One night in Montgomery, AL

For a dose of culture, a tasty meal, and a relaxing drink after a long day of driving, we chose Montgomery as our stopover between New Orleans and Atlanta. Montgomery is packed with important historical sites and some solid bar and restaurant options. We had very little time to experience the city, arriving late in the afternoon and leaving early the next morning, but we crammed in as much as we could. It may not seem like we did enough to warrant an entire post on Montgomery, but we really enjoyed ourselves, and so here you go.

To help us plan our evening, we used this NYT 36-Hours article and this list from Frommer’s, among other random googlings. Here’s a walking tour we would have liked to have done.

Campground

The Woods RV Park in Montgomery

The Woods RV Park and Campground has sites spread through a large open area with a little stocked pond and a short off-leash path for running your travel-weary doggy. Access from the interstate is easy, and it’s a 15-minute drive into downtown Montgomery.

Exploring

To get the most bang for our buck history-wise we headed downtown, arriving after the workday had ended to eerily empty streets. It was too late to go inside any of the many Civil Rights museums and sites, so we did our best to cobble together a walking tour past some of the close-together landmarks downtown.

Dexter Ave King Memorial Baptist Church

Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church was where Dr Martin Luther King Jr first preached as a 24-year-old pastor, and an important center during the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery

The Civil Rights Memorial is beautiful and powerful. The monument consists of a massive black granite disk engraved with a timeline of the history of the Civil Rights movement, backed by a wall bearing Dr King’s quote “until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Alabama State Capitol

The Alabama State Capitol hovers over downtown and we admired the Greek Revival facade from a block away. It was the first capitol building of the Confederacy, before the capital moved to Richmond, and it was the end point for the Selma to Montgomery March in 1965.

Ok we didn’t go here or see them… but the Montgomery Biscuits is the local AA baseball affiliate. Their name is the Biscuits! Yes I like biscuits, and the Biscuits kept turning up in my google results. Best team name ever??

Eating and Drinking

As soon as we had popped the Airstream off the truck, J set out to stock the fridge with Alabama barbecue. Condé Nast ranks Montgomery among the 15 top barbecue cities in America, and cites K & J Rib Shack as their choice in Montgomery. Happily for J it was just a short drive from the campground, and he came home with a couple of pounds of brisket, pulled pork, and collard greens that he and our cousins in Atlanta (our next destination) thoroughly enjoyed for days. 

beer at Goat Hill Biergarten

Goat Haus Biergarten claims to have the South’s most scenic beer garden, and sure, it’s a nice spot on top of a hill looking over downtown, but probably not the most scenic in the South. No offense. We sat at a picnic table in the yard of the pretty Victorian house and enjoyed a local beer.

Central is a fancy-pants restaurant in downtown Montgomery. It’s in an old 1890s warehouse and it’s huge. We had a cocktail at the bar, and it was crazy busy, and did I mention huge? Central is very popular, if that’s what you look for in a restaurant. Our drinks were fine and we moved on.

Montgomery’s after-dark scene seemed ho-hum until we Ubered to the Cloverdale neighborhood, a couple miles south of downtown, for dinner. El Rey Burrito Lounge is a dark hipster Mexican restaurant with a menu full of street tacos, enchiladas, burritos, burrito bowls, margaritas… all the deliciousness you would expect, in large portions with a focus on local, sustainable ingredients.

Leroy Lounge bar

After stuffing ourselves at El Rey, we went to sibling Leroy Lounge next door for a nightcap. The cocktail list is really creative and the bar was definitely the place to be! We recommend the one-two punch of El Rey and Leroy if you’re spending an evening in Montgomery.

The next morning we high-tailed it to Atlanta to make sure we could set up our urban campsite before the neighborhood schools let out. Our time in Montgomery was super short, but now we know that there’s enough to do and see there to warrant a real visit sometime!

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