Montgomery and Selma Alabama
The Edmund Pettus Bridge crossing the Alabama River
A bust of the Country musician and his blue Cadillac at the Hank Williams Museum
Visiting historic sites along the U.S. Civil Rights Trail in Alabama
Nighttime view of the Court Square Fountain, built in 1885
Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. preached
Browsing works of art at The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts
The Alabama State Capitol building, a National Historic Landmark
Taking a segway tour along the downtown Montgomery riverfront
A horse-drawn carriage parked outside The Alley Station entertainment complex
A live music performance at Sous La Terre, a hot spot for jazz and blues shows
Southern cities steeped in U.S. civil rights history
Begin with the Past
In 1965, hundreds of civil rights advocates marched 87 kilometers on Highway 80 from Selma to Montgomery to campaign for equal voting rights. Visit the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute in Selma, see the march’s starting point at the Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church & King Monument and follow the route the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. led across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
Continue the journey through history along Dexter Avenue in downtown Montgomery, called the most historic short street in the USA. Read informative plaques at Court Square Fountain, where slaves were sold during the 1800s and Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat a century later. The Rosa Parks Museum a few blocks away is dedicated to her life and the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Pass the building where the telegram that started the American Civil War was sent – you can read the telegram's text on a historical marker outside – and touch the pulpit where King preached from 1954 to 1960 at Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church.
Jefferson Davis was sworn in as the first, and only, president of the Confederate States of America in 1861 at the Alabama Capitol building, which also acted as one of the capitols of the Confederacy and the terminus of the Selma-to-Montgomery March. Be sure to visit the First White House of the Confederacy a short walk away.
Out on the Town
If you make downtown Montgomery your base, you’ll be able to walk to museums, restaurants, shops and entertainment. Music fans can pay respects to a Country icon at the Hank Williams Museum and see a comprehensive collection of memorabilia, including the blue Cadillac the 29-year-old was riding in when he passed away in 1953.
At Riverfront Park, attend a concert or special event, see a baseball game at Riverwalk Stadium and enjoy stand-up paddleboarding or a scenic dinner cruise on the Alabama River. Afterward, linger over a drink at the Aviator Bar, packed with aviation relics including a replica of the Wright Flyer hanging from the ceiling. Dinner at Capitol Oyster Bar, a local favorite for its Southern comfort food, river views and Sunday Blues music shows, will not disappoint. After other bars close on Friday and Saturday nights, head to the Sous La Terre underground club for Jazz and Blues music. Culture-seekers should plan to visit to Blount Cultural Park, home to the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts and the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. Also, check out the F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum, honoring the famous literary couple who met in Montgomery in 1918.
The Confederacy’s first White House in Montgomery was used for only three months during the American Civil War – February to May 1861. Today, visit it for free.
Photo: Art Meripol
Zelda Fitzgerald, wife of American author F. Scott Fitzgerald, was a Montgomery native and met her future husband here in 1918.
Photo: Art Meripol
Montgomery was home to the first U.S. flight school, established by Orville and Wilbur Wright in 1910. It’s now Maxwell Air Force Base.
Photo: Chris Granger