12 Things To Do With Family in Hoover, Alabama

Last Updated on February 28, 2024 by Emily Johnson


Hoover is a vibrant suburb located just south of Birmingham, Alabama. With a population of over 80,000 people, Hoover has plenty to offer visitors of all ages. From outdoor adventures and kid-friendly museums to unique dining and shopping experiences, Hoover truly has something for every member of the family.

Activity NumberActivity DescriptionActivity Type
1Explore a renowned science museumEducational
2Visit a picturesque nature preserveOutdoor/Recreational
3Enjoy interactive wildlife experiencesEducational/Recreational
4Experience thrilling outdoor adventuresOutdoor/Adventurous
5Discover local history and heritageEducational/Cultural
6Indulge in gourmet diningDining
7Shop at a major retail centerShopping
8Engage in community sports activitiesRecreational
9Relax at a serene botanical gardenRelaxation/Nature
10Participate in creative art workshopsArtistic/Creative
11Savor local flavors at popular eateriesDining
12Experience unique local attractionsEntertainment

The city is perhaps best known as home to the Riverchase Galleria, Alabama’s largest mall, featuring over 160 stores and restaurants. Yet beyond the Galleria, Hoover boasts a diverse array of attractions well-suited for quality family time. Here are 12 of the top things to do with family while visiting this Birmingham suburb.

Family-Friendly Museums


The Birmingham area is home to several unique and engaging museums perfect for inspiring young minds. Here are two popular picks in Hoover suited for all ages:

McWane Science Center

Name and Location: McWane Science Center

History and Significance: Open since 1998, the McWane Science Center is a large-scale, interactive science museum located in downtown Birmingham focused on educating visitors about science and technology through hands-on exhibits, demonstrations, and programming.

What to Expect: Families with kids can explore rotating exhibits covering topics like space, health, physics, and more while also participating in daily science demonstrations and activities. The center aims to provide fun, engaging ways to spark curiosity and interest in STEAM fields.

Visitor Information: Open daily 10am-5pm, located at 200 19th St N. Ticket pricing varies by age, discounts for Birmingham residents available. On-site parking garage is available. Timed ticketing required for some peak days.

With over 250 interactive exhibits and daily science shows and demonstrations, the McWane Science Center brings science and technology to life. Family favorites include the three-story Legacy Tree climbable structure as well as the Aqua Adventure and We Solve mysteries exhibits. Adults will also appreciate the informative displays detailing Birmingham’s history.

Moss Rock Preserve Interpretive Center

Name and Location: Moss Rock Preserve Interpretive Center

History and Significance: Located within Hoover’s Moss Rock Preserve nature park, this small center provides exhibits and programs focused on educating visitors about local environments, wildlife, and conservation efforts in an engaging format suited for families.

What to Expect: Families can explore kid-friendly exhibits on native Alabama plants and animals alongside information on protecting natural habitats. The center also offers regular wildlife presentations, guided hikes, scout programs and other family activities within the preserve.

Visitor Information: Free entry. Open daily 8am-4pm, trails open until sunset. Located off Moss Rock Drive. Parking on-site.


At the Moss Rock Preserve Interpretive Center, families can explore nature and history through indoor wildlife exhibits and hiking trails winding past unique rock formations. Kids will love getting hands-on with animal artifacts while parents can admire artifacts detailing centuries of human activity in the region.

Outdoor Activities


In addition to air-conditioned museums, Hoover offers plenty of family adventures to be had outdoors. Here are 5 top outdoor activities for visitors:

Biking the Hoover Trails System

Name and Location: Hoover Trails System

History and Significance: Comprised of over 45 miles of paved walking, running and biking paths spanning Hoover and connecting key green spaces, the Hoover Trails Network has promoted recreation, fitness and transportation for residents since development began along with Veterans Park in 1988.

What to Expect: Families and cycling enthusiasts flock to these scenic, well-maintained paths winding through neighborhoods, parks and woodlands across the city for a safe, easy way to get exercise and enjoy natural views. Mile markers help track distance.

Visitor Information: Paths open daily from dawn til dusk. Accessible from numerous trailheads and parks around Hoover. Maps available on city site. Pets allowed if leashed, bikes yield to pedestrians.

With over 30 miles of paved trails, Hoover’s impressive trail system is perfect for a family bike ride. Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy along the way or stop at a local park playground if the kids need to burn off steam.

