In much of the world, Birmingham is best remembered as the site of racist violence, bombings, and nonviolent protest in the 1960s, when the city was still racially segregated by law. Visitors today are often surprised to find a pleasant green city of ridges and valleys, with many attractive views and friendly, hospitable people.
The City of Birmingham is relatively young. Founded in 1871 at the crossing of two railroad lines, it soon became known for its iron and steel industries. Named for England's giant industrial city, Birmingham became a commercial hub as well, and today it is one of the top five banking cities in the United States.
"The Magic City" became known as a thriving and quickly growing community in what had once been a "poor, insignificant Southern village." White and black men migrated from rural communities to work in the iron mills, and so did many Greek and Italian immigrants. The Great Depression was disastrous for Birmingham, singled out as the "worst hit" city in America. World War II brought a strong recovery, but air pollution remained a problem. Old-timers recall that it used to take only took a few minutes outdoors for a clean white shirt to turn gray in the sooty Birmingham air. Sloss Furnaces, a preserved iron mill with 1920s blast furnaces, commemorates this side of the city's heritage.
The Civil Rights era of the 1960s left lasting impressions of racial conflict, police dogs and fire hoses turned on nonviolent protesters, and the bombing of homes and churches. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter from the Birmingham Jail" became one of the great statements of the nonviolent movement for racial justice in America. The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and places of reflections such as Kelly Ingram Park symbolize the healing process from within and present a much different picture of a transformed city.
Today, Birmingham is a banking and medical center. The University of Alabama at Birmingham and associated hospitals are internationally renowned for their medical programs, research, and services.
The weather in Birmingham varies greatly. Winter weather is highly unpredictable, with temperatures ranging from below 20 to 60 or even 70 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the season, with frequent rain and occasional snow. Summers are very hot and humid, with frequent thunderstorms. Spring and fall are the best seasons for long visits, when the weather is warm and pleasant often with a breeze in the air. Even within the city limits, the springtime displays of dogwood, cherry, azalea and other blossoms must be seen to be believed.
- Forest Park
- Downtown Loft District
- Mountain Brook
- Vestavia Hills
- West End
- Hooper City
- East Lake
- Birmingham International Airport. (IATA: BHM) Served by American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Express. Birmingham International Airport is very convenient for visiting this wonderful city. It has hotel and restaurant accommodations on site for emergency stays over night or a quick bite to eat. The airport is in the heart of Birmingham and full time limo and taxi service is available to and form the airport.As with any International Airport there are rental car services available as well. The airport is usually not very congested and visitors will find it has a very friendly atmosphere and laid-back feeling.
Beware, however, of relatively long security lines. Typically, only one scanning area is open for the "C" Concourse, through which many flights depart. This sometimes causes 30 to 45-minute waits to pass through security.
- See also: rail travel in the United States
- Amtrak, 1819 Morris Ave, toll-free: +1-800-872-7245. Birmingham is served by Amtrak's Crescent train, which runs daily and serves New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Charlotte, Atlanta, Birmingham and New Orleans (and vice-versa).
Birmingham is linked to the rest of the US by the interstate highway network. The principal interstates and highways serving the city are:
- Interstate 459
- Interstate 65
- Interstate 20
- Interstate 59
- Interstate 22 (completion expected in 2014)
- US Highway 31
- US Highway 280
Please note traffic, as in most metro areas, is fairly terrible at rush hour—which can last from 7AM-9AM and 4PM-6PM. In particular, the interchange of I-59 and I-65 downtown (malfunction junction) and Highway 280 east of downtown are especially problematic.
- Greyhound Bus Lines, 618 N 19th St, toll-free: +1-800-229-9424. Provides bus service to Birmingham from most locations throughout the US. Be aware that after dark, the area can be quite deserted. However, the DART trolley running north and south on 20th Street North is a block or so east of the station.
- Megabus. Service from Memphis and Atlanta. The bus stop is on the north side of Morris Ave between 17th St N and 18th St N.
Within the downtown areas of Birmingham (notably separated by railroad tracks into a "north" and "south" side), walking is a reasonable way to get around within each section; but not for getting to one from the other. Also, keep in mind summer temperatures and heat indices can reach 100°F and 110°F respectively.
- Birmingham Jefferson County Transit Authority. Most stops are made every 10-30 minutes, although on Saturday it may be up to 40 minutes. Do not expect to use public transportation reliably. If you are staying in the city, the DART/MAX system may work fine for you, but otherwise you'll be spending a lot of time waiting and coordinating. $1 or less. Five-day pass for $8.
