Plan A Tour


Birmingham is a wonderful place to plan a tour. Birmingham offers tours highlighting everything from the city’s historical preservation to her legendary civil rights history. Custom designed tours and other services are also available. For motor coach tours traveling through the South, Birmingham is the place where value meets entertainment!
Check out some of our suggested itineraries to get started:

Itineraries

Beautiful Birmingham

Visit The Birmingham Botanical Gardens
The Birmingham Botanical Gardens features 67-acres of glorious nature including Southern Living Gardens. The Botanical Gardens offer everything from beautiful Southern wildflowers to a Japanese Garden, complete with bonsai collection and an authentic Japanese Teahouse where tea ceremonies are often preformed. Also located at the site is a French restaurant.

Arlington Antebellum Home and Gardens
The city’s only antebellum mansion and now a decorative arts museum has a fine collection of 19th century furnishings, textiles and paintings. Arlington is a grand example of Greek Revival architecture dating from the 1840′s. The house was built by Judge William S. Mudd, one of the ten founders of Birmingham. Admission.

Birmingham Museum of Art
The largest municipal art museum in the Southeast, with an outstanding permanent collection of over 18,000 works of art from many cultures especially European, American, Asian, and African. The museum is also home to the largest museum collection of Wedgwood china. Don’t miss the multi-level sculpture garden.

Lunch at Birmingham Museum of Art

Aldridge Gardens
It isn’t often that gardens in the South are covered with snowflakes. But Aldridge Gardens will glisten every summer from the stunning white blooms of the Snowflake Hydrangea. The plant, which was once extraordinarily rare, now grows in gardens around the world, thanks to nurseryman, Eddie Aldridge. Considered one of the world’s hydrangea experts, Aldridge and his father identified a single plant as it grew in a Birmingham suburb took cuttings and began growing plants in their nursery. Today, the 30-acre botanical garden has a seven-acre lake in the middle of the property complete with a walking trial and is covered by dozens of Snowflake Hydrangeas. Admission.

Riverchase Galleria
Riverchase Galleria is Alabama’s number one free tourist attraction, boasting one of the largest skylights in North America. Anchor stores include Belk, Macy’s, Sears, JCPenney with a four-star, four-diamond preferred Wynfrey Hotel and a 17-story class-A office tower attached to the two-level shopping mall. Other retailers include: Coach, Sephoria, Sketchers, Abercrombie & Fitch, Club Libby Lu, White House/Black Market and more. Visit www.riverchasegalleria.com for a complete listing of stores.

Depart Galleria for hotel

Dinner

For additional information regarding hotels or step-on guide services, call our Tourism Division at 800-458-8085 or 205-458-8000.

Birmingham Pilgrimage


Visit/Tour of Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN)
What began in a garage-turned-studio in 1981 is now America’s premier Catholic television network. Daily Mass, documentaries, music, prayers, and devotionals are broadcast to more than 53 million homes in 32 different countries 24 hours a day. EWTN Live’s viewers enjoy a diversity of guests, learn more about their faith, and reawaken the desire to bring others to the church. You can join in on one of the EWTN’s show tapings or tour the studio, which now broadcasts in Spanish and English. Reservations Appreciated.

Cathedral of St. Paul
In 1873, with the help of donations, a 30-by-60 foot wooden structure named St. Paul’s Church was erected to provide a place of worship for Catholic immigrants to Birmingham. Twenty years later, right next door to the humble wooden structure, a grand new cathedral was built. The Gothic cathedral has two soaring twin octagonal towers, gorgeous stained glass and a massive altar. Spend the afternoon exploring the cathedral and listen as guides share the incredible and sometimes heart-wrenching stories from its long history. Reservations Appreciated.

Lunch at Ave Maria Grotto
St. Peter’s Basilica, Noah’s Ark, Old Bethlehem, Lourdes Basilica all in one place and all in miniature perfection. For a period of over 50 years Brother Joseph Zoetti used concrete and bricks, as well as objects sent to him from around the world, including marbles, tile, pipe, shells and coconuts, to craft these reproductions of the major religious sites and famous buildings around the world. Before his death in 1961, the Benedictine monk created more than 125 miniature structures ranging in size from three inches to six feet in height. The miniature fairyland of pilgrimage sites is located on the grounds of the only Benedictine Abbey in Alabama. The four-acre park, which includes a gift shop, rest area, and picnic grounds attract thousands of visitors annually. Reservations Appreciated.

