Decatur, nicknamed “The River City”, is the county seat of Morgan County, Alabama. Its growth was mainly influenced by its strategic location along the Tennessee River. Now, its economy relies on cargo transit, manufacturing, tourism, mining, and high-tech companies. Back in 1818, Decatur was known as Rhodes Ferry, named after a ferry developed by Dr. Henry Rhodes that was used to cross the Tennessee River. In 1823, it was changed to its current name in the honor of Stephen Decatur, a U.S. naval officer who died in a duel in 1820. Plan a trip here and explore its rich heritage and cultural diversity. See the Old State Bank, the oldest bank building at 186 years in the State of Alabama or learn science at Cook Museum of Natural Science. Decatur also hosts festivals such as The Alabama Jubilee, and a hot air balloon race which is a major tourist attraction. Read on to know more about the things to do in Decatur, Alabama.
1. Embrace science at Cook Museum of Natural Science
Visit this family-friendly natural history museum that features exhibits in the fields of zoology, geology, and paleontology. Explore the hands-on and interactive exhibits that teach you about nature. Crawl through walls as you look for hidden animals in Caves. Oceans take you through the life of a coral reef in a 15,000-gallon saltwater aquarium and fish in a 440-gallon aquarium. Take a walk through Discover and see live animals such as bees, turtles, alligators, and snakes. Looking up lets you explore the earth and its relation to the sun, and you also get to touch a real meteorite. Other exhibits include forests, foundations, rivers and streams, arctic/dessert and a wonderful world of insects. There is so much to see and learn when here.
Cook Museum of Natural Science
Address: 133 4th Ave NE, Decatur, AL 35601, USA
Website: Cook Museum of Natural Science
Opening hours: Tue - Fri: 9am - 5pm; Sat: 9am - 6pm; Sun: 12pm - 5pm (closed on Mon)
Price: From 15 USD
2. Drop by the historic Old State Bank
Visit the Old State Bank which at 186 years old, is the oldest bank building in the State of Alabama. Admire its architecture which combines Greek Revival, Federal and Jeffersonian styles. Learn about its historical significance and why it is considered an important landmark in Decatur. The bank was opened in 1833 but the building remained vacant until the 1860s. The building survived through turbulent history such as the Civil War. During the Battle of Decatur, it served as the headquarters for the Union forces and as a hospital.
Old State Bank
Address: 925 Bank St NE, Decatur, AL 35601, USA
Website: Old State Bank
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 9:30am - 12pm, 1:30pm - 4:30pm (appointment required for Sat & Sun)
3. Admire trains and model trains at Old Decatur Depot
Visit Old Decatur Depot which is a museum that shows everything related to trains. The museum shares the building with a police station. Built in 1905, restorations have tried to maintain its original architectural style including high ceilings and brick and plaster walls. Marvel at model train layouts, artifacts and railroad signage. The museum displays more artifacts and audio/video presentations on railroads. Stand in the loading dock area or wooden viewing platform to watch freight and passenger trains. This is definitely the place to be if you are interested in learning about trains.
Old Decatur Depot
Address: 701 Railroad St NW, Decatur, AL 35601, USA
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 10am - 12pm, 1pm - 3pm (appointment required for Sat & Sun)
4. Explore the flora and fauna of Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge
American white pelicans.Posted by Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge Complex on Thursday, 26 January 2017
Visit this 35,000 acres (14164 hectares) wildlife refuge that is located along the Tennessee River. It is home to 300 species of birds including migratory birds like waterfowl, 47 species of mammals, 75 species of reptiles and amphibians, 115 species of fish, 38 species of freshwater mussels and 26 species of freshwater snails. Indulge in activities such as hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, hiking, boating, cycling and horseback riding as you explore the area. Soak in the serenity that nature provides and get to appreciate nature at its finest.
Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge
Address: 3121 Visitor Center Road, Decatur, AL 35603, USA
Website: Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge
Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 9am - 4pm (closed on Sun & Mon)
5. Experience a live performance at Princess Theatre
The Princess Theatre is a center for performing arts venue. Visit this theater which has a capacity of 677 people when seated. Admire the Art-deco style of the building as you step inside. Through concerts, film, lectures, live theater, and young audience series, it showcases the culture of the people of Decatur. Enjoy the magic of live performances by local and professional artists. Feel the thrill that comes with watching a live performance in a theater with great acoustics.
