Birmingham, Alabama: Top Historical Attractions

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
As Alabama's largest city, Birmingham is full of tourist destinations and historical sites that reveal much about its industrial history. Three sites of note are Railroad Park, Sloss Furnaces and Vulcan Park and Museum. To learn more about the city's role during the Civil Rights movement, the Civil Rights District is home to the Civil Rights Institute, the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church and Kelly Ingram Park. In this video, checks out the top historical attractions found in Birmingham, Alabama.

Birmingham, Alabama: Top Historical Attractions

This U.S. city is known as “The Pittsburgh of the South.” Welcome to, and today we’ll be taking a look at the top historical attractions in Birmingham, Alabama.


Following its foundation in 1871 at the intersection of two railroad lines, Birmingham quickly became one of the most important industrial centers of the American south.

Industrial History at Railroad Park

The mining, iron, steel and railroading industries were Birmingham’s main sources of growth in the early years. This industrial history is commemorated at Railroad Park through the use of recycled bricks and other objects originating from the site. These days, you can participate in a number of recreational activities while enjoying the park’s natural scenery and beautiful lake.

Sloss Furnaces

Now a National Historic Landmark, Sloss Furnaces used to be an early twentieth century iron mill. With preserved blast furnaces and a museum that’s open to the public, the site is also a concert venue where bluegrass performances are popular.

Vulcan Park and Museum

You can learn even more about the city’s past at the Vulcan Park and Museum, where there is a gorgeous green outdoor space and a museum center. Right outside this stands the city symbol: a figure of the Roman god Vulcan. At fifty-six feet in height, it is the world’s largest cast iron statue.

Civil Rights District

Birmingham is also remembered for being the heart of the American Civil Rights movement. Marked by violence and peaceful protests between the city’s racially segregated population, many of the events in this period took place at what is now known as the Birmingham Civil Rights District.

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

Within this six-block area lays the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. This museum and education center memorializes the struggles of African-Americans and includes both permanent and multimedia exhibitions.

Kelly Ingram Park

Named after a local firefighter in 1932, Kelly Ingram Park was the site of several Civil Rights protest marches. The park is now home to several sculptures and statues and is also the perfect location for outdoor festivals and events.

Sixteenth Street Baptist Church

The Sixteenth Street Baptist Church stands within the district, as well, and is now recognized as a National Historic Landmark. In 1963, the church was the site of a bombing that took the lives of four African-American girls.

History and Culture

Despite its young age, Birmingham has a rich history and is filled with a unique and diverse culture.