Homewood is a suburb of Birmingham, Alabama, located 5 miles south of the city.
Nestled at the foot of Red Mountain, the city has a rich history which began in the early 1800s.
There are several buildings on the National Register of Historic Places to explore within the suburb, and scenic Vulcan Park which offers incredible panoramic vistas of Birmingham.
If you want to experience great shopping, dining, nightlife and delve into the fascinating history of Alabama, you can do it all from Homewood.
I’m from Birmingham, Alabama and therefore also very familiar with it’s suburb Homewood. On my list you will the find the best things to do in the area:
1. Vulcan Park and Museum
Vulcan Park is instantly recognizable from the city streets of Homewood and Birmingham, Alabama. At the summit, a statue of Vulcan, the Roman God of fire and forge looks protectively over the city.
The statue represents the region’s iron industry and stands 56 feet tall on top of Red Mountain.
This observation tower is a must visit for keen photographers, as you can see the city below, plus miles and miles of Alabama countryside.
Learn more about the city’s heritage, through a range of photographs and exhibits in the interactive Vulcan Museum, or simply sit back on the mountain top and admire the views.
2. Birmingham Zoo
On the periphery of Homewood, lies Birmingham Zoo. Set over 122-acres, the zoo park is home to 230 species of animals from over six continents. Many species are endangered, and professionals at the zoo work hard to make the animals lives less predictable and much happier.
Whether you wish to spend a day visiting African Lions or Elephants, watching Black-Handed Spider Monkey’s swing from rope to tree, or see the stealth Bobcat in action, you can do it all here.
If you are visiting during specific holidays, the zoo hosts event days and if you want to help out, you can adopt an animal and donate to the zoo.
If you’re planning to do multiple attractions/sights in a few days I’d recommend taking a look at the Birmingham Area Multi-Attraction Pass, which includes not only admission to the Birmingham Zoo, but other top attractions on this list as well.
3. Birmingham Botanical Gardens
If you are spending a few hours at the zoo, Birmingham Botanical Gardens is next door. There’s something for everyone to see, and you don’t even need to be a keen horticulturist to appreciate the floral displays and gardens.
I particularly enjoyed the ornate Tropical Glasshouse which dates back to the mid-late1800s, where you can see a range of banana trees, cocoa plants, flamingo flowers and a pond filled with Koi Carp.
Alternatively, for a fragrant experience, the Mediterranean Glasshouse boasts a range of lemon, lime and satsuma trees.
4. Red Mountain Park
Red Mountain was once the site of Sloss Mines which provided iron ore to the industrial factories and furnaces of Birmingham and its suburbs. The mountain, once a vast source of wealth for the region, was named because the rocks were stained with rust and red hematite iron ore.
The mountain, which stretches across 1,500 acres of land, is also home to one of the largest urban parks in the country, offering hiking trails, parks, climbing rope challenges, and zip lining experiences.
I think it’s a great place to discover more about local history, enjoy a new outdoor activity, or simply stop for a picnic and embrace its natural beauty.
5. Christenberry Planetarium
Learn all about the mysteries of the universe at Homewood’s Christenberry Planetarium. Located in the grounds of Samford University, the planetarium teaches visitors, young and old, all about space and science in an interactive environment.
Sit back and listen to a presentation, watch a movie, or glimpse the constellations at close quarters.
If you’re travelling for a special occasion or as a group, you can also book an astronomy show in advance, or opt for a private audience where you get the opportunity to ask questions.
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6. Regions Field
Sports fans will enjoy a trip to the home of Birmingham Baron’s Baseball Club, Regions Field. The new ball park opened in 2013, and the Baron’s celebrated their new stadium by beating the Mississippi Braves with a 9-5 win.
This flagship facility in Downtown Birmingham can hold 8,500 people at any one time.
If you are visiting when there’s a game on, stop and cheer on the local team, and you will make new friends in no time! Even if there isn’t a game on, you can still visit Regions Field mini wiffle ball field, the Family Fun Park, or the NAPA Batting Cages.
7. Birmingham Civil Rights District
If you’re visiting the state of Alabama for the first time, you may wish to visit the Birmingham Civil Rights District.
