Alabama’s capital city, Montgomery, has played an important role in America’s history for 200 years. It watched the formation of the Confederate government, the birth of the civil rights movement, and the long-overdue racial reckoning happening today. The cultural resurgence of this vibrant riverside town continues to attract more residents and visitors alike. “With thought-provoking cultural experiences, a revitalized downtown, new luxury accommodations and innovative culinary offerings, Montgomery offers visitors an enlightened perspective that they can’t find anywhere else,” says Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President Dawn Hathcock in a recent statement. “We will continue to be a must-visit destination offering a purposeful social justice and civil rights education experience for travelers, and we optimistically look forward to safely welcoming them back in the future.” Let’s catch up on all that’s new in Montgomery.
NEW PLACES TO STAY, SHOP & ENTERTAIN
Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel
The city is buzzing with excitement to get Alabama’s third Marriott Autograph Collection property. Montgomery’s historic Murphy House will be transformed into the city’s first boutique hotel. Boasting 100 rooms and suites, multiple new dining options, a rooftop and courtyard, Montgomery will have a fabulous new booking option for your next weekend getaway.
Historic Fire Station Airbnb
The Cottage Hill neighborhood’s historic Five Points Fire Station has been restored into an updated loft with sweeping views of the waterfront downtown. An ideal home base for unwinding or entertaining after a day of exploring, the loft is directly on the historic Selma-to-Montgomery Trail and just a block from the Equal Justice Initiative’s National Memorial for Peace & Justice. To book a stay or take a look, click HERE.
Cottage Hill Shops
Next door to your cute-as-can-be Airbnb, you’ll find a handful of new shops and more to open. Just outside of Montgomery’s oldest residential neighborhood overlooking a revitalized downtown, Hilltop Development & Hospitality Group, LLC, specializes in creating retail and hospitality spaces in restored historic buildings. A bike shop and coffee bar currently serve up used bikes, tune-ups and locally roasted coffee for the urban traveler, and more great openings are in the works. For updates, follow Hilltop Development & Hospitality Group, LLC, on Instagram.
The 1616 Venue
Currently under restoration and set to open this spring, The 1616 House is Montgomery’s newest and most luxe event venue. Parties and events hosted here make use of lush outdoor gardens, restored exposed-brick rooms, and historic architecture. The 1616 House is a unique setting to exchange wedding vows, celebrate special occasions or hold a corporate event. For more information, visit the1616house.com.
MORE NEW EXAMPLES OF ENRICHING EDUCATION
Montgomery’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Experience
Tourism professionals in Montgomery are currently curating a unique diversity, equity and inclusion training experience for groups of any size. The experience will allow visitors to move throughout the city, a pivotal location to the American civil rights and social justice movements, discussing vital issues with experts, icons and each other. Professional diversity trainers will help “put the lessons of yesterday and the inspiration of today’s changemakers into sharp focus for participants,” a recent statement says. Montgomery’s walkable and profoundly historic downtown, as well as its civil rights history, make it the ideal epicenter for social justice education. More on these new tour offerings will be posted on visitingmontgomery.com.
The Equal Justice Initiative’s National Memorial for Peace & Justice and Legacy Museum
The National Memorial for Peace & Justice and Legacy Museum have both officially reopened with new exhibits, and entry to both is still free for everyone, a remarkable initiative that started in 2020. Reservation tickets are required due to limited capacity and social distancing. The memorial has also announced extended night hours on the weekends. This six-acre park and sacred space is the nation’s first and only memorial dedicated to the legacy of enslaved African Americans who died by lynching. Since its opening in April 2018, the thought-provoking cultural experience has been visited by more than 800,000 visitors. Plan your visit at museumandmemorial.eji.org.
Old Alabama Town
Old Alabama Town museum provides tours focused on architectural history, urban slavery, labor movements in Alabama, the development of neighborhoods, historic everyday life and topics in historic preservation. While the museum remains closed due to the pandemic, it has a new mobile app that enriches the museum experience through virtual and augmented reality. Old Alabama Town features completely authentic 19th- and early 20th-century homes and buildings that have been saved from demolition, carefully restored and reopened to the public as a history museum that teaches how early Americans of all backgrounds lived and worked in central Alabama. For more information, visit landmarksfoundation.com.
An Ultra Urban Container Farm? In Montgomery?
In partnership with Alabama Power, Vintage Hospitality Group (the group behind Montgomery favorites Vintage Café and Vintage Year) redefines modern agriculture with its state-of-the-art hydroponic farm located inside a compact shipping container. This self-contained smart farm grows vertically and hydroponically without soil, nutrified from minimal water and light energy from powerful LED lights, in contrast to the water needed to farm traditional row crops. And MGM Greens just opened a second freight farm, allowing the group to sell its bounty in retail shops, supply fresh produce to its restaurants, and further curate menus based on new, flourishing crops. For more information, visit mgmgreensfarm.com.
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WHERE TO DRINK & DINE
Common Bond Brewers
Common Bond Brewers, Montgomery’s only production brewery, now cans its award-winning Zelda Blonde, an American blonde ale that will be the first-ever canned beer distributed outside of the city. Inspired by friendships forged over a few shared brews, Montgomery residents Andrew McNally and Tim Doles created Common Bond to give locals a beer to call their own and a space for the community to gather and form a common bond. Located in the downtown business and entertainment district and close to many historical sites, this brewery also plays an active role in Montgomery’s ongoing revitalization efforts. For more information, visit commonbondbrewers.com.
Set to open in the restored City Fed development at 36 and 46 Commerce Street in downtown Montgomery, Vintage Hospitality Group’s flagship Italian restaurant, Ravello, is the city’s most anticipated new restaurant. With an old-world vibe and a menu of simple and thoughtful dishes inspired by Italy’s Amalfi Coast, Ravello’s will blend authentic Italian dishes with local ingredients and Southern hospitality. Alongside chef-driven seafood and pasta creations will be a creative bar program with cocktails, beer and wine. Set to open this spring, follow along on City Fed’s Facebook page for the most up-to-date opening info, or visit ravellomgm.com.