Birmingham is a city that’s fortunate enough to have a long history and is home to countless people who curate and care about that past.  Tourists who visit this city want to dip into that past and learn from it, and yet many are at a loss of what to do once they arrive.

These are the top places to visit while you’re in town so you can enjoy getting to know the city and learn why the locals are as vocal and passionate as they are.

Birmingham Museum of Art

Cost to do it: $11.

How much time it takes: a couple of hours, to a full afternoon, depending on your own pace.

Where it’s located: downtown Birmingham.

Average review: 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Birmingham is a cultural hub, so it makes sense that its art museum would be just as stunning.  With over 24,000 items on display, this museum offers things from multiple cultures worldwide and rotates which exhibits are out.

Birmingham Zoo

Cost to do it: less than five dollars.

How much time it takes: an afternoon of fun.

Where it’s located: English Village.

Average review: 4.3 out of 5 stars.

Have you ever wanted to hand-feed a giraffe?  Do you want to be stunned by the beauty of animals you’ve only seen in photographs before?  The Birmingham Zoo is a fun and quiet getaway for any family with kids who want to enjoy wildlife safely.

McWane Science Center

Cost to do it: less than twenty dollars.

How much time it takes: an afternoon.

Where it’s located: downtown Birmingham.

Average review: 4.7 out of 5 stars.

This science center and research archive are so extensive it could take a lifetime to learn everything it has to offer.  Although few would look at Birmingham homes for sale just for this exhibit, you’ll fall in love with the fun educational quirks around every corner.

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

Cost to do it: less than twenty dollars.

How much time it takes: a couple of hours, to a full afternoon, depending on your own pace.

Where it’s located: Downtown Birmingham

Birmingham’s name is nearly synonymous with civil rights at this point.  Many movements have begun here, and a lot of tears and blood have been shed in the name of trying to secure equal rights and respect.  This institute is a must-see for anyone who visits the city that will help open your eyes to what people go through every day.

Oak Mountain State Park

Cost to do it: free.

How much time it takes: a couple of hours, to a full afternoon, depending on your own pace.

Where it’s located: Indian Springs Village.

Average review: 4.7 out of 5 stars.

If you need a step away from the city to breathe and collect your thoughts, Oak Mountain State Park is the place to do it.  With idyllic scenery, little to no noise pollution, and no crowding issues, this park can feel like an oasis out of the city rush and clamor.