Is there a reason you want to come through Birmingham? You can drive between Atlanta & Nashville in less than 4 hours by going up through Chattanooga, TN. (I75 North from Atlanta, to I24 West toward Nashville -- follow the signs)
If you do come through Birmingham, be careful to drive the speed limit inside the Alabama state line, as there are often many police patroling the roads and they will stop you if you are speeding.
As far as where to stay in Birmingham, it depends on what you want. If you are looking for something pretty nice, there is a Sheraton hotel in downtown Birmingham that is pretty nice, and also the Tutwiler, which is a historic hotel. A little closer in, there is an Embassy suites, which is good if you have lots of people.
If you want something less expensive, then you might try the Hampton Inn, a chain of hotels that is reasonably priced and pretty consistently nice -- plus free breakfast (pastries and such). There is one in Fultondale, AL, just off of I65, about 8 miles north of Birmingham. There is also one in Cullman and another in Huntsville/Athens, other towns to the North of Birmingham about 45 min and an hour, respectively. They are both just off of the interstate.
If you have something else in mind, let me know and I'll try to help you out.
Thanks Konagirl, we are comingvto the states for 2 weeks flying into atlanta we are staying there for 2 nights & the plan is to then visit memphis, Nashville & possibly Chattanooga finishing back near atlanta at Road Atlanta at the Kevin Schantz Superbike school(husband mad about motorbikes). Any help appreciated & anywhere en-route to visit .
If you are flying into Atlanta and driving to Memphis ... hmmm ... you will leave the Atlanta airport and take I20 to BIrmingham ... then you will take highway 78 toward Memphis -- it has just recently become an interstate highway about an hour outside of Birmingham but this is a very boring drive -- so if this is indeed how you are travelling your first night, you will definitley want to stay Birmingham. If I were you I would come on into Birmingham and take I-65 a couple of exits south to Lakeshore parkway. There are many, many hotels here, including a HIlton Garden inn and some sort of Marriott. You will be just south of Birmingham proper, but right by the interstate.
The next morning you will take Interstate 65 to Hwy 78 ... then you'll be on your way. You will go through part of Mississippi, and there really is very little on this road.
In Memphis, there is of course Graceland ... I've never been, but I'm sure its interesting. Go down to Beale street, the home of the Memphis music scene downtown -- lots of clubs, restaurants, etc. Check out Rendezvous Barbecue (ask a local -- it's famous, but it's in a little alley & hard to find). Check out the ducks (real ones) at the Peabody Hotel -- they live on the roof and come down at 10 a.m. every day and walk on the red carpet to the fountain in the lobby, where they stay until they go back up in the evening. The hotel is beautiful, as well. I just ran a race in Memphis, and I thought the town itself was quite nice, down by the river.
Nashville is of course the home of country music. Not sure what you want to see ... there are tours where you can see the stars' homes ... you might see who is playing at the Ryman auditorium (home of the Grand Olde Opry) ... the Opryland Hotel is something to see. Gosh, there's probably a lot that I haven't done; I go there often, but mostly to visit friends or for work. There's a place called Monelle's that's a restaurant in an old house -- you eat family style (pass around dishes -- with a bunch of people you don't know) ... great breakfast including fried chicken (very southern!) It would be fun, probably.
Chattanooga and the surrounding area is interesting -- downtown Chattanooga has been redeveloped quite nicely. There is an amazing aquarium. Nearby are also some very quintessential American landmarks -- Rock City, Lookout Mountain and the Incline Railway, and Ruby Falls. None of these are that great, but something that most of us from the south remember doing as children growing up. From the top of Lookout Mtn you can see 7 states or something.
Atlanta has a new aquarium -- if you are coming soon you might not be able to get tickets, but it's supposed to be incredible. The world of coca cola (Coca Cola Museum) is also fun. Again, Atlanta is a place I go mainly for work or to visit friends -- not to be a tourist.
I know nothing about bikes!! But sounds like a fun time!
Many thanks Konagirl for the info. We will be staying in the Emory/buchead area of atlanta for 2 days before heading to memphis.Would you still recommend Birmingham. thanks again.
If you are staying in Atlanta for a couple of nights first, you can certainly drive to Memphis in a day -- you will come through Birmingham ... if you drive straight, no stopping, you will make it in 6 1/2 hours or so. You will also gain an hour, as the time zone changes from Eastern to Central when you cross the Alabama line. (Mind you, it also changes in the middle of Tennessee, so you'll change again at some point between Nashville and Chattanooga.
I don't know if you would want to stop in B'ham or not -- depends on what you want to see. We do have a very interesting civil rights museum ... quite nicely done. Of course I am sure you are familiar with all that went on here in the 60s -- unfortunately our reputation, although it is a very nice city now and most of those problems are long gone. Birmingham was also the heart of the steel industry in the South for many years -- hence we have a lot of red dirt and a mountain called "Red Mountain" (because of the iron ore). There is an old furnace, Sloss Furnace, here that is interesting to tour as well. And we also have the largest cast iron statue in the world -- Vulcan -- that stands on top of Red Mountain. Actually, this statue is not far from I20 and has a nice little park with some info about Birmingham, in case you want to experience it.
We have our own famous barbecue place ... mainly for ribs ... it's called Dreamland. (Actually, the original is in Tuscaloosa just south of here, but the one here is an interesting place). We also have a lot of fine dining -- if that is something you are into, let me know and I will tell you some places to check out.
Anyway, Birmingham probably wouldn't be the highlight of your trip, but it is a nice city. If you have time, or are interested in Civil Rights, you might want to stop. If you do, let me know and I'll give you my e-mail address and you can ask me any more specific questions.
I travel a pretty good bit thoroughout the southeast US so I might be able to answer questions you have....
Konagirl, your E-mail would be much appreciated as I think we will stay in Birmingham overnight as We don't want too many long drives.
Also to wes is the museum part of the Barber racetrack where the AMA race.If it is we'll have to check it out.
email is email@example.com. The Barber Motorsports Park is supposed to be pretty neat.
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Don't know if you have already made your trip or not, but the Barber Motorsports Museum is an incredible place for any gearhead. I am not into bikes, but I was still amazed at what is there. It is staggering. He also has a nice collection of Lotus racecars Formula 1 on down. My favorite were the Lotus formula Fords.
And yes, it is inside the Barber Motorsports Park.
When you get into BMP(just off the interstate in Leeds), you can't miss the museum. It is the 5-story building right at the entrance. Hope you get to see it!