Civil Rights District

#1 in Best Things To Do in Birmingham
Civil Rights District picture
Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau

Key Info

5th Avenue N & 16th St.

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
5.0scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 5.0Food Scene
  • 5.0Atmosphere

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.

Visitors call the Freedom Walk an enlightening experience, saying the route through Kelly Ingram Park and visits to the 16th Street Baptist Church and the BCRI can be emotionally painful, but are necessary since they provide an in-depth look at Birmingham's struggle during the civil rights movement. Many commented that it's better to visit the institute first and then do the walk through the park to understand the significance of the statues and markers. Some reviewers also cautioned that there were a number of panhandlers in the area, advising visitors should maintain a close watch of any bags or purses. 

The Civil Rights District encompasses Kelly Ingram Park – also known as West Park – located between 16th and 17th streets and Fifth and Sixth avenues north. Admission is free and the park is open daily from dawn to dusk. To learn more about the park and its history, visit the National Park Service website. For more information about the various sites and attractions that comprise the Civil Rights District, visit the Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau website.

See all Hotels in Birmingham »

More Best Things To Do in Birmingham

Birmingham Railroad Park
Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Type
Time to Spend
1 of 10
#2 Birmingham Railroad Park

Known as "Birmingham's Living Room," the 19-acre Railroad Park is where locals gather for recreational activities, concerts and special events. The park features a lake, jogging trails, skate bowls, an outdoor gym, playgrounds and the partially covered 17th Street Plaza, which offers restrooms and the Railroad Park Dining Car.

Recent travelers said this local favorite is a gorgeous green space. Reviewers commented on the clean restrooms, beautiful gardens, picnic facilities and scenic trails. Parents noted that their kids loved watching the trains go by at the adjacent railroad yard. 

Read more
Sean Pavone/Getty Images
See full list of Best Things To Do in Birmingham »

Explore More of Birmingham

Recommended

The World's 30 Best Places to Visit in 2019-20

Using reader input and expert analysis, U.S. News identified the latest can't-miss vacations.

Tilly PeckerJune 25, 2019

The 16 Best San Diego Tours

Take advantage of the adventures this coastal city has to offer with a guided trip.

Lyn MettlerJune 24, 2019

12 Top Napa Valley Wineries to Visit

Set your sights on these can't-miss wineries during your next visit to California's wine country.

Lyn MettlerJune 24, 2019

The 6 Best Denver Brewery Tours

Discover the buzz about Denver's craft beer scene with these tours.

Holly JohnsonJune 21, 2019

The 10 Best Charleston Walking Tours

Experience true southern hospitality as you explore Charleston on one of these strolls.

Claire LawtonJune 20, 2019

The 15 Best Charleston Tours

See everything this historic South Carolina city has to offer on one of these guided excursions.

John RodwanJune 19, 2019

The 5 Best Kauai Helicopter Tours

See the Garden Island's far-reaching beauty from the air.

Holly JohnsonJune 14, 2019

The 6 Best Las Vegas Helicopter Tours

Get a thrilling look at the lights and sights of Sin City and its surroundings with one of these tours.

Holly JohnsonJune 13, 2019

20 Road Trip Essentials for Your Vacation

These road trip must-haves can help you save money, travel more comfortably and ensure you stay safe on the open road.

Holly JohnsonJune 13, 2019

13 Top Charlottesville Wineries to Visit

Sip a glass of Virginia's signature viognier as the sun sets over the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Gwen PratesiJune 12, 2019