The explosion of the Civil Rights movement happened here in 1955, when an African American seamstress named Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man on a city bus, launching a bus boycott and galvanizing the Civil Rights movement nationwide. Montgomery has commemorated that incident with a museum, which (along with an excellent Shakespeare program) is the main reason to visit.
Although it’s Alabama’s capital city, Montgomery feels more like a sleepy little town living mostly in the past. The odd exception is that every business in town seems to offer wi-fi access – even Burger King. To its credit, Montgomery covers both fine and folk arts well, with a terrific Shakespeare festival and a museum devoted to country-music legend Hank Williams. Get to know I-85, which runs east–west through Montgomery, as the sights tend to be near one off-ramp or another.