Our Lady of the Angels Monastery Farm
The dream of world-famous TV nun Mother Angelica, the monastery is home to the Poor Clare nuns and one of the most remarkable religious sites in the state. The immense structure features rock walls, marble floors, columns and 35 handcrafted German stained-glass windows. A 15-foot tall hand-carved Spanish wooded wall separates the public from the cloistered nuns during services in the 200-seat chapel.

Return to Hotel

Dinner

For additional information regarding hotels or step-on guide services, call our Tourism Division at 800-458-8085 or 205-458-8000.

Factory Tour

Birmingham News
Morning tours are best because this is when the presses run. The tour shows the public how a story goes from the reporter to becoming a newspaper. Tours generally last one and a half hours. Tours: Tuesdays and Thursdays by appointment only. Cost: No charge.

Bud’s Best Cookies
Bud Cason started a whole new concept….bite size cookies. The first upscale, bite size cookies were sold in April of 1993. In 2002 an additional 47,000 square feet of warehouse space was added to accommodate a 160-foot oven doubling his sandwich cookie capability from four thousand to eight thousand sandwich cookies per minute! Your group can view the lines that make wire-cut and rotary cookies at a pace of 3,500 per minute. The total capacity (output) is over 1 million cookies per hour. We guarantee your group won’t be bored and they won’t leave hungry. Reservations Appreciated.

Golden Flake
Founded in Birmingham in 1923 in the basement of Hill’s Grocery Store, Golden Flake is now among the largest snack food companies in the United States. You are invited to tour this Birmingham-based facility and have your picture taken outside the Company Store with its unique delivery van entrance. Take a complimentary tour of the Potato Chip, Cheese Puff, Cheese Curl, Tortilla Chip, Corn Chip, Pork Skins and Shipping Departments and sample their delicious product along the way. Reservations Appreciated.

Blue Bell Ice Cream
In 1996, Blue Bell purchased it’s Sylacauga manufacturing facility. Located about 45 miles southeast of Birmingham, this tour shows how ice cream is made and gives the visitor the history of the company. This is about a 45 minute tour, at the end of which ice cream samples are given. There is also a country store for souvenirs. Cost: $1.00 per person.

Honda Manufacturing of Alabama
Visitors experience how the Honda Odyssey and V-6 engines are produced.Tours: Tuesdays and Thursdays. Tours must be scheduled in advance and are by reservation only. Tour typically lasts one hour. Cost: No charge.

United States Postal Service
Experience how mail is received, distributed and processed on this 45 minute tour. Cost: No Charge.

Mercedes Benz US International, Inc.
During the launch of the all-new C-Class, we are undertaking a major renovation of the Visitor Center/Museum. MBUSI has temporarily closed the Visitor Center/Museum and suspended public plant tours and will reopen and resume tours.
1st quarter 2015.
Please re-visit this page for updates.

For additional information regarding hotels or step-on guide services, call our Tourism Division at 800-458-8085 or 205-458-8000.

Freedom Land

Sixteenth Street Baptist Church
The church often served as a meeting and rallying place for leaders and participants in the Movement. On a Sunday morning September 15, 1963, Ku Klux Klansmen bombed the church, killing four little girls preparing for morning worship. Today, the church is thriving and continues its historic role as an open-door church welcoming visitors, cultural, education and civic activities. By Appointment. Donations Appreciated.

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is a “living institution” which views the lessons of the past as a positive way to chart new direction for the future. Through film clips, and a series of galleries, the institute contrasts the lives of blacks and whites from the late 1800s to the present. An introductory film explains the birth of Birmingham as a mining community where blacks and whites lived side by side in mining town shanties-equal in their poverty. But by the first half of the century, segregation became the norm, on public transportation, at lunch counters and with Jim Crow laws suppressing the black population. Many powerful stories are told within the walls of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. Group Reservations Appreciated. Admission.

