20 Best Things to Do in Gadsden, AL

Gadsden, AL
JMcQ / shutterstock.com

Located on the banks of Coosa River in the county seat of Etowah is the charming city of Gadsden.

The city offers a plethora of exploration opportunities with the combination of both outdoor and indoor attractions.

Gadsden is home to the picturesque Noccalula Falls, surrounded by serene mountain scenery.

This charming city is a haven for art enthusiasts featuring a variety of art galleries from contemporary arts up to classic historical artworks.

Discover what awaits you on your trip to Gadsden.

Here are the 20 best things to do on your next weekend getaway at Gadsden, AL:

Visit the Noccalula Fall at Noccalula Falls Park

Beautiful View of Noccalula Falls Park
JNix / Shutterstock.com

Head out for outdoor family fun at Noccalula Falls Park, where you can appreciate the beauty of nature and experience awesome outdoor activities.

Hike through paved walking trails lined with trees and natural rock formations, and listen to the relaxing sound of water cascading from the falls as you get closer to the scenic Noccalula Falls.

A Sign in Noccalula Falls Park
JNix / Shutterstock.com

Don’t worry if you are one of those who dread long walks because you have unlimited access to the C.P. Huntington Train—the train will take you on a scenic one-mile ride around the park, and you can disembark on the attractions you want to visit.

Noccalula Falls Park also features a small petting zoo and magical botanical gardens, enjoyable for the young and the old alike.

Beautiful View of Noccalula Falls Park
Locatelli Photo / Shutterstock.com

If you enjoy spending the night surrounded by the peaceful sound of nature, you can pitch your tent in the campground or rent a cozy cabin surrounded by the woods.

The park offers many exploration opportunities, so make sure to explore most of Noccalula Falls Park, and don’t forget to take a fantastic selfie by the famous Noccalula Falls.

The waters of Noccalula Falls Park
BJ Ray / Shutterstock.com

Go for a Hike at Black Creek Trails

Located near the Noccalula Falls Park Campgrounds is a scenic 1.7-mile gravel trail—outdoor junkies will appreciate the trails for outdoor exploration.

If you enjoy hiking, running, or cycling, you can choose from the 15 scenic trails and connectors.

Whether you are looking for a thrilling hike with terrains that will push you to the limits or a family-friendly trail for families traveling with kids, you wouldn’t have to worry because you can explore a variety of trail difficulties in the area.

The Black Creek Trails all offer a serene experience surrounded by the natural beauty of the area, and you’ll’ be able to meet a few wildlife along the way.

Prepare for an exciting outdoor adventure as you venture along the woods of Black Creek Trail.

Appreciate Local Arts at Gadsden Museum of Art

Another way to spend your time in Gadsden is to experience the culture and heritage of the town, so make sure to include the Gadsden Museum of Art on your list of destinations.

Gadsden Museum of Art houses five galleries showcasing a variety of local artworks ranging from paintings, sculptures, drawings, and other installations.

You can also learn about Etowah County's heritage in their historical exhibit featuring artifacts, archives, and memorabilia dedicated to offering a glimpse of history to visitors.

The kids will indeed have a blast on the dedicated children's exhibit for families traveling with youngsters, and you can even sign them up to join art classes.

You wouldn't have to worry if you are on a budget because the museum is a cheap hang-out place since the entrance is free, but you can give monetary donations to support the museum’s mission to support local artists.

Go Birdwatching at James D. Martin Wildlife Park

If you are looking for another outdoor escape, James D. Martin Wildlife Park is the ideal place for you.

James D. Martin Wildlife Park features a network of walking trails and a boardwalk where you can better view the scenic lake.

The park is part of the Alabama Birding Trail, so you can witness several majestic bird species soaring and fishing in the lake.

There is a pavilion where you can stop by for snacks and a nearby children's play area where the youngsters can enjoy themselves.

The James D. Martin Wildlife Park is the perfect place to appreciate the sights and sounds of nature, so make sure to include this park on your list of destinations on your trip to Gadsden.

The best way to get to know the community and culture of Gadsden is through its artistic expression showcased in Mary G. Hardin Center for Cultural Arts.

You can explore the several facilities in the area, like the quaint courtyard, spend a relaxing afternoon surrounded by gorgeous red-bricked walls, and stroll through the gallery to see fascinating exhibits.

Every visit is another enthralling experience because the exhibit changes throughout the year to showcase different artists.

The museum features a variety of local arts and crafts dedicated to celebrating the artistry of Gadsden locals—make sure to stop by and support the growing artistic community of Gadsden.

