Birmingham is Alabama’s largest city and boasts a vibrant arts and cultural scene. Visitors are welcomed to Birmingham by a large statue of the mythical Roman god of the forge, Vulcan. This is America’s second largest statute, second in size only to the Statue of Liberty. Vulcan overlooks downtown Birmingham with its jazz and dance clubs, theater and fine dining. The history of Birmingham includes the civil rights struggles. Birmingham is also home of America’s largest collection of motorcycles, on display at the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum. In Birmingham, you can hike the scenic trails of Ruffner Mountain, the city’s urban green space that is larger than New York’s Central Park, or kayak the Cahaba River, the longest free-flowing pristine river in Alabama.
To the north of Birmingham is the Alabama city of Huntsville. Home to The U.S. Space & Rocket Center, the world's largest space attraction. Simulators let you experience a space shot, G-forces, and weightlessness onboard a spacecraft. Tour the grounds of the U. S. Space Camp Training Center where kids of all ages go to experience life in the final frontier. Next door is America’s largest seasonal butterfly house at the Huntsville Botanical Gardens. Located at the base of some of the most beautiful mountains in North Alabama, Huntsville offers visitors outdoor activities such as hiking, bike riding, horseback riding and fishing along the Tennessee River.
A short drive to the east from Huntsville is Unclaimed Baggage in Scottsboro where lost airline luggage is unpacked and sold to the public. At Unclaimed Baggage more than 7,000 new and pre-owned items are stocked daily.
To the west of Huntsville is an amazing stone wall constructed single-handedly by Tom Hendrix. His great great grandmother was a 14-year old Yuchi Indian girl who was forcibly moved along with thousands of others to an Oklahoma reservation during the early 1800's. From the reservation she ran away and traveled alone all the way back to her homeland in North Alabama. The stone wall is Hendrix's tribute to her and to all Native American women and is believed to be the world’s longest memorial to a woman or a Native American. The wall contains over 7 million pounds of rocks, and if straight it would stretch over a half-mile.
Travel Note: To reach Birmingham drive just 2 hours west of the Atlanta International Airport or take a connecting flight. You can also take the Amtrak passenger train from either Atlanta or New Orleans. To reach Huntsville, drive 90 minutes north of Birmingham.