Canoeing at the Cahaba River

Name and Location: Cahaba River

History and Significance: Winding over 190 miles across central Alabama, the Cahaba River is considered one of the most biologically diverse rivers in America, home to numerous fish and aquatic species as well as scenic landscapes along its remote stretches perfect for family canoeing adventures.

What to Expect: Families can explore the Cahaba by launching from various landings and sandbars near Birmingham then paddling downriver through lush forest and around limestone cliffs and shoals. It offers beautiful scenery teeming with wildlife sightings around every bend.

Visitor Information: Various public access launches around Helena. River levels fluctuate seasonally. Canoe rentals available from outfitters in Helena if needed. Pack food, water, sun protection.


For an outdoor experience unique to Alabama, rent canoes or kayaks to traverse down the Cahaba River. Along the way, families can appreciate the beautiful scenery and diverse wildlife visible from the water.

Fishing Hoover’s Lakes

Name and Location: Hoover’s Lakes

History and Significance: Hoover is home to several scenic small lakes that offer popular year-round fishing spots stocked by the state regularly with bass, bluegill, crappie and catfish. These peaceful getaways allow anglers of all ages to cast a line just minutes from home.

What to Expect: Families head out with rods and tackle boxes in tow to sites like Hidden Lake, Rainbow Lake, and Spain Park Lake known for catching good-sized fish including some trophy bass. Every outing offers a chance to reel in dinner or snap a photo with an impressive catch.

Visitor Information: Lakes open to licensed fishers daily 5am-10pm. Regular state restocking of various species.

Pack the fishing poles and tackle box for a relaxing day catching bass and crappie on one of Hoover’s many lakes. Popular picks include Inverness Lake, Liberty Lake or the retention ponds at Veteran’s Park or Spain Park.

Hiking at Oak Mountain State Park

Name and Location: Oak Mountain State Park

History and Significance: Spanning over 9,000 acres just outside Birmingham, Oak Mountain State Park has offered spectacular woodland scenery, 50+ miles of trails spanning ridges and valleys, cabins, a beach, and diverse outdoor recreation to Alabama residents since opened by the CCC in the 1930s.

What to Expect: Families flock here year-round to hike winding wooded trails of varying difficulty overlooking rock formations, creeks and small waterfalls. Mountain bike, horse trails also available along with cabins, kayaking, zip lining and more activities for all interests and ages.

Visitor Information: Located along Alabama 119. Open daily from dawn until 10PM. State park entry fees apply. Pets allowed on 6 foot leash.

Just minutes from Hoover, Oak Mountain State Park offers over 50 miles of hiking and biking trails traversing forested hills filled with oak and hickory trees. Pack a picnic to enjoy along scenic overlooks along the way.

Playing Disc Golf at Hoover Disc Golf Course

Name and Location: Hoover Disc Golf Course

History and Significance: Opened in 2019 within the Park at Hoover, the Hoover Disc Golf Course designed by Innova’s John Houck is an 18-hole championship-level course already gaining acclaim as one of Alabama’s top disc golf venues after just a few years.

What to Expect: Disc golfers can enjoy navigating wooded holes of varying length and difficulty across this hilly terrain while taking in scenic views. The course starts players out easier and gets progressively more challenging on the back 9 holes.

Visitor Information: Open daily 5am-10pm. No admission fee. Discs available to rent or buy on-site. Bathrooms and water fountains at the clubhouse. Scorecards and pencils provided to track your game.


For families seeking an unconventional outdoor challenge, try your hand playing disc golf on Hoover’s 18-hole course located along the Chesser-Patton trail. Bring your own discs or rent them on-site.

Family Dining Options


From quick bites to upscale cuisine, Hoover offers family dining options suited for parents and kids alike. Here are 5 top picks:

Bright Star Restaurant

Name and Location: Bright Star Restaurant

History and Significance: Family-owned and operated in Bessemer since 1907, the historic Bright Star Restaurant serves classic Greek and steakhouse fare in an elegant setting, earning numerous national accolades as Alabama’s oldest restaurant known for its warm hospitality and signature hot pickled shrimp.

What to Expect: Families savor the upscale yet comfortable ambiance with curtained booths, white tablecloths and bespoke interior along with expertly prepared seafood, aged beef and traditional sides at this fine-dining icon renowned for quality cuisine and service.