Address: 112 2nd Ave NE, Decatur, AL 35601, USA
Website: Princess Theatre
Opening hours: Tue - Fri: 9am - 5pm (closed from Sat - Mon)
6. Play a round at Point Mallard Golf Course
Golfing is always a good option when you want to enjoy a chilled and relaxing sport. Head out to Point Mallard Golf Course located within Point Mallard Park for a day of fun. Choose to play either in the 9-hole or 18-hole and tee away. The fairway is well-groomed making it easy to play. The golf course also has a driving range. Take in the amazing views of the tree-lined fairways and Tennessee River. Enjoy a game in this golf course that is exciting and challenging for golfers of all skill levels.
Point Mallard Golf Course
Address: 2600 Point Mallard Dr SE, Decatur, AL 35601, USA
Website: Point Mallard Golf Course
Price: From 15 USD
7. Rejuvenate your soul at Delano Park
The Alabama native tulip poplar trees are at their peak of color this week in Delano Park.Posted by Delano Park Conservancy on Saturday, 10 November 2018
Visit this 28 acre (11 hectares) park which is the oldest park in Decatur. Take a walk in the trail of history or lush gardens as you smell the sweet scent emanating from the roses in the rose garden. Take in breaths of fresh air as you unwind and forget about the hustles and bustles of life. By the end of your walk, you will be left feeling rejuvenated. You can also enjoy picnicking in the park. Other features include a children’s playground and a splash pad for kids with jets and sprayers shooting water from the walls and floor (only open in summer). This is a truly beautiful park suitable for a day of relaxation.
Address: Gordon Dr SE Decatur, Alabama
Website: Delano Park
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
8. Appreciate the artworks at Carnegie Visual Arts Center
Do not miss out on visiting this small gem in Decatur. It is a gallery that has on display local and international exhibits. The exhibits change regularly throughout the year, therefore, it is worth visiting as many times as possible since it is also free. It also offers art classes, workshops and camps to foster interest in art among people of all ages. This is a haven for art lovers and you will definitely get a new-found appreciation for visual arts by the end of your exploration.
Carnegie Visual Arts Center
Address: 207 Church St NE, Decatur, AL 35601, USA
Website: Carnegie Visual Arts Center
Opening hours: Tue - Fri: 10am - 5pm; Sat: 10am - 2pm (closed on Sun & Mon)
9. Enjoy a drink at Geno's Pub
Head out to Geno’s Pub if you are looking for a nice and cozy joint that is less crowded to enjoy a drink. The bar serves cheap beer and bar food such as pizza, burgers, and fish. You can play pool or select songs to play on the jukebox. The bar also has an amazing sound system for karaoke where you can sing your heart out. This is just the chilled spot you need to unwind at. The people and staff are also very friendly.
Address: 1015 6th Ave SE, Decatur, AL 35601, USA
Website: Geno’s Pub
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 8am - 2am; Sun: 12pm - 8pm
10. Stroll along the Old Decatur Historic District
Discover this historic district in Decatur which features buildings with beautiful architecture. Marvel at the Italianate, Victorian and Commercial styles employed in the construction of the buildings. The houses are mostly Craftsman bungalows or shingle style and built using bricks. You cannot help but feel you are back in the 19th to early 20th centuries as you take a stroll in this district. Learn about some history as you explore the street listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Old Decatur Historic District
Address: Decatur, AL 35601, USA
11. Shop for fresh produce at the Decatur Farmers Market
Eating fresh often translates to eating healthy. Decatur Farmers Market takes pride in selling fresh and organic products that have been locally produced. Shop for a variety of products such as beauty products, smoked trout, smoked meats, dairy products, poultry, honey, organic coffee, vegetables, fruits, fermented beverages and hot food. No matter what you choose to buy, be sure that you will be getting something fresh and authentic to the area. It is also a fun experience exploring a market full of local vendors as you can learn a lot about Decatur.
