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Don’t bypass Oxford’s wonderful historic downtown

Historic places tourism in downtown Oxford, Alabama (with 25 photos)

Oxford is another one of those small cities that hundreds of thousands of people pass through every week without even realizing that the city has a historic downtown. But, not only has it got one — for a historic-places enthusiast or someone who enjoys pretty vintage streetscapes  it has one of the best smaller downtowns in north Alabama.

The city is certainly a hub for traffic as three four-lane highways — including I-20 — pass within a mile of the heart of its Main Street commercial district. It seems that all roads lead to Oxford, but you don’t have to drive far to get away from the traffic when you visit the historic part of town.

If you’re passing through, take the quick detour from whichever highway you are traveling to take a look at the old downtown for yourself. I believe you’ll be glad you did.

Around 2014, Historic Main Street Oxford was formed and the city government committed to making the old commercial downtown a neater, more beautiful place to visit or operate a business.

You can find out about their streetscape master plan, take a visual tour, and much more at mainstreetoxford.org.

I visited the Oxford Main Street for the first time in May 2020. I didn’t know about the old downtown until I viewed it on Google maps a few days before the visit.

It was a perfect, sunny afternoon for exploring the area from the saddle of my bike. The best part of the old commercial district encompasses only about two to three blocks. It’s picture-perfect from almost any angle.

Commercial district gallery

A good number of notable historic houses and churches are scattered around the hills on three sides. There's also a train depot on the southeast end of the old downtown.

Houses, churches and depot gallery

The historic part of Oxford is pretty compact. I was so excited to see all that is pictured above in only about an hour, that it was a few days later before I realized that I missed a few other historic houses on the north side of Main Street.

I look forward to adding those to this page in the near future almost as much as I look forward to stopping by the ice cream shop, the coffee shop, or the restaurant I only saw from the outside. 

Only three miles south of historic downtown Anniston, and 15 miles from historic downtown Jacksonville, it would be reasonable to combine a historic sightseeking trip to all three cities. It would be an unforgettable Southern outing.

See my articles about my recent trips to those nearby cities:

Exploring Anniston’s surprisingly large inventory of historic places

Jacksonville is a college town with plenty of historic places to enjoy