Sitting in the north central part of the state of Alabama is Hoover, Hoover is a relatively new city and was incorporated in 1967, the place got its name from William H. Hoover who is a local insurance company owner. The city is still relatively small with less than 100,000 people living here, however over the last couple of decades people have started to realize the high quality of live that can be had here and the population has started to increase quickly.
I’m an Alabama local and since Hoover is very close to my hometown (Birmingham) I visited the city countless times. Here’s my pick of the top 10 things to do in Hoover:
1. Take A Trip To Aldridge Gardens
Opened in June of 2002, Aldridge Gardens is a botanical garden that specializes in hydrangeas. The gardens were owned by Eddie Aldridge and his wife for many years before they decided to give their gardens to the City of Hoover, stretching over 30 acres, the land has many varieties of hydrangea to see and there have even been various discoveries of new breeds at the centre.
The hydrangea is the trademark flower of the area and I think its a great place to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
2. Spend A Day Shopping At Riverchase Galleria
Riverchase Galleria is the main employment provider and largest source of income for the cities government, opened in February 1986 it is the 46th largest shopping mall in the U.S. There are 218 stores and restaurants in the facility, covering an area of more than 2.4 million square feet.
With so many stores and places to eat an entire day can be spent wondering from place to place and doing more and more damage to your credit card. There is the anchor stores of Macy’s and Belk’s taking their pride of place within the facility. For those who want to relive their childhood I suggest paying a visit to the first ever LEGO store in the state.
3. Relax At Moss Rock Preserve
Owned by the people of Hoover, the Moss Rock Preserve is a stunning preserve that covers 349 acres of beautiful countryside. There are forest systems, streams, wildlife and waterfalls as well as various rare species of plants. The area is famous for its Boulder Field which is often used by rock climbers, there are various climbs to complete and one for each skill level.
Twelve miles of hiking trails have been put into the preserve and allow you to discover the most beautiful parts of the area. Because the Moss Rock Preserve is owned by the people the maintenance of the area is carried out by local groups of volunteers who keep the grounds constantly looking at their best.
Also see: 15 Amazing Waterfalls in Alabama
4. Catch A Game At Hoover Metropolitan Stadium
Formally known as Regions Park, the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium is a baseball stadium that hosts the SEC Baseball Tournament each year, this event features the twelve best teams in the South-eastern Conference and pulls in more than 100,000 supporters. Previously the stadium was home to the Birmingham Barons and still has a room named after Michael Jordon who played here during his brief time playing baseball.
There is always a fantastic atmosphere in the stadium so when I’m in town I always try to catch a game. In the time where there is not any games the stadium is turned into a music venue, showcasing some of the areas local talent.
5. Treat Your Dog At Loch Haven Dog Park
There comes a time in every dogs life that they deserve a treat, and a trip to the Loch Haven Dog Park is a great place to do that. Covering 17 acres of land the park has a fenced in area where you can let your dog off of their leash and allow them to freely roam.
There is a canine obstacle course for your pet, as well as a walking track that covers just under half a mile. The whole family can come along and enjoy a picnic in the covered pavilion whilst making a day out of it.
6. Stop For A Cold One At Gabriel’s Sports Café
When the heat outside becomes to much it would be rude not to head over to the most popular bar in town and down a few cold ones before heading back into the heat. The bar has loads of screens showing the live ball games as well as pool tables and simple bar food.
A favorite of the locals this bar is sure to be the happening place at the weekend. Occasional live music and alcoholic jelly shots all add to the fun at Gabriel’s Sports Café.
7. Visit The Don Kresge Memorial Museum
The Don Kresge Memorial Museum is a collection of vintage radios that were manufactured over fifty years ago. Operated now by the Alabama Historical Radio Society, visitors can see as well as listen to the radios.
The society that operates the museum also holds monthly meetings where members can discuss current restoration projects as well as work on projects to get the young people of Alabama interested in radio. Members of the society can even partake in free electronics classes on the first Saturday of each month.
More on Alabama: 30 Amazing Hidden Gems in Alabama
8. Indulge Yourself At The Ross Bridge Golf Resort
Owned and operated by the Marriott Group the Ross Bridge Golf Resort is a beautiful hotel resort and golf club set in the Alabama hills. You can treat yourself to a round of golf at the championship standard course, which also happens to be the fourth longest in the world, visit the on-site spa, have a fantastic dining experience and then settle into your hotel room for the night.
The hotel offers awesome views from you own private balcony, whilst the bedroom itself has all the latest modern conveniences to make sure you have a stay to remember.
9. The Historical Church Of Grace Community
The Grace Community Church was built on land that was given in 1865 by the U.S Steel Corporation, starting with just seven members the church was original called Sulphur Springs Missionary Baptist Church, it was later found out that the springs did in fact not contain any sulphur so the church changed its name. In the 19th and 20th century a lot of coal mining took part here and the church membership swelled, but as gas heaters took over, the mining industry collapsed and the church membership began to decline.
I think it is a fascinating church to visit and to learn about its history and place in the community.
10. Watch A Performance At The Library Theater
The Library Theater is located on the ground floor of the Hoover Library and is very much loved by the local community, the theater is always busy and has had many nationally acclaimed artists perform here, it is certainly worth stopping by for a show. The theater is in parts sponsored by the city as well as friends of the library.
Most shows here cost $25 a performance and with the history of performers that have been on the stage you are sure to be in good hands for a great performance.