Play With the Youngsters at Imagination Place

Let your child's imagination run wild and learn through educational play in this interactive facility, the Imagination Place, located in Mary G. Hardin Center for Cultural Arts.

Imagination Place features a variety of play areas with hands-on activities and interactive games surrounded by vibrant colors dedicated to keeping children delighted.

Families traveling with kids will indeed have a blast in this vibrant place for creative play, so don't forget to take some fun pictures of your child getting creative in Imagination Place.

Make sure to stop by this family-friendly place to spend some family time in this lively indoor facility for the young and the young-at-heart.

Play Mini Golf at Noccalula Falls Park

If you're looking for more family-friendly activities, try golfing on your trip to the Noccalula Falls Park.

The mini-golf course is ideal if you want to have some extra fun—you'll enjoy the strategically landscaped layout of the course that will allow you to appreciate the cascading waterfall and around some streams and rock formations.

Noccalula Falls Park's Mini Golf Course is perfect if you want to enjoy the natural landscaping of the park while playing with the family, so make sure to avail the extra admission fee for a unique mini golf experience.

Try Some Craft Beer From Back Forty Beer Company

Beat the heat with a cold beer from Back Forty Beer Company—this microbrewery offers a variety of phenomenal beer for all kinds of tastes.

Slam down pint after pint of their best-tasting craft beer in their chill, rustic place while chowing down on some great food from their short menu.

You can hang out in their grand room and bar, sit by the back lounge for a nice view of the beer fermenters, or chill in their deck to enjoy the breeze.

Back Forty Beer Company has something to offer whether you like strong or light flavored beers, so make sure to stop by for a chill day at Gadsden.

Cast Your Lines at Neely Henry Lake

Aerial View of Neely Henry Lake
Tracy Burroughs Brown / Shutterstock.com

Nothing beats a rewarding day spent fishing on the calm waters of a lake, so make sure to pack your fishing tackle and head out to Neely Henry Lake.

If you are looking to spend a serene time surrounded by the scenic blue waters of the lake, the Neely Henry Lake offers you a relaxing time by the marina.

This fishing spot is home to various fish species, and you’ll be able to catch some bluegill, bass, crappie, and catfish.

You can even participate in the fishing tournament if you plan to visit in the summer or experience several water recreation opportunities.

Aside from fishing, the lake is also a great place to stop by for some bird watching and sailing.

Experience Unique Glamping at River Rocks Landing Resort and Venue

If you are looking for a scenic place to stay while you’re in Gadsden, the River Rocks Landing Resort and Venue has fantastic amenities to offer.

River Rocks Landing Resort and venue is a riverfront resort located in front of the Coosa River, where you can enjoy a fantastic view of the sunset.

The resort features a tranquil space for glamping in their tiny luxury cottages, and they also have three swimming pools and splash pads for families traveling with kids.

If you are traveling with an RV, they offer pull-through spots offering all the amenities to keep your stay comfortable.

Make sure to book your stay and spend a serene time away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Score Some Antiques at Gadsden Variety Antique Mall

Nestled in the heart of downtown Gadsden is this quaint variety mall featuring reasonably priced unique items.

A trip to Gadsden Variety feels like traveling back in time, and as you scour through the items, you'll feel nostalgia upon discovering a time capsule in Gadsden.

You can score rare vintage items, unique pieces of furniture, arts, and other trinkets on your visit to Gadsden Variety.

If you get hungry after strolling through the stores, you can grab a cup of coffee and tasty snacks from their charming cafe and enjoy a relaxing time in the lovely atmosphere of the antique mall.

Walk Along the River at Coosa Landing Recreational Park

If you are looking to spend a few hours on a chill, relaxing stroll, make sure to visit the Coosa Landing along the bank of the Coosa River.

This recreational park features a boardwalk sprawling through the glistening water of the Coosa River, and you can walk around and take great photos of the scenic views of the place.

The park also features a marina and several picnic tables and bleachers, so you can enjoy some snacks while you watch boats launch and return.

Coosa Landing is an ideal place for a quiet time in the city—make sure to stop by and bring your cameras to take some great photos of the scenic location.

Go Golfing at Twin Bridges Golf Club

Nothing beats a sunny day at the golf club when you're on vacation at Gadsden, so visit the Twin Bridges Golf Club to have some tee time.

This 18-hole course is beautifully laid out in finely manicured Bermuda fairways along the Coosa River.

You can enjoy your tee time with the majestic view of the Coosa River, so not only will you enjoy the sport of golf, but you'll also appreciate Gadsden's natural landscapes in Twin Bridges Golf Club.

