Must See Sites Of Alabama
The name "Alabama" comes from the Choctow tribe that inhabited the central region of the state and is thought to mean an area that had been cleared off. The name was use for the river that cuts through the heart of the state and then the state itself. Today, what Alabama means is only limited by your imagination. You can do almost anything from walk back in time at a southern plantation to walking into the future at the Huntsville Space Center. The state stretches from the Southern Appalachian Mountains to the Gulf Coast and is as diverse as the landscape. You will find a vibrant cultural life as well as scenic natural wonders.
The states three largest cities line up down the middle of the state along Interstate 65 like stars in the sky. As you head south across the Tennessee border you soon come to state's largest city, Birmingham. With over a million people it has become a major commercial and entertainment center for the area. It has become a major destination for students of American history who want to learn more about the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. A section of downtown has been renamed the Civil Rights District and includes among other landmarks the 16th Street Baptist Church and the Civil Rights Institute. The city has vibrant cultural life with a symphony, ballet and opera company. The Alys Stephens Center also bring performers from around the world to the stage. In the summer time you will find outdoor concerts at CrossPlex or one of the many parks around town. The downtown also features one of the biggest Children's Theaters in the nation. For a more natural setting, Oak Mountain State Park on the southern edge of the city has many concerts at a large outdoor amphitheater in a wooded setting.
A little more than hour south of Birmingham on Interstate 65 is the state capital of Montgomery. Montgomery was the last capital of the Confederacy and is steeped in history. It has been the home of such diverse artist as Hank Williams and F Scott Fitzgerald. A beautiful city with antebellum neighborhoods like Capital Hill or the Old Cloverdale area. The neoclassical state capital and adjoining building dominate the downtown. The city has added a stadium for its minor league baseball team and a riverfront concert venue which has drawn new clubs and restaurants. There is the impressive Blount Cultural park on the edge of town that holds the Art Museum and the Shakespeare Festival both of which have been recognized for their innovated designs.
As you continue your trip south to the shoreline, you'll find the state's third largest city, Mobile. It has always been an important port in the Caribbean and started its history as the capital of French Louisiana. While still an important port, it also is the center of a booming resort industry along the Gulf Coast. Mobile has been able to preserve many of the historical buildings especially in the downtown are. The Mobile Civic Center is the home of the city's opera and ballet and is primary performance venue. The historic Saenger Theater is the home of the orchestra and host several theater companies. The Mobile Museum of Art has recently been expanded and is a stop for many traveling international exhibits. Mobile's favorite attraction is USS Alabama, a WWII battleship commissioned in 1942 which fought in the Pacific Theater. The battleship was docked in Mobile Bay in 1964 and turned into a museum. You can tour inside the battleship along with an accompanying WWII submarine. Mobile is definitely the place to be in early February as the city is the sight of the oldest carnival celebrations in America and second only to New Orleans in popularity. It is a great place to shake of the winter doldrums.
The state's mild climate makes it a perfect destination for year-round outdoor recreation. Lying at the southern tip of the Appalachians, vast amounts of the state have remained nature preserves. There are three major National Forests in the state and 22 state parks that stretch across the state there is an unlimited number of trials to walk pristine terrain to explore. There is every kind of facility for your accommodation from primitive camping to the historic Joe Wheelor Lodge. The state’s lakes and rivers are home to wide variety of game fish, and if you are looking for something a bit larger, there is plenty of charter fishing in the Gulf available from Mobile and the surrounding area. There is no shortage of spectator sports. The Talladega 500 is one of the biggest stock car races in the country and draws enthusiast from all over the world. In the fall, the state splits its loyalty between its two major universities and their respective football programs, Auburn University and the University of Alabama. Millions of fans attend football games in Auburn and Tuscaloosa from September to December.
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