Blake Walsh

17 Best Things to Do in Bessemer, AL

  • Published 2022/08/01

Bessemer in Alabama has generated headlines for years for its historic attractions and famous landscapes.

This city was founded in 1887 by the Bessemer Land and Improvement Company, owned by coal billionaire Henry F. DeBardeleben.

Sir Henry Bessemer, a British engineer and inventor, is credited with developing the first effective process for mass-producing steel; his contribution inspired the company’s moniker.

The Alabama Steel Company, at one point one of the most powerful steel corporations in the world, was headquartered in the city, which witnessed substantial industrial growth in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Other industries included ore mining, iron smelting, and iron and coke manufacturing.

Truck farming was a prominent industry derived from the agricultural foundation of the region.

The city still boasts its rich economic history and growing tourist attractions to this day.

Check out this list of the best things to do in Bessemer, Alabama:

Stroll through the Downtown Bessemer National Historic District

Buildings along Historic Downtown Bessemer

Upstateherd, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Every city probably has at least one beautiful road adorned with colorful stalls and excellent street performances.

In Bessemer, that place is the Downtown Bessemer National Historic District.

At this place, you can still feel how locals lived their lives for many years.

There are still remnants of Bessemer’s early architecture scattered throughout the area.

As an illustration, one of the trail’s stops is a service station constructed in 1923.

The former station is now operating as a cafe that is open to the general public and provides breakfast, lunch, and coffee.

Henry DeBardeleben, the man who established Bessemer City, was responsible for planting trees in this location.

Additionally, he was the owner of a vast tract of land that became known in later years as “the Fort.”

Bring some friends, give some of the local street cuisines a shot, and pick up some souvenirs while you’re here.

Learn and Relax at the Bessemer Hall of History Museum

If you want to understand more about the history of Alabama, head on to the Bessemer Hall of History Museum.

This community museum on Alabama Avenue features historical artifacts, old photos, furniture from the 1800s, and even an antique phone.

It also houses a sizable library of historical books and pamphlets on Bessemer.

Are you a bookworm?

You can borrow some books from this museum for free.

The Bessemer Hall of History Museum also hosts special events depending on the season.

So, if you get lucky, you might be able to catch one and maximize your Bessemer experience!

Flip a Page at the Bessemer Public Library

Visiting a library does not always mean getting fully packed with information instead of merely relaxing.

Head to the Bessemer Public Library after your stop at the museum and continue your historic journey.

This library on 19th Street North was built to maintain and improve the quality of life for all community members.

It was established by a women’s group from the donation of Bessemer Coal and Land Company in December 1905.

This place was renovated in 2000, giving users a better experience and more accessible learning resources.

You can get a perfect photo here for your social media accounts.

Have a Splashing Good Time at Alabama Adventure & Splash Adventure

Are you up for a challenge in Bessemer?

Alabama Adventure & Splash Adventure is your fun destination for a unique water experience.

Imagine sliding through the long slides that are safe enough for kids to try.

Some water adventures you won’t want to miss include the Kahuna Wave Pool and Free Fall Slide.

You can even play hide and seek at the 4,600-square-foot maze and win a bet with your friends.

Expect to be splashed with water everywhere as tourists have fun in this happy place.

Alabama Adventure & Splash Adventure is located along Splash Adventure Parkway.

Try Ground Activities at DeBardeleben Park

Bessemer may surprise you with how much more there is to do and see.

DeBardeleben Park is a public park located in the city’s historic district.

It’s a lovely, peaceful place to spend quality time with the family.

Bring your pet along and relax while playing some frisbee without worrying about finding a spot.

DeBardeleben Park offers sufficient space for children to play.

There are also a lot of trees, which keep the environment calm and organized.

While you’re here, strolling the walkways and having a picnic in the park are two fun and inexpensive activities you can enjoy.

If you spread your blanket near the pavilion, you never know when a live concert will begin.

DeBardeleben Park is a great place to go if you enjoy listening to live music in the afternoons.

Fall in Love with Nature at Watercress Darter National Wildlife Refuge

Go green in Bessemer with its popular nature parks and reconnect with nature.

The watercress darter, a highly endangered species, calls the 25-acre Watercress Darter National Wildlife Refuge its home.

The gardens and ponds of this wildlife reserve are a terrific area for nature and outdoor enthusiasts to visit in Bessemer.

Take advantage of the gorgeous surroundings by hiking gently through the trails.

On your hike, bring a camera and binoculars in case you encounter any wild animals.

Propose a Toast at Alabama Wine Trail

You are probably one of those visiting places to collect and taste the finest wine.

Six wineries are among the most visited wineries along the Alabama Wine Trail in the southern Appalachian Mountains.

If you are a wine enthusiast, you can now add the North Alabama Wine Trail to your list of must-see Bessemer and adjacent city attractions.

You will be able to visit numerous Alabama vineyards and sample their products.

You can purchase one upon your return home for yourself or as a gift.

Here you can see how they process the wine, or you can learn how to store your wine for a better experience.

Fill Your Basket at the Bessemer Farmers Market

Who goes to a new location and skips checking out the local farmers’ market?

At the Bessemer Farmers Market, only certified farmers from western Jefferson County will sell their produce.

You can purchase genuine goods from local farmers while contributing to their economic success.

This market sells fresh produce and items derived from vegetables, including by-products.

