Alabama is full of hidden gems, from natural beauties to historical landmarks and sports stadiums. Some of the most famous Alabama landmarks hold a lot of historical significance for Native American Tribes, the Confederacy, and the Civil Rights Movement. So, if you’re after a taste of the American South, Alabama is a great place to start. Alabama’s largest city, Huntsville, has also been instrumental in advancing space travel with a NASA research and construction facility and the largest space museum in the world.
The state has 1,500 miles (2414 km) of inland waterways, beautiful white-sand beaches, state parks, lakes and caves, among other natural beauties. Alabama is also known for its fertile black-belt region, which is ideal for growing crops. Alabama has been home to notable historical figures such as Helen Keller, Rosa Parks, Jesse Owens, Harper Lee, Condoleezza Rice and pop culture icons like Channing Tatum and Courtney Cox.
Alabama’s weather is relatively moderate year-round, with mild winters and warm summers. The landmarks explain the state’s rich history, natural beauty and modern improvements. Start with these 20 landmarks in Alabama, and along the way, make sure to listen to country music and whet your appetite with traditional southern food like Bar-B-Q, fried green tomatoes, biscuits and grits.
- 20 Alabama Landmarks
- Famous Landmarks In Alabama
- Historical Landmarks In Alabama
- Natural Landmarks In Alabama
20 Alabama Landmarks
Famous Landmarks In Alabama
1- USS Alabama
The USS Alabama Battleship was erected in 1940 and was home to 2,500 American troops during World War II.
The battleship was stationed in the Pacific and participated in several campaigns, primarily targeting the Japanese, in the 1940s.
In 1962 the ship was retired and turned into a museum.
Today, visitors can board the USS Alabama in Mobile Bay, and it serves as a U.S. Navy veterans memorial and educational tool.
The USS Alabama Battleship is in the Veterans Memorial Park at 2703 Battleship Pkwy, Mobile, AL 36603.
2- U.S. Space and Rocket Center
The U.S. Space and Rocket Center is the largest space museum in the world.
Huntsville is where the first rockets to reach the moon were developed, and NASA still has a significant presence in Huntsville.
The museum houses the Saturn V rocket, the first American satellite Explorer I and an extensive collection of space memorabilia.
The Space and Rocket Center also has rides that visitors can enjoy, including Space Shot and G-Force.
They host camps for children and adults, including Space Camp, Aviation Challenge and U.S. Cyber Camp.
Campers can experience real astronaut and pilot training simulators and learn about space travel and aviation.
The U.S. Space and Rocket Center is also home to the grave of Miss Baker, a monkey who was one of the first two animals to be launched into space and return alive.
U.S. Space and Rocket Center is at 1 Tranquility Base, Huntsville, AL 35805.
3- Vulcan Park and Museum
Vulcan Park and Museum’s main attraction is the world’s largest cast-iron statue depicting Vulcan, the Roman god of fire and metalworking.
The statue stands on top of a hill, which is an excellent viewing point of the Birmingham skyline.
The statue is a reminder of Birmingham’s origins as a key player in the U.S. iron and steel industry in the 1900s.
Vulcan Park and Museum is at 1701 Valley View Dr, Birmingham, AL 35209.
4- Jordan-Hare Stadium
Jordan-Hare Stadium is Auburn University’s football stadium and the nation’s tenth-largest on-campus stadium, with a capacity of over 85,000.
Auburn football fans flock by the thousands to Jordan-Hare on Saturdays to see the Auburn Tigers play during football season.
The stadium houses the largest college football video board, which is so enormous you can see it from outside the stadium.
Surrounding the stadium are statues of famous football players and coaches from Auburn’s past.
Before football games in Jordan-Hare, one tradition includes an eagle flying around the stadium and eventually landing in the centre of the field.
Jordan-Hare Stadium is at 251 S Donahue Dr, Auburn, AL 36849.
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5- Bryant-Denny Stadium
Bryant-Denny Stadium is the football stadium of the University of Alabama Crimson Tide that holds a whopping 100,077 people and is the tenth-largest stadium in the world.
Surrounding the stadium is the University of Alabama’s Walk of Champions, which has statues and plaques of famous players and coaches.
Notably, President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump visited Bryant-Denny Stadium during his presidency for the Alabama vs. LSU game in 2019.
Bryant-Denny Stadium is at 920 Paul W Bryant Dr, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401.
6- Dauphin Street
Mobile is Alabama’s oldest city and the birthplace of Mardi Gras.
Mobile has many similarities to New Orleans and Dauphin Street, in downtown Mobile has similar architecture to the French Quarter in New Orleans.
However, Mobile is safer and cleaner than New Orleans.
Dauphin Street is a bustling area for nightlife and dining.
The best time to visit Dauphin Street is during Mardi Gras, but it is worth visiting year-round.