- MAX Bus System
- North/South: M-Th 10AM-10PM, F-Sa 10AM-Midnight, Su 10AM-9PM
- East/West: M-Su 9AM-5PM
- South Side: M-Th 11AM-10PM, F-Sa 11AM-Midnight, Su 11AM-9PM
- DART Bus Trolley
- North/South: M-Th 10AM-10PM, F-Sa 10AM-Midnight, Su 10AM-9PM
- East/West Sa-Su 9AM-5:30PM
- South Side: M-Th 11AM-10PM, F-Sa 11AM-Midnight, Su 11AM-9PM
Your best bet is to rent a car, or drive your own. However, please note traffic, as in most metro areas, is terrible at rush hour - which can last from 6AM-9AM and 4PM-6PM. In particular, the interchange of I-59 and I-65 downtown ("Malfunction Junction") and Highway 280 East are problematic.
There is metered parking throughout Birmingham. These spots generally run from 8AM-6PM, but are free on weekends.
- Alabama Men's Hall of Fame, 800 Lakeshore Drive (Samford University), ☎ +1 205 726-2362, fax: +1 205 726-4164. M-Th 7:30AM-Midnight, F 7:30AM-5PM, Sa 9AM-5PM, Su 2PM-Midnight. Free.
- Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, 1631 Fourth Avenue North, ☎ +1 205 254-2731, fax: +1 205 254-2785, e-mail: email@example.com. Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM (Guided tours M-W F 10AM-1:30PM). $3/2 (Guided/Self-guided).
- Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, 2150 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. N, ☎ +1 205 323-6665, fax: +1 205 252-2212, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa 9AM-5PM. $5/4/3 (Adults/Seniors 60+/Students).
- Arlington Antebellum Home and Gardens, 331 Cotton Ave SW, ☎ +1 205 780-5656. The home is a perfectly-preserved emblem of Southern heritage. Staff are well-versed in how the home, which is older than the city itself, has been involved in many pivotal points of Birmingham's development. It's an interesting and inexpensive way to learn of the city's heritage, the civil rights struggle, and more. Be advised the home, on Birmingham's West End, is in a somewhat blighted neighborhood. However, visiting during daylight hours carries very little risk. And the home is accessible through main artery roads off of Interstate 65 at the Green Springs Avenue exit. Homeowners on the street adjacent to Arlington have well-manicured properties, symbolic of efforts by West End leaders to strengthen this historic part of town.
- Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum and Motorsports Park, 6030 Barber Motorsports Pkwy, ☎ +1 205 699-7275, e-mail: email@example.com. April 1 - September 30: M-Sa 10AM-6PM, Su Noon-6PM; October 1 - March 31: M-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su Noon-5PM. $10/6/Free (Adults/Children 4-12/Children under 4). The park is only five years old and is meticulously well-kept. Formula One and Superbike racing will thrill any visitor. This is truly world-class racing in a park that one would expect to see only in Europe or in a much larger city. The park is about a mile off of Interstate 20, near the town of Leeds..
- Birmingham Botanical Gardens, 2612 Lane Park Rd, ☎ +1 205 414-3900. Daily sunrise to sunset. The Gardens are worth visiting for anyone with a horticultural flair. Displays are not limited to Southern offerings; instead, they also pay tribute to other parts of the world. Also, take a drive, or a stroll, through one of the nearby "villages" of Mountain Brook. This tony town next to Birmingham is divided into three separate, walkable villages that offer locally-owned shops, boutiques, and restaurants.
- Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, 520 16th Street North, ☎ +1 205 328-9696, toll-free: +1-866-328-9696, fax: +1 205 251-6104, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 1PM-5PM. $9/5/4/Free (Adults/Seniors 65+/College students/Children under 18). Free admission on Sunday. The museum is adjacent to historic Kelly Ingram Park and across from the 16th Street Baptist Church..
- Birmingham Museum of Art, 2000 8th Avenue North, ☎ +1 205 254-2566, fax: +1 205 254-2714. Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su Noon-5PM. Free.
- Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark, 20 32nd Street North, ☎ +1 205 324-1911, e-mail: email@example.com. Tu-Sa 10AM-4PM, Su Noon-4PM. Free.
