12 Things To Do in Montgomery, Alabama

Last Updated on February 24, 2024 by Emily Johnson


Montgomery is Alabama’s capital city, packed with history, culture and entertainment for all interests. As the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement, Montgomery has a fascinating story. Visitors can learn about the city’s past struggles and triumphs at museums and historic sites while also enjoying Southern hospitality and cuisine.

ActivityDescription
Explore Civil Rights HistoryVisit the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the Legacy Museum.
Tour Civil Rights SitesSee Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, Rosa Parks Museum, and Freedom Rides Museum.
Civil Rights Memorial CenterFeatures a monument and timeline of the Civil Rights Movement.
Taste Southern CookingEnjoy barbecue at Dreamland Bar-B-Que.
Visit the Alabama State CapitolExplore the historical state capitol building.
Montgomery Museum of Fine ArtsSee rare artifacts and art collections.
Montgomery Performing Arts CentreCatch a show or concert.
Riverwalk StadiumAttend a Montgomery Biscuits baseball game.
F. Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald MuseumExplore the lives of these literary figures.
Old Alabama TownExperience a living history village.
Kress BuildingShop and dine in this eclectic location.
Montgomery ZooAdmire a variety of animals and nature.

With its revitalized riverfront downtown area full of restaurants, performance venues, minor league baseball games, and outdoor adventures, Montgomery caters to all ages. Here are 12 of the top things to do during your Montgomery visit:

Explore Civil Rights History at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and Legacy Museum

Name and Location: The National Memorial for Peace and Justice and Legacy Museum are located in downtown Montgomery, Alabama.

History and Significance: Opened in 2018, these landmarks are dedicated to the legacy of enslaved people and victims of lynching. The memorial commemorates thousands of lynching victims while the museum explores slavery, discrimination and injustice.

What to Expect: Visitors encounter over 800 steel memorials hung at the memorial site, one for each U.S. county where lynchings occurred. The museum uses collections and exhibits to illuminate human stories and make connections to modern issues.

Visitor Information: The memorial and museum are open daily aside from Mondays and major holidays. Timed entry tickets should be purchased online in advance when possible.


The National Memorial for Peace and Justice is the United States’ first memorial dedicated to the legacy of enslaved Black people and victims of lynching. The visually striking monument contains over 800 steel columns inscribed with names of lynching victims from different counties. As you walk through, a sense of somber reflection takes over while learning about America’s systematic racial inequality and the decades-long struggle for equal rights.

Across the street, the Legacy Museum uses interactive media and exhibits to connect America’s history of racial injustice to present-day issues. Visitors walk through a historical timeline from slavery through the Civil Rights Movement to the tragedy of mass incarceration in modern times. Both the memorial and museum aim to spark a national reckoning regarding race and justice in America.

Take an Inspirational Tour of Key Civil Rights Sites

Name and Location: Key civil rights history sites are located throughout Montgomery and Alabama.

History and Significance: Alabama played a central role in the civil rights movement through events like the 1955-56 Montgomery Bus Boycott, Freedom Rides of 1961 and the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches. Historic churches, homes, museums and government buildings help tell this story.

What to Expect: Visitors can take guided or self-guided tours of landmarks like the Alabama State Capitol, Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, Rosa Parks Museum and the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma where seminal civil rights events occurred.

Visitor Information: Trip planning assistance is available through the Civil Rights Trail website listing memorial sites, museums and tour options by city.


No visit to Montgomery is complete without seeing the key landmarks from the 1950s/60s Civil Rights Movement:

Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church – where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. served as pastor from 1954-1960 and led the famous Montgomery Bus Boycott
Rosa Parks Museum – honors the “Mother of the Civil Rights Movement” and marks the site where she boarded the segregated city bus on December 1, 1955
Freedom Rides Museum – Recounts the 1961 Freedom Rides and honors those who fought segregation in interstate bus terminals across the South.


Civil Rights Memorial Center

Name and Location: The Civil Rights Memorial Center is located in Montgomery, Alabama.

