, the playground features exciting equipment including rope ladders, slides, and a movable rock wall they can climb. Shady gazebos and picnic areas provide space to gather for potlucks or family time. Special events from concerts to holiday celebrations often take place at the park’s pavilion and stage. Whether you come alone to jog a few laps or with a group to utilize the park’s amenities, Avondale Park has something for all ages.

Linn Park

Name and Location: Linn Park is located at 600 20th St N, Birmingham, AL 35203 spanning ten acres in downtown.

History and Significance: Opened in 1883 as one of Alabama’s first parks, Linn Park has historically served as Birmingham’s “Central Park” hosting key city events for 140 years around its iconic fountain centerpiece.

What to Expect: Linn Park contains green space, the Municipal Auditorium, Public Library, and elevated overlooks of the city along with historic architecture and landmarks surrounding making it iconic public gathering place.

Visitor Information: Linn Park is freely open to the public year-round from 6am to 11pm daily as an important city-operated downtown park space with ample adjacent parking.


Smack dab in the heart of downtown Birmingham, Linn Park serves as a hub and hangout spot amid the bustling city landscape.

History
Dating back to the origins of Birmingham, Linn Park opened to the public in 1887. Named after Birmingham industrialist, Alfred Linn, who provided partial funding for the park, Linn Park started out encompassing just four acres. Over the years it gradually expanded thanks to additional land acquisitions and came to anchor one prominent end of downtown’s 19th street.

During the Civil Rights era, Linn Park played host to numerous rallies and marches passed through on the way to City Hall. In more recent decades, revitalization projects have helped maintain Linn Park as an appealing public space citizens and visitors enjoy daily.

Features/Amenities
Given its downtown location, Linn Park unsurprisingly offers plenty of benches, grassy spots, and shady trees ideal for taking a lunch or coffee break. Scattered throughout are aesthetic sculptures like the oxidized steel statue titled “Trapeze” that make for unique photo backdrops. Children love the playground and interactive water fountain feature where 135 jets shoot streams of water two feet into the air.

Linn Park also contains several memorials honoring everything from military service members to civil rights leaders. Around the holidays, special events like ice skating alongside the park’s Christmas tree create festive seasonal memories. Whether passing through or spending an afternoon, Linn Park makes downtown Birmingham a little more vibrant.

Railroad Park

Name and Location: Railroad Park is located at 1600 1st Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35233 spanning 19 acres in downtown.

History and Significance: Opened in 2010, Railroad Park creatively transformed unused industrial railyards into an important modern green space, connecting downtown districts through beautiful landscaping and design.

What to Expect: Visitors enjoy open lawns, winding paths, a lake, playground, concert stage and unique railroad relic repurposing throughout the spacious park along with various community events and gatherings.

Visitor Information: Railroad Park is freely open to the public daily 7am-11pm as asignature downtown space. Some areas can be reserved for permitted events through the City of Birmingham.


As Birmingham’s largest green space, Railroad Park brings people together through wellness, play, and cultural experiences.

History
Previously old railroad tracks and warehouses, this spacious 19-acre property was revived thanks to years of planning and help from the city, organizations, and private donors. Opening in 2010, Railroad Park took an area once dividing neighborhoods and repurposed it into a beautiful space connecting communities. Additions like the Regions Field baseball park and outdoor concert venue, Haven, have only expanded Railroad Park’s offerings as a hub for recreation and entertainment.

Features/Amenities
From sports facilities to walking trails to art galleries, Railroad Park checks all the boxes for an amazing modern urban park. Soccer and baseball fields give community leagues and schools places to practice and compete, while the adult fitness zone features stationary exercise equipment. Adventure-seekers will love the skatepark and climbable art sculptures made from recycled materials.

The park also pays homage to its roots with historic railroad displays like a locomotive engine, railcar, and equipment telling the story of Birmingham’s industrial development. When you need a break, stop by one of the many cozy seating areas or the tranquil lake dubbed “The Bowl.”