Kelly Ingram Park
Serving as the gateway to the Civil Rights District, Kelly Ingram Park is designated as “A Place of Revolution and Reconciliation. During the 1960′s the public park was a place for uniting forces of grassroots resistance to racism and organizing marches, including ones in which police dogs and fire hoses were turned on the marchers. Sculptures in the park recollect attacks on the demonstrators, children jailed for their involvement in the protests, and the clergy’s important role in the Movement. In sharp contrast to the scenes of the ’60s, paths along the Freedom Walk converge at a peaceful, reflective fountain, a life spring of hope. A fascinating accompaniment to a walk through the park is Nationwide’s Kelly Ingram Park Audio Tour. Using hand-held Acoustiguides, your group can hear the recollections of trauma, defeat and victory from the Civil Rights heroes and footsoldiers involved in the marches and demonstrations of the Movement. Charge for audio tour.

Driving tour of Miles College
Opened in 1908 to provide training to black teachers and ministers. Established by the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church in Alabama the school was named in honor of Bishop William H. Miles. Miles continues to offer degrees in liberal arts in a small co-educational setting.

Fourth Avenue Business District
After the turn of the century, Jim Crow laws authorizing the distinct separation of “the races” and subsequent restrictions placed on black firmsforced the growing black business community into an area along third, fourth and fifth avenues north from 15th to 18th streets. This area served as the business, social and cultural center for black activities similar to those in the predominantly white districts. The businesses located in this area included barber and beauty shops, banks, morturaries, theatres, motels and nightclubs. These black businesses and their successors continued to do well throughout the 60′s. Today, many businesses still operate in the district, serving a steady stream of customers of all races.

Eddie Kendricks Memorial Park
The Eddie Kendricks Memorial Park honors Birmingham native and Temptation lead singer Eddie Kendrick, who traveled the world but never forgot his Alabama roots. Sculpted by Alabama artist Ronald Scott McDowell, the Kendrick statue captures the magic moves of his Motown music for eternity. Sculpted into a granite backdrop, the four Temptations energize the work with their fine-tuned choreography. Kendrick and the Temptations hit the top of the music charts in 1964 with “The Way You Do the Things You Do,” the first of 37 career top ten hits. Kendrick died of lung cancer in a Birmingham hospital in 1992. The park is located on 4th Avenue at 18th Street.

Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame
at the Carver Theatre
From the boogie-woogie beginnings of Clarence “Pinetop” Smith to the velvet crooning of Nat King Cole, legendary jazz greats are immortalized in the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame within the historic Carver Theatre. Interactive exhibits convey the accomplishments of the likes of Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton and Erskine Hawkins all with Alabama ties. The renovated Carver Theatre was prominent among a half dozen theatres that catered to black patrons during segregation to enjoy movies and live entertainment. Group Reservations Appreciated.

For additional information regarding hotels or step-on guide services, call our Tourism Division at 800-458-8085 or 205-458-8000.

Out of This World Birmingham

Visit McWane Center (Includes IMAX Theatre)
At McWane Center, science becomes an adventure for all-and on a grand scale. It is the largest combination IMAX Dome Theatre and interactive science center in a four-state region. With 150,000 square feet of educational science equipment, the museum offers education, hands-on exploration and entertainment, creative examination of the world around. For the very young, there’s “Just Mice Size” everything is oversized. Admission.

Birmingham Zoo
With nearly 1,000 animals on display, the Birmingham Zoo offers fascinating observation and interaction with the animal kingdom on the 100 acres of wooded land just minutes from downtown. The zoo has just opened a new Children’s Zoo designed to teach visitors about the diversity of wildlife and natural resources in Alabama. The Children’s Zoo gives visitors a fish-eyed view of an Alabama stream. Be sure to ride the custom built carousel with likenesses of endangered animals! Admission.

Lunch

Alabama Sports Hall of Fame
From Paul “Bear” Bryant to Jesse Owens to Willie Mays, the memorabilia and memories of Alabama’s sports heroes are enshrined at the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. Visitors see the uniforms worn by heroes, the vintage equipment used in the great games and the photographs that captures images of the athletes at the top of their careers. Admission.

Splash Adventure Water Park
Splash Adventure Water Park is Alabama’s only theme park nestled on 70 acres of rolling terrain in a beautiful wooded country setting. Alabama Adventure offers a newly themed and designed Celebration Street, which features a variety of special events to celebrate holidays and seasonal happenings. The park has a 600,000-gallon wave pool that generates four-foot high waves and has a sand beach. An eighty-story high, free-fall, dropout speed ride rounds out the new water park. The park includes three catered pavilions with a seating capacity of 200 people each. Admission.

Return to hotel

Dinner

For additional information regarding hotels or step-on guide services, call our Tourism Division at 800-458-8085 or 205-458-8000.

