Birmingham, Alabama, is a city teeming with a rich history, lively communities, and engaging activities to suit all interests. The best part? You don’t need to break the bank to enjoy what this city has to offer. From strolling through art museums and learning about the city’s past to enjoying the serenity of lush parks and exploring small towns, there are many free things to do in Birmingham, AL.
Whether you’ve recently relocated to Birmingham, are interested in exploring Birmingham homes and apartments, or are a long-time local looking for new things to do – continue reading to see what the city has for you.
1. Railroad Park
As you enter Railroad Park, the lush greenery, walking paths, and serene ponds immediately invite relaxation and exploration. The park’s well-designed spaces cater to various activities – outdoor gym equipment, trails, and a designated skate area. If you’re searching for a park in the city, these 19 acres of green space will give you just what you need.
2. Red Mountain Park
Emily from Watauga Group, a media agency for outdoor recreation and attraction brands, shares, “Red Mountain Park is an absolute must for your itinerary. Covering a vast 1,500 acres, this park offers 16 miles of multi-use trails catering to all adventure enthusiast levels. For those seeking a furry companion adventure, there’s even a dedicated dog park to explore. Throughout the trails, you’ll be treated to stunning views of Magic City, and the charm doesn’t end there – discover three whimsical tree houses tucked away in the park’s expanse.”
3. Birmingham Museum of Art
The museum’s expansive galleries house an impressive collection that spans various artistic epochs, offering visitors a chance to immerse themselves in a world of creative expression and cultural significance. General admission to the Birmingham Museum of Art is free daily to enjoy diverse artwork. From ancient artifacts to contemporary masterpieces, this cultural gem does not provide an opportunity to appreciate the artistic achievements of humanity.
4. Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark
Stephen, a local from The Yoga Circle in Birmingham, encourages a visit to Sloss Furnaces. “Sloss Furnaces is a historical landmark that was the country’s largest producer of pig iron and is responsible for most of Birmingham’s growth,” says Stephen. “It was built in 1881. It’s ripe with legend and lore from so many lives lost in the dangerous working conditions, with many stories of paranormal activity and hauntings. It is free to walk around and explore during business hours, and utterly fascinating to observe the imposing machinery that made these furnaces burn.”
5. The market at Pepper Place
Venturing into the Market at Pepper Place in Birmingham, AL is a great way to step into local flavors, arts, and community spirit. The market comes alive with farmers, artisans, and food vendors gathering to showcase their finest offerings. As you weave through the bustling stalls, you’ll find an array of fresh produce, artisanal crafts, and delectable treats that reflect the region’s culinary and creative prowess. The lively atmosphere is enhanced by live music, making this a great free thing to do.
6. Oak Mountain State Park
If you want to surround yourself with nature, you’ll want to head to Oak Mountain State Park. You’ll find vast wooded landscapes, serene lakes, and diverse trails here. Whether you’re seeking a stroll, a challenging hike, or a lakeside picnic, the park accommodates every outdoor aspiration. You’ll want to take advantage of some breathtaking overlooks, tranquil fishing spots, and opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife spotting await at every turn. As one of Alabama’s largest state parks, Oak Mountain is a testament to the region’s natural beauty.
7. Avondale murals
Exploring the vibrant murals in the Avondale neighborhood of Birmingham, AL is like embarking on an urban art treasure hunt. As you stroll through its streets, the neighborhood transforms into an open-air gallery. Each mural tells a unique story, reflecting the community’s spirit, history, and values. Best of all, this artful adventure comes at no cost, allowing anyone with an appreciation for creativity to experience the essence of Avondale’s cultural allure in a budget-friendly manner.
8. Birmingham Public Library
The library’s shelves house a vast collection of books, resources, and multimedia materials that cater to diverse interests and passions. From historic volumes to contemporary bestsellers, the library is a haven for bibliophiles and learners alike. Beyond its literary treasures, the library often hosts informative events, workshops, and discussions that enrich the community’s understanding and engagement.
9. Visit the small towns surrounding Birmingham
“If you are coming to Birmingham, AL, don’t miss visiting the suburbs and small towns surrounding Birmingham,” shares locals Ann and Stephen from Heaven’s Best Carpet Cleaning. “Our favorite small town is Chelsea, AL. We love Chelsea because it has a small, home feel similar to Mayberry of the Andy Griffith show. We are growing and now have a new splash pad at Melrose Park.”
10. Ruffner Mountain
A visit to Ruffner Mountain is a great free thing to do in Birmingham, AL. The moment you set foot on its trails, you’re embraced by the soothing sounds of nature and the refreshing scent of pine. For hikers, the Overlook trail has panoramic views of the city skyline, while the Quarry Trail leads to the remnants of an industrial past. The variety of trails caters to both walkers and avid hikers, making Ruffner Mountain an excellent option for all.