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Things to do in Bessemer Alabama: Top Attractions and Activities

Nestled just outside of Birmingham, Bessemer, Alabama offers a unique blend of small-town charm and big-city attractions. With a rich history dating back to the industrial boom of the 1800s, Bessemer has transformed itself into a destination that offers something for everyone. From exploring local museums that shed light on the city’s past to enjoying adrenaline-pumping outdoor activities, there are countless ways to experience the best of what Bessemer has to offer.

Vulcan Park
Birmingham, Alabama, USA 6/8/2019 — Observatory tower and statue at the Vulcan Park captured on a beautiful day with blue sky and clouds. It is the largest cast iron statue in the world as of 2020.

As you venture through this quaint, yet lively Alabama town, you’ll find a variety of activities suitable for solo travelers, couples, and families alike. Whether you’re seeking thrilling amusement park rides, retail therapy in local stores, or a taste of regional cuisine in one of Bessemer’s dining establishments, you won’t be disappointed. Moreover, its proximity to Birmingham provides access to even more experiences, including the Alabama Wine Trail and events in nearby cities.

Key Takeaways

  • Bessemer boasts a blend of historical attractions and modern entertainment options for all ages.
  • Outdoor activities, family fun, and sports contribute to the town’s appeal for visitors.
  • Exploring local dining and nearby cities adds to the overall experience in Bessemer, Alabama.

Historical Attractions

Bessemer Hall of History

The Bessemer Hall of History is a must-visit attraction for history enthusiasts in Bessemer, Alabama. Housed in a Southern Railway passenger train station, this museum showcases a variety of exhibits that shed light on the city’s industrial and cultural heritage. The hall began in 1965 and has since become a popular downtown attraction, located at 1905 Alabama Avenue.

Inside the Bessemer Hall of History Museum, visitors can explore a range of fascinating collections, including Civil War artifacts, World War II memorabilia, and items showcasing Bessemer’s industrial heritage. These exhibits combine to tell the story of Marvel City’s past, providing an insightful experience for all ages.

Doughboy Monument

Another historical point of interest in Bessemer is the Doughboy Monument, a statue dedicated to World War I soldiers. This striking monument features a life-sized bronze statue of a WWI soldier, standing tall and honoring the bravery of those who served during the Great War. The Doughboy Monument offers a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by service members and serves as a symbol of patriotism for Bessemer residents and visitors alike.

Outdoor Activities in Bessemer, Alabama

Alabama Splash Adventure

Alabama Splash Adventure, a popular destination in Bessemer, offers a combination of amusement and water parks. Known for its exciting outdoor activities, the park features a wave pool, water slides, and more fun games suitable for all ages. This family-friendly spot also includes the Alabama Adventure theme park for those seeking thrilling rides, attractions, and entertainment.

Red Mountain Park

Red Mountain Park is an excellent location to connect with nature while exploring various outdoor activities. The park offers several hiking and biking trails set amidst lush forests and picturesque landscapes perfect for visitors seeking a peaceful escape. While visiting Red Mountain Park, keep an eye out for monuments and historical landmarks that offer a glimpse into the region’s rich history with the Civil Rights Movement and railway system.

Moss Rock Preserve and Waterfall

Moss Rock Preserve is a hidden gem that houses scenic trails, picturesque waterfalls, and diverse flora and fauna. This well-maintained preserve invites hikers and nature enthusiasts to explore its forest trails while experiencing the beauty of Alabama’s countryside. The highlight of the preserve is the picturesque waterfall nestled within Moss Rock, offering a serene spot for relaxation and photography.

Watercress Darter National Wildlife Refuge

The Watercress Darter National Wildlife Refuge is an important area for preserving the endangered Watercress Darter, a small fish species native to Alabama. Visitors can explore the refuge’s wetlands and stream system while learning more about the conservation initiatives in place. While primarily focused on wildlife protection, the refuge also offers some walking trails and access to bodies of water for birdwatching and leisurely strolls.

