Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame#11 in Best Things To Do in Birmingham
The art deco Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame is located in the Carver Theatre in the heart of the Civil Rights District. Exhibits honor Alabama jazz greats, including Nat King Cole, Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton. Beyond its collection of memorabilia and personal effects, the theater also presents shows by local jazz artists and comedians. The theater itself also plays a significant role in the city's civil rights history: it was one of several theaters offering first-run movies to African Americans.
Recent visitors called this small museum "a hidden jewel" and a must-see for jazz fans. However, some were disappointed with its petite size (it spans more than 2,200 square feet). But with an entrance fee of just $2, most travelers say it's an enjoyable stop to see memorabilia, ranging from Ray Charles' piano to Ella Fitzgerald's Neiman Marcus credit card.
The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission for self-guided tours cost $2 per person; guided tours will set you back $5 each. Guided tours are offered every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information on the museum and special events, visit the hall of fame's website.
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#1 Civil Rights District
To learn more about Birmingham's role in the civil rights movement, plan a visit to the Civil Rights District. This six-block area in downtown Birmingham encompasses several historic sites, including the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, the 16th Street Baptist Church, Kelly Ingram Park, the A.G. Gaston Gardens and the Fourth Avenue Business District, among other points of interest.
Perhaps the most significant site is Kelly Ingram Park, which played host to civil rights rallies, demonstrations and confrontations in the 1960s, including the Children's Crusade. You can take a self-led walking tour through the park to learn about the notable protesters and the significant incidents of this turbulent time in the city's history, detailed by markers along the Freedom Walk route. The park is also home to the Four Spirits statues, which honor the four African American girls killed in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church. To fully experience the walk, you can access a free audio tour from your cell phone by calling 205-307-5455.
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