Decatur Farmers Market
Address: 308 Clairemont Ave, Decatur, GA 30030, USA
Website: Decatur Farmers Market
Opening hours: Wed: 4pm - 7pm; Sat: 9am - 1pm (closed from Sun - Tue & Thu - Fri)
12. Attend an event at Alabama Charity Championship Horseshow
Plan to attend the annual Alabama Charity Championship Horseshow in October at the Morgan County Celebration Arena. The activity is filled with a lot of fun and you can scream your guts out as you cheer for your favorite rider and horse. The proceeds from the event go to Special Equestrians of Alabama which offers therapeutic horseback riding to individuals with different forms of disabilities. This is used as a way of increasing their strength and boosting their self-esteem. Be part of this worthy cause and also have a lot of fun while at it.
Alabama Charity Championship Horseshow
Address: Morgan County Celebration Arena, 67 Horse Center Road, Priceville, AL 35603
13. Visit the Morgan County Archives
Take a trip down history lane at Morgan County Archives. Featuring an Art-Deco style, the building is home to various collections, records, documents, photographs, artifacts and, historical and genealogical subject matter about the county, dating back to 1819. The collections include; Veterans with wartime materials, Cotton and Textile Manufacturing, Maurice Jones Civil War Artifact and personal materials donated by citizens. Records include marriages, divorces, births, court proceedings, voter registration, and census data. Here you will get to learn a lot about the history of this county and the country as a whole. You are allowed to take photos and make copies of some items at a fee.
Morgan County Archives
Address: 624 Bank St NE, Decatur, AL 35601, USA
Website: Morgan County Archives
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 8am - 4:30pm (closed on Sat & Sun)
14. Pamper your taste buds at The RailYard
Relish the scrumptious farm-to-fork southern comfort food at The RailYard. Wash down your food with amazing craft cocktails and craft beer. Using the finest and freshest ingredients, the Chef creates tasty dishes that you can never have enough of. Enjoy the ambiance, delicious foods and a great selection of drinks. The Chef combines his love and knowledge of Decatur to ensure he presents to you the very best it has to offer.
Address: 209 2nd Ave SE, Decatur, AL 35601, USA
Website: The RailYard
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 11am - 9pm (closed on Sun)
15. Indulge in deli-style food at Brick Deli & Tavern
Brick Deli & Tavern exudes an old neighborhood tavern vibe as you step into it. The staff are friendly and the ambiance is fun. Indulge in the tasty deli-style food including the delicious and original sandwiches. They have a wide beer selection featuring 25 beers on tap, unique bottle beers that you do not find just anywhere and amazing cocktails. From Wednesday to Saturday, they play live music. This is the place to be if you want great food, ambiance and a fun place to enjoy an evening alone or with friends.
The Brick Deli & Tavern
Address: 112 Moulton St E, Decatur, AL 35601, USA
Website: The Brick Deli & Tavern
Opening hours: Mon - Tue: 11am - 3pm; Wed - Thu: 11am - 11pm; Fri - Sat: 11am - 2am (closed on Sun)
16. Go camping at Jay Landings Marina & RV Park
For the lovers of outdoor activities, go camping at Jay Landings Marina & RV Park. Located on the southern shore of the Tennessee River on Wheeler Lake, this camping site offers scenic views of the water. The campsite has fire pits, an outdoor lounge area with games, free Wi-Fi on-site and a grilling area. Enjoy the company of friends sitting around a fire pit under the moonlight. You can also indulge in kayaking, boating, water-skiing, swimming or fishing. At the end of the day, you can retire to your vehicle for a good night’s sleep.
Jay Landings Marina
Address: 1600 AL-20, Decatur, AL 35601, USA
Website: Jay Landings Marina
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 9am - 5pm (closed on Sun)
17. Savor a scrumptious meal at Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q
Pick up your wings and all the fixings today! #gameday #gamedaywings #bigbobgibson #mydecaturalPosted by Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Que on Saturday, 31 August 2019
For a taste of that finger-licking and mouthwatering barbecue, visit Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q. The restaurant serves scrumptious award-winning BBQ ribs, chicken, and brisket, pulled pork, smoked turkey breast, homemade pies and stuffed baked potatoes. No matter what you choose, be prepared to be wowed as you feel the juices and taste the flavors in your mouth. The meals are served with authentic barbecue white sauce.
Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q
Address: 1715 6th Ave SE, Decatur, AL 35601, USA
Website: Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q
Opening hours: 9:30am - 8:15pm (daily)
18. Go for a walk at Wilson Morgan Park
Walking is a less strenuous form of physical activity that is relaxing and also a healthy habit. Hike the 1.5 mi (2.4 km) walking trail in this park as you enjoy views of the sunrise on the lake and lush green. Feel the pleasant early morning sun seep through your skin as you take in deep breaths of fresh air. Unwind and forget about the struggles of life as you enjoy your walk. The facility also features an adventure park, playground, lake and fields to play tennis, softball, and soccer.
Wilson Morgan Park
Address: 300 Beltline Rd SW, Decatur, AL 35601, USA
Website: Wilson Morgan Park
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
19. Pick what you like at Decatur Mall
Indulge in some guilty pleasure of shopping at this mall. It features stores such as Belk, Electronic Express, Claire’s, American Eagle Outfitters, Victoria’s Secret, Bed Bath & Beyond, Bath & Body Works and Zales. After hours of shopping, dine at Chicken Salad Chick or buy sweet baked treats at Great American Cookies located in the mall. The mall also has a cinema where you can catch a movie. Though the stores are not so many, the variety ensures you can enjoy the shopping experience and not fail to get something you fancy.
Address: 1801 Beltline Rd SW, Decatur, AL 35601, USA
Website: Decatur Mall
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 9pm; Sun: 1pm - 6pm
20. Take a break at Jack Allen Recreation Complex
Beautiful day for uh Soccer! Go JD! Mustang soccer!Posted by Grant Reynolds on Saturday, 2 February 2019
Jack Allen Recreation Complex is one of the best sports complexes in Alabama. It features 10 international size soccer fields situated on 77 acres (31 hectares) of well-manicured grass, playground area for kids, an 18-hole Flying Dragon Disc Golf Course covering 13 acres (5 hectares) and a paved walking and running trail. The complex hosts several tournaments. Spend your day watching a tournament and cheering at your favorite team or use the other facilities the complex has to offer.
Jack Allen Recreation Complex
Address: 2616 Modaus Rd SW, Decatur, AL 35603, USA
Website: Jack Allen Recreation Complex
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 7am - 4pm (closed on Sat & Sun)
21. Shop your heart out at Bank Street Antiques
Experience the thrill of antique and art shopping at these stores found across three floors. The artworks are from local artists. The antiques include furniture, paintings, home accessories, vintage jewelry, toys, photographs, pottery, cut glass, chinaware, fishing equipment, old signs, collectibles, and clocks. Have fun while shopping hoping to get something truly unique and authentic. With the variety available, you will definitely get something beautiful that you love for yourself or as a gift for a friend.
Bank Street Antiques
Address: 818 Bank St, Decatur, AL 35601, USA
Website: Bank Street Antiques
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 5pm (closed on Sun)
22. Pamper yourself at Muse Day Spa & Salon
After all the hard work we do, creating time to take care and pamper yourself is always essential. Muse Day Spa & Salon offers services to cater to your hair, nails, lashes, makeup, skincare, pedicure, and waxing. Book an appointment here and by the time you leave, the professional staff will have you feeling and looking beautiful. Sit back and enjoy the great service in a fun and welcoming environment.
Muse Day Spa & Salon
Address: 2941 Point Mallard Pkwy SE, Decatur, AL 35603, USA
Website: Muse Day Spa & Salon
A city rich in heritage and cultural diversity
Whether you are strolling across the historical district, digging up history in the archives, marveling at artworks, exploring historical buildings, learning about the culture of the people in the city or eating the best barbecue in town, this city is a gem worth discovering. Plan a trip here and explore using our list of things to do in Decatur, Alabama.
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