DeBardeleben Park

Located in Downtown Bessemer, DeBardeleben Park is a well-maintained urban oasis perfect for family outings and recreational activities. Visitors can enjoy wide-open spaces, playgrounds, picnic areas, and a peaceful setting for various outdoor activities. The park also hosts seasonal events and festivals, drawing in both locals and tourists for a fun day in the park. In addition, the park is home to a public golf course for those looking to hit a few rounds.

Entertainment and Events

Bessemer Civic Center

The Bessemer Civic Center is a key venue for entertainment and events in Bessemer, Alabama. It hosts a variety of activities, such as the annual Alabama Music Awards, showcasing local talent and celebrating the region’s rich musical heritage. The Civic Center is conveniently located near the downtown area, making it easily accessible for residents and visitors alike.

Bessemer Farmers Market

For a more family-friendly and community-oriented experience, the Bessemer Farmers Market is the place to be. The market offers fresh produce, honey, and other local products from the surrounding area. It is typically held in the Pavilion, which provides a welcoming space for vendors and shoppers to connect over locally sourced goods. Enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of the market while supporting local businesses.

Juke Joint

Dive into the heart of Bessemer’s entertainment scene by visiting one of the city’s juke joints. These establishments have a rich history in the area and are well-known for their lively atmosphere and live performances. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to experience authentic southern music, ranging from blues to gospel, in a unique and intimate setting.

Festivals and Concerts

Bessemer, AL has a thriving entertainment calendar, with numerous festivals and concerts taking place throughout the year. One notable event is the Bob Sykes BBQ & BLUES Festival, held at the Valley Park. This annual gathering brings together music enthusiasts, who can enjoy live concerts, along with indulging in some delicious barbecue.

In addition to the Bob Sykes Festival, you may also find a variety of smaller performances and events taking place across the city, including downtown Bessemer and the surrounding areas. Keep an eye on local listings to stay informed about upcoming entertainment opportunities in Bessemer.

Family Fun and Sports

Inline Skating and Roller Motion Skate Center

Roller Motion Skate Center in Bessemer is a popular spot for family fun. With inline skating, both kids and adults can have a blast skating around the rink while enjoying some quality time together. The center also offers birthday parties packages, making it a perfect venue for your child’s special day.

Tannehill Premiere Cinemas

For a relaxing indoor activity, visit Tannehill Premiere Cinemas in Bessemer. This modern movie theater offers a comfortable and entertaining experience for the whole family. Catch the latest blockbuster films and enjoy the delicious concession stand offerings.

Playgrounds and Parks

Bessemer, Alabama, is home to a variety of playgrounds and parks for families to explore. DeBardeleben Park is a popular spot for picnics, strolls among the trees, and spending quality time with your loved ones. For those interested in biking, nearby cities like Pelham and Alabaster offer excellent biking trails to explore.

In addition to playgrounds and green spaces, Bessemer is part of Jefferson County, which boasts an array of parks perfect for outdoor activities. For dog owners, consider heading to Hoover, where you can find a great dog park for your furry friend to play and socialize.

Enjoy family fun and sports in Bessemer, Alabama, with activities like inline skating, catching a movie, or spending time in playgrounds, and parks. With options for different interests and age groups, everyone is sure to have a wonderful time in this charming city.

Local Cuisine and Dining

Bessemer, Alabama offers a diverse and appetizing array of local cuisine and dining options for visitors and residents alike. A mix of classic Southern fare, international flavors, and comforting staples create a dining scene that satisfies a wide range of tastes.

One standout option is The Bright Star Restaurant – a historic eatery established in 1907, known for its Greek-inspired dishes. Here, you can enjoy traditional Southern favorites like seafood gumbo, as well as Greek delicacies such as breaded veal steak and beef tenderloin in signature tomato sauce.