History and Significance: Opened in 1989, the Civil Rights Memorial Center honors 40 martyrs of the American civil rights movement through architecture, art and exhibits. The civil rights memorial itself is an iconic work by Maya Lin.

What to Expect: Visitors view the engraved granite memorial depicting the major events of the movement flowing like water. Exhibits inside provide biographical information on memorialized civil rights martyrs. Book/gift shops are also onsite.

Visitor Information: The Memorial Center offers hourly tours daily aside from major holidays. Plan to spend at least one hour visiting the site and exhibits.

Displays the monument to 41 slain civil rights activists plus a circular timeline of the Movement’s major events. These sites vividly retell Montgomery’s defining role in ending legal segregation and give heartfelt perspective into what life was like for African Americans prior to achieving equal rights under the law.

Taste Southern Cooking at Dreamland Bar-B-Que

Name and Location: Dreamland Bar-B-Que is a southern restaurant with several locations in and around Montgomery, Alabama.

History and Significance: Founded in 1958, Dreamland is iconic for its hickory-smoked barbecue ribs, wings and signature sauce. Its original location dubs itself “the birthplace of barbecue” though several newer locations now operate locally.

What to Expect: Diners can feast on smokey, saucy barbecue dishes from ribs to pulled pork sandwiches. Expect a casual, counter-service atmosphere with blues music playing overhead. Take-out and catering are popular.

Visitor Information: Dreamland is open daily for lunch and dinner. Reservations are not accepted aside from large groups. Delivery is available within 5 miles.


For delicious Alabama barbecue, make your way to Dreamland Bar-B-Que located in a former railroad warehouse near downtown. Known as some of the best ribs in the country, locals and tourists flock here to feast on melt-in-your-mouth smoked meats paired with sweet tea, banana pudding and tasty sides.

Enjoy the welcoming Dixie hospitality and lively atmosphere at this Montgomery staple since 1958. With its charming vintage interior and scrumptious fare, Dreamland encapsulates Southern comfort food at its finest.

Explore the Beautiful Alabama State Capitol

Name and Location: The Alabama State Capitol is located in downtown Montgomery.

History and Significance: Completed in 1851, the Alabama capitol houses the state legislature and governors office. It served as the first Confederate capitol building. The Greek Revival structure stands as an architectural and political landmark for Alabama.

What to Expect: Guided tours showcase the capitol’s antique furniture, 20th century classical paintings commissioned by the state, and former governors’ portraits. The dome and observation deck provide panoramic city views.

Visitor Information: Free guided tours are offered on weekdays. Self-guided tour pamphlets are also available. The capitol is open to visitors weekdays aside from state holidays.


The stately Alabama State Capitol building stands prominently over downtown. Completed in 1851, the Greek Revival-style structure served as the Confederacy’s first capitol building during the Civil War before becoming the seat of Alabama’s state government. Guided tours showcase the ornate interior design, antique furnishings and vast rotunda crowned by a sparkling glass skylight.

Outside, stroll through the lush 22 acre Capitol complex filled with memorials honoring Alabamians who served in America’s wars along with other history markers. With free admission, touring these government grounds makes for an enjoyable, free activity to better understand Alabama’s rich heritage.

See Rare Artifacts at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts

Name and Location: The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts is located in Blount Cultural Park in Montgomery, AL.

History and Significance: Founded in 1930, this leading fine arts museum houses American art ranging from the 18th century to contemporary works. Its holdings emphasize American impressionism, Southern regional art, and Native American painting/artifacts.

What to Expect: Visitors explore galleries showcasing permanent collections and rotating exhibits highlighting celebrated artists. Community events, kids’ activities, shopping and dining make it an arts destination.

Visitor Information: The art museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays year-round. Admission is free aside from some special exhibits/events.


Within a stunning blaze-red building lies the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, housing impressive collections of American art plus world-class rotating exhibits. See the iconic painting Eduoard Vuillard’s Place Vintimille Paris, rare Faberge eggs and Qing dynasty treasures from China along with works by regional favorites like Alabama clay artist Nellie Mae Rowe.

