The capital of Alabama, the city of Montgomery is known for its contributions to jazz and country music, its cultural prevalence in the fight for civil rights, and its numerous amount of landmarks and historic architecture.
Reasonably-priced and laden with history and culture, the city could make both a fascinating and affordable place to call home. If you are planning a move to this Southern city, this guide will help you to decide if it's the right place for you.
The city has a humid subtropical climate, with short, mild winters and long, humid summers with afternoon heat indexes often reaching over 100 degrees. Rain is plentiful throughout the year, but snow is quite scarce in the region.
Spring and fall bring pleasantly warm and moderate weather, with highly varied temperatures from day to evening.
The East Side is the fastest-growing section of the city, with several large shopping centers, national retailers, and residential developments. It is also home to Wynton M. Blount Cultural Park, which features the Montgomery Museum of Art and the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.
The city has numerous historic neighborhoods and buildings such as Alabama State University, built in the style of Colonial Revival; Cloverdale and the Garden District, which feature gorgeous preserved homes of Late Victorian and Gothic Revival architecture; and Huntingdon College's campus, built in the style of Tudor Revival. These areas and landmarks are all listed on National Register of Historic Places in the state.
Downtown Montgomery lies along the bank of the Alabama River and is the city's hub for business and entertainment. It features a variety of restaurants, shops and trendy loft apartments.
Registering Your Car
Once you arrive in the city, you will have 3 days to register your vehicle in the state of Alabama. You will need your car's title, proof of insurance in the state, and proof of identity. You will also need to have your vehicle inspected before you can register it--they can do this for you right at the DMV. You will also have to pay a fee of $23--however, additional fees may apply depending on your situation.
To transfer your driver's license, you will need your previous out of state license, another form of approved identification, and your Social Security card. You will have to pay a $5 transferring fee and a $23 fee for your new license. If your out of state license is valid or has been expired less than one year, you will not have to take a driving test.
You can find more information on these processes as well as DMV locations near you at Alabama's DMV website.
Public education in the city is served by Montgomery Public Schools. The district educates 32,520 students enrolled in 32 elementary schools, 10 middle schools, and 4 high schools. Additionally, there are nine magnet schools, one alternative school, and two special education intuitions. Forest Avenue Academic Magnet Elementary School was named a National Blue Ribbon School in 2007, and Loveless Academic Magnet Program (LAMP) High School was named number 20 on U.S. News & World Report's prestigious nationwide Gold Medal List in 2008.
The city is also home to 28 private schools, and several notable institutions of higher learning. The historically black college Alabama State University enrolls students from over 42 states and seven countries. Other mentionable universities include the public Troy University and Auburn University at Montgomery, the Church of Christ-affiliated Faulkner University, the Methodist-associated Huntingdon College, and Amridge University.
The city's location in Alabama's Black Belt--a nickname given for the area's rich topsoil--makes it a hub for crop production, including cotton, soybeans and peanuts. The city is also reliant on the metal fabrication and lumber production sectors.
Aside from the agriculture industry, major sources of employment include government jobs, transportation, business services, manufacturing, health and medical services, education, and hospitality. The largest employers in the city include Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, the State of Alabama, Montgomery Public Schools, Baptist Health, Hyundai Motor Manufacturing, Alfa Insurance, and the City of Montgomery.
Living Costs in the City
Living expenses in the city are somewhat low--four percent under the national average. Housing is the most budget-friendly cost you will incur--typical rates are 11 percent less than most American cities. If you plan to rent, you can find a one-bedroom apartment for the reasonable price of a $659 month, or a two-bedroom for $746 a month. If you plan to acquire a mortgage instead, the median home price in the city is listed at $135,000.
Healthcare costs are also quite affordable, at 11 percent below the national average. Transportation expenses are low as well--one percent less than average. Grocery costs are a mere two percent above the national average, and utilities are five percent greater than the typical American city.
Montgomery Moving Resources
There are many moving and storage companies located in Montgomery that are waiting to help you relocate to your new home. Be sure to do your research and obtain estimates from several different services before choosing one for hire. You can compare online quotes from many different moving companies and other services to aid you in your move, whether you are coming from the next city or overseas. Visit the following pages here at Movers.com to get fast quotes for the following services:
If you plan to live in the city without a car, you will become familiar with the city's mass transportation system. The Montgomery Area Transit System provides public bus service to the city and metropolitan area. There are 16 routes and 32 buses with 4500 passengers riding every day. The service has seen considerable growth since it was revamped in 2000. Greyhound also has a terminal in the city for long-distance travel.
Culture and Contemporary Life
The city has a rich musical history, birthing many musicians and heavily influencing the genres of rock, country, jazz, and blues. Live music can be enjoyed in the city nearly any day of the week at a variety of venues, including The Brewpub, an old warehouse turned nightspot; 1048 Jazz and Blues Club, which features not only those two genres, but reggae, folk, ragtime and alternative as well; and Capitol Oyster Bar, an upscale restaurant specializing in seafood fare and jazz bands.
The city features many museums showcasing art and preserving history. The Wynton M. Blount Cultural Park is home to the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. Its collection includes American sculpture, authentic Southern art, and porcelain and glass works. Other museums include the Rosa Parks Library Museum, honoring the brave civil rights activist; the Civil Right Memorial Center; and the Dexter Parsonage Museum, the former home of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The city was a major site for influential events in the Civil Rights Movement, including the Montgomery Bus Boycott when Rosa parks refused to surrender her seat to a white passenger.
There are also several festivals celebrated in the city. The Wynton M. Blount Cultural Park hosts the city's annual Shakespeare festival, which features renditions of both classic plays and original performances. Alabama's oldest festival, Jubilee Cityfest is a three-day music and arts festival held in Downtown Montgomery which features an array of performances, fireworks, art displays and food.
Montgomery Relocation Tips
- Research the neighborhoods. Montgomery has some areas that are unsafe and high in crime. Before relocating, do thorough research on any neighborhood you are considering making your home to ensure that it is a safe and secure place for you and your family.
- Make a moving checklist of everything you will need to accomplish before you make the trek to Montgomery to stay better organized and be prepared! Things to include are: researching movers and comparing quotes, packing, making airline arrangements, changing your address, and hooking up utilities.
- Pack a diverse wardrobe! Temperatures vary in the city, from chilly winters to hot, sticky summers with temperatures climbing into the 100s. Layered clothing is optimum for spring and autumn months, since temperatures can vary drastically from morning to night.