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Birmingham Introduction Walk (Self Guided), Birmingham

Even a relatively young city, such as Alabama's Birmingham, has a lot to offer a first-time visitor in terms of history and culture. There are quite a few venues in the city - museums, galleries, etc. – fit to satisfy one's cultural eagerness and help one have a good time. Take this orientation walk and explore Birmingham's most notable attractions.
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Birmingham Introduction Walk Map

Guide Name: Birmingham Introduction Walk
Guide Location: USA » Birmingham (See other walking tours in Birmingham)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 12
Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.9 Km or 3.7 Miles
Author: HelenF
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Cathedral of St. Paul
  • McWane Science Center
  • Alabama Theatre
  • Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame Museum
  • Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
  • Sixteenth Street Baptist Church
  • Kelly Ingram Park
  • Don Kresge Memorial Museum
  • Alabama Sports Hall of Fame Museum
  • Birmingham Museum of Art
  • Birmingham Public Library
  • Sloss Furnaces
1
Cathedral of St. Paul

1) Cathedral of St. Paul (must see)

The Cathedral of St. Paul is a 19th century American Neo-Gothic structure; its foundation stone was laid in 1890 and it was completed three years later. It is a spectacular building, featuring a statue of Christ and one of Saint Paul at the entrance. This red brick structure, adorned with white limestone, forms a unique landmark of Birmingham. The church holds baptisms, marriages and funerals; one can come to confession from Monday to Friday at 11:30am.
2
McWane Science Center

2) McWane Science Center (must see)

The McWane Science is a science museum and research archive located in downtown Birmingham, Alabama. The state-of-the-art science center, aquarium and 280-seat IMAX Dome Theater is housed in the historic and refurbished Loveman's department store building. It opened to the public on July 11, 1998. Inside are more than 9,000 square feet of interactive exhibits, including the Challenger Learning Center of Alabama, created in memory of the Space Shuttle Challenger Flight 51-L crew.

The World of Water exhibit showcases more than 50 species of marine and freshwater aquatic life. The Alabama Collections Center is the home for more than 500,000 artifacts from the former Red Mountain Museum. The center houses precious minerals, fossils and Native American artifacts. Highlights in the collection include the world's fourth-largest collection of mosasaurs; the Appalachiosaurus and the state fossil of Alabama, the Basilosaurus cetoides. The McWane Science Center is named after the McWane family and McWane, Inc. both of which helped fund the center.
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
Alabama Theatre

3) Alabama Theatre (must see)

The Alabama Theatre is a movie palace in Birmingham. It was built in 1927 by Paramount's Publix Theatre chain as its flagship theater for the southeastern region of the United States. Seating 2,500 people at the time, it was the largest in the Birmingham Theatre district. The district was once home to a myriad of large theaters that featured vaudeville, performing arts, nickelodeons, and large first-run movie palaces. The Alabama is the only district theater still operating today.

Built to show silent films, the Alabama still features its original Wurlitzer theater organ. Other than the Alabama, the Lyric Theatre is the only theater still standing in the district. The Alabama and its historic organ were added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage on February 15, 1977 and to the National Register of Historic Places on November 13, 1979.
Sight description based on wikipedia
4
Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame Museum

4) Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame Museum (must see)

The Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame (AJHoF) was founded in 1978, and opened a museum on September 18, 1993, with a mission "to foster, encourage, educate, and cultivate a general appreciation of the medium of jazz music as a legitimate, original and distinctive art form indigenous to America. Its mission is also to preserve a continued and sustained program of illuminating the contribution of the State of Alabama through its citizens, environment, demographics and lore, and perpetuating the heritage of jazz music."

The museum is located in Birmingham's historic Carver Theatre, which is part of the Birmingham Civil Rights District. It contains more than 2,200 square feet of exhibits. The Jazz Hall of Fame also sponsors jazz performances around the city and brings jazz to many local students with school visits from musicians. Along with jazz memorabilia such as paintings, quilts, instruments, and personal effects of such artists as Ella Fitzgerald and W.C. Handy, the tour experience itself is guided by Dr. Frank Adams.
Sight description based on wikipedia
5
Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

5) Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (must see)

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is a large interpretive museum and research center in Birmingham, Alabama that depicts the struggles of the American Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s.

The Institute is located in the Civil Rights District. It opened in November 1992, and had more than 25,000 visitors during its first week. The Institute showcases a walking journey through the "living institution", which displays the lessons of the past as a positive way to chart new directions for the future. The permanent exhibitions are a self-directed journey through Birmingham's contributions to the Civil Rights Movement and human rights struggles. Multimedia exhibitions focus on the history of African-American life and the struggle for civil rights. The archives of the Institute serve as a national resource for educators and researchers. The museum is a member of the North American Reciprocal Museums program.
Sight description based on wikipedia
6
Sixteenth Street Baptist Church

6) Sixteenth Street Baptist Church (must see)

Sixteenth Street Baptist Church is a Baptist church in Birmingham which is frequented predominately by African Americans. In September 1963, it was the target of the racially motivated 16th Street Baptist Church bombing that killed four girls in the midst of the American Civil Rights Movement.