- Southern Museum of Flight, 4343 73rd St N, ☎ +1 205 833-8226, fax: +1 205 836-2439. Tu-Sa 9:30AM-4:30PM. $5/4/Free (Adults/Seniors & Students/Children under 4 and active military members.
- Vulcan Statue and Museum, 1701 Valley View Drive, ☎ +1 205 933-1409, fax: +1 205 933-1776, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Park: M-Su 7AM-10PM; Museum: M-Sa 10AM-6PM, Su 1PM-6PM; Observation Balcony: M-Sa 10AM-10PM, Su 1PM-10PM. Enjoy sweeping views of the city from one of the highest points around. The recently renovated museum offers a history of Birmingham that would be interesting even to those who are just passing through town. This is the world's largest cast-iron status and pays tribute to Birmingham as an historical center for iron and steel manufacture..
In addition to standard activities, Birmingham also has tons of outdoor adventures such as paintballing, four-wheeling and hunting, during season.
- Alabama Theatre, 1811 3rd Ave N, ☎ +1 205 252-2262. Numerous performances, including concerts, comedians and movies.
- Birmingham Zoo, 2630 Cahaba Road, ☎ +1 205 879-0409, fax: +1 205 879-9426, e-mail: email@example.com. Labor Day-Memorial Day: Daily 9AM-5PM; Memorial Day-Labor Day: M W-Th 9AM-5PM, T F-Su 9AM-7PM. More than 750 animals, including cheetahs, cobras, lions and anteaters. $11/6 (General/Children 2-12 & Seniors 65+).
- Alabama Adventure Theme Park, 4599 Alabama Adventure Pkwy, Bessemer, ☎ +1 205 481-4750, fax: +1 205 481-4758, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Right on the outskirts of Birmingham is Alabama Adventure.Formerly known as Visionland,this adventure consists of both a theme park and a waterpark for those hot summer days. Alabama Adventure has over 7 acres of land filled with over 25 main attractions, including Alabama's largest wooden roller coaster.
- McWane Science Center, 200 19th Street North (Parking deck on 2nd Avenue North, between 18th Street and 19th Street, $3), ☎ +1 205 714-8300, fax: +1 205 714-8400. Sept-May: M-F 9AM-5PM, Sa 11AM-6PM, Su Noon-6PM; June-Aug: M-Sa 10AM-6PM, Su Noon-6PM. Exhibit halls: $9/8/Free (Adults/Children 2-12 & Seniors 65+/Children under 2); Exhibits and IMAX:$14/12/Free (Adults/Children 2-12 & Seniors 65+/Children under 2).
- Oak Mountain State Park. Has a small beach to relax on, wildlife observatories, golf course and biking routes.
- Red Mountain Park, 2011 Frankfurt Drive (off Lakeshore Drive), ☎ +1 205 242-6043. Daily, 7AM-5PM. Currently under development but still lots of fun and exploring awaits. Zip-lining over the tree canopies of the beautiful and historic Red Mountain and miles of bike, hiking and walking trails. When the park is complete it will span nearly 1200 acres, making Birmingham the city with the most green space per capita in the country.
- Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park, 12632 Confederate Parkway, McCalla, AL 35111, ☎ +1 205-477-5711. Historical park that takes visitors back in time to the turn of the century when central Alabama was the iron capital of the south. Here there are great amounts of deer roaming about, several rivers, creeks and a bubbling spring, a fully functioning corn mill (with fresh corn meal available to purchase seasonly) and the remains of an iron factory. Museum, full hookup RV and tent camping and primitive camping. 'Tannehill Tradedays' occur the third Saturday of every month, March through November. Lots of backwoods hiking and walking trails. A hidden gem of a park in exchange for a 25 minute drive from downtown.
- Ruffner Mountain Nature Center, 1214 81st Street South, ☎ +1 205 833-8264, fax: +1 205 836-3960, e-mail: email@example.com. Tu-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su 1PM-5PM. Nature preserve. More than 1,000 acres. Free.
- The Virginia Samford Theatre, 1116 26th Street S, ☎ +1 205 251-1228, fax: +1 205 328-7677, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Offers Broadway type productions in an intimate setting throughout the year.
- WorkPlay, 500 23rd Street S, ☎ +1 205 879-4773, e-mail: email@example.com. Multipurpose complex for music concerts and film events.
- Tour de Cure. Late April. Enjoy the ride of your life while raising needed dollars for the American Diabetes Associaiton.
