Montgomery is not only Alabama’s state capital and the place of the world’s first electric trolley system, but its also known for its contribution to jazz, rock, country and blues music. A nostalgic town with the charm of yesteryear, it’s a slower pace here and that’s alright in this part of the States.
The city exudes Southern hospitality whether you’re walking along the banks of the Alabama River viewing its grand, historical buildings, or sharing a meal listening to the blues, this city is sure to make you feel right at home.
A place to stay
As with much of Alabama, unless you’re a student living in one of the university campuses, your option for budget accommodation will only be found within the hotels of Montgomery.
Extended Stay America offers a rooms for 1 or 2 people from $1,700 per month. For this price you will get a Queen bed, kitchenette with microwave, stovetop and toaster, a small dining area, and free WiFi, Budget
At Fairfield Inn & Suites a family sized King Studio with sofa is $4,120 per month which includes a refrigerator and microwave, ironing facilities, free WiFi, free parking,
A luxury stay at Residence Inn Montgomery at $5,220 per month in a two-bedroom suite will come with a kitchen including microwave, stovetop, dishwasher and full sized refrigerator, a dining area, and hotel facilities including a fitness centre, and free parking.
Hotels: from $1,200 to $5,300 per month but do confirm the location so as not to be commuting from too far out of town.
Southern style eating
The price of eating out and groceries in Montgomery are slightly below the state average with the cost of a coffee $3.20, pizza $8 and a meal for two at a mid-range restaurant costing $40.
A consistently good lunch is to be had a Café Louisa and achievable for $10 around. Grab a Smoked Turkey Sandwich ($5.50) and a Protein Power Smoothie ($4.50) for a healthy lunch option.
Sit at the bar and have wings (1lb for $8.99), or grab a table a enjoy a catfish platter ($12.00) at Baumhower’s Restaurant. Or if you’re in the city in August, go to the restaurant for Alabama Restaurant Week and take the opportunity to try a few of their specialty dishes.
Looking for a place to dress up and experience the romantic ambience of a quality restaurant, then make a reservation at City Grill. With a full bar, this is a fine dining experience and with plates priced from $31 to $60, this could be a treat worth budgeting for.
When self-catering, The Fresh Market supermarket should be visited to peruse their extensive range of gourmet goodies. At a mid-range price level, it’s not the cheapest place to shop but if you’re cooking up a storm in your hotel kitchenette, or planning a picnic, this is where you’ll find everything you desire, including a nice bottle of wine.
4 carts of groceries (1 litre of milk, loaf of bread, 1 kg bag of rice, 12 eggs, 1kg cheese, 1 kg chicken breast, 1 kg of apples, 1 kg of oranges, 1 kg of tomatoes, 1 kg of potatoes, 1 head of lettuce, and a bottle of wine): $256 per month
History and Blues
As with most Alabama cities, Montgomery has its place in the Civil rights movement. A walk along the Alabama River to the Alabama Capitol building will take you to museums and historical buildings, most with free entry and guided tours. You can visit the site where Jefferson Davis took the oath of office as President of the Confederate States of America and where the Civil Rights March ended, the church where Dr. Martin Luther King preached, and a museum honoring Rosa Parks at the location where she was arrested for refusing to move to the back of a bus.
As the birthplace of Nat King Cole, you can be assured that there is a descent music scene in Montgomery at night.
A fun night out with fresh seafood and live music can be found at Capitol Oyster Bar down near the river. With a price range of $11-$30 a meal, you can enjoy an entertaining family night out here.
Though one of a chain of Alabama restaurants, Dreamland Bar-B-que should not be missed for those Southern style favorites, and as a live music venue, you’ll be sure to have a good time. Meals are priced $11-$30.
The average price for an inexpensive meal in Montgomery is $12, and a three-course dinner for two at a mid-range restaurant $40.
Transport – your options
Montgomery Transit bus service has one-way tickets for $2, or you can purchase the 31 day bus passes are $45.00 for regular fare, and $25.00 for students /seniors/disabled.
A fun and unique way to see the city is using the trolley service which for 25c, you sit in air-conditioned comfort while listening to the guide explaining the many sites you pass by, and hop off at any of the historic sites it visits.
The price of gas is lower than average at $3.05 a liter.
Studying abroad in a small city
Montgomery has two universities, Auburn and Amridge universities who both offer scholarships and opportunities for international students. As a safe and quiet town, and with a lower cost of living than much of the States, Montgomery is a great place to study abroad. The cost of a room in a 4 bedroom apartment on campus is from $2,715 or if just there for the summer term - $1,845.
A month in Alabama’s capital really is an affordable holiday that will leave you with fond memories of Southern style hospitality. Whether studying, working or just passing through, Montgomery is a welcoming, smaller city, in a pleasant historical setting.