You wouldn't have to worry if you're a beginner because they offer seven sets of tees for golfers of all skill levels, so make sure to stop by for some golfing day out.

Explore the Historic Downtown Gadsden

Restaurant sign at Downtown Gadsden
Living Liv / Shutterstock.com

A trip to Gadsden wouldn't be complete without strolling through the historic downtown.

Scour through the stores for a bit of shopping to score some unique items from specialty boutiques and try southern cuisine from one of the restaurants in downtown Gadsden.

There is plenty to enjoy in the vibrant atmosphere of this quaint city, so check for event updates and take part in the seasonal events in the Gadsden.

The best way to spend a vacation in Gadsden is to get acquainted with the town, make sure to head out to downtown Gadsden and experience the warmth of southern hospitality.

Gadsden is truly a haven for artists and art enthusiasts, so check out the Walnut Gallery if you're looking to spend more days of art appreciation.

The gallery features a rotating exhibit of art installations showcasing the talent of local Gadsden artists.

The Walnut Gallery is nestled in a cozy space in downtown Gadsden, and you can even attend open mic nights to get more acquainted with Gadsden's art scene.

The exterior’s fantastic architecture isn't hard to miss, so make sure to stop by and support their cause to promote contemporary arts in Gadsden.

Discover Gadsden African-American Heritage at Central Carver Legacy Museum

Central Carver Legacy Museum opened at the former Central Carver High School in 1971.

There are 26 classrooms, a gym, a cafeteria, and many additional new sections or stations in this museum.

The name honors the great American botanist and innovator George Carver Washington.

This museum contributes to the exhibition of African-American art of many types.

Aside from being attractive and informative, the museum has many distinct areas designed to impact visitors' lives positively.

Catch a Performance at Mort Glosser Amphitheatre

Mort Glosser Amphitheatre is not just one of Gadsden's oldest amphitheaters but also one of the best-equipped.

Mort Glosser Amphitheatre was built in 1935 using sandstone transported from the northeastern part of Alabama, most specifically from Lookout Mountain.

Mort Glosser Amphitheatre served as a recreation area for the nearby military camps during World War II.

The theater seats themselves are half a hexagon in form.

It also has excellent entertainment offered by the club room, which features a timber frame and stone arch.

Catch exciting events such as boxing fights, musical exhibitions, rallies, and summer at Mort Glosser Amphitheatre.

Play Different Sporting Games at Banks Park

If you're looking for something entertaining to do in Gadsden, consider going to Banks Park.

It's a public park with a rented community center and many play areas.

Picnic areas and pavilions are available for rent for individuals who want to have a picnic for friends and family.

They also offer a beautiful and well-equipped playground for youngsters to enjoy.

Volleyball courts, baseball fields, a basketball court, and a tennis court are all available for amateurs and pros alike.

Banks Park is also a popular venue for various special occasions, including weddings, reunions, and parties of many kinds.

There's space for around 70 persons at this facility.

Have a Blast at Merry-Go-Round Skate Center

Merry-Go-Round Skate Center is an old-school skating rink.

Enjoyment is the primary goal of this facility.

If you want to have a fantastic time roller skating, this is the best location.

The event is family-friendly and welcomes both adults and children.

It also caters to bright and entertaining parties, such as a pizza party, a Glow night, and a lady's night.

Birthday celebrations might be held at Merry-Go-Round Skate Center if that happens to be your destination on the big day.

We recommend including the Merry-Go-Round Skate Center on your itinerary.

It's missing from your list and would make it better.

Catch a Movie at Gadsden Premiere Cinema 16

Exterior of Gadsden Premiere Cinema 16
Preston Rhea from Washington, DC, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Seeing a film at Gadsden Premiere Cinema 16 is one of the city's most popular and enjoyable activities.

Gadsden Premiere Cinema 16, a vast and luxurious theater in Gadsden Mall, offers an excellent viewing experience.

It is your best option if you're looking for a great time at the movies in Gadsden.

It has a big screen TV and a perfect digital sound system, making movie night a delight.

Relax as you watch the newest Hollywood blockbuster in a clean, well-appointed theater.

Final Thoughts

Gadsden, Alabama, will surprise you with lots of exciting exploration opportunities, all nestled in this small town in the county seat of Etowah.

If you’re planning a trip to Gadsden, make sure to reference this list for an exciting getaway in the south.

Spotted a mistake, have some feedback, or just want to chat with our editorial team? Click here to get in touch.
Find out more about Travel Lens and read our editorial guidelines here.