- Vulcan Bike Week, Birmingham Al, ☎ +1 205 447-7094, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. June 30 - July 03,2010. The 1st Annual Vulcan Bike Week in the Magic City, June 30 - July 3, 2010, will feature competitions for Sport Bikes, Choppers, Cruisers, and Bike Builders. This event will include never seen before exciting and creative motorcycles through-out the South East. Competitors will compete for prizes, cash, trophies and a Vulcan title. G Entertainment LLC and sponsors will like to invite you to participate in this exciting event held at the Birmingham Race Course and Lassiter Mountain Drag Way. This event will also feature expos and tons of activities, contests, exhibitor booths, the 1st annual Vulcan Bike Builders Competition, and Vulcan’s Thunder on the Mountain Drag Race. The Birmingham Race Course features a large indoor/outdoor facility that can accommodate 25,000-60,000 spectators and competitors. Food and beverages will be available through various vendors and the host facility. Also, spectators can enjoy simulcast horse and dog racing through-out the event. The Thunder on The Mountain Drag Race will be held at Lassiter Mountain Drag Way. Lassiter Mountain is a new state of the art drag strip that include a 1/8 mile race track, large grassy area, and adequate seating and parking for all guests and spectators to enjoy. This is a family friendly event, so security will be strictly enforced. This is not a club promoted event, it is open to every biker and spectator! $20.
- The Birmingham Folk Festival, Avondale Park, e-mail: email@example.com. October 11th, 2009 10AM-9-pm. Enjoy 12 bands, food, crafts, art, and more! $10.
- Sidewalk Film Festival. Late September. Enjoy independent films in historic venues during the three day film festival.
- Birmingham ArtWalk. Early September. Stroll through the Loft District viewing works by hundreds of local artists.
- Magic City Art Festival. End of April.
- Doo Dah Day. End of April. Annual parade of pets and their owners.
- Southern disComfort (Scooter Rally). Beginning of November.
- BBVA Compass Bowl, Legion Field- Birmingham, Al. Early January. Match-up: Southeastern Conference vs. Big East Conference
- Step Out; Walk to Fight Diabetes. First Saturday in October. Enjoy the walk of your life while raising needed dollars for the American Diabetes Associaiton.
- Alabama Bound. April. Meet Alabama authors, publishers and illustrators at Birmingham Public Library's annual event.
- Magic City Classic. Last Weekend in October.
- Southern Heritage Festival. Beginning of August.
- Gala, ☎ +1 205 870-5172 x3070, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Second Saturday in November. Enjoy an evening of fun while raising needed dollars for the American Diabetes Associaiton.
- Southern Magic's Romance Readers' Luncheon, Homewood Public Library. First Saturday in November. Meet Alabama Romance authors at the annual event
- Region's Tradition, Shoal Creek. Early May. The Regions Tradition will be the first of five major championships on the 2011 Champions Tour season. Children's Hospital will be the primary charitable beneficiary of the tournament.
- The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)
- Birmingham-Southern College
- Samford University
- Miles College
- Riverchase Galleria, 3000 Riverchase Galleria, Hoover, ☎ +1 205 985-3020. M-Th 10AM-9PM, F-Sa 10AM-10PM, Su 11AM-6PM. One of the largest indoor malls in the US. The main stores are Macy's, Belk, Sears, and JCPenny. A Nordstrom is planned for the future.
- Colonial Brookwood Village, 780 Brookwood Village, ☎ +1 205 871-0406. M-Sa 10AM-9PM, Su 12PM-6PM. Comprised of Belk and Macy's as the main stores along with many high end restaurants.
- The Summit, 214 Summit Boulevard, ☎ +1 205 967-0111. M-Sa 10AM-9PM, Su 12PM-6PM. One of the largest lifestyle centers in the US, the Summit is an upscale shopping area that is perfect for a stroll on a nice day and is surrounded by restaurants after shopping all day works up an appetite. Includes the only Saks Fifth Avenue store in Alabama.
- Patton Creek. An outdoor mall that's set up like a small downtown. You'll find regular staples such as Barnes & Noble, The Bombay Company, Dick's Sporting Goods, Linens -N- Things and others.
- The Pinnacle, 5000 Pinnacle Square, Trussville, AL 35173. M-Sa 10AM-9PM, Su 12PM-6PM. An outdoor mall that includes, among others, Belk, J.C. Penny, Best Buy, Accessory Heaven, Aeropostle, American Eagle Outfitters, Bama Fever/Tiger Pride, Buckle, Chico's, JoS A. Bank, Justice, Learning Express, New York & Co, and many restaurant options such as Cajun Steamer, Rock-n-Roll Sushi, Red Robin, Five Guys Burgers & Fries, and Logan's Roadhouse. For something sweet, there's the Great American Cookie Company and nearby are Yogurt Mountain, Cold Stone Creamer, and Dip-n-Dots.
