Selma, Alabama, nestled along the banks of the Alabama River, is a city teeming with history, culture, and natural beauty. It played a pivotal role in the American Civil Rights Movement and continues to preserve its rich heritage. Whether you’re a history buff, outdoor enthusiast, or simply seeking a unique travel experience, Selma offers an array of activities and attractions that will leave you captivated. In this blog post, we’ll delve into some of the top things to do in Selma, Alabama, ensuring an unforgettable journey through this remarkable city.
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- Edmund Pettus Bridge:
Begin your Selma adventure by walking across the iconic Edmund Pettus Bridge, a symbol of the civil rights movement. This historic bridge witnessed the violent events of “Bloody Sunday” in 1965 when peaceful protesters were attacked while marching for voting rights. Visit the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute, located nearby, to gain deeper insights into this significant period in American history.
- Old Town Historic District:
Step back in time by exploring the Old Town Historic District, a treasure trove of stunning architecture and charming streets. Take a leisurely stroll along Broad Street, lined with well-preserved buildings dating back to the 19th century. Discover unique boutiques, antique shops, and art galleries showcasing the works of local artisans. Don’t miss the Selma Art Guild Gallery, where you can admire and purchase exceptional artworks.
- Brown Chapel AME Church:
Visit the Brown Chapel AME Church, a significant site in the Civil Rights Movement. This church served as a meeting place for activists, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., during the Selma to Montgomery marches. Immerse yourself in the history of the struggle for equality and justice as you step inside this iconic place of worship.
- Selma Interpretive Center:
Continue your exploration at the Selma Interpretive Center, a state-of-the-art museum that tells the compelling story of the Selma to Montgomery marches. Engaging exhibits, interactive displays, and multimedia presentations provide a comprehensive understanding of the events that shaped the civil rights movement. Learn about the heroes who fought for change and the transformative power of peaceful protests.
- Alabama River:
Embrace the natural beauty surrounding Selma by embarking on a river adventure along the Alabama River. Take a scenic boat tour or rent a kayak to discover the picturesque landscapes, abundant wildlife, and serene atmosphere. The river also offers excellent opportunities for fishing, so cast your line and enjoy a relaxing day on the water.
- Vaughan-Smitherman Museum:
For history enthusiasts, a visit to the Vaughan-Smitherman Museum is a must. Housed in a beautifully restored hospital building, this museum showcases Selma’s past through exhibits on medicine, science, and local history. From antique medical equipment to displays on the city’s industrial heritage, the museum offers a fascinating glimpse into Selma’s development.
- Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail:
Follow in the footsteps of history by exploring the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail. This 54-mile trail commemorates the courageous marches that took place in 1965. Experience the route firsthand or visit the interpretive sites along the trail, such as the Lowndes Interpretive Center and the National Park Service Visitor Center, to gain a deeper understanding of the events that unfolded during this pivotal time.
- Sturdivant Hall:
Step into the grandeur of the antebellum South by visiting Sturdivant Hall. This Greek Revival mansion, built in the 1850s, showcases exquisite architecture, period furnishings, and beautiful gardens. Take a guided tour to learn about the history of the house and the prominent families who once resided here.
- Selma-Dallas County Public Library:
For book lovers and history enthusiasts alike, a visit to the Selma-Dallas County Public Library is highly recommended. Browse through its extensive collection of books, including a dedicated Civil Rights Movement section. The library also hosts regular events, lectures, and exhibitions that delve into the region’s heritage and literary traditions.
- Smitherman Historic Building:
Explore the Smitherman Historic Building, a magnificent structure that housed the city’s first African American-owned bank during the early 20th century. Today, the building serves as a venue for various cultural events and exhibits, highlighting the achievements and contributions of the African American community in Selma.
- Paul M. Grist State Park:
Escape the city and immerse yourself in nature at Paul M. Grist State Park, located just a short drive from Selma. This picturesque park offers outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, fishing, and boating. Enjoy a picnic by the lake or venture along the scenic trails that wind through the park’s lush woodlands.
- Selma Avenue Historic District:
Take a leisurely stroll through the Selma Avenue Historic District, a charming neighborhood known for its well-preserved Victorian homes. Admire the intricate architectural details as you wander along the tree-lined streets. Stop by the Selma Interpretive Center located within this district to learn more about the city’s history.
- Old Cahawba Archaeological Park:
Discover the ghost town of Old Cahawba, Alabama’s first state capital. This archaeological park offers a glimpse into the past with its preserved ruins and interpretive exhibits. Take a guided tour to learn about the town’s rise and fall and explore the evocative remains of buildings, including a Civil War-era cemetery.
- Selma Flea Market:
For a unique shopping experience, visit the Selma Flea Market, where you’ll find an array of vendors offering antiques, crafts, collectibles, and local produce. Spend a morning or afternoon browsing through the stalls, hunting for hidden treasures, and engaging with the friendly local community.
- Selma Art Walk:
If you’re an art enthusiast, plan your visit around the Selma Art Walk, a monthly event that celebrates the vibrant arts scene in the city. Explore various galleries, studios, and pop-up exhibitions showcasing the works of local artists. Engage in conversations with the artists themselves and perhaps even purchase a unique piece to take home.
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Selma, Alabama, has an abundance of attractions and activities that cater to diverse interests. From historic landmarks and museums to natural beauty and cultural events, there is something for everyone in this remarkable city. Immerse yourself in its rich history, explore its charming neighborhoods, and connect with the local community. A visit to Selma promises an enriching and unforgettable experience that will leave you with lasting memories.