Visitor Information: Located at 304 19th St N in Bessemer. Open Tues-Sat for lunch and dinner. Reservations recommended. Valet parking available, additional lots nearby. Separate bar room offers first-come seating.

Alabama’s longest continuously operating restaurant serves up Southern comfort food in an elegant yet casual atmosphere. With kids’ menu options like fried shrimp and chicken fingers, even picky young eaters will walk away satisfied.

Downtown Pizza Company

Name and Location: Downtown Pizza Company

History and Significance: Founded in Huntsville, family-run Downtown Pizza Company has offered fresh, creative Neapolitan-style pizzas and Italian fare in a lively trattoria setting perfect for families since 2012. Itsscratch recipes and homemade flavors have diners returning again and again.

What to Expect: Patrons enjoy individually sized pizzas with inventive toppings, pastas, subs, salads and calzones in a laidback, family-friendly setting. The charming old-world decor and reasonable prices make this local mini-chain the perfect neighborhood Italian eatery.

Visitor Information: Open daily for lunch and dinner. Additional locations around Birmingham including Hoover. Order at counter then seat yourself. Delivery available. Kid’s menu offered along with specialty Dessert Pizza.

Located in Bluff Park, Downtown Pizza crafts generously sized New York-style pizzas with creative topping options. Families can choose their favorites or opt for the signature Downtown Special loaded with meats and veggies sure to satisfy.

Little Donkey Mexican Restaurant

Name and Location: Little Donkey Mexican Restaurant

History and Significance: Inspired by Mexico City tradition, Homewood’s Little Donkey brought authentic regional street fare like tacos, tortas and Mexican seafood cocktails to Birmingham diners when it opened its doors and colorful patio in 2018, fast becoming a family-favorite.

What to Expect: Families dig into freshly made tacos heaped with proteins like succulent brisket barbacoa and chorizo or rich, lightly fried fish paired with house salsas and garnishes using family recipes. Margaritas, juices and desserts provide added flavor.

Visitor Information: Open daily 11am-9pm, located along 18th St S in Homewood. Casual counter-service interior with patio seating. Kid’s menu offerings.walk-ins welcome but waits common at peak times.

At this vibrant taqueria, families can fill up on Mex-Tex favorites like tacos, quesadillas loaded nachos and more, with special kids’ plates available. The festive interior decorated with colorful piñatas makes Little Donkey especially appealing for younger visitors.

Saigon Noodle House

Name and Location: Saigon Noodle House

History and Significance: Serving the Birmingham area for over 25 years, family-owned Saigon Noodle House offers expertly prepared Vietnamese dishes in a casual yet upscale setting perfect for groups with options sure to appeal to kids and adults alike.

What to Expect: Diners explore Vietnamese flavors and traditions through Saigon’s broad menu spanning noodle bowls, rice plates, seafood, beef and tofu entrees. Kids gobble up crunchy egg rolls while parents savor steaming pho soup and savory claypot dishes at this local favorite.

Visitor Information: Open Tuesday-Sunday for lunch and dinner, closed Mondays. Located off Hwy 280. Reservations suggested for parties 6+. Full bar and extensive wine list offered.

For an international dining adventure, take the whole family out for Vietnamese pho soups, bánh mì sandwiches and bubble teas at this popular local eatery. Affordable prices make Saigon Noodle House family budget-friendly.

Silver Coin Indian Grill

Name and Location: Silver Coin Indian Grill

History and Significance: Serving the Birmingham community since 1985, family-owned Silver Coin Indian Grill brings the vibrant flavors of regional Indian cuisine to its patrons through expertise passed down across three generations while adapting recipes to appeal to American diners.

What to Expect: Families delight in savoring specialty Indian dishes from rich curries, fluffy biryanis and masala dosas to crispy samosas paired with chai, lassi yogurt drinks and other traditional beverages. Kids love the sweet gulab jamun desserts.

Visitor Information: Open daily for lunch and dinner at 2821 John Hawkins Pkwy. Delivery available. Dad’s Club offers discounts for dads dining with family. Full bar and lunch buffet offered.

Travel to India without the passport at Silver Coin, serving authentic Indian curries, kabobs, biryanis and more. Families can sample a range of flavors sure to tantalize young and seasoned palates alike.

