10 Best Things to Do in Montgomery for a Memorable Visit

Discover the top things to do in Montgomery, Alabama, from delving into the city’s rich civil rights history to embracing the arts, enjoying outdoor adventures, and savoring the local cuisine. Plan your trip with this guide to the most memorable experiences in Montgomery.

Dive into Montgomery’s Rich History

Steeped in history, Montgomery is a city where past and present converge. The city played a pivotal role in the civil rights movement, serving as a stage for pivotal protests and key events. Landmarks like the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church and the Alabama State Capitol were the heart of civil rights struggle in Montgomery.

These locations and their associated events, such as the Selma to Montgomery Marches and Dr. King’s speeches, profoundly shaped civil rights progress in America.

Rosa Parks Library and Museum

Nestled in downtown Montgomery, the Rosa Parks Museum is a tribute to Rosa Parks’ legacy, marking the very spot of her historic arrest. The museum houses critical artifacts like Rosa Parks’ original fingerprint arrest record and provides a deep understanding of the segregated South and the significant contributions of the Civil Rights Movement.

The interactive exhibits offer a richer insight into Montgomery’s social and political climate in the 1950s.

Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church

The Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church is more than just a place of worship. Founded in 1877, this historic landmark:

  • Was central to the civil rights movement
  • Served as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s pastoral home from 1954 to 1960
  • Was where Dr. King planned significant civil rights activities, including the landmark 1956 Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Today, visitors can admire the church mural depicting Dr. King’s civil rights journey from Montgomery to Memphis, starting with the bus boycott.

Civil Rights Memorial Center

The Civil Rights Memorial Center stands as a beacon of remembrance and inspiration in Montgomery’s landscape. At its heart, the Memorial features a black granite table with a timeline of the civil rights movement and names of those who lost their lives in the struggle, symbolizing the universal struggle for justice.

The center also offers an interactive virtual tour app, providing a deep dive into the center and Memorial’s stories.

A Stroll Through Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts

Art enthusiasts and casual visitors alike will find solace and inspiration in the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. Offering free admission, the museum makes fine art accessible to everyone. The museum houses over 4,000 works, reflecting a rich tapestry of American artistic expression from the 18th century to modern times.

Nestled within the tranquil Blount Cultural Park, the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts offers a serene environment that complements the art collection.

Permanent Collection

The museum’s permanent collection is a testament to the diversity of American art, spanning from colonial portraiture to contemporary expressions. Visitors can explore an array of artistic styles, with strong representations of Southern regional and self-taught art.

The John and Joyce Caddell Sculpture Garden serves as an outdoor gallery space, creating diverse experiences with the seasons and time of day.

Temporary Exhibits

The museum’s temporary exhibitions rotate throughout the year, offering visitors fresh perspectives and diverse artistic expressions. These exhibits are backed by sponsors like the Alabama State Council on the Arts, reflecting strong community and corporate investment in the local arts scene.

Art Classes and Workshops

The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts also offers a range of art classes and workshops to foster creativity. These educational programs cater to different age groups, providing opportunities to learn various artistic techniques and mediums. Art classes often correlate with current exhibitions, allowing students to gain inspiration from the works on display and apply it to their own creations.

Adventure Along the Alabama River

Beyond its historical and cultural significance, Montgomery also offers a wealth of natural beauty. An adventure along the Alabama River is an essential part of any visit to Montgomery. Whether it’s exploring the vibrant Riverfront Park, engaging in water sports like kayaking and paddleboarding, or enjoying a tranquil evening riverboat cruise, the Alabama River provides endless opportunities for outdoor fun.

Riverfront Park

Riverfront Park is a vibrant community space, often buzzing with live music and cultural events. The amphitheater is a hub for entertainment, frequently hosting concerts, plays, and other live performances.

The Artist Market brings together local musicians and food trucks, creating a lively atmosphere for visitors to enjoy local cuisine and shopping.

Kayaking and Paddleboarding

For the adventurous, Coosa River Adventures provides a variety of rental equipment for a day out on the water. Kayakers and paddleboarders can enjoy the picturesque scenery along the lower Coosa River portion of the Alabama Scenic River Trail, one of America’s longest river trails.

Evening Riverboat Cruises

As the day winds down, relax and take in the sights and sounds of Montgomery’s entertainment district from the water aboard the Harriott II Riverboat. The Harriott II Riverboat offers:

  • Public and private cruises
  • Great food
  • Drinks
  • Music
  • Fun along the scenic Alabama River.