The present building, a "modified Romanesque and Byzantine design" by the prominent black architect Wallace Rayfield, was constructed in 1911 by the local black contractor T.C. Windham. The church is still in operation and is a central landmark in the Birmingham Civil Rights District. In 1993, a team of surveyors for the Historic American Buildings Survey executed measured drawings of the church for archival in the Library of Congress. It was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 2006. As part of the Birmingham Civil Rights District, Sixteenth Street Baptist Church receives more than 200,000 visitors annually.
Sight description based on wikipedia
7
Kelly Ingram Park

7) Kelly Ingram Park

Kelly Ingram Park is a park located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is bounded by 16th and 17th Streets and 5th and 6th Avenues North in the Birmingham Civil Rights District. The park, just outside the doors of the 16th Street Baptist Church, served as a central staging ground for large-scale demonstrations during the American Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. The park is the setting for several pieces of sculpture related to the civil rights movement.
Sight description based on wikipedia
8
Don Kresge Memorial Museum

8) Don Kresge Memorial Museum

If you come by the Alabama Historical Radio Society, you should definitely check out the museum, organized by the society’s staff. Don Kresge Memorial Museum displays a collection of radio devices used in the old times. Here you will have the chance to visit the reading rooms, where you can look through vintage Ham publications and also learn interesting facts about the radio’s history. If you are intrigued to learn more about the development of broadcasting, come to the museum, which is located within the Alabama Power Building, from Monday to Friday, between 9am and 4pm.
9
Alabama Sports Hall of Fame Museum

9) Alabama Sports Hall of Fame Museum (must see)

The Alabama Sports Hall of Fame (ASHOF) is a state museum located in Birmingham, Alabama, dedicated to communicating the state’s athletic history. The museum displays over 5,000 objects related to athletes who were born in Alabama or earned fame through athletics that reflects positively upon the state, usually through excellence at an educational institution or sporting event in Alabama.

The ASHOF was established by state legislative act on August 14, 1967. It currently lists over 200 inductees, including five of the top 15 athletes selected as the greatest of the last century by ESPN. Nationally prominent members include Jesse Owens, Hank Aaron, Joe Louis, Willie Mays, Carl Lewis, Chase Riddle, Don Hutson, Shug Jordan and Paul "Bear" Bryant. The museum has an annual induction banquet each year, where it inducts between six and eight persons who have contributed to the athletic arena in some capacity. The current executive director is Scott Myers, the former owner of the Alabama Steeldogs arena football team.

Operation hours: Monday - Friday: 9 am – 5 pm.
Sight description based on wikipedia
10
Birmingham Museum of Art

10) Birmingham Museum of Art (must see)

Founded in 1951, the Birmingham Museum of Art in Birmingham, Alabama today has one of the finest collections in the Southeast US, with more than 24,000 paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, and decorative arts representing a numerous diverse cultures, including Asian, European, American, African, Pre-Columbian, and Native American. Among other highlights, the Museum’s collection of Asian art is considered the finest and most comprehensive in the Southeast, and its Vietnamese ceramics one of the finest in the U.S. The Museum also is home to a remarkable Kress Collection of Renaissance and Baroque paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts from the late 13th century to c.1750, and the 18th-century European decorative arts include superior examples of English ceramics and French furniture.

Erected in 1959, the present building was designed by architects Warren, Knight and Davis. The roots of the museum date back to 1908 and the founding of the "Birmingham Art Club" which endeavored to amass a public art collection for the benefit of the citizens of Birmingham.

Operation hours: Tuesday – Saturday: 10 am – 5 pm; Sunday: 12pm – 5 pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
11
Birmingham Public Library

11) Birmingham Public Library

The Birmingham Public Library, a well-respected and one of the largest library systems in the southeastern United States, consists of 19 branches and a main or central library located in downtown Birmingham.

The main library is composed of two buildings, the East Building, with its dramatic atrium, and the Linn-Henley Research Library, with its fine wall murals, the Tutwiler Collection of Southern History, and the Rucker Agee Map Collection. The Birmingham Public Library was established in 1886 as an adjunct of Birmingham's public schools. Annual circulation of roughly 1.7 million checkouts is matched by an equal number of materials being used within the libraries and via electronic access. Tutwiler Collection of Southern History and Literature, listed as one of the top 10 public library collections for genealogists by Family Tree Magazine, is a collection that covers every facet of Southern life and culture.

Operation hours: Monday – Tuesday: 9 am – 8 pm; Wednesday – Saturday: 8 am – 6 pm; Sunday: 2 pm – 6 pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
12
Sloss Furnaces

12) Sloss Furnaces (must see)

Sloss Furnaces is a National Historic Landmark in Birmingham, Alabama in the United States. It operated as a pig iron-producing blast furnace from 1882 to 1971. After closing it became one of the first industrial sites (and the only blast furnace) in the U.S. to be preserved and restored for public use. In 1981 the furnaces were designated a National Historic Landmark by the United States Department of the Interior.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Birmingham, Alabama

Create Your Own Walk in Birmingham

Create Your Own Walk in Birmingham

Creating your own self-guided walk in Birmingham is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Birmingham's Historical Churches Tour

Birmingham's Historical Churches Tour

When in Birmingham, one can easily notice the “abundance” of religious venues concentrated in the very heart of the city and also in the outskirts. Churches here are of various denominations and have a varied service schedule. Besides this, churches in Birmingham are fine representations of religious architecture. Take this tour and check out the exquisite churches that brought fame to their...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.4 Km or 0.9 Miles
Museums Walking Tour

Museums Walking Tour

Birmingham is a city that has quite a number of museums, specializing in different fields. Whether it is art, sports, medicine, history or music, Birmingham has it all. While visiting the city’s museums you will learn many interesting facts about personalities who left their mark on Birmingham’s history. Take the following self-guided tour and check out the city’s most outstanding museums.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 Km or 1.5 Miles