Montgomery, Alabama is a fascinating city full of history and culture. The 1960s Civil Rights Movement was famously born here thanks to people like Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. Many of the things to do in Montgomery, AL rightfully pay respect to this history.
Visiting the city means acknowledging the dark times and racial tensions in its past. And there are a lot of museums and historical centers that address this issues head on.
At the same time, there’s also a lot of fun to be had in Montgomery, AL. There are wonderful attractions, entertainment, and a thriving arts and music scene. It’s a great place to learn crucial United States history, and to experience lots of creative energy.
The following is our list of the top 20 best things to do in Montgomery, AL. We hope it’ll be a good jumping-off point for your exploration of this great city!
Things To Do In Montgomery AL – Museums
If you’re interested in diving into history, museums are one of the best things to do in Montgomery, AL. They have a lot of them that beautifully bring the past to life, as well as some art-focused ones.
1. Rosa Parks Library and Museum
Address: 252 Montgomery St, Montgomery, AL 36104
Hours: Mon – Fri: 9 AM – 5 PM; Sat: 9 AM – 3 PM; Closed Sundays
The grounds of Troy State University, Montgomery Campus, include the spot where Rosa Parks made her world-famous stand. She boldly refused to move to the back of the bus, thus helping kick off the Civil Rights Movement.
Today, the Rosa Parks Library and Museum, is right by that location. It’s one of the best things to do in Montgomery, AL to explore the history of desegregation and Civil Rights.
The museum is divided into 6 areas telling the story of the start of the movement. It includes a replica of the bus Rosa Parks staged her protest, various historical documents, and more.
2. The Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald Museum
Address: 919 Felder Ave, Montgomery, AL 36106
Hours: Thurs – Sun: 10 AM – 3 PM: Closed Mondays through Wednesdays
Not all of the history in Montgomery is about Civil Rights, however. One of the things to do in Montgomery, AL, to explore other history is The Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald Museum. If you’re a literary fan or interested in the Jazz Age, it’s indispensable.
The legendary author of The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and his wife, Zelda, used to live here. And now this house is a museum, celebrating these iconic figures.
Constructed in 1910, the house has been preserved to look as it did when they lived there. It’s also full of their furniture and décor, along with items, documents, photos, and more!
3. Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts
Address: Montgomery’s, 1 Museum Dr, Montgomery, AL 36117
Hours: Tues – Sun: 10 AM – 5 PM; Closed Mondays
Not all of Montgomery’s museums revolve around history. For great art, Montgomery Museum of the Fine Arts is one of the best things to do in Montgomery, AL. Since 1930, visitors have been coming here to explore their collection.
They have pieces by some of the most important American artists. This includes Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, and Edward Hopper. They also have great European works by Albrecht Dürer and Rembrandt.
The museum also has an interactive gallery for kids called ARTWORKS, and a stunning sculpture garden. And if you’re hungry, we highly recommend their Verde Café for a bite to eat!
4. The Legacy Museum
Address: 400 N Court St, Montgomery, AL 36104
Hours: Wed – Sun: 9 AM – 5 PM; Closed Mondays & Tuesdays
Returning to more troubling history, The Legacy Museum is one of the most important things to do in Montgomery, AL.
Montgomery’s saddest legacies are racism and slavery. It’s called the Cotton State, after all, so sadly slave plantations were a major part of that. The Legacy Museum tells the stories of Black people forced to suffer as slaves in Alabama and throughout the South.
It’s certainly not a fun place to visit, but it’s important, and will have a great impact on you. It covers the slave trade, racism, segregation, lynchings, and more. You’ll learn about this tragic but crucial history via historical artifacts, documents, oral history, and modern technology
5. Freedom Rides Museum
Address: 210 S Court St, Montgomery, AL 36104
Hours: Tues – Fri: 11 AM – 4 PM; Sat: 10 AM – 4 PM, Closed Sundays & Mondays
Another historic site that’s become one of the best things to do in Montgomery, AL is the Freedom Rides Museum. It’s the location of the Greyhound Bus Depot where the Freedom Rides Movement happened in 1961.