Retail Therapy in Montgomery

After a day of exploration and adventure, indulge in some retail therapy in Montgomery. The city offers a wide array of shopping options, including:

  • The Shoppes at EastChase with local boutiques and well-known national retailers
  • Montgomery Antiques & Interiors for vintage finds and unique pieces
  • Local artisan markets for handcrafted goods and artwork

The Shoppes at EastChase

The Shoppes at EastChase is a leading shopping center in south central Alabama, boasting over 85 stores and restaurants. With big-name anchors like:

  • Dillard’s
  • Target
  • Kohl’s
  • H&M

The Shoppes offer a range of retail options to address the various needs of shoppers.

Montgomery Antiques & Interiors

Montgomery Antiques & Interiors, located in Montgomery Alabama, brings together over twenty vendors from across the state, showcasing an eclectic mix of antiques and designer interior pieces. Shoppers can discover a fine selection of sterling silver, antique, and vintage jewelry among their special finds.

Local Artisan Markets

Local artisan markets in Montgomery offer a unique shopping experience. Visitors can find handcrafted goods not typically available in mainstream malls, with an array of items even curated specifically for men. The market features a variety of mediums including:

  • glass
  • jewelry
  • mixed media
  • oils or acrylics
  • pen and ink
  • photography
  • stone or ceramics
  • textiles

Revel in Live Entertainment

As the sun sets, the city comes alive with the rhythm of live entertainment. Montgomery’s vibrant performance arts scene, featuring the Montgomery Performing Arts Centre, The Capri Theatre, and the local music scene, offers a night full of rhythm, laughter, and world-class talent.

Montgomery Performing Arts Centre

The Montgomery Performing Arts Centre (MPAC) hosts a variety of events, such as concerts, plays, and comedy shows, to suit various entertainment preferences. Music lovers can experience a breadth of genres at MPAC, from classical Chinese dance by Shen Yun to blues music by Samantha Fish.

The Capri Theatre

The Capri Theatre stands as a historic site where guests can watch independent films and cult classics in a setting that takes them back in time. Notable films shown at the theater include Oscar-nominated movies like ‘The Zone of Interest’ and ‘Perfect Days’.

Local Music Scene

Montgomery brims with bars and pubs alive with the sounds of live bands and solo musicians, offering visitors an engaging nightlife scene. Jazz and blues hold a special place in the local music scene, with dedicated nights at various venues throughout the city.

Savor Great Food in Montgomery

After a night of entertainment, it’s time to satisfy your taste buds. Montgomery celebrates its culinary diversity with destinations like Martin’s Restaurant, renowned for their ‘Meat and Three’ lunch plates and famous fried chicken.

Southern Delicacies

Martin’s Restaurant is a local favorite, serving a variety of Southern-style dishes, showcasing the traditional culinary delights of the region. You can indulge in dishes like baked meatloaf with tomato sauce, fried catfish fillet, and an assortment of homemade pies such as chocolate meringue and sweet potato pie.

International Flavors

Montgomery’s dining scene is a cosmopolitan affair, offering a variety of international dining options that include Italian, Mexican, Indian, and Asian cuisines.

Craft Beer and Wine Bars

Montgomery’s craft beer and wine bars are a must-visit for alcohol enthusiasts. Waterworks offers a selection of local beers on tap for those interested in exploring craft brews.

In addition to beer, Waterworks boasts a curated selection of wines.

Family Fun Activities

If you’re visiting Montgomery with your family, there’s no shortage of fun things to do. From interactive exhibits at the Montgomery Zoo and the tranquil environment of Blount Cultural Park to the wonders of the universe at the W.A. Gayle Planetarium, there’s something for everyone!

Montgomery Zoo

At the Montgomery Zoo, kids can delight in several interactive experiences including:

  • The Zoofari Skylift
  • Giraffe Encounter
  • Petting Zoo
  • Parakeet Cove

The zoo also conducts Zoo Summer Camps offering educational programs that engage children with wildlife through interactive hands-on activities, games, and crafts.

Blount Cultural Park

Blount Cultural Park offers a serene environment with ponds, miles of walking trails, and a natural amphitheater, perfect for a day of picnicking, feeding ducks, or leisurely strolls.

W.A. Gayle Planetarium

The W.A. Gayle Planetarium is a must-visit for astronomy enthusiasts. Offering educational programs and captivating star shows, it’s a place where you can explore the wonders of the universe and spark curiosity in the young minds.

Explore Montgomery’s Nightlife

As darkness falls, Montgomery transforms into a city that never sleeps. With a diverse nightlife scene featuring rooftop bars, craft beer and wine bars, and lively music venues, there’s something to suit everyone’s taste.

Rooftop Bars

Rooftop bars like Waterworks Rooftop Restaurant and Bar offer breathtaking city views, creating the perfect ambience for a memorable night out, complemented by their friendly staff.

Eddy’s Restaurant & Bar at Montgomery Whitewater provides diners with an exceptional experience paired with scenic overlooks of the whitewater courses.