- Wildwood Center
- Western Hills Mall
- Eastwood Village (under construction)
- Soho Square
- Caufield Square Promenade (under construction)
- Colonial Promenade at Fultondale (under construction)
- Colonial Promenade at Alabaster
- Colonial Promenade at Trussville
- Colonial Pinnacle at Tutwiler Farm
- Hayes Market Place
- The Village at Lee Branch
- Watermark Place
Most visitors are pleasantly surprised at the large dining scene in Birmingham.
- Kool Korner Sandwiches, 790 Montgomery Hwy (Vestavia Hills City Center), ☎ +1 205 822-4406. Cubano, plantain chips, Latin soft drink, and a Moon Pie: $8.. Known for making the best Cuban sandwiches in Atlanta (with jalapeños upon request). With its friendly owner, Ildefonso Ramirez, and its hole-in-the-wall atmosphere, Kool Korners became an Atlanta landmark over 23 years of business -- and now lucky Birmingham-ers can take advantage! As-yet-untoasted cubanos are pre-made in the morning, and the store can run out of them later in the day. Call ahead for large orders.
- Irondale Cafe, 1906 1st Ave North in Irondale, ☎ +1 205 956-5258. This is "The Original Whistlestop Cafe," famous for Fried Green Tomatoes. It was the inspiration for the novel and movie by local native Fannie Flagg. Anything you ask for will be good. And you MUST ask for the tomatoes. All sorts of comfort foods are available. Also, drink Coca-Cola straight out of the vintage bottle, and/or have an ice-cold glass of Southern sweet tea.
- Magic City Grille, 2201 3rd Ave North in Birmingham; 4610 Gary Ave in Fairfield, ☎ +1 205-251-6500 (Birmingham), +1 205-783-9393 (Fairfield). A great, locally-owned "meat and three" that will offer your fill of Southern fried chicken and other comfort and soul foods. The downtown location is very popular among business folks and other locals for a great lunch. The Fairfield location serves lunch and dinner. Both are owned by the same family.
- Green Acres, 1705 4th Ave North, ☎ +1 205 251-3875. A take-out haven for all breaded soul foods. The fried chicken, catfish and okra are fresh and delicious and the location is a fun slice of local life. Lunches $4-8.
- Pete's Famous Hot Dogs (Permanently Closed), 1925 2nd Ave N, ☎ +1 205 252-2905. The aged neon sign above the door proclaims "Established 1920," but Pete's actually opened its doors in 1915, while the present proprietor has been here since 1948. Pete's is said to be the narrowest restaurant in Birmingham. At lunchtime, regulars line up out the door for a Pete's hot dog with everything on it. Wash it down with a Grapico or a cold bottle of your favorite soda.
- Purple Onion, Several Locations, ☎ +1 205 822-7322, fax: +1 205 822-1989. Daily 11AM-Midnight. Good Greek fast food.
- O'Henry's Coffee, 2831 18th Street South, Downtown Homewood, ☎ +1 205 870-1198. Another pleasant break from the national coffee chains. It's worth it just to visit downtown Homewood, a scenic enclave on the southern foot of Red Mountain, just minutes from downtown Birmingham.
- Cantina Tortill Grill, 2901 2nd Ave. South, ☎ +1 205 323-6980. Located in the Martin Biscuit Building at Birmingham’s Pepper Place, Cantina is a restaurant specializing in Latin dishes. Cantina has very good food at reasonable prices. $8-20.
- Dreamland BBQ, 1427 14th Avenue South, Birmingham, ☎ +1 205 933-2133, fax: +1 205 933-9770, e-mail: email@example.com. M-Th 10AM-10PM, F-Sa 10AM-11PM, Su 11AM-10PM. An Alabama "must eat". Unlike the original in Tuscaloosa, which serves only ribs and white bread, the Birmingham location also serves chicken, side orders, and salads. $6-18.