Southern Foods Tour

Grow Alabama
Grow Alabama is the country’s first statewide multi-farm community. Check out the sun-drenched rows of carrots, squash, radishes and tomatoes. Call ahead if you want to sample the produce. Approximately 20 miles from Birmingham.

Lunch

Golden Flake
Founded in Birmingham in 1923 in the basement of Hill’s Grocery Store, Golden Flake is now among the largest snack food companies in the United States. You are invited to tour this Birmingham-based facility and have your picture taken outside the Company Store with its unique delivery van entrance. Take a complimentary tour of the Potato Chip, Cheese Puff, Cheese Curl, Tortilla Chip, Corn Chip, Pork Skins and Shipping Departments and sample their delicious product along the way. Reservations Appreciated.

Bud’s Best Cookies
Bud Cason started a whole new concept….bite size cookies. The first upscale, bite size cookies were sold in April of 1993. In 2002 an additional 47,000 square feet of warehouse space was added to accommodate a 160-foot oven doubling his sandwich cookie capability from four thousand to eight thousand sandwich cookies per minute! Your group can view the lines that make wire-cut and rotary cookies at a pace of 3,500 per minute. The total capacity (output) is over 1 million cookies per hour. We guarantee your group won’t be bored and they won’t leave hungry. Reservations Appreciated.

Pepper Place (Seasonal)
The beauty of Pepper Place on a Saturday morning is in its quiet harmony of the country and the city. The air has just the right amount of early summer chill, the blessed relief of morning in the South. Among the many varieties of tomatoes and beans, the flowers that scent the air, people of every description and from all parts of the city are walking – past the farmers’ stalls, stopping to listen to a musician, or to watch a chef demonstrate techniques at an out door kitchen. You can find just about anything here, from the Shops of Pepper Place to stores up and down the avenues and streets that make up the larger district.

Morgan Creek Vineyards & Winery
Family owned and operated, Morgan Creek specializes in Southern wines ranging from a sweet apple to dry red muscadine. Make plans to stop by for a real Southern treat. Free winery tours and tastings are available for individuals or groups. Approximately 40 miles from Birmingham.

Return to hotel

Dinner

For additional information regarding hotels or step-on guide services, call our Tourism Division at 800-458-8085 or 205-458-8000.

Steel City

Tannehill State Park
The Ironworks and a large collection of 19th century cabins give visitors a glimpse into the life lived in the 1800s at Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park. Attractions include craft demonstrations, horseback riding, festivals and Tannehill Trade Days (the third Saturday each month, March through November). Admissions.

Bessemer Hall of History
Located in a renovated Southern Railway Depot house the Bessemer Hall of History, which chronicles the history of Bessemer, Jefferson County and Alabama. The Hall of History displays historic photographs and articles, Civil War memorabilia, Indian artifacts, furnishings from the 1800′s. The museum has monthly exhibits and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Lunch

Sloss Furnaces
For almost ninety years the giant Sloss Furnaces produced pig iron, iron that fed Birmingham’s foundries and mills. Now recognized as a National Historic Landmark, Sloss Furnaces is open to the public as a museum of industry. Sloss tells of Birmingham’s dramatic rise to prominence as the South’s foremost industrial city. It is the largest preserved industrial plant of its kind in the world. By Appointment. No admission charge.

Vulcan Park
The largest cast-iron statue in the world, Vulcan is the second largest statue in the U.S. after the Statue of Liberty. The 55′ tall, 102,605 lb. Vulcan, the Roman God of the forge, was created to represent the industrial might of Birmingham and won first prize among cities exhibiting at the 1904 World’s Fair. Along with an outdoor observation balcony overlooking the city, the 10-acre park features a new visitors education center to display permanent, interactive exhibits outlining the history of Birmingham and the statue. Admission.

Return to hotel

Dinner At The Irondale Cafe The Original Whistle Stop Cafe – (Made famous in the popular movie “Fried Green Tomatoes”)
Customers young and old scramble to get seats near the window to watch the giant freight trains not more than 60 feet away rumble by. Unaffected by its Hollywood connection, the caf� still serves up some of the South’s best-fried chicken, fresh vegetables, deep-dish cobbler and of course fried green tomatoes.

For additional information regarding hotels or step-on guide services, call our Tourism Division at 800-458-8085 or 205-458-8000.