Dance Clubs and Lounges

Montgomery’s dance clubs offer a variety of experiences, from energetic live DJ sets to special themed nights that cater to diverse musical tastes.

For a more relaxed evening, visitors can unwind in one of Montgomery’s various lounges, which offer a cozy and intimate setting for socializing.

Casinos and Gaming

For those feeling lucky, Wind Creek Montgomery is a renowned casino and resort in Montgomery that offers a variety of gaming experiences. With a gaming floor featuring over 2,200 games, from classic and modern slot machines to electronic table games like roulette and blackjack, it’s a gambler’s paradise.

Uncover the Legacy Museum

Last but not least, no visit to Montgomery would be complete without a visit to the Legacy Museum. This narrative museum explores America’s history of racial injustice, providing an eye-opening and profound understanding of the past.

Interactive Exhibits

The Legacy Museum incorporates interactive media and exhibits to share the complex history of slavery in the United States. Visitors can experience a comprehensive timeline of racial injustice, from the era of the transatlantic slave trade to modern issues like mass incarceration.

Reflection Spaces

The Legacy Museum offers a Reflection Space designed for visitors to find inspiration and honor the narratives presented within the museum. The Reflection Space allows visitors to contemplate the continuity from slavery to current systemic issues, highlighting the link between historical atrocities and today’s societal challenges.

National Memorial for Peace and Justice

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice honors over 4,400 Black individuals killed in racial terror lynchings, represented by steel monuments engraved with the names of the counties where the lynchings occurred. Reflection spaces such as the Legacy Plaza, the Peace and Justice Memorial Garden, and the soil collection from lynching sites provide a space for visitors to gather and honor the memory of the victims.

Outdoor Adventures Near Montgomery

After uncovering the city’s cultural, historical, and culinary treasures, why not step out of the city limits for some outdoor adventures in the great outdoors? Whether it’s paddling down the Montgomery Whitewater, hiking the trails in Wetumpka, or immersing yourself in wildlife sanctuaries, there’s plenty to explore.

Montgomery Whitewater

Montgomery Whitewater offers a variety of paddling activities suited for all skill levels, ranging from guided and unguided experiences to both the Competition Channel and the Creek Channel for professionals and beginners alike.

Visitors can enhance their whitewater experiences with onsite dining at Eddy’s Restaurant & Bar, offering full-service meals with views of the action on the water.

Hiking Trails in Wetumpka

For those seeking a challenge, Wetumpka’s trails feature the highest elevation gain in the system, ascending 180 meters and providing a rewarding experience.

The Swayback Bridge Trail holds the title of the longest trail in Wetumpka at approximately 14.0 km, attracting hikers in search of a more extended expedition.

Wildlife Sanctuaries

Alabama is ranked fourth for biodiversity in the United States, with the most diverse range of species found east of the Mississippi River. The Alabama Wildlife Center is the oldest and largest wildlife rehabilitation facility in Alabama, specializing in the care of injured and orphaned native birds. Volunteers contribute significantly to the conservation of Alabama’s native wild bird species and their ecosystems.


In conclusion, Montgomery, Alabama, is a city that captivates its visitors with its rich history, vibrant arts scene, natural beauty, and diverse food and shopping options. Whether you’re exploring the city’s historic landmarks, appreciating fine art, embarking on outdoor adventures, or indulging in retail therapy, Montgomery has something for everyone. So, are you ready to explore the charm of Montgomery and create unforgettable memories?

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you spend a day in Montgomery?

You can spend a day in Montgomery by exploring the Wynton M, enjoying an afternoon at the Riverfront Park, touring the Rosa Parks Library and Museum, seeing the Alabama State Capitol, and visiting the Montgomery Zoo. Additionally, you can tour the Majestic Caverns, enjoy a meal aboard the Harriott II Riverboat, attend the Dragon Boat Festival (but make sure it’s taking place during your visit), and check out the Legacy Museum, National Memorial for Peace and Justice, and other top attractions mentioned.

Is Montgomery worth visiting?

Absolutely, Montgomery is definitely worth visiting for its rich history, connection to the Civil Rights Movement, and vibrant downtown scene. So, go ahead and plan your trip to explore all that this lovely city has to offer!

Why is Montgomery called the Gump?

Montgomery is called the Gump because residents affectionately refer to a specific area within the city as “the Gump,” despite contrary claims by rappers.

What are some of the historical landmarks in Montgomery?

Some important historical landmarks in Montgomery are the Rosa Parks Library and Museum, Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, and Civil Rights Memorial Center. These landmarks hold great historical significance in the city’s history.

What outdoor activities can I enjoy in Montgomery?

You can enjoy exploring Riverfront Park, kayaking and paddleboarding on the Alabama River, and evening riverboat cruises in Montgomery for outdoor activities. Go have some fun outdoors!