Tons of parades and festivities during Mardi Gras pass through Dauphin Street and the surrounding areas downtown.
7- Fame Recording Studios
Fame Recording Studios is one of the most sought-after and influential recording studios in the world.
Since 1960, musicians such as Aretha Franklin. Alicia Keys, Paul Anka, Etta James, Demi Lovato and Little Richard have recorded songs at Fame Studios in Muscles Shoals.
Music produced at Fame Recording Studios is even featured in some songs by The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.
Visitors can tour the infamous studio and National Landmark that played a part in the booming American music industry.
Fame Recording Studios is at 603 Avalon Ave, Muscle Shoals, AL 35661.
8- Talladega Superspeedway
Fans of NASCAR or the movie Talladega Nights flock to the Talladega Superspeedway.
The largest race track in NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) is also known for producing the fastest race time.
Scenes from the movie Talladega Nights were filmed at Talladega Superspeedway.
The facility offers free camping for fans and Saturday night concerts on race weekends that are included in ticket prices.
Talladega hosts races such as the YellaWood 500, the GEICO 500, an Xfinity Series, and a Truck Series race.
It’s home to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and Museum.
Talladega Superspeedway is at 3366 Speedway Blvd, Lincoln, AL 35096.
9- Unclaimed Baggage Center
An unusual landmark in Alabama is Unclaimed Baggage, the only lost luggage retailer in the United States.
Aeroplane baggage that a passenger never claims is sent to the facility and sorted by employees.
Anything found in the bags, including clothes, jewellery, electronics, books, accessories and shoes, is either sold at the retail location, donated or recycled.
At the facility, the Unclaimed Baggage team washes the clothes, authenticates items and ensures electronics work before they are put on the floor.
Shoppers even have a chance of being selected to open baggage for the first time and sort through the items in the retail store.
Unclaimed Baggage shoppers have the unique experience of offing almost anything second-hand at a discounted price.
Some items even have the original tags attached.
Unclaimed Baggage is without a doubt something you will not find anywhere else, and it is worth visiting.
Unclaimed Baggage is at 509 W Willow St, Scottsboro, AL 35768.
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Historical Landmarks In Alabama
10- Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
The institute is a museum that serves as an archive for important documents and history relating to the Civil Rights movement.
Visitors learn more about the Civil Right movement, specifically the events that took place in Birmingham.
The museum includes a replica of the Freedom Riders bus and the jail door where Dr Martin Luther King hung his “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”
The museum is along the Civil Rights Trail and is close to several monuments and important locations of the Civil Rights movement in Birmingham.
So, step back in time and experience what Birmingham was like during segregation.
Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is at 520 16th St N, Birmingham, AL 35203.
11- Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum
Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum is the largest motorcycle museum in the world, with over 1,600 motorcycles from 200 different manufacturers.
This impressive museum is home to the world’s most extensive Lotus collection and tons of vintage racecars.
On the property, a track hosts the IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Alabama and the Barber Vintage Festival.
Surrounding the track is a collection of large sculptures by artist Bill Secunda.
The museum preserves the history of motorcycles in the United States from 1904 to the present.
Visitors can tour the museum or watch a race at the track, both of which reside just east of Birmingham.
Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum is at 6030 Barber Motorsports Pkwy, Leeds, AL 35094.
12- Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church
This famous church in Montgomery played an important part in Dr Martin Luther King Jr.’s journey.
King was a pastor at this church from 1954 to 1960. During his time as pastor, King organised the Montgomery bus boycott, an important event in the Civil Right Movement, in the basement of this church.
The church is just steps from Alabama’s state capitol building in downtown Montgomery.
Tour the church and Dr Martin Luther King Jr.’s Montgomery home, where he lived while serving as a pastor at the church, which today is a part of the Dexter Parsonage Museum.
Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church is at 454 Dexter Ave, Montgomery, AL 36104.
13- Alabama State Capitol
The working Alabama State Capitol building is a National Historic Landmark and history and politics museum open to the public.
The capitol building is where southern delegates voted to succeed from the union in 1861 and where the first President of the Confederacy was sworn in.
It was the first capital of the Confederacy.
The building was the destination of the Selma to Montgomery March for Black suffrage led by Dr Martin Luther King Jr. King gave one of his most famous speeches on the capitol steps in 1965.
Today, the Capitol building holds the governor’s office but is otherwise just a museum.
Murals and sculptures adorn the walls and ceilings of the nearly 200-year-old Greek Revival-style building on Capitol Hill.
The museum welcomes visitors and has tours from Monday through to Friday.
Alabama State Capitol is in Montgomery, AL 36104.
14- Tuskegee Airman National Historic Site
The Tuskegee Airman National Historic Site commemorates the all-Black Army Airforce squadron.
The Tuskegee Airmen were the first black American to fly for the U.S. military in 1940.
