Alabama drips in history, scenic and southern charm, and hospitality, with many unique cities. These most beautiful cities will make one feel right at home along the laidback streets, vibrant entertainment, and surrounding state parks, rivers, and even white sandy beaches with crystal waters.
Historic Mobile is an exciting and dynamic city with many scenically-embraced attractions and nature activities at any time of year. The largest US Gulf Coast city between New Orleans and St. Petersburg was the first capital of France's New World colony, La Louisiane, and held the USA's first Mardi Gras in 1830. Today, the capital of Lower Alabama is the gateway to the state's beach scene. Amongst historical and cultural sites, there's the USS Alabama battleship, GulfQuest, Mobile Carnival Museum, Mobile Museum of Art, History Museum, Gulf Coast Exploreum, and Conde-Charlotte. The Old Church Street Cemetery is home to Joe Cain's grave, while the beautiful Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception was built in European style. There is also a professional symphony, ballet, opera, and an incredible food scene.
The sophisticated and fun city is the state's only saltwater port, overflowing with southern charm and hospitality, among antebellum architecture and nine major historic districts. Battle House Renaissance offers an exceptional stay at a beautiful historic property close to downtown and the Mobile Convention Center. After a natural outing to the free Audubon Bird Sanctuary, Alligator Alley, or the Estuarium at Dauphin Island Sea Lab, the magnificent NoJa, Southern National, or The Noble wait for dinner. February in-city sees the oldest-held Carnival in the U.S. from the early 1700s when the French Catholic settlers first organized it. One must also stop by the state-famous Moon Pie General Store and re-visit Mobile in time for spring for a sensual overload when the city comes a-bloom in azaleas and then magnolias.
Birmingham is a magnificent and culturally-rich, Alabama's largest city that is an absolute dream come true for visiting families. Its streets are laden with sights and entertainment for all ages, while the best kid-friendly attractions include the Birmingham Zoo and the McWane Science Center. The historical city was founded in the late 19th century during Civil War Reconstruction and named after England's city. It boasts an industrial past as a leader in iron and steel production and the pivotal setting for the country's civil rights movement, reminiscent of the Birmingham Civil Rights Center. The former south's main industrial area, nicknamed "the Pittsburgh of the South," has turned into a lively, urban, and diverse metropolis that prides itself in sophistication while maintaining the famous southern hospitality.
"The Magic City" is the state's cultural epicenter with art museums, theaters, concert venues, annual festivals, as well as regular festivities and events along the vibrant streets. The Birmingham Museum of Art is the largest of its kind in the southeastern United States to spend a day full of perusing around displays. Art fans can also hop between several theaters for performing arts, including ballet, symphony, and opera companies. There are popular music and film festivals, like the Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival, that see filmmakers from around the globe. There are plenty of ways to enjoy Birmingham's natural endowments, including hiking trails in Red Mountain Park, while sports fans can watch and partake in the local affairs. Accounting for myriad allures that come with an urban lifestyle, Birmingham is known for comparably affordable prices, where many attractions are easily attainable for any budget to have a fun, memorable experience.
Auburn is an incredibly-scenic and diverse city that is a definitive bucket-list item for anyone visiting Alabama. It is set near the border with Georgia, boasting spectacular fall foliage that glistens with frost during the most awe-inspiring holiday time. The quickly-growing city is home to many young citizens and an education-driven crowd, 28% of which, boasts a master's degree or higher, driving Auburn into the future. The affordable housing and rent prices make it a no-brainer to move in for those who fell in love with the city on a visit.
The lush city is home to the wonderful Chewacla State Park, along with the Kreher Preserve & Nature Center, while cultural fans rejoice in visiting the Julie Collins Smith Museum. Auburn offers an equal dose of natural beauty and entertainment on the town, including rustically chic The Hound, with concrete floors and fantastic industrial detail. The restaurant and bar serve simply-delicious American cuisine, craft beer, and incredible whisky cocktails. For an elevated all-American experience, there's the AL restaurant, whose renowned bourbon is on par with the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.
Dauphin Island is set off the coast of Mobile in the Gulf of Mexico. It is one of the state's prettiest cities with the most beautiful beaches. The clear blue waters, powdery white sands, and gigantic oaks yearly attract countless tourists from beyond the borders. History buffs enjoy visiting Fort Gaines, which played an active role in the Battle of Mobile Bay during the Civil War, with more display of military efforts at the Fort Morgan State Historic Site. The scenic Shell Mound Park is great for strolls and offers highlights from the island's Native American history. The dog-friendly Dauphin Island Public Beach boasts a long boardwalk, while the Sea Lab Estuarium comprises a quaint family visit to learn about local animals, plants, and birds that fly over the island on the migration path south for winter.