Following Rosa Park’s lead, many African American Montgomery citizens began to take seats in buses’ “Whites Only” areas. Many of them were viciously attacked as a result. Their bravery is now commemorated here.
You’ll see gorgeous memorials to the Freedom Riders. You’ll also learn not only their histories but those of the entire Civil Rights Movement. They also have a preserved bus from the era on permanent display.
6. Alabama State Archives and History Museum
Address: 624 Washington Ave, Montgomery, AL 36104
Hours: Mon – Sat: 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM; Closed Sundays
Are you interested in learning the history of the founding of the state of Alabama? Then, one of the best things to do in Montgomery, AL is the Alabama State Archives and History Museum.
Housed in a gorgeous marble building from 1940, the museum covers Alabama history reaching back to the prehistoric era! Exhibits include The Land of Alabama, which covers geology, and Alabama Voices, highlighting key moments in the state’s history.
The museum also has an excellent exhibit about Native American cultures that flourished there for 1400 years before colonists arrived.
When you visit here, you’ll get to experience more than 800 historical pieces covering a huge amount of history!
Things To Do In Montgomery AL – Visit Historical Places
There are a lot of things to do in Montgomery, AL if you want to see history in person. These are some of the most meaningful places you can visit other than museums.
7. Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church/Legacy Center
Address: 454 Dexter Ave, Montgomery, AL 36104
Center Hours: Tues – Sat: 9 AM – 12 PM; 1 PM – 4 PM; Closed Sundays & Mondays
One of the most important historical things to do in Montgomery, AL is the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church.
Having opened in 1879, this church was already historically significant. Now it’s a key part of African American history as Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. was the pastor from 1954-1960. Legend tells he helped organize the Bus Boycott from here.
This church was in many ways a hub for the Civil Rights Movement and so remains a vital part of America. Today, you can visit the church itself, as well as their Legacy Center covering the life of Dr King.
8. Civil Rights Memorial Center
Address: 400 Washington Ave, Montgomery, AL 36104
Hours: Tues – Fri: 9 AM – 4:30 PM; Sat: 10 AM – 4 PM; Closed Sundays & Mondays
Another of the best things to do in Montgomery, AL, to explore its history is the Civil Rights Memorial. An unassuming but beautiful monument, it commemorates 41 courageous people who gave their lives for Civil Rights.
A quote by Dr King, Jr. is situated above a stone platform listing all of the murdered people’s names. Water flows constantly over the stone, to parallel the quote. “Until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
The monument is in front of the Memorial Center, in which you can learn about the lives of these people in depth. We highly recommend a visit, as well as the stunning Wall of Tolerance inside.
9. The National Center for the Study of Civil Rights and African-American Culture
Address: 1345 Carter Hill Rd, Montgomery, AL 36106
Hours: Mon – Fri: 12 PM – 5 PM; Sat: 10 AM – 5 PM; Sun: 2 PM – 5 PM; Closed Wednesdays
For yet more information on Civil Rights, this is another of the best things to do in Montgomery, AL. Since 1997, The National Center for the Study of Civil Rights and African-American Culture has been a beacon of information.
You’ll learn about the crucial role Montgomery played in attaining rights for Black Americans. Further, the center is an archive for the history of the Black community in Alabama overall.
They also often host family-friendly events, guest lectures, and special art exhibits. Check their schedule on their website for full details!
10. National Memorial for Peace and Justice
Address: 417 Caroline St, Montgomery, AL 36104
Hours: Wed – Sun: 9 AM – 5 PM; Closed Mondays & Tuesdays
One of the most moving things to do in Montgomery, AL is visit the National Memorial for Peace and Justice. Over the course of 1877-1950, a horrifying 4,400 Black people were brutally murdered in Montgomery.
This memorial was constructed in 2018 to honor them. It’s composed of 805 hanging rectangles made of steel. Each represents a different county in the United States where a lynching occurred.