For a taste of authentic Mexican cuisine, head to Los Sombreros Mexican Restaurant. Renowned for its flavorful dishes and relaxed atmosphere, it’s a popular spot for early dinners and gatherings with friends and family. The extensive menu offers a variety of options, from classic enchiladas to delectable fajitas.

Those seeking a classic American dining experience can stop by Brock’s Restaurant or Full Moon Bar-B-Que. With friendly service and casual dining atmospheres, these spots are perfect for a satisfying meal. At Full Moon Bar-B-Que, patrons can savor smoked meats and traditional Southern sides, while Brock’s Restaurant offers a range of American classics, including juicy burgers and crispy fries.

Pizza lovers can explore local options such as Wagon Wheel Deli and Grill, which serves up tasty pies alongside deli sandwiches and other casual fare. To satisfy your craving for a quick bite or snack, J and J Grocery and Mary’s Kitchen & Catering offer delicious veggie and meat sandwiches on homemade bread.

For a refreshing treat, you can indulge in an assortment of fountain drinks and ice-cold beverages at various establishments throughout Bessemer. Many restaurants and snack bars also provide a selection of thirst-quenching options to complement your dining experience.

No matter your culinary preferences, Bessemer’s local cuisine and dining scene are sure to delight your taste buds and leave you eager to explore even more flavorful options.

Exploring Nearby Cities


Birmingham, located only 18 miles from Bessemer, offers a variety of activities and attractions. The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark provide valuable insights into the city’s history. For nature lovers, the Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Red Mountain Park offer scenic beauty and outdoor recreation.


Approximately 15 miles southeast of Bessemer, Hoover is home to the Riverchase Galleria, a large shopping mall with numerous stores and dining options. The Aldridge Gardens is a peaceful retreat with beautiful gardens and walking trails. Sports enthusiasts can enjoy a game at the Hoover Metropolitan Complex, a multi-sport park.


Just 12 miles east of Bessemer, Fairfield offers family-friendly entertainment at the Skate Center, where visitors can enjoy indoor roller skating. The Western Hills Mall provides shopping and dining options.


About 22 miles southeast of Bessemer, Pelham is known for the Oak Mountain State Park, where visitors can engage in activities such as hiking, fishing, and mountain biking. The Pelham Civic Complex features an ice arena for skating enthusiasts and also hosts various events and performances.


Located 26 miles southeast of Bessemer, Alabaster features the Veterans Park, an excellent place for picnics and outdoor activities. The Amstar Cinemas offers movie lovers a chance to catch the latest films, while the Buck Creek Park provides a serene setting for breathing in nature.

Please note that traveling to these nearby cities and participating in their activities may change according to COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines.

Alabama Wine Trail

The Alabama Wine Trail is an enjoyable and unique experience for wine enthusiasts visiting Bessemer and its surrounding areas. This trail features several wineries across the state, giving visitors an opportunity to taste some of the finest local wines while exploring the picturesque landscapes of Alabama.

The trail consists of numerous wineries, including Jules J. Berta Vineyards in Albertville, Wills Creek Vineyards in Attalla, Maraella Winery in Hokes Bluff, White Oak Vineyards in Anniston, Fruithurst Winery in Fruithurst, and High Country Cellars in Heflin. Each of these wineries offers its own distinctive flavors, atmosphere, and charm.

Visitors can embark on this oenological adventure at their own pace, choosing to visit a few wineries or make a day of exploring the entire trail. Along the way, they will experience wine tastings and have the opportunity to purchase bottles of their favorite wines to take home.

In addition to wine tastings, many of these wineries host various events throughout the year, such as music performances, art exhibits, and special dinners. The Alabama Wine Trail’s Facebook page is an excellent resource for staying up-to-date on the latest events and promotions at each winery.

The Alabama Wine Trail provides a delightful way to spend a day or weekend while visiting Bessemer and its neighboring communities. It is an experience that allows visitors to enjoy not only the local wines but also the stunning views and serene ambiance of Alabama’s countryside.