There are tons of natural sights and pursuits offering respite and recreational activities in the scenic outdoors. Aside from the beaches, the island is home to natural beauty off-coast, with the Audubon Bird Sanctuary and many fresh-air parks. The sweet-toothed must make a stop at the Lighthouse Bakery for a renowned cinnamon bun, while the hungry should head to the Skinner Seafood to dine on locally-caught fish. There are also the Capt'n Snappers and Dockside Seafood Restaurant set on water, while the Gulf Breeze Motel is the only one on the pristine island. There are tons of vacation rentals across the bridge at Mobile, including water-bound locales for stepping out into endless vistas. The atmospheric city is one big beach trip destination with the best way to explore the barrier island's offerings via a golf cart.
The attractive city on the bay spreads scenically along Mobile Bay's banks that feed into the Atlantic. It is set bounded by the renowned Founder's Park with endless natural pursuits and outdoor adventures. Fairhope is a beloved home for its 17,300 residents and consistently receives praise from visiting tourists. The gorgeous place with the seafront is surprisingly affordable for many working-class Americans. The amazing small city is home to a copious downtown area strewn with boutique shopping and local stores among fine-dining establishments, casual restaurants, and a vibrant bar scene.
Fairhope is bounded by beautiful beaches, making it a year-round destination for shoreline strolls and relaxation within views and water fun during summer. The remarkable piers jutting over the waters offer great lookout and photography spots into the coastal environment for 360 degrees around. Back in town, the stroll-worthy streets are lined with irresistible attractions, including interesting museums, cute coffee shops, and bakeries for endless perusing. The Fairhope Museum of History teaches about the city's past, set amidst intriguing memorabilia, artifacts, and replicas to wander around. The coastal city is seafood galore, with places like the Fish River Grill offering fried delicacies, including a frog leg platter, Mississippi catfish, Gulf shrimp, and fried soft crab.
The seaside cityscape in the Gulf of Mexico is a little piece of heaven at the state's southernmost rim. Gulf Shores scenically embraces one of the nation's prettiest, Orange Beach, which boasts Florida-like powder-soft white sands. It offers a real respite sans crowd with amenities right at hand, as well as The Wharf shopping galore. One will find a wide range of local businesses and popular highlights, including an entertainment complex with touring acts and a zip-line course. Turquoise Place has amazing condo rentals with beachfront views for a longer getaway, while the Lodge at Gulf State Park offers a boutique feel in a scenic setting with natural pursuits through the doors. The park is home to 2.5 miles of beaches, three freshwater lakes, and 27 miles of trails.
Although it may be challenging to stray away from the sands, the city's diverse entertainment scene will enthrall upon stepping into the vibrant center. Gulf Shores boasts a renowned culinary scene that is a flamboyant mix of the finest southern traditions accentuated by Caribbean flavors with a dash of Cajun. The must-stops include the world-famed honky-tonk, Florabama Roadhouse. Its five beachside bars are always filled with live music and commonly host country music stars. There is seafood everywhere, from stalls to fine dining, including Fisher's Upstairs Restaurant Orange Beach with a nomination for the Jams Beard award for "all things oyster." The family-friendly getaway includes the historic Ft. Morgan, water and amusement park, Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, and the immense 7,000-acre Bon Secour National Wildlife refuge. There are also the greatest beach parties, dolphin spectacles, golf, ocean fishing, and sunset cruises.
The state's capital is a beautiful central city that played the main role in the fascinating historical events of the country. In 1965, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man in Montgomery. The city also drips with Alabama culture in the famous culinary scene and thriving arts. The most popular attraction of the Alabama State Capitol is where Jefferson Davis took the oath of office as President, forming the Confederacy in 1861. It is also the end location of the inspiring Selma-to-Montgomery civil rights march, where Martin Luther King Jr. made a speech on the steps. The free-entry fare includes touring the Senate and Old Supreme Court Chambers, the House of Representatives, and the Rotunda. One must see the National Historic Landmark of the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church and the nine-room parsonage under a mile away, where King and his family resided.
The capital on the Alabama River boasts a beautiful skyline of great arks and skyscrapers surrounding the wide river. There's the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts with a permanent collection of over 4,000 pieces for culture fans. Other highlights include the Civil Right Memorial Center, and the Rosa Park Library and Museum, while Alabama Shakespeare Festival presents Bard's work throughout the yar at its Blount Park theatre. The Festival annually hosts six to nine awe-inspiring productions, including three Shakespearean plays. The Hampton Inn & Suites Montgomery-Downtown is within walking distance from downtown's main attractions and offers complimentary breakfast.
These beautiful cities epitomize the richly-diverse southern state in the most vividly-scenic way possible. One will have a time of life discovering their vibrant hearts bursting with beauty and exploring the natural endowments through outdoor pursuits, adventures, and scenic relaxation within sights.