- Demetri's BBQ, 1901 28th Ave S, Homewood, ☎ +1 205 871-1581. A popular BBQ restaurant with Greek roots. Aside from the reliably good BBQ, the Greek salad might be the best in town, same for the potato salad. The cream pies and fried apple/peach pies are homemade and definitely worth the 5-minute drive from downtown on the Highway 31 expressway to get there. Breakfast here, from 6AM-10:30AM daily, is notable for the deep-fried French toast. $5-15.
- Surin West, 1918 11th Ave S, Birmingham, ☎ +1 205 324-1928, fax: +1 205 326-6688, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Lunch: M-F 11AM-2:30PM, Sa-Su 11:30AM-2:30PM; Dinner: Su-Th 5:30PM-9:45PM, F-Sa 5:30PM-10:30PM. Surin offers Thai food and sushi that are as good as you'll find anywhere outside of Bangkok or Tokyo. Dinners $10-18.
- The Bright Star, 304 19th St N, Bessemer, ☎ +1 205 426-1861. A locally-owned tradition for over 100 years. The popularity of this restaurant encompasses all cultures and demographics. Tip: For lunch, enjoy the beef tips over rice. Just a good Southern meal accompanied by friendly service. There's a different menu during dinner with prices ranging from $15 to $23. The fried catfish is excellent and recommended by locals. There are always Greek-style offerings, in tribute to the heritage of the immigrant owners.
- Rojo, 2921 Highland Ave S, ☎ +1 205 328-4733. Rojo is a great neighborhood bar and grill located off Highland Ave right next to Caldwell Park. The food is good and reasonably priced, and they have a very good beer and wine selection. Rojo also has a great outside sitting area that overlooks the park and is especially popular during spring, summer, and fall. Rojo is good place to both eat and or grab a drink after work.
- 26 and Ocean, 1210 20th St. S, Birmingham, ☎ +1 205 918-0726. Both restaurants, "26" and "Ocean" are next door to each other in the Five Points South neighborhood. Also, they are owned by the same family. While they're in the "splurge" category, prices are reasonable, and casual dress is the general rule. 26 has the "edgier" cuisine of the two, including some of the best shrimp dishes anywhere. Dining in at least one of these restaurants is a must.
- Bellinis Ristorante & Bar, 6801 Cahaba Valley Road, Ste 106 (Across from Meadowbrooke Post Office), ☎ +1 205 981-5380. 100% Prime Organic Beef, housemade pastas, veal, seafood and classic Tuscan Italian dishes. Extensive wine selection and weekly desert specials. Bar M-F from 4PM. Dinner M-Sa from 5PM.
- Hot and Hot Fish Club, 2180 11th Ct S, ☎ +1 205 933-5474, e-mail: email@example.com. T-Th 5:30PM-10PM, F-Sa 5:30PM-10:30PM. Reservations recommended. Try to get a seat at the "chef's table" to watch your food as it's prepared. Dinners $20-25.
- Little Savannah, 3811 Clairmont Ave S, ☎ +1 205 591-1119, fax: +1 205 592-0415. Tu-Th 5:30PM-9:30PM, F-Sa 5:30PM-10PM. Unique family-owned restaurant where Chef Clifton Holt visits local farmers every day and wife Maureen meets you at the door. The atmosphere is relaxed and gracious. Definitely a well-kept secret of the South. Dinners $20-25.
- Bottega, 2240 Highland Ave S, ☎ +1 205 939-1000, fax: +1 205 939-1165, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Th 5:30PM-10PM, F-Sa 5:30PM-10:30PM. Dinners $25-35.
- Highlands Bar & Grill, 2011 11th Ave S, ☎ +1 205 939-1400, e-mail: email@example.com. Tu-Th 5:30PM-10PM, F-Sa 5:30PM-10:30PM. One of four local restaurants owned and operated by renowned chef Frank Stitt. (The others are Chez Fon Fon, Bottega and Bottega Cafe). Highlands and Chez are primarily French in character, while the Bottegas are Italian. Dinners $25-40.
- BottleTree Cafe, 3719 3rd Ave S, ☎ +1 205 533-6288. The most unique bar in Birmingham. Great live music, great bartenders and a cool atmosphere.
- Inisfree, 710 29th St S, ☎ +1 205 252-4255. Popular bar/Irish Pub in the Lakeview district. If you want to relive your college years with weak pours for high prices all while getting knocked around by an overcrowd of croakie wearers, even though it's midnight and the sun's been down for hours, this is the place for you.
- Moe's Original Bar B Que, 731 29th St, ☎ +1 205 252-5888, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 7days 11AM-11p. Bar B Que, live music, as well as a bar. Not usually much of a crowd except on special occasions such as Halloween.
