From the capital of the Confederacy to the birthplace of the modern civil rights movement, Montgomery, Alabama, has a long and remarkable history. Its many landmarks include the Rosa Parks Library and Museum, the Civil Rights Memorial, and the Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum, as well as its hospitality and charm.
The Selma to Montgomery March in 1965 was a defining moment of the modern Civil Rights Movement. The city still preserves many of its historical sites, and is an indispensable stop for history buffs.
Whether its fresh Gulf seafood and local meats at Central or the Walk thru Fire Pancakes at Red Bluff Cottage Bed and Breakfast, nothing beats authentic Montgomery cuisine.
The birthplace of Nat King Cole, Big Mama Thornton, and Hank Williams, Montgomery is the perfect city to enjoy live music; head to 1048 Jazz and Blues and Sous La Terre.
The Alabama Shakespeare Festival, one of the 10 largest Shakespeare festivals in the world, and the Southern Writers' Project Festival of New Plays can be enjoyed each year at the State Theater in Montgomery.
Montgomery offers a variety of fun outdoor activities, including kayak fishing, whitewater rafting, Segway tours, and go karting.
The Alabama State Capitol, otherwise known as the "First Confederate Capital", has been named a US National Historic Landmark. The infamous Selma to Montgomery march led during the Civil Rights movement ended on the steps of the Capitol where Martin Luther King Jr. demanded an end to racial discrimination in Alabama. The building was designed to mimic the architecture of ancient Greece, with a visually stunning stained-glass dome directly above the inner rotunda. On these same grounds you will also find the Confederate Memorial Monument which stands in tribute to those who died in the former Confederacy in the Civil War.
There's no way to avoid paying tribute to Montgomery's central role in the fight for Civil Rights when visiting Alabama. The Center commemorates 41 people who were killed in the struggle including Emmett Louis-Till, Medgar Evars and Martin Luther King Jr. The museum is both profoundly educational and sobering, with a clear purpose to continue these martyrs' legacies in the fight for equality. Alongside these martyrs' stories is a 56-seat theater, educational classrooms and a Wall of Tolerance which displays the names of half a million people who have committed to bringing justice and ending inequality.
Continue walking in the footsteps of Reverend Dr. King when you visit this Baptist Church in which he first started preaching in 1954. The Montgomery Bus Boycott was organized in the church's very basement. Today, the church remains a popular place of worship where visitors can attend Sunday school classes, bible study or worship services. For those who would like to see the building without participating in religious activities, you can easily schedule a tour online to view the grounds and learn more about Martin Luther King's time here.
Montgomery also boasts a surprisingly robust art collection from both American and European artists of the 19th and 20th centuries. The museum does a great job of showcasing Southern artists as well as to keep its artistic routes firmly grounded in the local culture. In addition, the museum puts a special emphasis on education as part of its community outreach program, which is great for tourists as well. Spend the day exploring the interactive ARTWORKS gallery, which offers interpretations of art works for children in a hands-on and engaging way.
Visit the ancestral home of President Jefferson Davis, who made this building the First White House when the Confederacy of the United States was based in Montgomery. Learn more about the history of the Civil War from a different perspective while viewing historic relics, photographs and documents during one of the home's guided tours. In addition, the museum regularly hosts school field trips and educational speaker series. Even if you don't end up spending that much time exploring the former First White House, it's convenient location in the heart of downtown makes it easy to reach from all of the other notable Montgomery sites you may enjoy during your visit.
Montgomery has a humid subtropical climate with mild winters and hot summers. If you're not one for the heat, the best times to visit are the spring and fall, when temperatures average 60 to 75.
Montgomery Regional Airport (MGM) connects to Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Charlotte. Taxi fares from the airport to downtown average $25.
I-65, a north-south freeway between Birmingham and Huntsville to the north and Mobile to the south, and I-85, another north-south freeway to Atlanta, both run through Montgomery.
Greyhound and Megabus both have service to Montgomery from Mobile, Atlanta, and New Orleans, among others. Private shuttle buses are available from the airport.
Try the Embassy Suites Hotel, a high-rise with full amenities; the Red Bluff Cottage, a quaint downtown inn with a view of the Alabama River; and the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel, featuring a rooftop pool, luxury rooms, and three restaurants.
Downtown Montgomery - Downtown Montgomery is home to the Alabama State Capitol, Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King Jr. was a pastor, as well as many hotels, restaurants, and shops.
Garden District - the Garden District is home to the Dr. C.A. Thigpen House, the Church of the Ascension, and the Alabama Governor's Mansion.
Dalraida - the Dalraida neighborhood is home to Montgomery's largest shopping malls, the Eastdale Mall and The Shoppes at Eastchase.
Montgomery Transit (The M) provides public bus transportation throughout the city. An $18 weekly fixed route pass is available.
Cab companies in Montgomery include Wilson Cab Company, On Time Taxi, and Alabama Taxi.
Though traffic in the city can be hectic, Montgomery has six public parking lots, which are free Monday through Thursday from 6 pm to 6 am and from 6 pm Friday to 6 am Monday.
Downtown Montgomery features a host of great shopping spots, including the SAC's Gallery, which showcases the work of local artists. The Eastbrook Antique Mall near Dalraida houses 300 vendors selling everything from furniture to glassware, while the Eastdale Mall has an array of fashion, gifts, and accessories for the whole family.
The Fresh Market sells locally sourced products as well as a gourmet selection of take-out; Renfroe's Market, a local favorite, features a large selection of fresh and packaged items; and the Publix chain carries all your shopping staples. A gallon of milk is priced at $3.33 and a dozen eggs at $2.39, on average.
For BBQ, Jim 'N Nicks is hard to beat, with pork dishes priced under $15. Café M showcases fresh international cuisine with lunch specials priced at $15 per person. Martin's Restaurant specializes in fried chicken, catfish, and salmon croquettes, with daily specials for under $10.