Unique Shopping Opportunities


When ready to pick up some unique local wares during your Hoover travels, be sure to browse these distinctive shopping spots:

Riverchase Galleria

Name and Location: Riverchase Galleria

History and Significance: Opened in 1986, Riverchase Galleria is Alabama’s largest enclosed mall spanning over 1.2 million sq ft with anchor department stores, specialty boutiques, entertainment and dining bringing shoppers from across the state to its shops for over 35 years.

What to Expect: Shoppers can browse shops like H&M, Aldo, Build-A-Bear Workshop alongside local retailers for everything from fashion to gifts to specialty goods. When tired of spending, visitors can refuel at eateries and take in a movie.

Visitor Information: Located off I-459 at Hwy 150. Open Mon-Sat 10am-9pm, Sun 12pm- 6pm. Extended holiday hours offered. Free indoor parking garages as well as lots available. Wheelchairs and strollers on request.


As Alabama’s largest mall, the Riverchase Galleria offers all the typical chain shops and eateries families expect in a major shopping center. Unique options range from upscale boutiques like Arhaus Furniture to the LEGO store sure to inspire young builders.

Pepper Place Market

Name and Location: Pepper Place Market

History and Significance: Running since 2000, Birmingham’s Pepper Place Market brings local farmers, growers and artisans together every Saturday to offer fresh seasonal produce, breads, meats, cheeses and handcrafted goods downtown under Market Shed pavilions.

What to Expect: Farm-fresh veggies and fruits, fragrant baked goods and handmade artworks draw crowds every weekend to wander stalls while live music plays. The family-friendly scene includes arts, crafts and activities for kids along with tempting fried treats and lemonade.

Visitor Information: Open every Saturday April-December, 7AM to 12PM. Located at 2829 2nd Ave S. Free admission. Paid parking in nearby decks and lots if no street spot. ATMs on site.


On Saturday mornings, local farmers, artists and other vendors convene in Birmingham’s Pepper Place entertainment district. Families can pick up fresh local produce, sample artisan foods, observe artists at work and more while enjoying live music.

The Whole Backstage

Name and Location: The Whole Backstage

History and Significance: Founded in 2004, community-focused shop The Whole Backstage supports creative culture in Birmingham by offering a diverse array of gifts, clothing, accessories, toys, décor and more while providing retail space and opportunity to over 100 local artists and makers.

What to Expect: Shoppers delight in exploring the rows of local art, prints, jewelry, apparel and apothecary goods made regionally with artistic vision and care that make for meaningful gifts ideal for all ages. Kids love the whimsical toys and stuffed animals.

Visitor Information: Located off 7th Ave S downtown. Open Mon-Sat 10am- 6pm. Validated parking. Shop services like gift wrapping available. Events and art openings hosted regularly.


Located in Bluff Park, the Whole Backstage offers an intriguing array of antiques, boutique clothing, records and other unique wares. Kids are sure to enjoy exploring while parents hunt for special vintage finds.

The Summit Shopping Center

Name and Location: The Summit Shopping Center

History and Significance: Open since 1997, The Summit brings together over 60 retailers from luxury fashion to specialty gifts and homewares befitting of an upscale lifestyle into an architecturally stunning open-air property drawing affluent shoppers from across the region.

What to Expect: Families browse high-end stores with products curated for those who value style, taste and experience featuring brands like Apple, lululemon, Kendra Scott and Southern superstar cookbook author Stacey Little alongside dining hotspots offering refined yet approachable atmospheres.

Visitor Information: Located off I-459 in Birmingham. Open Mon- Sat 10am-9pm, Sun 12pm-6pm. Extended holiday hours offered. Valet parking available alongside covered and surface lots. Luxury concierge services onsite.


This outdoor lifestyle center located on US-280 offers high-end shopping and dining in a pedestrian-friendly environment. Teens and parents alike will enjoy browsing clothing boutiques and specialty shops before unwinding with a coffee or casual meal.

Conclusion


From world-class museums and outdoor adventures to family dining and shopping, Hoover offers plenty of attractions for a memorable family getaway. With interactive experiences and activities tailored for kids and kids at heart alike, the whole family is sure create special memories while exploring everything this Birmingham suburb has to offer.

So bring the whole family to discover why Hoover is an ideal vacation spot for visitors of all ages. Whether you spend the day canoeing down the Cahaba or sampling Vietnamese soups, adventure awaits in Alabama’s vibrant Hoover community.

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