The park also partners with local groups to offer free yoga, Zumba, arts programs, and more to get the whole community engaged. Whether passing through on a stroll or coming for a specific reason, Railroad Park will capture your attention.

East Lake Park

Name and Location: East Lake Park is located at 8701 1st Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35206 in the East Lake neighborhood.

History and Significance: Developed in 1889 around a picturesque lake, East Lake Park is one of Birmingham’s oldest parks, serving eastern recreation needs for over 130 years with iconic landmarks like the historic amphitheater.

What to Expect: Visitors enjoy walking trails, a swimming pool, playgrounds, sports fields, picnic facilities and the historic amphitheater against a beautiful wooded landscape with lake views.

Visitor Information: East Lake Park is freely open to the public daily 5am-9pm. Some amenities like the pool and amphitheater have season schedules and fees posted by Birmingham Park & Recreation.


Nestled around scenic East Lake, this Birmingham park beckons visitors to relax, play, or get out on the water.

History
Upon completion of nearby East Lake Dam in 1887, the lake and surrounding woodlands quickly became a popular natural retreat for skating, boating, and picnicking. In the decades following, East Lake Park continued taking shape with the construction of a bathhouse, bandshell, playgrounds, and other attractions for individuals, families, and groups to enjoy. Still today, East Lake Park remains a cherished recreational outlet in Birmingham.

Features/Amenities
Stretching over 130 acres, East Lake Park packs plenty to experience during a visit. Playgrounds, mini golf, sand volleyball courts, and a roller skating pavilion offer fun for all ages. Fishermen can try their luck casting lines into the lake from scenic wooden docks along the water’s edge.

Paddle boats, kayaks, canoes, and more are available to rent from the historic bathhouse. Walking trails meander by springs, rock formations, and other natural scenery native to the area. From sunrise to sunset, East Lake Park gives an easily accessible escape into nature without leaving Birmingham.

Historic Sloss Furnaces

Name and Location: Historic Sloss Furnaces is located at 20 32nd St N, Birmingham, AL 35222.

History and Significance: Sloss Furnaces operated from 1882-1971 as Birmingham’s first blast furnace and fuelled the city’s early growth, now preserved as an industrial museum and National Historic Landmark.

What to Expect: Visitors can explore the historic furnace site and museum exhibitions on Birmingham’s industrial heritage. Occasional events like concerts and metal arts workshops occur on-site as well.

Visitor Information: Sloss Furnaces offers public tours throughout the year. Admission fees apply with member and group discounts available. Facility rentals can also be booked through the museum office.


While not your typical city greenspace, Sloss Furnaces’ National Historic Landmark site does include unique industrial forest and trails perfect for exploring Birmingham’s roots.

History
At one point the Sloss Sheffield Steel and Iron Company spanned nearly 50 acres as temperatures inside its furnaces reached nearly 3000 degrees Fahrenheit smelting iron. Ceasing operations in 1970 after almost a century of steel production, old factory structures began crumbling as nature reclaimed parts of the site. Realizing historical and cultural value in the old ironworks, community efforts led to facility stabilization and the opening of Sloss as a park and museum in 1983.

Features/Amenities
Sloss Furnaces provides an opportunity to glimpse Birmingham’s rich industrial history firsthand. Tour guides share intriguing facts about the steaming, smoking, factory conditions workers faced in the early 1900s. Visitors can walk through the eerie yet striking blast furnace shells that resemble giant metal caverns today.

Along the outskirts, nearly 25 acres of land containing forest, creeks, and other nature trails invite joggers, families, and dog walkers to come explore. Special events like haunted houses and music performances also utilize the evocative industrial site for creative placemaking appealing to citizens across Birmingham.

Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve

Name and Location: Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve is located at 1214 81st St S, Birmingham, AL 35206.

History and Significance: Safeguarding over 1,000 acres of woodlands since 1977, Ruffner Mountain exists as an important urban nature sanctuary, recreational greenspace and outdoor classroom in Birmingham.

