Whether you’re a history buff or a family looking for an exciting adventure, downtown Prattville is a fantastic place to explore in Central Alabama.
While you may have to work hard to find something worth your time in some locations, that’s not the case when you visit this New England-style town. There’s plenty of fun waiting.
However, if you’re on a tight schedule, you’ll want to make the most of your time. We’ve found the five things everyone needs to do when visiting downtown Prattville.
Let’s get started!
About Downtown Prattville, Alabama
Prattville, Alabama, earned the nickname “The Fountain City” due to the free-flowing Artesian Wells that flow throughout the city. Daniel Pratt founded the town in 1839, and many settlers heading west found the land ideal for growing cotton.
It wasn’t long before Pratt introduced cotton gin manufacturing, mainly in Georgia at the time, to Alabama. The city eventually earned the reputation as being the “Birthplace of Industry in Alabama” as mechanical, industrial, and many other types of business began sprouting up in the area.
Over the next couple of decades, the city began to establish itself. Schools, churches, shops, and homes appeared seemingly out of nowhere. The town continued to expand and grow along Autauga Creek, and by 1860 the population had grown to 1500. However, the city has grown immensely over the last 160 years.
At last count, the population sat at just over 38,000 and has steadily increased over the previous few decades. The town has done a tremendous job of preserving downtown Prattville. Visitors can walk through and see many of the shops and historical buildings, including Daniel Pratt’s Cotton Gin Factory.
If you have limited time, here are a few things you’ll want to see and do. These activities can allow you to make the most of your time and appreciate this town’s role in Central Alabama’s history.
Pro Tip: You’ll love exploring these 5 Cool Places in Alabama.
#1 Explore the Daniel Pratt Historic District
No trip to downtown Prattville is complete without exploring the Daniel Pratt Historic District. This includes getting to see and experience the historic courthouse, the original cotton gin factory, and the artesian wells that flow through the city.
As many of these activities are free, this is a fantastic option for anyone looking for budget-friendly activities.
This area can seem like paradise for anyone who appreciates nineteenth-century architecture. Visitors can see more than 200 properties stretched over 15 city blocks in the historic district, so bring your walking shoes and plenty of water to drink. You can duck into any of the many shops and cafes that line the streets when you need a break.
#2 Check Out Heritage Park
Heritage Park sits along Autauga Creek, providing a superb view of Pratt Cotton Gin Mill. If you’ve seen pictures of the mill, there’s a good chance the photographer took them from here. This is generally a quiet spot where you can take in and appreciate the view of the area.
A favorite activity of many guests at Heritage Park is packing a picnic. In addition to a gorgeous view, it also has several walking trails.
The large grassy area is the perfect spot to enjoy a bite to eat, and then, after packing up your things, you can take a short walk on the walking paths to experience more views of the creek or explore more of downtown Prattville.
#3 Visit the Prattaugan Museum
While the Prattaugan Museum may look like a traditional house of the times, it’s full of artifacts, exhibits, and other memories of the history of Autauga County. It’s an incredible opportunity for locals and visitors to learn about the area’s history.
If you want to dive deeper or have specific questions, chat with the attendant. The Prattaugan Museum has a team of well-versed attendants ready to provide answers. While they may not have all the answers, the depth of their knowledge will surprise you.
The museum is typically open Tuesday through Friday, with reduced hours on Saturday. Better yet, admission is free for all ages. You can’t get much more budget-friendly than that!
Pro Tip: While exploring Alabama, make sure to check out these 10 Unusual Things To Do in Alabama.
#4 Explore Pratt Park
Pratt Park’s downtown location is a prime spot for many Prattville community activities and events. The annual Service League’s Labor Day Barbecue and the Lion’s Club Fourth of July Fireworks all occur at Pratt. If you’re visiting during these holidays, it might be worth building time into your schedule to experience them.
In addition to being a great event spot, the area has a fishing pond, a playground, and a walking trail. However, one of the crown features is the Splash Pad. It’s one of the most family-friendly spots in the entire town. No matter when you visit, don’t expect to have this popular area to yourself.
#5 Check Out the Downtown Prattville Creative Arts Center
The Prattville Creative Arts Center is an 1890s home in a grove of oak and magnolia trees behind City Hall. The art center features work from local artists and members of the Prattauga Art Guild. The pieces on display are constantly changing, but some remain on a full-time basis.
Here you’ll find the Art Guild’s permanent collection from internationally famous artists like Charlie “Tin Man” Lucas, Russell Everett, and Yvonne Wells. In addition, you’ll find many other pieces from artists known throughout the United States and even some local artists.
The art center offers a variety of classes and workshops throughout the year. However, you’ll want to check with the center to discuss what specific courses they’re offering and any availability.
Downtown Prattville is Packed With Small Town Charm
If you’re looking for a change of pace and to get away from the hustle and bustle of larger cities, downtown Prattville is worth considering. It can be refreshing to walk the streets and soak in the elements of history as you try to imagine what life would have been like for residents in the 1860s.
Whatever you choose to do, slow down and take some time to appreciate the town’s substantial impact on the state of Alabama.
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