20 Things You Simply Must Do In Birmingham
1. Watch fireworks at Vulcan
Vulcan is Birmingham’s famous patron god (Iron City, anyone?) whose statue overlooks downtown (and moons Homewood). It’s by far the best place to watch fireworks… except for those who get queasy from heights.
2. Attend a baseball game at Regions Field
Birmingham’s newly-built baseball stadium has helped revive downtown and Birmingham’s love for the sport. It features a beautiful view of the city (perfect during a sunset) and is conveniently located across from Good People Brewing Company- Birmingham’s famous local brewery!
3. Enjoy a sunny day at Railroad Park
And attend one of their free exercise classes while you’re there! And be sure to check out the “You Are Beautiful” graffiti nearby- part of a campaign to uplift Birmingham and its citizens.
4. Get some local coffee at Urban Standard
This cool spot on 2nd Avenue North also has some delicious sandwiches, local brews, and some of the best cupcakes you’ll find in the city.
5. Or enjoy coffee and catch up on your reading at Church Street Coffee and Books
Local coffee, great books, delicious baked goods, and an awesome staff, this is the best little nook to study or catch up with friends. (Be sure to try the Breakup Cookie, their claim to fame).
6. Explore the treasures at What’s On Second
This little antique shop (next to Urban Standard!) is home to some of the weirdest and coolest little knickknacks in town.
7. Dine at the award-winning restaurants
Hot and Hot Fish Club is home to the world-renowned chef Chris Hastings, famous for beating Bobby Flay in Iron Chef America (yes, really). Other award winners include Highlands Bar and Grill (featured above), Gianmarco’s Restaurant, Avo, Ocean, Bottega, and more!
8. Breakfast at Bogue’s
This local treasure features some of the best southern breakfast foods in the city.
9. Or, if it’s Sunday, grab some brunch at Trattoria Centrale
If you get there right when they open, you may have to wait a while, but it will all be worth it when you get some of their French toast.
10. Have (at least) one crazy night at Zydeco
Regrettable? Maybe. Worth it? No doubt.
11. Attend a concert at Iron City
This new venue in Birmingham is already making huge waves. With bands like Neutral Milk Hotel, Local Natives, Trey Anastasio Band, Neko Case, and Arctic Monkeys, this is becoming the new hit venue in the city. Other venues to check out include Workplay, BJCC, Boutwell Auditorium, and the Forge.
12. Or, if you’re feeling indie, catch a show at Bottletree Cafe
Last June, comedian Rob Delaney praised Bottletree in a tweet, saying, “No offense other venues but I think I’m gonna marry @BottletreeCafe in Birmingham. If you’re a performer, get here. It’s NUTS”. This cool venue showcases comedians, spoken word poets, well-known indie bands, and local performers, as well as the best vegan food in Birmingham.
13. After your show, grab some late night at Al’s Deli and Grill
Located in Five Points and next to UAB, Al’s is another beloved local treasure. Open 24 / 7, you can always count on Al’s for some delicious Mediterranean-American food (be sure to try the Baker!).
14. Watch the sunset from Red Mountain near English Village
This spot is somewhat hard to find, but any true Birmingham native will know how to find it- and once you do, it will take your breath away.
15. Grab some delicious bbq at Saw’s
Whoever said Alabama wasn’t home to the best BBQ clearly never ate here. Whether at Saw’s BBQ in Homewood, Saw’s Soul Kitchen in Avondale, or Saw’s Juke Joint in Crestline, your whole world is about to change. I recommend the smoked chicken sandwich with white BBQ sauce.
16. Spend a day at McWane Science Center
Experiment with weight, sleep on the bed of nails, play with optical illusions, or enjoy an IMAX. One of the best places to get kids interested in science.
17. Marvel at the Satanic Fountain in Five Points
One of Birmingham’s weirdest features, this famous fountain in Five Points is still the object of great speculation. Some people claim the fountain, which features a ram-headed storyteller, to be satanic, while others say it’s just art. Have no fear though- I’m pretty sure the church behind it negates any evil it might emanate.
18. While you’re there, veg out at Golden Temple
This health foods store and cafe in Five Points is home to Birmingham’s only exclusively-vegetarian menu as well as some cool purses, jewelry, and clothes.
19. Go hiking at Ruffner Mountain Park
This serene haven in the city is home to some beautiful trails and even more beautiful cliff views.
20. Zipline at Red Mountain Park
This park offers a beautiful zip tour of the local woods as well as beautiful hiking and biking trails- and soon a dog park!