It’s the first ever memorial in the United States to honor victims of racially-motivated hate crimes and injustice. Their mission to present the history honestly and openly in the hope of healing wounds. We can’t recommend a visit highly enough.
11. Old Alabama Town
Address: 301 Columbus St, Montgomery AL 36104
Hours: Thurs – Sat: 10 AM – 3 PM; Closed Sundays through Wednesdays
Do you love experiencing history coming to life? If so, Old Alabama Town will be one of the best things to do in Montgomery, AL for you!
This remarkable place has completely restored a small neighborhood of buildings from the 19th and early 20thcenturies. Coming to visit here will make you feel like you’re stepping into an old photograph of the era!
You’ll get to peruse a whole six blocks! You’ll see houses, mansions, taverns, churches, grocery stores, schools, and more. In fact, there’s so much to take in, you’ll have to return numerous times to see it all! The guided tours each cover only one of the blocks each week!
12. Alabama State Capitol
Address: 600 Dexter Ave, Montgomery, AL 36104
Hours: 8 AM – 4:30 PM, Closed Saturdays & Sundays
The last of our best things to in Montgomery, AL for history is visit the Alabama State Capitol. The current building dates from 1851 and was built when the previous capitol building burned down.
This Greek Revival building has been named a National Historic landmark, and is extremely significant. During the Civil War, it was actually the main seat of the Confederacy.
And more significantly for Civil Rights, the famous Selma Voting Rights March of 1965 culminated here. Here, you’ll see the place where Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered one of his most significant speeches. And you can book in advance if you want a tour of the interior!
Things To Do In Montgomery AL – Attractions
Putting history aside, there are also lots of purely fun things to do in Montgomery, AL. The following are some of our favorite attractions for the whole family to enjoy!
13. Montgomery Zoo
Address: 2301 Coliseum Pkway, Montgomery, AL 36110
Hours: Mon – Sun: 9 AM – 4 PM
One of the most fun things to do in Montgomery, AL for the whole family is the Montgomery Zoo! This remarkable zoo houses a whopping nearly-800 animals, making up almost 140 species!
And most of them originate from far-off places including Asia, Africa, and South America. So it’s a great place to spend an afternoon experiencing wildlife from around the world.
You’ll see everything from komodo dragons to African birds to a giraffe to bald eagles and more! And the animals are all housed in beautiful habitats that recreate their natural environments. If you have kids with you, they’ll love the interactive exhibits and the petting zoo!
A thrilling adventure awaits you at Montgomery Zoo!
14. Harriott II Riverboat
Address: 200 Coosa St, Montgomery, AL 36104
Hours: Mon – Fri: 8 AM – 5 PM
Next on our list is Harriott II Riverboat, one of the most romantic things to do in Montgomery, AL. While of course you don’t need to go as a couple, we found it a particularly fun date night.
Harriott II Riverboat is a preserved riverboat from the 1800s that runs cruises down the Alabama River. And we particularly recommend going in the evening, when the view is downright magical.
And not only do you get breathtaking views but delicious food and drinks as well. On top of that, the cruise even offers live musical performances for your entertainment! The boat takes off from Riverfront Park, so head there for an enchanting evening on the water!
Things To Do In Montgomery AL – Shopping and Dining
Sometimes on vacation, you just want to relax and pick up some souvenirs or have a bite to eat. Here are some of the best things to do in Montgomery, AL when you just want to kick back!
15. Riverfront Park
Address: 355 Commerce St, Montgomery, AL 36104
Hours: Mon – Sun: 9 AM – 6 PM; Closed Tuesdays
The next on our list of things to do in Montgomery, AL, is actually where the previous one is located. Not only is Riverfront Park, home to the Harriott II Riverboat, it’s a fantastic attraction in its own right.
In many ways, it’s an entertainment hub where you’ll find dining, beautiful views, boating, and more. There’s a gorgeous path by the river to walk, an amphitheater for plays and concerts, a stadium, and cafes. There’s even a historic train shed to explore!
