By Molly Hammond, Storage.com
It’s easy to think of Alabama as just beaches and Bear Bryant, but there are tons of great things to see and do in the capital city. That’s why we decided to count down some of the most important things to know if you’re moving to Montgomery or just looking for some bragging rights for your Southern hometown!
10. A PLACE IN CIVIL RIGHTS HISTORY.
You’ve almost certainly learned about Montgomery in school. It was central to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and ’60s. It’s where Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus—an act that sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955 and made Parks “the mother of the Civil Rights Movement.” Montgomery was also the destination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and peaceful protesters, who marched from Selma, Ala. See the Civil Rights Memorial and Center, the Rosa Parks Library and Museum, or tour The Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, where Dr. King lived, preached, and organized his civil protests.
9. MONTGOMERY’S MAKEOVER.
Montgomery has been hard at work revitalizing the downtown and Riverwalk areas, and it’s paying off! Great places to eat, drink, and be merry populate these areas, particularly in the Alley Entertainment District. This neighborhood is packed with restaurants, boutiques, and bars, including the Alley Bar where patrons can drink as usual or enter the glass-enclosed frozen shot room to don fur coats and imbibe from shot glasses made of ice! You’ll also find the Harriott II on the Riverwalk, a 19th Century riverboat where cruisers can enjoy dinner and dancing, as well as live entertainment. It’s perfect for celebrating a birthday, special occasion, or just getting out on the water.
8. ALL ABOUT THE BISCUITS.
One of the best parts of Montgomery’s efforts to improve the Riverwalk was the construction of Montgomery Riverwalk Stadium, home of the Montgomery Biscuits. The park was converted from an old train shed and opened in 2004, giving the minor league baseball team a new and beautiful place to play! The stadium features picnic areas, a full bar, a children’s play area, Fireworks Fridays, and tons of promotions that make spending a day watching this hometown team play perfect. Riverwalk Stadium is complete with standbys like hamburgers, hot dogs, and other ballpark food—and, of course, biscuits. The stadium also hosts the Max Capital City Classic each year, a rivalry game between Auburn University and University of Alabama.
7. GET YOUR DEGREE.
There are plenty of people who think that “Roll Tide” and “War Eagle” are the only collegiate alliances in the state of Alabama, but that just isn’t the case! While you’re sure to encounter passionate Alabama and Auburn fans anywhere you go, Montgomery is home to a number of its own opportunities for higher education. Alabama State University, Troy University, and Auburn University at Montgomery are among those with the highest enrollments in the area, and the list is rounded out by a number of private colleges, including Faulkner University, Amridge University, Virginia College, and Huntingdon College.
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6. FLY HIGH.
Maxwell Air Force Base brings plenty of military members and their families to Montgomery. The base is home to more than 12,500 personnel, ranging from active duty military to civilians and contractors, as well as Air University, which is part of the U.S. Air Force’s Air Education and Training Command. Maxwell AFB has been a Montgomery institution for years, and while full tours of the base aren’t open to the public, those interested may call and schedule a visit to the U.S. Air Force Enlisted Heritage Hall.
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5. MONTGOMERY HAS MASTERPIECES.
Montgomery is no slouch as far as arts and culture are concerned, and the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts is a large part of that. This museum is the oldest in Alabama at more than 80 years old and free to the public. In addition to permanent collections of American sculpture and paintings, the museum is home to the ARTWORKS program, an interactive space for children to create and experience art. Situated in the gorgeous Wynton M. Blount Cultural Park, the museum is the perfect space to spend a day exploring art and picnicking on the grounds.
4. TOP-NOTCH FOOD.
Whether you’re visiting Montgomery or have lived there your whole life, no discussion of the city is complete until you’ve talked about food. It’s no surprise that Montgomery is a haven for the hungry. Whether you prefer your seafood from a gas station like hole-in-the-wall favorite The Seafood Bistro or with “Montgomery’s Best View” at Capitol Oyster Bar, there’s no end to the benefits of living (and eating) so close to the gulf. Of course, there’s more to Montgomery than seafood—namely D’Road Cafe, a Latin American diner that’s loved by the locals, and Sa Za‘s seriously good pizza. As for barbecue, there’s really something for everyone. Some point to Dreamland as the clear favorite while others are quick to call K&J Rib Shack or Sam’s Bar-B-Que best. In the end, there’s no bad way to eat southern barbecue.
3. FAMILY FUN.
Art museums and baseball games can be great activities for the family, but if you’re interested in something a little wilder, the Montgomery Zoo might be your ideal destination. The zoo’s 40 acres are home to more than 600 animals, including two jaguar cubs born just last summer! A petting zoo, Skylift Adventure Ride, and plenty of activities make this zoo a premier animal habitat and can’t-miss attraction. Montgomery is also home to The MOOseum, an educational look at Alabama’s two billion dollar cattle industry geared toward children and families. If you’ve had enough of animals, check out the W.A. Gayle Planetarium, found on the Troy University campus in Montgomery. The planetarium was recently updated, becoming the world’s first full-color, single-lens digital planetarium, and allows visitors to gaze up at the universe as we know it with simulated constellations, planets, and even weather phenomena.
2. HOMETOWN HEROES.
Montgomery is certainly rich in political history, but it was also home to people who changed the landscape of American music and literature forever. The Hank Williams Museum will take visitors through the life and music of the first country music superstar and explore the effects his career had on many types of modern music. The museum is also located within walking distance of a number of Hank Williams landmarks. The Fitzgerald Museum is the only museum in the world dedicated solely to the lives and works of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. Established in a house where the couple and their daughter lived in the 1930s, the museum features letters, photos, personal items, and Zelda Fitzgerald’s artwork. The museum also hosts a yearly gala, often in honor of The Great Gatsby, right down to the Roaring ’20s attire and ambiance.
What do you think makes Montgomery a great place to live? Tell us in the comments!
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If you’re relocating to Montgomery and need storage space to help with the transition, view Storage.com’s directory of storage units in Montgomery, Alabama.
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