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10 Best Things to Do in Alabama

Suny Errot

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Football may be the first thing that comes to mind when you hear “Alabama,” but make no mistake – there’s a lot more in store for you! Alabama has a lot of history, and when there’s a lot of history, there’s guaranteed to be some very interesting attractions. Here are the 8 best things to do in Alabama – complete with trips to amazing tourist attractions, natural landmarks, parks, sports, and other distinct events.

1. Watch the Iron Bowl

Iron Bowl 2017
Source: Iron Bowl 2017 | Getty Images/Kevin C. Cox

The Iron Bowl is a famous American college football rivalry game between the Crimson Tide of the University of Alabama and Tigers of Auburn University. Take the opportunity to watch a game if you happen to be around the area, and experience an amazing night of a solid match and a hyped crowd! If you’re a fan, then get ready to see some of the best players in the country! Outsiders may only get secondary tickets because the primary tickets are sold out in their respective colleges. So if you know someone from the Crimson Tide or Tigers, shoot them a call right away!

2. Attend the Hangout Music Festival

Hangout Music Festival
Source: Hangout Music Festival | IMDB

The Hangout Music Festival started in 2010, and up to this day, it’s still considered a big thing. It showcases the wonderful acts of different music artists every spring and is held for three days by the Alabama coastline. The Hangout Music Festival will not only give you top-tier concert experience, but you’ll also get to enjoy the beaches of Gulf Shores!

3. Watch Theatre Plays at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival

Alabama Shakespeare Festival
Source: Alabama Shakespeare Festival | WSFA

The Alabama Shakespeare Festival launches around 12 productions per year, three of which focuses on the works of the English poet, William Shakespeare. Other plays tackle classical and modern genres that convey Southern themes. Tickets can be booked through the Alabama Shakespeare Festival website, and you can save more bucks if you watch as a group. Guidelines per show are also available there so you can check out whether the play you want to watch is child-friendly.

4. Visit the U.S. Space and Rocket Center

Operated by the government of Alabama, this museum is located in the city of Huntsville and recognizes the accomplishments of the U.S. Space Program. The U.S. Space and Rocket Center started after the Apollo 12 moon landing in 1970. It is one of the largest space museums, with a wide array of space artifacts (1,500 pieces) such as spacecraft, rockets, and engines. There are a lot of activities you can do while visiting the space and rocket center like checking out the Davidson Center which showcases the Saturn V 500D/F moon rocket. You could also watch shows and movies in its Discover Theater and Spacedome IMAX Theater. For a different experience, visit the interactive attractions and simulation, as well as the Rocket Park!

Amazing, right? Now that’s what you call out of this world!

Note: Children aged 4 and under are entitled to free admission.

5. Get a Signed Book From Alabama Booksmith

The Alabama Booksmith
Source: Alabama Booksmith

The Alabama Booksmith is a dream haven for book lovers. It’s considered a must-go-to place because it is one of a kind. Why? They only sell author-signed books. They are strict with the titles they sell, and it has more to do with the fact that they have read all the books they are selling. Alabama Booksmith charges extra fees for rare or out-of-print, and sell regular signed books at its regular retail price.

6. See the Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum

Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum
Source: Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum | TheFitzgeraldMuseum

Spouses Francis Scott (famous for The Great Gatsby) and Zelda Fitzgerald were both American writers and famous figures during the Jazz Age. If you want to learn more about them, you can start by joining a tour and visiting the museum devoted to their legacy. The museum used to be the residence of the family for a few years. The first floor serves as the museum full of photos, memorabilia and other possessions of the Fitzgeralds, while the second floor now serves as an Airbnb with two suites.

7. Drink a Few Shots at the Collins Bar

Sometimes, one of the best things to do in Alabama is to simply find one hell of a good time. There’s no need to look further because it’s probably here in this craft-cocktail emporium! It’s ironic because Collins Bar doesn’t have an actual cocktail menu. Instead, they just tell their customers, “Tell us what you like, we’ll take it from there”. The bar started 6 years ago and for four consecutive years, they are known as the best bar in Birmingham. The ambiance gives a vintage vibe with paper airplanes hanging up and a periodic table of elements displayed in the counter. If you come here, just trust the bartenders!

8. Have a Deeper Understanding About Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
Source: Birmingham Civil Rights Institute | Yelp/Anna

The Civil Rights Institute opened in 1992 and it showcases the conditions of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s. The exhibits, artifacts on display, and the research center provide some significant perspectives into the history of the struggles of African-American people’s human rights.

9. Try Kayaking in the Paint Rock River

Paint Rock River
Source: Paint Rock River | Wikimedia Commons

The waters from this river come from Tennessee River. There aren’t many tourists who travel to Paint Rock River so it’s one of the best places you should go to when you want to experience solitude. Rent a kayak to ride through the rivers and appreciate its natural form!

10. Appreciate Natural History in the Cathedral Caverns State Park

Parks will continue to be great destinations no matter where it is. In this case, the Cathedral Caverns State Park is best known for its cave tours and picnicking. One of the main tourist attractions here is called the “Bats Cave” where you can go bat watching. One of the largest stalagmites in the world (around 45 feet), or the “Goliath,” is located here. To give this place an even bigger recognition it clearly deserves, you should know that the Cathedral Caverns appeared in two films: “Secrets of the Phantom Caverns” and Disney’s “Tom and Huck.”


What activity do you think is the best thing to do in Alabama?

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