On a budget in Birmingham? We’ve got you covered with these top 10 free things to do in the Magic City.
From family-friendly attractions to romantic date nights, live your best life in Birmingham on a budget with our list of fun, interesting, (and did we mention FREE?) FREE activities. Explore Birmingham’s history, terrain, and entertainment venues, all while pinching your pennies.
1. Walk the Birmingham Civil Rights Heritage Trail
Starting at Kelly Ingram Park on the corner of 6th Avenue North and 16th Street, the Birmingham Civil Rights Heritage Trail leads you on a free, self-guided tour through downtown Birmingham. Learn about significant locations along the Civil Rights march route which are marked with informative signs and maps.
Stand in the exact locations pictured in the 1960’s photos from the Civil Rights Movement as it played out in the streets of Birmingham, Alabama.
While exploring this historical trail, be sure to check out Kelly Ingram Park, Bethel Baptist Church, Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and 16th Street Baptist Church.
For a map and locations, visit here.
2. Explore the Birmingham Museum of Art
There’s always FREE ADMISSION at the Birmingham Museum of Art! For family-friendly fun or a romantic stroll through the collections, the hours are Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 AM to 5 PM and Sunday from 12 PM to 5 PM. The museum is closed every Monday and on select holidays. Be sure to check their Facebook page for updated or changing hours.
After a COVID-related hiatus, Art After 5 is coming back! Updates will be made soon but rest assured, this event will be popular. Once per month, the museum stays open a little later than usual and brings patrons art, music and so much more.
To find out more, go to artsbma.org.
3. Hike Ruffner Mountain State Park
Offering fantastic views of downtown Birmingham, Ruffner Mountain State Park is home to fourteen miles of natural walking trails on the higher altitudes of Ruffner Mountain.
Trails are open from dawn until dusk with no wheeled vehicles allowed. Parking is available. Members are able to enter for free (just bring your parking pass!) and non-members may purchase a parking pass for $5.
Don’t miss a visit to the Nature Center where a wide variety of animals are cared for. Come check out these native-species animal friends including several varieties of turtles, fish, and SNAKES!
Go to ruffnermountain.org for more information.
4. Catch a free comedy show at Good People Brewing
Join Good People Brewing Company on the first Friday of every month as they bring you FREE comedy on the back patio. Come see outstanding local comedians go toe-to-toe with entertainers from all over the country. Enjoy a different lineup of acts every month.
Seating starts at 8 PM. Shows start at 9 PM. Get there early for the best seats! Spots go fast!
To find out what’s on tap and about other events at Good People Brewing, go to goodpeoplebrewing.com.
5. Soak up some sunshine at Moss Rock Preserve
Wander through the boulder formations or take a hike by the waterfalls. Cool off as you follow the trails along shady creeks in this 349-acre wonder.
Moss Rock Preserve is a natural terrain park inside the city limits of Hoover, Alabama. Pack a picnic and bring a hammock for a restful day in a natural setting.
Pets are welcome so take your fur-baby for some fresh air and a walk in the woods.
For information about downloading a trail map, click here.
6. Stroll through Birmingham’s Botanical Gardens or Aldridge Gardens
Ah, the elegance of these gardens, where nature’s beauty is well-maintained and someone besides you did the yard work. From formal areas with fountains to natural areas with twisting paths, don’t miss the FREE views of the flora and fauna of the Deep South.
Birmingham Botanical Gardens is open during the summer, everyday from 7 AM-6 PM. Entrance is FREE to the public!
Aldridge Gardens’ hours are currently 8 AM to 7 PM daily. FREE to the public!
7. Find a class, see a movie, join a club, or get in shape
You can do all these things and more at one of the many branches of your local libraries. The Birmingham/Jefferson County Public Library System brings you events and activities for all ages and interests.
Enjoy teen clubs, books clubs, knitting groups, free movies, fitness classes, free concerts, and of course children’s story time activities !
8. See Sloss Furnace
When Birmingham was the largest manufacturer of pig-iron in the world, Sloss Furnaces operated from 1882 to 1970 and helped give Birmingham the nickname ‘The Steel City.’
Now preserved and standing proud as a monument to the Industrial Revolution, Sloss Furnace is open and free to the public for self-guided tours that are available Tuesday-Saturday, 10 AM-4 PM.
If you would like to take a guided tour, these are available Thursday-Saturday at 10:30 AM or 2:00 PM. Guided tours are $10.00 per person and reservations are needed at least one day in advance.
Be sure to start in the Visitor’s Center so you can browse the exhibits, watch a video, and pick up instructions for the FREE self-guided tour. For more information click here.
9. Visit Vulcan on the Vulcan Trail
Get up close and personal with Vulcan, the world’s largest cast-iron statue, when you visit Kiwanis Centennial Park and the Vulcan Trail with FREE admission to the public.
At two miles long, Kiwanis Vulcan Trail is a prime spot for biking or jogging. The trail is open from 10 AM to 6 PM daily.
For a small fee, you can also take in Vulcan Park Museum and visit the original Iron Man himself, weighing in at 100,000 pounds of iron and standing 56 feet tall. (Vulcan and the Museum have admission rates between $4 and $6 dollars with children under 4 free.)
For more information, click here.
10. Visit The Market at Pepper Place
Held every Saturday morning in the Lakeview District, The Market at Pepper Place has something for everyone.
Be sure to set an alarm to be up early. The market starts each Saturday at 7 AM and runs to 12 PM. Unless there is severe weather, the market will be open.
Each week, different local vendors set up their wares for eager shoppers. This is the perfect way to shop locally and explore up and coming businesses. Just a few of the products for sale include produce, salsa, fresh seafood from the gulf, kombucha, fresh-baked goods, clothing and so much more.