What to Expect: Hiking trails, tree canopy ziplining, wildlife observation areas, nature programs/exhibits, picnic grounds, geologic mine site ruins and more can be explored across ruggedly beautiful terrain.

Visitor Information: Ruffner Mountain has free general admission during daytime hours. Special tours, activities and the Tree Canopy Zip Line require paid tickets with seasonal schedules online.


Spanning over 1,000 acres, the Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve gives locals access to wilderness experiences alongside outdoor learning.

History
In 1977 concerned neighbors joined forces with The Nature Conservancy to stop limestone mining threatening Ruffner Mountain’s ecosystems. After extensive reclamation efforts planting native trees, removing debris, and rebuilding habitats, Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve opened allowing residents to enjoy and steward this natural asset. Now the reserve oversees numerous programs focused on research, education, and sustainable outdoor recreation that connect people to this treasured green space.

Features/Amenities
Ruffner Mountain offers more than 12 miles of multi-use trails and dirt paths winding through pine and oak forests, wildflower meadows, rocky ridges, and wetland systems. An interpretive center houses wildlife exhibits and guides visitors on where to spot everything from migratory birds to salamanders.

Monthly programs give all ages the chance to learn wilderness skills like archery, animal tracking, or reading nature’s signals. Special community events include autumn wildflower hikes, nighttime owl prowls, and even summer camp sessions for kids. For an immersive outdoor adventure close to town, Ruffner Mountain can’t be beat.

Homewood Central Park

Name and Location: Homewood Central Park is located at 1630 Columbiana Rd, Birmingham, AL 35216 in downtown Homewood.

History and Significance: Opened in 1925 around a desegrated swimming pool, Homewood Central Park has served as the recreational heartbeat of the community for nearly 100 years with iconic landmarks.

What to Expect: Visitors enjoy green lawns, walking paths, sports facilities, a pool, playground, skatepark and pavilions surrounded by Homewood’s shops and restaurants all centered beautifully around this historic park.

Visitor Information: Homewood Central Park is freely open to the public year-round dawn-to-dusk for basic access and recreation. Some amenities have seasonal hours and schedules posted by the City’s parks dept.


Nestled on the southern edge of Birmingham, Homewood Central Park balances bustling recreation facilities and peaceful nature trails across 175 sprawling acres.

History
Originally farmland, the site was steadily cultivated into a park space throughout the early 1900s all the way up to Homewood’s 50th anniversary when it officially opened to the public in 1976. Tennis facilities, ballparks, a recreation center, and wooded nature paths slowly took shape thanks to government funding and dedicated community effort over the decades. Today, Homewood Central Park remains both a hub for athletic activities as well as an oasis of windswept pines and tranquil ponds to enjoy the outdoors.

Features/Amenities
Homewood Central Park contains amenities to stay active as well as relax and play outdoors. Athletic complexes house numerous baseball, softball, soccer, and tennis facilities where local leagues frequently practice and compete. Inside the rec center residents can exercise at the indoor track, gymnasiums, weight rooms, or 25 yard pool.

Outside, nearly four miles of scenic nature trails lined by native plants take you through wetland areas, open fields, and peaceful pine/hardwood forest. Other outdoor features include two serene lakes for fishing, a frisbee golf course, and a sizable new all-abilities playground the whole family can explore together.

Oak Mountain State Park

Name and Location: Oak Mountain State Park is located at 200 Terrace Dr, Pelham, AL 35124 just outside Birmingham city limits.

History and Significance: Opened in 1962, Oak Mountain is Alabama’s largest state park spanning over 9,000 acres of woodlands, wetlands and recreation areas surrounding a scenic lake – one of the region’s treasures.

What to Expect: Oak Mountain offers visitors hiking, biking, horse trails, cabins, lake activities like kayaking, sandy beaches, golf, ziplines, nature programs and more across its sprawling natural landscape with stunning views.

Visitor Information: Oak Mountain State Park is open daily with an entrance fee applying per vehicle. Activity pricing, lodging and more info can be found through their website before visiting this must-see outdoor wonder.