Art fans of all ages appreciate the MMFA’s stunning displays, hands-on gallery activities and scenic outdoor sculpture garden. Drop into the gift store before leaving to pick up unique, artsy mementos and support the museum’s cultural offerings.

Catch a Show at the Montgomery Performing Arts Centre

Name and Location: The Montgomery Performing Arts Centre is a theater venue located downtown in Montgomery, AL.

History and Significance: Opened in 1985 after an extensive renovation, the MPAC presents touring Broadway productions, concerts, comedy acts and other events in an historic former movie house. It works to make culture affordable/accessible.

What to Expect: The intimate 1,800 seat theatre allows good views of high caliber performances by touring artists and productions. MPAC’s annual season spans classical music, dance, family fare and more.

Visitor Information: Tickets for MPAC events can be purchased online, by phone or at the box office. Self-parking garages offer event parking nearby.


Whether you love plays, concerts, comedy shows or musicals, the state-of-the-art Montgomery Performing Arts Centre offers dynamic entertainment year-round. Watch Broadway productions like Wicked and Jersey Boys grace the dazzling main stage theater or see fan favorites like Sutton Foster in the more intimate cabaret theater.

The Riverwalk Amphitheater along the Alabama River also hosts MPAC outdoor performances against a picturesque backdrop. From jazz jams to dance troupes, the performing arts venue calendar overflows with options sure to impress visiting culture vultures.

Attend a Baseball Game at Riverwalk Stadium

Name and Location: Riverwalk Stadium is the home field of the Montgomery Biscuits minor league baseball team located downtown along the Alabama River.

History and Significance: Constructed in 2004, the stadium anchors Montgomery’s Riverwalk park system. It hosts over 70 home games yearly for the Tampa Bay Rays AA affiliate team before over 7,000 cheering fans. Fireworks and promotions keep things lively all season.

What to Expect: Attendees enjoy affordable Triple-A caliber baseball with southeastern hospitality. The park features nice sightlines, concessions, and family-friendly promos like balloon artists and Sunday kids activities.

Visitor Information: Single/season tickets can be purchased online. Games run March-September. Guided tours are available on non-game days.


Cheer for the hometown Montgomery Biscuits minor league baseball team as they play at Riverwalk Stadium located right downtown by the Alabama River. The family-fun atmosphere makes Biscuits games a hit for all ages with cute mascot characters, between-innings entertainment and fireworks nights.

Splurge for field-level seats or grab cheap lawn tickets – either vantage point lets you soak up the festivities at one of America’s favorite pastimes. Of course, no baseball game is complete without munching hot dogs, popcorn, peanuts and ice cold drinks!

Explore F. Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald Museum

Name and Location: The F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum is located in Montgomery’s historic Old Alabama Town district downtown.

History and Significance: Opened in 1989, this museum celebrates renowned writers F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda through exhibits displaying artifacts, photos, artwork and first edition novels exploring their lives and influence.

What to Expect: Museum displays trace the couple’s upbringing in Alabama, tumultuous marriage and fame alongside early drafts of The Great Gatsby and save the Last Dance. A audio tour narrates Fitzgerald stories while costumed guides offer tours.

Visitor Information: The Fitzgerald Museum offers guided tours daily aside from major holidays. An admission fee is charged with discounts for seniors, students, military families and children.


Montgomery was home to the famous Jazz Age novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald and his eccentric Southern Belle wife Zelda. Tour their unique Tudor cottage to see first editions of THE GREAT GATSBY plus personal artifacts like Zelda’s artwork.

Costumed guides share stories from the couple’s tumultuous life together full of literary success, lavish European travels, wild all-night parties and ultimately mental health struggles. History buffs gain interesting context of Montgomery’s cultural landscape during the early 20th century that inspired some of Fitzgerald’s greatest literary works.

Stroll through Old Alabama Town

Name and Location: Old Alabama Town is an open-air historic village located in downtown Montgomery’s Landmark Historic District.

History and Significance: Established by the Landmarks Foundation in 1976, Old Alabama Town preserves over 50 historic 19th and 20th century buildings depicting Alabama life for visitors to explore through self-guided tours.

