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Things to do in Decatur Alabama: Top Attractions and Activities

Decatur, Alabama, offers a diverse range of activities for visitors and residents alike, showcasing its rich history, natural beauty, and vibrant cultural scene. Located along the Tennessee River, this charming city is home to several historical attractions, delightful parks, and engaging entertainment options that cater to individuals with various interests.

Steamboat Bill Bridge

Outdoor enthusiasts can explore the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge, take a dip at Point Mallard Waterpark, or visit the majestic Wheeler Lake. History buffs will enjoy wandering through Delano Park, Decatur’s oldest park, and admiring its well-preserved features, such as the WPA Rose Garden. Additionally, the city hosts numerous events throughout the year, including art festivals, concerts, and more, providing endless entertainment and local flavor for all to enjoy.

Key Takeaways

  • Decatur, Alabama offers a mix of history, natural beauty, and cultural experiences.
  • Outdoor attractions like Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge and Wheeler Lake are popular destinations.
  • The city’s events calendar features art festivals, concerts, and more, catering to diverse interests.

Historical Attractions

Decatur, Alabama hosts a variety of historical attractions that showcase the city’s rich history, architecture, and culture. In this section, we will explore some of the prominent historical sites in Decatur, such as the Old State Bank, Carnegie Visual Arts Center, Alabama Center for the Arts, and Civil War Sites.

Old State Bank

One of the most iconic buildings in Decatur is the Old State Bank. This historical landmark, built in 1833, served as a bank, hospital, and even a church during the Civil War. Today, visitors to the Old State Bank can explore this architectural gem and learn more about Decatur’s local history through various exhibitions and guided tours.

Carnegie Visual Arts Center

The Carnegie Visual Arts Center is a stunning example of neoclassical architecture that has been repurposed to serve Decatur’s artistic community. It was originally built in 1904 as a Carnegie Library, and now functions as a contemporary art gallery showcasing various exhibits and hosting art classes for all ages. The Center also features a permanent collection of local and regional art, allowing visitors to appreciate the rich artistic history of Decatur and Alabama.

Alabama Center for the Arts

Another notable historical attraction in Decatur is the Alabama Center for the Arts. This facility, located in downtown Decatur, facilitates collaborations between Calhoun Community College and Athens State University. It offers degree programs in visual arts, graphic design, and art education. The Center also hosts exhibitions, workshops, and various community events, highlighting Alabama’s diverse artistic talent.

Civil War Sites

As Decatur is a city with deep connections to the Civil War era, there are several relevant historical locations throughout the area. Some of these sites include the Battle of Decatur, the Rhodes Ferry Landing, the Dancy-Polk House, and the Old Decatur Historic District. Visitors can take guided tours or self-guided walking tours to explore these sites and learn about their significance in relation to Decatur’s history and the Civil War as a whole.

The historical attractions in Decatur, Alabama, offer a rich and immersive experience for anyone interested in the city’s past. From significant architectural landmarks like the Old State Bank, and Carnegie Visual Arts Center, to the artistic contributions showcased at the Alabama Center for the Arts, and the Civil War Sites, Decatur’s history is alive and well-preserved.

Outdoor Activities

Point Mallard Park

Located along the Tennessee River, Point Mallard Park offers a variety of outdoor activities such as biking, kayaking, and fishing. This scenic park is perfect for families and individuals seeking adventure. The park also includes a water park for those looking to cool off during the warmer months.

Wheeler Lake

Wheeler Lake, a reservoir created by the Tennessee River, is a paradise for fishing enthusiasts. The lake is home to numerous species of fish, offering ample opportunities for anglers of all levels. In addition to fishing, visitors can enjoy boating and water sports on the vast expanse of water.

Delano Park

Delano Park is a beautiful and historic park in Decatur, featuring walking and biking trails, a rose garden, and an artistic splash pad for children. The park’s serene setting makes it an ideal location for a peaceful afternoon outdoors, taking in the picturesque landscape and enjoying the local flora.

Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge

Established in 1938, the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge covers over 35,000 acres and is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including many bird species. The refuge offers several recreational activities such as hiking, wildlife viewing, and photography. Canoe launches and public boat ramps provide easy access for those interested in exploring the area’s waterways and enjoying activities such as kayaking and canoeing.

Entertainment and Events

Decatur, Alabama offers a variety of entertainment and events for locals and visitors alike. The Princess Theatre is a popular spot for music, plays, and other performances. Established as a performing arts center, it showcases local talent as well as renowned artists, contributing to Decatur’s rich cultural scene.

Another exciting community event to look forward to is Movies in the Park. Held throughout the warmer months, this outdoor cinema experience allows residents and visitors to enjoy family-friendly movies under the stars. It’s a perfect way to unwind and enjoy a delightful evening outdoors.

3rd Friday is a monthly community block party in Decatur. The event enlivens the downtown area with live music, food, and entertainment, drawing crowds of Huntsville and Decatur residents alike. Bank Street Players, a local theater group, often perform in these events, showcasing their talents while fostering a strong sense of community.

Riverfest, held yearly in September, is Decatur’s premier BBQ competition and music festival. It attracts both local and national BBQ teams competing for the coveted title. The event not only tantalizes your taste buds but also serves a lineup of musical performances, ensuring a fun-filled weekend.

The Carnegie Carnival is another annual event hosted by the Carnegie Visual Arts Center. The event celebrates the Mardi Gras season in Decatur and includes a parade, various contests, and live entertainment.

Finally, the Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic takes place annually over Memorial Day weekend at Point Mallard Park. This spectacular event showcases colorful hot air balloons taking to the skies and draws thousands of spectators. In addition to the balloon competition, the event offers a variety of family-friendly activities, live music, and food vendors.

These are just a few examples of the entertainment and events that Decatur, Alabama has to offer. From performing arts to outdoor activities, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.