If you bring kids with you, they’ll love the splash pad in the summer. And you can even bring your dogs, as there’s a special dog-friendly area for them to run around!
16. Alley Entertainment District
If you’re looking for a fun night out without the kids, Alley Entertainment District is your best bet in Montgomery. Many people have compared this place to New Orleans. It’s a shopping, dining, and entertainment district infused with a Jazz Era vibe.
If you’re looking for great food and drinks, there are plenty of options here. We love The Alley Bar, one of the iconic establishments here, and a bar restaurant called Central. The area manages to feel exciting and urban but also charming at the same time.
Here, you’ll find not only the Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald Museum but the Railyard Brewing Company as well. There are so many things that cover so many interests, from food to live jazz and more. Be sure not to miss it when you visit Montgomery!
17. 1048 Jazz & Blues
Address: 1104 E Fairview Ave, Montgomery AL 36106
Hours: Sun – Fri: 4 PM – 4 AM; Sat: 4 PM – 2 AM
If you’re a music fan, one of the best things to do in Montgomery, AL is 1048 Jazz & Blues. It makes for a perfect night out of great live music and fantastic vibes.
Despite the name, they host a wide variety of acts from jazz and blues to rock n’ roll and more. So the odds are you’ll find something there to suit your music tastes. Check the schedule on their site! They have live acts there every single night of the year!
With seating both indoors and outdoors, you can choose the right atmosphere to suit your mood. It’s a fantastic place to unwind or celebrate.
Things To Do In Montgomery AL – Performing Arts
If you love theatre, music, and live performance, there are so many things to do in Montgomery, AL. These are some of the best places to take in a show and some culture in Montgomery.
18. Alabama Shakespeare Festival
Address: 1 Festival Dr, Montgomery, AL 36117
In Spring and Summer, the Alabama Shakespeare Festival is one of the best theatre things to do in Montgomery, AL. Ever since opening in 1972, it’s been acclaimed as one of the world’s best theatre companies!
They currently put on 6 shows a year, and have done over 500 plays over the past 50 years! Every year, more than 300,000 audience members visit from all corners of the world. And while they’re named for the Bard, they put on a wide variety of other work, too. Be sure to book tickets in advance!
While you’re here, also check out the beautiful Shakespeare Garden. All of the plants and flowers growing there were ones that were specifically named in Shakespeare’s plays!
19. Montgomery Performing Arts Center
Address: 201 Tallapoosa St, Montgomery, AL 36104
Another of the great entertainment things to do in Montgomery, AL is the Montgomery Performing Arts Center. Throughout the year, they put on everything from plays to stand-up to opera to dance to concerts to children’s theatre.
Situated inside the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa, this huge space seats 1300 people. Because of this, it’s where all of the big touring shows perform when they reach Montgomery. They also often get high-profile names from the music and comedy worlds.
For a full schedule of everything they have coming up, be sure to check their website before arriving in town. The popular shows tend to sell out quickly, so you don’t want to wait and be disappointed!
20. Montgomery Ballet
Address: 1044 E Fairview Ave, Montgomery, AL 36106
Ever since 1987, the Montgomery Ballet has been one of the most beautiful things to do in Montgomery, AL. A superb ballet company, they’re known for being made up of professional dancers from the local area.
Their shows have been praised for years as being truly magical experiences, and we couldn’t agree more! They tend to put on fantastic seasonal performances. Their ballet of “Sleepy Hollow” is a perfect Halloween treat.
Meanwhile, no Montgomery Christmas would be complete with seeing their annual performance of “The Nutcracker”!
The ballet company also has a school, giving lessons to both children and adults, as well as a summer camp! If you want to learn ballet, this could be a perfect opportunity for you.
Conclusion On Things To Do In Montgomery AL
Montgomery, AL is a fascinating city full of incredible opportunities to discover and explore. It’s full of history, and also has lots of culture and fun that makes it a great place to visit. And the 20 things on our list are only the beginning, so what are you waiting for?