Alabama’s capital of Montgomery is a new-yet-old-fashioned city, steeped in Southern charm with plenty of modernity, too. The cosmopolitan downtown and lively riverfront draw hip and fun-seeking tourists. Montgomery’s blues and jazz clubs are a longstanding tradition, and local museums highlight the city’s contributions to music, literature and history.
Downtown Montgomery is a trendy cityscape with music halls, hotels and restaurants. The Montgomery Performing Arts Centre, a top destination, entertains audiences with Broadway musicals, rock concerts and ballet performances.
Tourists looking for a cool evening out without the high-end price tag can drop in at one of Montgomery’s blues and jazz clubs, such as Sous La Terre Downtown Underground on Commerce Street. Even the city’s free events, like outdoor moonlight concerts by the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra, attract big crowds.
The Montgomery Riverfront Park stands to the northeast of downtown along the Alabama River. One of the area’s top attractions is the Riverwalk Amphitheatre, which attracts visitors to its concerts, plays and movies. The Montgomery Riverwalk Stadium, a high-tech baseball field built around a restored train station, hosts the Montgomery Biscuits and their minor league rivals.
Near the amphitheater and stadium, Montgomery tourists will find the popular Harriott II Riverboat. Couples and families enjoy boarding the old-fashioned paddleboat for river cruises, complete with live music, dancing and food.
Montgomery museums showcase the city's impact on literature, music and history. The Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum honors the great American author of “The Great Gatsby” and his wife, also a writer. The Fitzgeralds lived in the home with their young daughter from 1931 to 1932.
Hank Williams, the legendary country singer and songwriter, is buried at Montgomery’s Oakwood Cemetery; visitors claim to have seen and heard his ghost there on occasion. The Hank Williams Museum tells his life story and his legacy.
Montgomery is widely known for its role in the civil rights movement. The Montgomery Bus Boycott, led by Rosa Parks, took place here in 1955. Today, the Civil Rights Memorial and Center pay tribute to the 40 Americans who died during the fight for racial equality.
Like all good Southern cities, Montgomery is a hotbed of classic comfort food. Local restaurants plan their menus around seafood from the Gulf Coast, local produce and standards like collard greens, grits and sweet tea. The popular “meat and three” restaurants, such as Martin’s Restaurant on Carter Hill Road, invite patrons to choose one home-cooked meat (such as fried catfish, meatloaf or fried chicken) and three tasty sides. Fine dining establishments, like Charles Anthony’s Restaurant at the Pub, serve premium steaks and seafood, including Gulf shrimp.
For outdoor adventures, the Montgomery Zoo is a top attraction, with more than 500 animals in realistic habitats. Barrier-free exhibits are comfortable for animals and allow visitors to immerse themselves in the environment. Montgomery tourists can explore the zoo’s 40-acre grounds, and then find a pleasant spot among the lush landscape for a picnic lunch.