What to Expect: Guests tour restored buildings from log cabins to a mansion, schoolhouse, shops and more relocated from across Alabama. Community events, educational programs and changing exhibits portray state history in an immersive village setting.

Visitor Information: Old Alabama Town is open daily for self-guided exploration. An admission fee supports preservation and educational efforts. Facility rentals are available.


Escape into Montgomery’s past with a visit to Old Alabama Town – a living history village located inside Landmark Park. The recreated 19th century town transports you back to Alabama life in the 1860s.

Tour log cabins furnished with antiques, a mansion designed like the state’s first governor’s home, an old-timey schoolhouse and shops manned by costumed interpreters demonstrating traditional trades like blacksmithing, quilting and printing using antique equipment. Special events like Civil War reenactments, summer camps and holiday celebrations make history come alive at this engaging outdoor museum.

Shop & Dine in Eclectic Kress Building

Name and Location: The Kress Building is located in downtown Montgomery along Commerce Street.

History and Significance: Built in 1930, the historic Kress Building recently transformed into a hub for shopping small, boutiques, dining and events. Its redevelopment helps spur downtown revitalization using a beloved landmark structure.

What to Expect: The Kress Building houses over a dozen boutique shops, a food hall with artisan restaurants, loft co-working spaces and venues hosting regular community events. Slate contemporary American cuisine anchors the culinary options.

Visitor Information: The Kress shops and most restaurants are open daily with varying hours. Parking is available streetside or in nearby public garages.


Kress Building’s tagline sums it up best – “Eat Shop Stay”. The adaptive re-use project transformed an old department store at a prime downtown corner into a thriving hub with shops, eateries and loft apartments. Grab lunch at hip Prevail Union restaurant, browse gifts at Alabama Goods store, admire the grand architecture and soak up the vibe in Montgomery’s coolest urban hangout.

After visiting civil rights landmarks earlier in the day, Kress Building provides a nice modern contrast revealing how the city now flourishes thanks to the tireless work of pioneers who fought oppression in past decades.

Admire Nature at the Montgomery Zoo

Name and Location: The Montgomery Zoo is located in Montgomery, Alabama.

History and Significance: Founded in 1920, the 40-acre Montgomery Zoo connects visitors with over 500 animals. It emphasizes family fun through rides, shows and amusement activities while also focusing on conservation and education about wildlife wonders.

What to Expect: Zoo visitors encounter animals from giraffes to gorillas in naturalistic habitats across exhibit zones Forest, Coast, Plains, Wetlands and the Children’s Zoo. Seasonal events, a train, carousel and splash park add kid-friendly appeal.

Visitor Information: The Montgomery Zoo is open most days year-round aside from Thanksgiving and Christmas with seasonal hours. Zoo memberships, entry tickets and ride tickets are available.


Spanning over 40 verdant acres, the Montgomery Zoo serves as a delightful oasis just minutes from Alabama’s capital city. This well-kept zoo houses over 700 animals representing over 200 species from adorable meerkats to magnificent tigers, orangutans, alligators and more.

Feed friendly parakeets in the tropical aviary or enjoy camel rides around the grounds during daily shows. Special elephant feedings let kids get up close with the gentle giants. Affordable pricing plus conveniently paved paths makes Montgomery Zoo a wonderful way to spend a few hours communing with amazing beasts from Earth’s furthest corners.

Conclusion


From powerfully confronting Alabama’s civil rights history to current entertainment, culinary and cultural attractions, Montgomery provides an immersive experience into the Heart of Dixie. Families, couples and solo travelers can all craft an enriching itinerary here full of impactful learning opportunities plus good old-fashioned Southern fun. Whether your first time visiting the capital city or you live nearby looking for new activities, these 12 things ensure an unforgettable Montgomery trip.

When ready to start planning your Alabama getaway, check visitor resources like the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce and Montgomery Convention & Visitor Bureau websites to find deals on hotels and discover calendar events happening during your travel dates. With an open mind to understand struggles of the past and celebrate progress made, Montgomery’s doors open wide to welcome all visitors.

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