Are you considering a weekend trip to Alabama’s capital city? There are so many fun things to do in Montgomery, Alabama that you’ll easily fill your whole weekend!
Montgomery is just a quick 2.5 hour drive from Atlanta, so when my brother was at training at Maxwell Air Force Base, we decided to spend a weekend visiting.
There are all kinds of fun things to do in Montgomery from visiting the state capitol building to learning about the Civil Rights to finding Hank Williams’s grave.
Best Things to Do in Montgomery, AL
1. Visit the Alabama State Capitol
When in capital city of Alabama, it’s imperative you visit the capitol building. Since my family is from Alabama, that meant we had to show Kevin around.
Alabama has had five capitals throughout its history, one of which was my hometown of Huntsville. Montgomery became the Alabama capital in 1846.
The Alabama capitol building has seen the most influential events in Alabama’s history, from Jefferson Davis’s inauguration as President of the Confederacy to the end of the Selma-to-Montgomery march and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech at the base of the marble steps.
On a free Alabama State Capitol tour, you’ll get to see inside the capitol building, including the entry stairhall, the old Governors Office, the old State Supreme Court, the old Supreme Court Library, the rotunda, the old House of Representatives, and the old Senate Chamber.
This is the best way to start off your visit to the Alabama capital.
2. Take a Civil Rights Tour
Montgomery was a major center of the Civil Rights Movement. Notable events include the Montgomery Bus Boycotts and the Selma-to-Montgomery march.
There are so many Civil Rights sites to see in Montgomery. You could spend your time exploring museums like the Civil Rights Memorial Center, The Legacy Museum, the Dexter Parsonage Museum, the Rosa Parks Library & Museum, and the Freedom Rides Museum.
You’ll probably also want to see monuments like the Civil Rights Monument, the Rosa Parks Statue at Court Square, the Rosa Parks Memorial at Alabama State University and on Maxwell Air Force Base (base access required), the Holt Street Memorial Baptist Church, and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice.
Go even further and follow the path of the historic voting rights marches on the 54-mile-long Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail. This is one of the best National Historic Sites in Alabama and is a must if you have the time while in Montgomery.
The best way to see the most of Montgomery’s Civil Rights sites is to take a guided tour. This self-guided Montgomery Civil Rights Walk of Freedom is a great option if you want to go it alone. If you want a guide, you can choose from this 3 hour private Civil Rights driving tour or this 6 hour private Civil Rights tour of the city.
3. Pay Your Respects at Hank Williams’s Grave
Famed country singer Hank Williams is buried next to his wife in a grave covered in AstroTurf.
Why is his grave covered in AstoTurf, you may ask. Fans kept plucking the grass to keep as souvenirs, so in the 1950s the cemetery covered the grave in fake grass.
The grave is located in the Oakwood Cemetery Annex, not Oakwood Cemetery as is typically reported.
So if you get confused, like we did, just look for the large granite Hank Williams Memorial sign at the annex entrance.
4. Stroll along Lower Commerce Street Historical District
Montgomery has done a lot of work revitalizing the old commercial district. When I used to come here as a kid, this area had nothing. Now, they have been working to restore the gorgeous Italianate, Classical Revival, and Renaissance Revival style buildings.
Find a place to eat along Commerce Street, duck into The Alley for some live entertainment, or head down to the Riverfront to take in the view of the Alabama River.
5. Tour the Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald Museum
Being the book nerd that I am, I had to squeeze in a little literary pilgrimage to the Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald Museum.
This is home that F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda lived in for eight months. It’s also the last home the Fitzgeralds lived in as a family.
The Fitzgerald Museum is also the only museum in the world dedicated to both Scott and Zelda. The museum takes you through the Fitzgeralds’ lives, showcasing Scott’s writings, Zelda’s paintings, their letters to friends and each other, and more.
6. Go Shooting at the Montgomery Indoor Shooting Complex
We were feeling adventurous and wanted to deviate from the norm, so we set out for the Montgomery Indoor Shooting Complex.
First, we watched a short safety video. Next, we donned our stylish purple ear muffs, picked out our target, and made our way into the indoor shooting range.
While Kevin saved us from a vicious neon skeleton enemy, I did not do so well; I only managed to hit the center of the target once by a stroke of pure luck.
7. Visit the First White House of the Confederacy
Montgomery was the first capital of the Confederacy before the capital was moved to Richmond, Virginia. As such, it also had the First White House of the Confederacy.
While the city’s involvement in the Civil War isn’t a fun subject, it’s an important part of the city’s, and the state’s, history. This museum is a good reminder of that history, though it could use some improvement in how it discusses the Civil War (their exhibits conveniently leave out anything about slavery).
The home was built in 1834 by William Sayre, a Montgomery politician and a relative of Zelda Fitzgerald. Other owners throughout the years were instrumental in shaping Montgomery’s industry, with owners of the gas company, banking system, and iron factories inhabiting the home until 1861.
In 1861, the new president of the Confederacy rented the home for himself and his family.
Inside the museum, you’ll see the home decorated in 19th century furnishings and interesting Civil War memorabilia. They also have an extensive textile collection that highlights quilts and blankets in the house that were made throughout the 1800s.
The museum is free to visit, and it’s located right across from the Capitol.
8. Explore Maxwell Air Force Base
Maxwell AFB is located on one of the sites of the Wright Flying School, and it’s headquarters of Air University for professional military education.
Because this is a closed base, you can only get access if you live or work on the base, have a military ID, or attend a special event like an air show. I highly recommend keeping an eye on their events for their next air show because they’re a lot of fun!
Thanks to my brother being there for training, we got to walk around the airpark and look at what we affectionately refer to as planes on sticks.
Montgomery Things To Do FAQ
How far is Orange Beach from Montgomery, Alabama?
Orange Beach is about a 3 hour drive from Montgomery (about 195 miles).
Montgomery is the capital of what state?
Montgomery is the capital of Alabama.
What is the capital city of Alabama?
The capital city of Alabama is Montgomery.
What is Montgomery, Alabama known for?
Montgomery is known for being the capital of Alabama and for being the center of the Civil Rights Movement, notably with the Montgomery Bus Boycotts.
Montgomery, AL Things to Do Map
Ready to visit Montgomery, Alabama? Use the map below to plan out your trip!
I hope you have a great time exploring the history of Alabama’s capital!
Explore More Alabama Cities
After your visit to the state capital, plan a trip to Alabama’s other great cities! Check out these itineraries below:
- Take a Free Mural Tour of Huntsville, Alabama
- The Best Things to Do in Florence, Alabama
- Vulcan, the Original Iron Man in Birmingham, Alabama
- Visiting Ave Maria Grotto in Cullman, Alabama
Ready to visit Montgomery, Alabama? Plan your trip with these tips.
- Book your flight: Find the cheapest flights using Skyscanner, my favorite flight search engine.
- Find accommodation: You can find top hotels in Montgomery using Hotels.com.
- Get packing: Make sure you’ve packed everything you need with my packing list resources.
Let me know your favorite things to do in Montgomery, Alabama in the comments!