Sprawling across nearly 10,000 acres, Oak Mountain State Park looms south of Birmingham as a natural playground full of adventure.

History
Initially founded as a demonstration recreation area by the National Park Service in the 1930s, facilities developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps helped establish Oak Mountain State Park in the early 1960s. Quickly becoming one of Alabama’s most popular state parks, expansions continued over the next several decades adding amenities like a golf course, lakeside beach, mountain biking trails, and the famous “Peavine Falls” cascade.

Features/Amenities
It’s easier listing what Oak Mountain State Park doesn’t offer rather than what amenities can be found across its vast acreage. In addition to basic comforts like picnic sites, RV hookups, and park cabins, Oak Mountain caters to almost every outdoor interest imaginable. Fishing, paddle sports, swimming, hiking trails, ziplines, geocaching adventures, bike trails, and horseback riding only scratch the surface.

Facilities like a full-service marina and pro-level golf course ensure beginners and experts alike find plenty to do. Of course, visitors can also just relax lakeside or take in the panoramic views from King’s Chair overlook any time of year. Truly an outdoor paradise, Oak Mountain State Park lets you tailor each visit to suit your needs.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Name and Location: Birmingham Botanical Gardens is located at 2612 Lane Park Road Birmingham, AL 35223.

History and Significance: Established in 1962, the Birmingham Botanical Gardens span 67 acres in Lane Park, conserving local flora alongside cultivated international plants as a beautiful educational public garden resource.

What to Expect: Visitors stroll through 25 themed gardens displaying over 12,000 different plants. Seasonal events, classes, exhibits and a gift shop create an engaging experience connecting people with nature and horticulture.

Visitor Information: The Gardens offer free Tuesday admission otherwise a fee applies. An annual membership is available and group tours can also be booked through their website or office.


Spread across 67 acres in Birmingham’s Lakeview district, the Birmingham Botanical Gardens display diverse decorative plants and tranquility.

History
The Birmingham Botanical Society formed in 1957 hoping to create for the city what other major southern metros enjoyed – a vibrant, beautiful outdoor space celebrating horticulture. After gradually acquiring adequate land, launching fundraising efforts, and starting construction plans, the Birmingham Botanical Gardens officially opened to the public in 1964.

Continued enhancements over the years such as expanded indoor facilities, gardens displays, and educational programming have firmly cemented the gardens as one of Alabama’s top attractions.

Features/Amenities
Showcasing around 12,000 different plants both indoors and out, the Birmingham Botanical Gardens dazzle year-round with vibrant flowers, foliage, trees, and captivating landscape design. Themed sections include an interactive children’s garden, serene Japanese gardens, aromatic herb garden, and rose garden claiming nearly 800 vibrantly colored blooms.

The gardens also feature tropical and temperate conservatories with plants ranging from waterlilies to orchids. Visitors will also appreciate amenities like outdoor dining at the Gardens Café, gift shop filled with botanical-inspired finds, and classroom space used for exciting horticultural programming. Whether you love learning, nature, photography, or just beauty – the Birmingham Botanical Gardens offer a perfect botanical escape right in the Heart of Dixie.

Conclusion


Birmingham overflows with fantastic greenspaces and parks worth getting out and experiencing first-hand. From the vibrant Five Points Parks complex downtown to the remote wilderness trails in Oak Mountain State Park, the Magic City offers a little something for all outdoor tastes.

Historic sites like Sloss Furnace let you delve into Birmingham’s past while parks like the Railroad Park and Birmingham Botanical Gardens display the city’s promising future.

Whether playing putt-putt with the kids at East Lake, meandering the Highland Park gardens, or competing with friends at Homewood Central’s athletic fields, Birmingham parks foster recreation, wellness, and community.

So next time you’re seeking sunshine and scenery, look no further than one of the 12 parks in Birmingham highlighted above. These beloved community gems promise refreshing outdoor adventures you’ll want to come back for again and again.

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