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Montgomery or Birmingham?

England
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Montgomery or Birmingham?

Hello. We'll be exploring the Deep South in Sept and I can't decide whether to spend the night in Montgomery or Birmingham (we only have time for one) and then spend the next day exploring that city. Which would you recommend? We're primarily interested in the Civil Rights history, but I'd also be interested to know which city is better as an all-round destination. Thank you!.

Atlanta, Georgia
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1. Re: Montgomery or Birmingham?

Been to both cities and I am sure the locals can you you their opinions and ideas. Here is a great website about each area of the state and Civil Rights history-

www.alabama.travel › Activities › Tours & Trails

Montgomery offers a number of activites plus the state capitol.

Birmingham, Alabama
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2. Re: Montgomery or Birmingham?

I live in Birmingham and I think you'll find a lot to do here in a day. Here's the website for the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and historic district: http://www.bcri.org/index.html. You can also visit the 16th Street Baptist Church, another important Civil Rights site. The Birmingham Museum of Art is nice and will have a great special exhibit going on through mid-September (info here: http://www.rockbma.com/). The Birmingham Botanical Garden is lovely (and free). It should be hot but beautiful that time of year.

There are several top-tier restaurants in town, among them Highlands Bar & Grill, Hot and Hot Fish Club, and Bettola (the chef just was named one of the USA's best new chefs).

Are you traveling with kids? If so, McWane Science Center is lots of fun. Railroad Park downtown is a great greenspace and play area.

Hope that helps!

Birmingham, Alabama
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3. Re: Montgomery or Birmingham?

For what you are wanting to do I think I would recommend Birmingham. Its much more vibrant, but I would recommend staying at Aloft in Homewood, its literally over one hill from Birmingham, and you can walk to many restaurants, shopping, and more. If you must stay in downtown Birmingham the Doubletree Southside is a decent spot.

England
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4. Re: Montgomery or Birmingham?

Thank you everybody - it looks as if Birmingham wins here!

Montgomery does have the Rosa Parks museum, the Civil Rights Memorial and the Dexter King Memorial Baptist Church, so that's the only reason why I'm still not sure what to do - they seem such key sites. Would you say Birmingham would satisify my interest in the Civil Rights just as much as Montgomery? Thank you again.

Birmingham, Alabama
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5. Re: Montgomery or Birmingham?

Montgomery is an easy 1-hour drive from Birmingham - would you have enough time to do both?

England
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6. Re: Montgomery or Birmingham?

Our schedule is so tight, so it really has to be a choice between the two. Which is definitely a shame. If we didn't choose Birmingham, which seems unlikely, can anybody recommend any evening spot (good place for food/drink) in Montgomery? Thanks again.

England
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7. Re: Montgomery or Birmingham?

Also, we'll be there on a Sunday evening. I thought this might be important to mention since I just noticed that all the restaurants suggested above (Highlands Bar & Grill, Hot and Hot Fish Club, and Bettola) are closed on a Sunday! All three look great, what a shame. Thank you!

Birmingham, Alabama
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8. Re: Montgomery or Birmingham?

That is a shame about the restaurants. It can be hard to find good ones that are open on Sunday, but if you're in the mood for Southern cooking, Jim-N-Nick's Barbecue (several locations around Birmingham) is always a crowd-pleaser.

England
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9. Re: Montgomery or Birmingham?

thank you again for your help and the suggestion above. i've had a look and i think we can squeeze in montgomery too, which is good. so spend the night in birmingham and on the way down to fairhope, stop in montgomery. just a shame about restaurants on sunday, and i just saw birmingham civil rights institute is closed on mondays. i'm not having much luck, but hopefully we'll still have a good time!

Edited: 12:29 pm, June 20, 2011
Birmingham, AL
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10. Re: Montgomery or Birmingham?

Take a look at this article:

www.civilrightstravel.com/birmingham.html

and the CRI's website:

www.bcri.org

They key sites for Civil Rights History in Birmingham are located very close together...with the CRI, Kelly Ingram Park, and the 16th Street Church all on one block.

I cant offer an experienced opinion of the facilities in Montgomery, but as a History geek, and a native, i can tell you without reservation that the CRI is extremely well done, AND accurate and truthful.

If you decide on Birmingham, after you choose your hotel, repost about the restaurant question. many places are closed, but there will be plenty of good ones open on Sunday.

The Bright Star and Dreamland barbeque both come to mind...both historical, both delicious, and both open Sunday.

Miller