Birmingham, Alabama is a short-ish drive from us here in Charlotte and I have been wanting to visit Birmingham with kids since I moved to the South! Birmingham is a quaint southern city with amazing food and tons of things for kids and adults to enjoy. I took the kids on a little bit of a spring break road trip from Charlotte to Birmingham, Alabama to Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, to New Orleans, Louisiana and then all the way back to Charlotte. It was a spring break for the books!
Only a couple hours outside of Atlanta, Georgia, Birmingham is nothing like its bustling sister city to the east. Birmingham is the largest city in Alabama with a little over 200,000 citizens – it has an urban vibe with a small town feel. Birmingham is known for playing an integral part in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and that was also one of the main reasons I wanted to visit. Before our visit to Birmingham, we listened to To Kill A Mockingbird and got a feel for Alabama from a child’s perspective during a difficult time in our history. As we drove, my kids were excited to see road signs for cities and towns mentioned in the book. History definitely came alive for all of us by reading this book before visiting Alabama in person.
What To Do When You Visit Birmingham With Kids
- Visit The Birmingham Zoo. Over 100 acres to leisurely enjoy winding paths and beautiful animals.
- Check Out The Civil Rights Institute. My kids of all ages enjoyed the Civil Rights Institute. The Civil Rights Institute looks back to the 1800s and what life was like for slaves in America as well as examines current civil rights issues happening here in the US and all over the world. There are tons of materials on their website – definitely check them out before you visit.
- Sit On The Steps of the 16th Street Baptist Church. The 16th Street Baptist Church was the site of a 1963 bombing that killed four small girls. It was really designated a National Historic Landmark.
- Walk Through Kelly Ingram Park. If you remember news footage of water hoses and angry dogs being unleashed on civil rights protesters, this park is where that all went down.
- Enjoy the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. There’s something about botanical gardens that seems to always chill out my kids. If I see a botanical garden in a new city, I always try to visit. And, when we went in Birmingham, it was free. Can’t beat that! For more info and hours, click here to check out their website.
- McWane Science Center. If you have younger kids, the McWane Science Center will probably be a huge hit. There are lots of interactive exhibits for a variety of ages and even adults can learn something new!
What To Eat When You Visit Birmingham With Kids
- COFFEE … My favorite coffee shop was Revelator Birmingham. The spot was cool and the coffee was absolutely perfect.
- BREAKFAST OR LUNCH … Yo Mama’s. Yo Mama’s is really great for breakfast or lunch – they are not open for dinner. Since being diagnosed with celiac disease, fried chicken is not something I can have – until now. I would drive six hours back to Birmingham just to get more fried chicken. Gluten-free fried chicken!!! It was amazing. I kind of wanted to cry. The menu is truly southern and I guarantee there will be something your kids will enjoy – pancakes? Waffles? Fried chicken? A fried Oreo? Yep. They have a gluten-free fried Oreo. Not gonna lie – did not try that.
- DINNER … Delta Blues Hot Tamales. How is it possible that a city that is 1/5 the size of my current city can have so many amazing gluten-free dining options. More southern food. All gluten-free. All delicious.
- DESSERT … Church Street Coffee and Books – amazing cookies AND you can buy books. Basically perfection, right?
Where To Stay In Birmingham With Kids
We were looking for a convenient hotel with charm and we definitely found that at the Hampton Inn and Suites – Tutwiler. The Tutwiler is over 100 years old and is not your typical Hampton Inn. Classic, southern charm is everywhere! I loved its central location in downtown Birmingham. It was easy to get everywhere we wanted to go and the price was very affordable.
Birmingham is perfect for a day trip or a fun weekend with kids. We learned a lot, ate really well, and felt like we really understood more about the Civil Rights movement after spending the weekend in this history-rich city. I highly recommend a visit to Birmingham if you have a chance to visit!