Nestled in the heart of Jefferson County, Bessemer, Alabama, is a hidden gem brimming with history, culture, and natural beauty. From its vibrant downtown to its picturesque outdoor destinations, this city offers a plethora of activities for visitors of all interests. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, nature lover, or foodie, here are some of the top things to do in Bessemer, Alabama.
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- Discover Bessemer Hall of History Museum:
Kick-start your journey by delving into Bessemer’s rich past at the Bessemer Hall of History Museum. Housed in a historic building, the museum showcases exhibits that chronicle the city’s industrial heritage, including artifacts, photographs, and interactive displays. Learn about Bessemer’s pivotal role in the steel and coal industries, as well as its contributions to civil rights history. The museum is a captivating window into the city’s past.
- Explore the Alabama Splash Adventure:
Cool off and have a blast at the Alabama Splash Adventure, a thrilling water park that promises a day of fun for the whole family. With a wide array of water slides, lazy rivers, wave pools, and a splash pad, this park offers endless opportunities for aquatic adventures. The amusement park section features exciting rides, including roller coasters and carousels. Whether you’re seeking adrenaline-pumping thrills or a relaxing day by the water, Alabama Splash Adventure has something for everyone.
- Wander through Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park:
For nature enthusiasts and history buffs alike, Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park is a must-visit destination. Spanning over 1,500 acres, this park is home to numerous hiking trails that wind through lush forests, scenic valleys, and along the banks of the beautiful Cahaba River. Explore the remnants of an 1800s ironworks furnace, visit the blacksmith shop, and experience living history demonstrations. The park also hosts various festivals, craft fairs, and trade shows throughout the year.
- Indulge in Southern Flavors:
No visit to Bessemer is complete without savoring its delectable Southern cuisine. Head to some of the local restaurants and diners to enjoy mouthwatering comfort food, such as fried chicken, collard greens, cornbread, and peach cobbler. Whether you prefer classic Southern cooking or crave a modern twist on traditional dishes, Bessemer’s culinary scene is sure to satisfy your taste buds.
- Attend the Bright Star Restaurant:
As you explore the dining options in Bessemer, make a point to visit the legendary Bright Star Restaurant. Operating since 1907, this historic establishment serves up a delightful fusion of Greek and Southern flavors. Indulge in their signature seafood dishes, including oysters, shrimp, and snapper, prepared with a touch of Mediterranean influence. The elegant ambiance and storied history make dining at the Bright Star an unforgettable experience.
- Enjoy Outdoor Recreation at Oak Mountain State Park:
While not technically within Bessemer’s city limits, nearby Oak Mountain State Park is well worth a visit. Spanning over 9,000 acres, this expansive park offers a wide range of outdoor activities. Hike or bike through the numerous trails, go fishing or kayaking on one of the lakes, have a picnic in a scenic spot, or simply enjoy the serenity of nature. The park also has a golf course, a petting zoo, and camping facilities for those seeking an extended stay.
- Visit the Alabama Museum of Health Sciences:
Explore the fascinating world of medical history at the Alabama Museum of Health Sciences. Located on the campus of the UAB Medical West Hospital, this museum showcases a vast collection of medical artifacts, vintage medical equipment, and displays that illustrate the advancements in healthcare over the years. Gain insights into the evolution of medicine and appreciate the contributions made by medical professionals in the region.
- Attend Bessemer’s Annual Events:
Plan your visit to coincide with one of Bessemer’s vibrant annual events. The Bessemer Farmers Market, held from May to October, offers a wide array of fresh produce, handmade crafts, and live entertainment. The Bessemer Christmas Parade, held in December, brings the community together with festive floats, marching bands, and Santa Claus. Check the local event calendar to see if any festivals, concerts, or cultural celebrations are happening during your stay.
- Play Golf at Bent Brook Golf Course:
If you’re an avid golfer or simply enjoy spending time on the green, head to the Bent Brook Golf Course. This 27-hole championship golf course offers a challenging yet enjoyable experience for players of all skill levels. Surrounded by picturesque landscapes, the course boasts well-manicured fairways, water hazards, and sand bunkers. Take in the beautiful scenery while honing your golfing skills in a peaceful and serene setting.
- Go Antique Shopping:
Bessemer is a haven for antique enthusiasts, with several charming antique shops dotted throughout the city. Spend a leisurely afternoon browsing through a treasure trove of vintage items, including furniture, collectibles, clothing, and artwork. Whether you’re looking for a unique piece to add to your collection or searching for a nostalgic memento, these antique stores offer a delightful shopping experience with the possibility of discovering hidden gems.
- Attend Performances at the Bessemer Civic Center:
Check the event schedule at the Bessemer Civic Center, a multipurpose venue that hosts a variety of performances, including concerts, theatrical productions, and community events. Catch a live show featuring local talent or renowned artists, and immerse yourself in the vibrant arts and culture scene of Bessemer.
- Take a Scenic Drive along the Covered Bridge Trail:
Embark on a scenic drive along the Covered Bridge Trail, which passes through the countryside surrounding Bessemer. Marvel at the historic covered bridges, such as the Swann Covered Bridge, that provide a glimpse into the region’s architectural heritage. Enjoy the serene landscapes, rolling hills, and charming small towns along the way, making it a memorable journey through rural Alabama.
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Bessemer, Alabama, invites visitors to embark on a diverse range of experiences, from immersing in its rich history and culture to indulging in outdoor adventures and culinary delights. Whether you’re seeking educational insights, family fun, or tranquil escapes into nature, Bessemer offers a well-rounded destination that promises to leave a lasting impression.