Don’t forget to pick up your reusable bag at the market so you can limit the amount of plastic used and support the local merchants.

Take a Picture at the Doughboy Monument

Knowing the story behind the Doughboy Monument will make you want to take a decent photo with it.

This memorial was erected around 1922 and depicts a soldier from World War I.

An inscription on the statue’s pedestal pays tribute to the local soldiers of World War I who served the nation and gave their lives.

It would be best if you showed respect to the memorial before exploring the rest of the park.

The Doughboy Moment is located within DeBardeleben Park.

Watch Performances at the Bessemer Civic Center

Whether you’re visiting Bessemer for its historical sites or environmental preserves, this location is well worth your time.

You can enjoy watching live performances in the 13,000-square-foot event venue at the Bessemer Civic Center on 9th Avenue Southwest.

The vibe in Bessemer at night is something you won’t want to miss because here, you can watch a local show and then watch another show after that.

You can go to a rock concert one night and then a Broadway production the next.

Both reading and watching television are excellent choices for indoor hobbies when it’s too chilly or wet to be outside.

Have Dinner at Bob Sykes Bar B Q

You’re probably on the lookout for the best restaurants in Bessemer.

Luckily, the famous Bob Sykes Bar B Q got you covered, featuring its family sauce recipe and a large portion of grilled meat.

This family-owned restaurant has been operating since 1957, with ice cream and hamburgers as its first offerings.

It has become a benchmark for the authentic taste of Alabama barbecue.

Here you can relax, drink beer, or chill after a tiring day of adventure.

Practice Throwing at Autobahn Axe Throwing

You probably haven’t tried ax throwing just yet.

You will get the opportunity to play a game based on an old European custom here in Bessemer, making the most of your vacation even more enjoyable.

You won’t have to worry about safety because that is one of Autobahn Axe Throwing’s top objectives; instead, focus on having a good time and coming here.

There are also coaches at your disposal that can assist you in getting started.

This enjoyable game will invigorate you and get your body moving.

Learn the Art of Balancing at Roller Motion Skate Center

Bessemer houses several entertainment centers, and you may have difficulty deciding which one to visit first.

The 15,000-square-foot Roller Motion Skate Center has been providing entertainment to thousands of tourists and residents since 1995.

The place is clean and friendly, with available food stalls where you can buy nachos and pizza.

You will be surprised that you can even celebrate your birthday or any special occasion here.

Roller Motion Skate Center is the perfect place to go if you’re still learning how to skate.

Watch the Latest Movie at Bessemer Premiere 14 Promenade

Bessemer Premiere 14 Promenade is one of the popular cinemas in Bessemer.

You can come here to watch and relax after enjoying your skate experience at the Roller Motion Skate Center.

Watch the latest movie of your favorite!

Snack bars, cutting-edge audio, and plush seats are part of the typical cineplex experience.

You can even rent the whole space and have all the experience for yourself or your entire family.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Bessemer is surrounded by beautiful mountain parks and scenic drives that are perfect for the whole family.

You could consider making a detour at the Moss Rock Preserve & Waterfalls in Hoover, Alabama, on your drive home.

Bessemer is located just south of Birmingham, where you can find the Birmingham Museum of Art.

Here are some of our favorites:

Go Camping at Red Mountain Park

Two people walking along Red Mountain Park trail with fall foliage

Bob Pool /

Bessemer is adjacent to popular nature parks and adventure.

You can stop by Red Mountain Park to get a different view and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

The 1,500-acre Red Mountain Park is located along Red Mountain in Birmingham, about 15 minutes from Bessemer.

Aside from hiking, you can also try camping since the place has enough space for everyone.

There are multiple walking paths available.

You can explore the grounds with your pets as long as they are kept on their leashes.

Visit the Arlington Historic Home and Garden

Gorgeous flowers and plants at Arlington Historic Home and Garden

quirkychick /

There is a historic home and garden in Birmingham, just a short drive from Bessemer.

Arlington Historic Home and Gardens has been included on the National Register of Historic Places as the oldest surviving structure from the 19th century.

This two-story attraction will transport you back to the past with its vintage linens, paintings, and furnishings.

It was sold at auction in 1842 by a lawyer who bought it from Stephen Hall in 1841.

It was destroyed in 1902 before being rebuilt by the city of Birmingham.

Today, Arlington Historic Home and Gardens is one of Alabama’s most beautiful tourist attractions.

Stop by Vulcan Park and Museum

Observation tower of Vulcan Park and Museum

Paul Brady Photography /

Alabama is home to a sizable number of historically significant buildings and structures.

Located in Birmingham, Vulcan Park and Museum is a must-see destination.

People admiring the view from Vulcan Park and Museum

Dana Fleming /

The statue of the Vulcan was placed on Red Mountain in 1930 and has remained there ever since.

Before reopening as a park and museum, the place went through several restorations because the attractions were subject to natural decay’s effects.

In this area, you can climb while also understanding the local culture.

Kiwanis club plaque at Vulcan Park and Museum's entrance

Dana Fleming /

Final Thoughts

Spending money on new experiences will almost certainly increase the level of satisfaction you feel within.

You should put Bessemer on your list since it is an area rich in history and natural beauty.

It is likely to become one of the top places you visit.

Make your way to this city and be guided by this list of the best things to do in Bessemer, Alabama.

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