“A river is more than an amenity, it is a treasure.” - Oliver Wendell Holmes
There are multiple diverse ways to make the most of Montgomery’s liquid asset.
There’s nothing quite like a river to take you away from the everyday grind. There’s something about that soft rustle of the current, the lapping of waves on the shore and the activity of area wildlife that invites you to relax and reconnect to nature – even in the middle of a bustling downtown like Montgomery.
Residents and visitors alike seek out the banks of the Alabama River to get away, either as a short break from the workday or to add some adventure to their vacation. The revitalization the city’s historic downtown has experienced in recent years all revolves around this body of water that is the culmination of the Coosa, Alabama and Mobile Rivers flowing from the northwest of town and running 318 miles south to converge with the Mobile River.
Kay McCreery, Director of City Events in Montgomery, describes the river as an anchor for downtown. “Bodies of water draw us,” she said. “The river is a source of beauty, pleasure, relaxation and congregation and represents a signature part of the downtown revival.” Riverfront Park’s green spaces are where you’ll find an ever-growing number of downtown residents taking an afternoon stroll with their dogs or even doing a few downward facing dogs in a sunrise yoga session on the weekend.
Downtown office dwellers can often be seen at lunch hour enjoying an alfresco meal at one of the picnic tables, or getting a few extra steps in on the trails. The splash-pad cools down the kiddos when summer temps soar, and the park serves as a gorgeous spot for weddings and special private events year round.
The river gives Montgomery an edge in tourism, too. Dawn Hath-cock, Vice President of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, echoed McCreery and stressed the valuable part the river and its banks play in wooing and wowing visitors. “More people than ever are traveling here to learn and experience this city that has a complicated history and that only exists because of the economic force of the river,” she said. “And the river’s appeal goes beyond its inherent beauty and the water-related activities. More Than Tours begins at the river. The Civil Heritage Trail includes multiple sites at or near the river. The new EJI museum includes a section about the slave trade in Montgomery, which is tied to the river.”
Today, people love to “gather at the river” in Montgomery – for concerts, sporting events and festivals. Riverfront Park has hosted major concert acts like Bruno Mars, and even The Dave Matthews Band, Usher and the Roots earlier this year. The annual Capital of Dreams Triathlon, Dragon Boat Races and the new Stand-Up Paddle competition draw thousands of spectators and competitors. Got a thing for wine and waterfront views? Get your tickets early for the popular Riverwalk Wine Festival held every fall. And for those who like to let the river roll their blues away, the Harriott II Riverboat’s themed cruises are a perfect option.
No matter how it is experienced and enjoyed, the Alabama River remains one of the most powerful assets driving the future of our city by increasing the quality of life for residents and enhancing visitors’ experiences.
THE BEST WAY TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ALABAMA RIVER IS TO GET OUT ON THE WATER. HERE ARE A FEW WAYS TO TREAT YOURSELF TO A DIFFERENT VIEW THAN THE SHORE.
HARRIOTT II: Enjoy scenic lunch cruises, dinner cruises and blues cruises. www.funinmontgomery.com.
SUP BOARD RENTALS: Skim the surface on a paddleboard. www.lightninglinemgm.com.
PONTOON BOAT RENTALS: Putt along on a private pontoon boat. Rent one from Capitol Oyster Bar. 334-239-8358.
FISHING: Try your luck and drop a line. Find fishing license info at www.outdooralabama.com.
AND DON’T MISS SPECIAL ANNUAL EVENTS ON THE RIVER AND AT RIVERFRONT PARK LIKE:
Easter Eggstravaganza Kids Fest
Stars on the Riverfront
BrewFest and River Jam
Dragon Boat Festival
Rock the Park
Riverwalk Wine Festival