This group included pilots and support staff.
This first group was a part of the Tuskegee Experiment to determine whether Black Americans should be allowed to integrate into the military.
The Tuskegee Airmen fought in WWII and the praise they received for their efforts helped to fight segregation and prejudice in the military.
Visitors can tour the grounds and hangers where the Tuskegee Airmen are trained and learn more about the airmen through the museum.
Tuskegee Airman National Historic Site is at 1616 Chappie James Ave, Tuskegee, AL 36083.
15- Ave Maria Grotto
The Ave Maria Grottos is an outdoor art exhibit on the grounds of St. Bernard Abbey in Cullman.
St. Bernard Abbey has been home to Catholic Benedictine Monks since 1891.
Walk along a trail to view the artwork created by Brother Joseph Zoetl, O.S.B, throughout his adult life at the Abbey.
The artwork is spread along a two-block pathway on a hillside that passes a large grotto or cave.
There are an impressive 125 stone and cement structures, including replicas of Basilicas, statues of saints and other important religious structures from across the world.
The structures were constructed using donated materials like jewellery, broken plates, seashells and tiles.
Situated right off the interstate, the Ave Maria Grotto is worth a quick detour or day trip.
Ave Maria Grotto is at 1600 St Bernard Dr, Cullman, AL 35055.
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16- Ivy Green
Ivy Green is the birthplace and childhood residence of Helen Keller.
The 640-acre (258 ha) farm has been well preserved and serves as a museum.
Helen Keller was born deaf and blind and overcame all of the odds.
Keller learned how to communicate and eventually became a world-famous author and public speaker.
Ivy Green is also one of the few untouched pre-Civil War structures left in North Alabama.
Helen Keller’s grandfather built the main home on the property in 1820.
This farm is where Keller had many breakthroughs and lessons with her teacher, Anne Sullivan, which eventually allowed her to communicate.
Ivy Green is open to visitors Monday through Saturday from 8.30 am until 4 pm. Visitors can tour the grounds and learn more about Helen Keller’s life.
Ivy Green is at 300 N Commons St W, Tuscumbia, AL 35674.
Natural Landmarks In Alabama
17- Cathedral Caverns State Park
This state park is home to the largest cave in Alabama, and the cave opening at Cathedral Caverns is the largest commercial cave opening in the world.
Visitors can participate in tours of the cave year-round and view one of the largest stalagmites in the world, a flowstone “waterfall” and an extensive stalagmite forest.
There are plenty of hiking trails and activities like gemstone mining outside the cave.
The cave was once home to Native Americans, and archaeologists recovered ancient artifacts dating back around 9000 from the cave.
Cathedral Caverns State Park is at 637 Cave Rd, Woodville, AL 35776.
18- Cheaha State Park
Cheaha State Park is where you will find Cheaha Mountain, the highest point in Alabama.
The State Park is the southernmost point of the Appalachian Mountain range and has panoramic views of the Talladega National Forest and surrounding towns.
It’s a great place for hiking, mountain biking and camping.
Visitors can enjoy the natural wonder of Alabama, including granite boulders and ancient pine forests.
The park feels like a wilderness escape without being too far from civilisation and is only 30 minutes from neighbouring towns such as Anniston, Talladega and Munford.
Along with campsites, the park offers cabins, chalets and lodge rooms for visitors.
The lodge has a restaurant and swimming pool with bluff views to enjoy.
Cheaha State Park is at 19644 AL-281, Delta, AL 36258.
19- Little River Canyon
Little River Canyon National Preserve is a protected natural area perfect for hiking, swimming, climbing, hunting and whitewater paddling.
The Hippie Hole, a natural swimming hole that you can access through a short hiking path, is a popular attraction within the preserve.
Dive and jump from nearby cliffs into the pool or swim and wade in the water.
The preserve is home to two federally endangered plants: the green pitcher plant and Kral’s water plantain.
The preserve also offers numerous natural waterfalls and miles of hiking trails accessible year-round.
Little River Canyon is near Fort Payne.
20- Gulf State Park
Gulf State Park is a two-mile (3.2 km) protected strip of Alabama’s beautiful white-sand beaches.
The park is in Gulf Shores and offers access to the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Shelby. Visitors can enjoy parasailing, kayaking, hiking, biking, fishing, swimming and paddle boarding.
Gulf State Park also has camping sites, cabins, cottages and a lodge to stay in.
The park is also home to the largest pier in the Gulf of Mexico, Gulf State Park Fishing and Education Pier.
It’s the only pier open to the public in Alabama and has shopping, concessions and picnic tables.
Educational opportunities are available at the park’s Nature Center, Learning Campus and Interpretive Center.
This is also a great park to visit if you want a saltwater fishing license while visiting the Gulf.
Gulf State Park is at 20115 State Park Rd, Gulf Shores, AL 36542.
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