- Steel First and 23rd, Corner of 1st Ave. N. & 23rd St. N., ☎ +1 205 323-4266, fax: +1 205 323-4260, e-mail: email@example.com. Th-Sa 7PM-2AM. Trendy LA style martini lounge.
- The J. Clyde, 1312 Cobb Ln S (in a back alley off of 20th St), ☎ +1 205 939-1312. 3PM-2AM most nights, till 4AM on Fri. A wonderful, quaint Belgian-style beer pub in the Five Points South area featuring many beers on tap and quite a few more in bottle. A must-visit for beer enthusiasts and anybody else for that matter. It features a nicer restaurant menu earlier in the evening then switching to a pub-style menu for late night. Entrees range from $7 sandwiches on the pub-menu to $23 for steak au poivre. Tues and Thurs are half-off draft beer nights and are quite popular, arrive early for a seat. Once a month a beer dinner is held featuring one or two specific breweries' offerings that are paired with an appropriate food item; generally a five-six course meal for $45-50, call ahead for dates, the specific menu, and to reserve a table.
- Oasis Bar, 2807 7th Ave South, ☎ +1 205 323-5538. Cool blues bar in Lakeview.
- The Garage, 2304 10th Ter. South, ☎ +1 205 322-3220. closes at 2AM. Very low key, locals spot. The Garage is an old antique store converted into a bar. The bar has a very unique back porch/ beer garden. The garden is filled with old antiques including stone tables, statues, etc. It is a great place to go when the weather is nice. It is a low key, hard to find place but that is the way everybody wants it.
- Dave's Pub, 1128 20th Street South (across the street from Chik-Fil-a), ☎ +1 205 933-4030. closes at 2AM. Classic American bar in 5 points.
- Oak Hill Bar and Grill, 2835 18th Street South, Homewood, AL, ☎ +1 205 870-8277. A classic neighborhood bar in Homewood. They also serve pub food.
- The Barking Kudu, 2929 7th Ave S. Usually a pretty empty bar in Lakeview. Live music and a great patio to enjoy Birmingham's nightlife. 18 Microbrews and imports on tap. Large selection of Premium spirits.
- Pale Eddie's Pourhouse, 2308 2nd Avenue North. Birmingham, AL. 35209. Great smoke free bar with daily live music.
- Rogue Tavern, 2312 2nd Ave N Birmingham, AL 35203. Good pub food, a large bar and live music 4 times a week. Known to have the best sound system of any bar in the city. Also lots of big screen TVs for sporting events
- Dram Whiskey Bar, 2721 Cahaba Rd Mountain Brook, AL 35223. Whiskey bar with pretty good food. Overpriced but good food and unique cocktail selection.
- Jackson's Bistro, 1831 28th Ave S Homewood, AL 35209-2607. Bar/grill in Soho Square Homewood. Large outdoor patio which draws a great crowd when the weather's nice. Half price wine/beer specials on Tuesday nights.
- Avondale Brewery, 201 41st Street South, Birmingham, AL, ☎ +1 205 777-5456. Awesome local brewery with some great beers. Large outdoor area and a cool event space on the second level.
- Econo Lodge Oxmoor, 195 Oxmoor Rd, ☎ +1 205 941-0990, fax: +1 205 941-1527, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. The Econo Lodge hotel is less than two miles from The University of Alabama and Samford University. Free continental breakfast, an indoor pool, and an exercise room are available to guests.
- Cobb Lane Bed and Breakfast,, ☎ +1 215 918-9090. The only B&B in downtown Birmingham. Good location and very nice rooms. $89-119 (tax excluded).
- Fairfield Inn Birmingham Inverness, 707 Key Drive (Off of US 280), ☎ +1 205 991-1055, fax: +1 205 991-2066.
- Holiday Inn - Hoover, 2901 John Hawkins Pkwy, ☎ +1 205 682-2901. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. In Hoover. $119-169.
- Rime Garden Inn & Suites, 5320 Beacon Drive, ☎ +1 205 951-1200, toll-free: +1-888-828-1768, fax: +1 205 951-1692.