At the heart of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 60s, Birmingham underwent its fair share of tumultuous times and significant events.
Visit Kelly Ingram Park where protests and riots took place in 1963, or head to 16th Street Baptist Church with its statue of Martin Luther King Jr. outside.
Fourth Avenue Business District is perhaps the most interesting area, it was the hub of the African-American community at the time, with motels, Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute to explore.
8. Good People Brewing Company
If you visit the Deep South and are found to be honest and genuine, you are called ‘Good People’ by the locals. The oldest and largest brewery in Alabama lives by this motto, and these ‘Good People’ offer quality craft beer and great conversation to anyone who wishes to stop by.
You can try the ‘Bearded Lady’, a light-bodied ale made from wheat with a subtle hint of citrus or opt for the ‘Urban Farmer’ with fragrant lemongrass and banana.
You can take a tour to see how the beer is made, or just kick back and relax with friends.
Whatever you choose, I’m sure you will have a great time at the brewhouse.
9. McWane Science Center
Experience all things science related at the interactive center in Downtown Birmingham.
Children and adults can explore World of Water Aquariums, discover the science behind bubbles, see their reflection in the Anti-Gravity Mirror, or watch ground-breaking demonstrations in Rushton Science Theatre – home to McWane’s Tesla Coil.
There are hundreds of scientific experiments to try, and educational areas where you can learn how things work.
Bring your sense of wonder and your imagination and discover the magic of science.
10. Five Points South
One of Birmingham’s first streetcar suburbs, Five Points South is packed with historic neighbourhoods, great restaurants and independent stores.
Dating back to 1887, Five Points South was established as a cleaner, healthier suburb of Birmingham, as it was further away from the furnaces and mills of the city.
Today, there’s an abundance of historic houses, fine dining establishments, buzzing nightlife, and you can even take a walking tour, so you don’t miss out on important areas of interest.
If you are looking for a place to eat then I highly recommend Chez Fonfon, a casual, bustling bistro in the heart of Five Points South.
11. Birmingham Railroad Park
Surrounding a sparkling lake and covering over 19-acres of Downtown Birmingham, is picturesque Railroad Park.
It’s the perfect place to relax and unwind for an hour or two if you’re sightseeing in the city.
Sit back and enjoy lunch from the Boxcar Café as you admire the cityscape.
Alternatively, if you’re feeling more energetic, you can hike, walk, run or cycle around the outer loop which is just under a mile long.
12. Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Oxmoor Valley
Amateur or seasoned golfers will enjoy a round or two at Oxmoor Valley Golf Course just outside Homewood.
Built on former mining land, this 54-hole golf course features emerald forests, flowing creeks and challenging fairways.
There are three courses to choose from, The Ridge – which has the best par 5s and is possibly the most scenic course, The Valley, which is sprinkled with lakes and tree lined fairways, and The Short Course which plays downhill.
When you have perfected your shots, and beaten the competition, retire to the clubhouse for dinner and drinks with new-found friends.
13. Sloss Furnaces Historic Landmark
If you’ve visited Vulcan Park and Museum and Red Mountain, your next stop could be Sloss Furnaces.
After seeing where the iron ore came from and discovering what it was used for, now you can explore how they blasted it! Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham were in full operation from the early 1880s to 1971. As iron was such a huge part of the city’s heritage, the area was preserved and restored so that visitors to the region could learn more.
The site is an interpretive museum for the iron industry, and there’s also a new visitor centre where you can discover how the process worked and what the iron was used for.
Throughout the year, the local landmark is also used for Muse of Fire Shows, concerts, haunted theme attractions and it has even featured on several TV shows.
14. Alabama Sports Hall of Fame
The museum in Downtown Birmingham is dedicated to Alabama’s athletic history.
With a collection of over 5,000 objects relating to athletes who were born in, or competed for the state, there’s much to explore.
Visitors can view the Heisman Trophies won by Bo Jackson and Pat Sullivan from Auburn University, and there’s a large selection of dioramas, artifacts, equipment and sports team uniforms.