- Roses and Lace Bed and Breakfast, 20 Rose Lane (North of Birmingham, on I-59), ☎ +1 205 594-4366. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. This Victorian Queen Anne was built in 1890 and is now wonderfully restored to its former glory. Wide wraparound porches with rocking chairs and a view of the Rose Garden are perfect for relaxing away from the stresses of life. There are antiques throughout, free internet, complimentary snacks, three comfortable and lovely bedrooms, all with private baths. A wonderful breakfast is served each morning-- Roses and Lace Bed and Breakfast is a refreshing place to stay! $139-175.
- SpringHill Suites Birmingham Colonnade, 3950 Colonnade Parkway, ☎ +1 205 969-8099. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 12PM. All suites extended stay hotel located near downtown and airport. Suites include free Internet, microwave, mini-fridge, and pull out sofa. Hotel offers free parking, breakfast buffet, outdoor pool and fitness center. $86.
- The Tutwiler Hotel, 2021 Park Place (Exit 22nd St from I-59, go south to Park Place, turn right, hotel on left in one block), ☎ +1 205 322-2100. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Birmingham's most famous historic hotel was renovated recently to preserve its historic charm. The Tutwiler Hotel features full service amenities such as meeting facilities, suite shop, room service, bar and restaurant with standard services of the Hampton Inn brand (free hot breakfast, free high speed internet, fitness center, business center and complimentary airport shuttle). $139-209.
- The Westin Birmingham, 2221 Richard Arrington Jr. Boulevard North, ☎ +1 205 307-3600, fax: +1 205 307-3605, e-mail: Westinreservations@bjcc.com.
Common sense rules should apply for most of the city center, i.e. travel in groups - especially late at night—don't look like a tourist, avoid dark alleyways, etc. While the city has a reputation of crime problems, these areas are generally far away from any normal destinations. Avoid the areas north of the civic center and west of I-65, they get dangerous quickly. All of the over the mountain villages are virtually crime free with little to fear. Downtown Birmingham is also extremely well patrolled and other than common sense against normal big city stuff (i.e. beggars asking for money), there is not much to worry about.
Birmingham's historic Five Points South area is one of the most popular night/weekend spots, and it is always well patrolled at the insistence of area merchants. The area's wonderful restaurants, pubs, and dance clubs are among the attractions you'll find there.
The downtown area has a supplemental bike patrol called CAP (City Action Partnership) to deter crime and assist visitors. Call 205-251-0111 for a free security escort, directions, assistance with a dead car battery, etc.
- Avondale Branch Library, 509 South 40th St, ☎ +1 205 226-4000. M-Tu 9AM-8PM, W-Sa 9AM-6PM, Su 2PM-6PM.
- Birmingham Public Library, 2100 Park Place, ☎ +1 205 226-3610. M-Tu 9AM-8PM, W-Sa 9AM-6PM, Su 2PM-6PM.
- Five Points West Branch Library, 4812 Avenue W, ☎ +1 205 226-4013. M-Tu 9AM-8PM, W-Sa 9AM-6PM, Su 2PM-6PM.
- North Birmingham Branch Library, 2501 31st Ave. North, ☎ +1 205 226-4025. M-Tu 9AM-8PM, W-Sa 9AM-6PM, Su 2PM-6PM.
- Springville Road Branch Library, 1224 Old Springville Road, ☎ +1 205 226-4081. M-Tu 9AM-8PM, W-Sa 9AM-6PM, Su 2PM-6PM.
Be advised the summertime heat from June through September can be oppressive. It is not unusual for highs to be in the 90s or even the low 100s. Combined with very high humidity levels, it is nearly impossible to stay outdoors for very long. Make sure you have plenty of water. A by-product of the heat and humidity is near-daily thunderstorms that can turn severe in an instant.
- Germany (Honorary), 500 Beacon Pkwy W, ☎ +1 205 943-4772, fax: +1 205 943-4780, e-mail: email@example.com.
- Cullman, about 50 miles north of Birmingham on Interstate 65, is home to St. Bernard Abbey, the only Benedictine abbey in Alabama. The Ave Maria Grotto, a miniature fairytale land on the grounds of the abbey, has been a favorite among visitors since it opened in 1934.
|Routes through Birmingham|
|New Orleans ← Tuscaloosa ←||W NE||→ Atlanta → Charlotte|
|Meridian ← Tuscaloosa ←||W E||→ Heflin → Atlanta|
|Memphis ← Fulton ←||W E||→ END|
|Chattanooga ← Gadsden ←||N S||→ Tuscaloosa → Meridian|
|Nashville ← Decatur ←||N S||→ Hoover → Montgomery|
|Rome ← Gadsden ←||N S||→ END|