Help Wikitravel grow by contributing to an article! Learn how.

Difference between revisions of "Birmingham (Alabama)"

From Wikitravel
Jump to: navigation, search
(added picture)
(Understand)
Line 15: Line 15:
  
 
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.
 
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.
[[File:Birmingham Alabama Night Skyline.jpg|thumb|350px|Birmingham Alabama Night Skyline]]
+
[[File:Birmingham Alabama Night Skyline.jpg|thumb|350px|Night Skyline]]
 
===Climate===
 
===Climate===
 
Summers are very hot and humid, with frequent thunderstorms. Spring and fall are the best seasons for long visits. Even within the city limits, the springtime displays of dogwood, cherry, azalea and other blossoms must be seen to be believed.  
 
Summers are very hot and humid, with frequent thunderstorms. Spring and fall are the best seasons for long visits. Even within the city limits, the springtime displays of dogwood, cherry, azalea and other blossoms must be seen to be believed.  

Revision as of 19:37, 23 October 2013

Contents

Birmingham [1] is the largest city in the state of Alabama. With more than 1.2 million people in the metropolitan area, Birmingham is the cultural and economic heart of Alabama.

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.

BirminghamALskyline2

Understand

History

Birmingham Alabama skyline 1915

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 a few minutes outdoors for a clean white shirt to turn gray in the sooty Birmingham air. Red Mountain Park, once had the richest amount of iron ore and the last active iron ore mine closed in 1962. 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.

Night Skyline

Climate

Summers are very hot and humid, with frequent thunderstorms. Spring and fall are the best seasons for long visits. Even within the city limits, the springtime displays of dogwood, cherry, azalea and other blossoms must be seen to be believed.

Neighborhoods

  • Southside
  • Forest Park
  • Downtown Loft District
  • Homewood
  • Mountain Brook
  • Vestavia Hills
  • Hoover
  • Roebuck
  • Leeds
  • Irondale
  • West End
  • Ensley
  • Hooper City
  • East Lake
  • Wenonah
  • Bessemer
  • Fairfield

Get in

By plane

  • Birmingham International Airport, [2]. (IATA: BHM) Served by American Airlines, Continental Airlines, US Airways, 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. Seeing as Birmingham is just beginning to grow as a city, the airport is 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.

By train

  • Amtrak, 1819 Morris Ave, 1-800-872-7245, [3]. 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).

By car

I20I59Birmingham

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 2011)
  • 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 are especially problematic.

By bus

  • Greyhound Bus Lines, 618 N 19th St, 1-800-229-9424, [4]. 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.com, 1-877-462-6342, [5]. Express bus service to/from Memphis and Atlanta. Double Deck Coaches with WiFi, Restrooms, Power Outlets and seats starting at $1.

Get around

By foot

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; as well as moving from one section to the other. Notable streets for crossing from one section to the other include the overpass on Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd., with views of the railroad tracks and downtown skyline and the underpass on 18th St with the new art light installation connecting the Parkside and Theater districts. Also, keep in mind summer temperatures and heat indices can reach 100°F and 110°F respectively.

By bus

  • Birmingham Jefferson County Transit Authority, [6]. 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

By car

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.

Parking

There is metered parking throughout Birmingham. These spots generally run from 8AM-6PM, but are free on weekends.

See

Downtown Birmingham.
Birmingham seen from Vulcan Park.
  • Alabama Men's Hall of Fame, 800 Lakeshore Drive (Samford University), +1 205-726-2362 (fax: +1 205-726-4164), [7]. 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), [8]. 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), [9]. 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 (), [10]. 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, [11]. 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.
16th Street Baptist Church
  • Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, 520 16th Street North, +1 205-328-9696 or 1-866-328-9696 (, fax: +1 205-251-6104), [12]. 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), [13]. Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su Noon-5PM. Free.
  • Birmingham Public Library Murals, [14].
  • Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark, 20 32nd Street North, +1 205-324-1911 (), [15]. Tu-Sa 10AM-4PM, Su Noon-4PM. Free.
  • Railroad Park, 1600 1st Avenue South, 205.521.9933, [16]. 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., 365 days. 8-block green space opened in 2010. The park became a popular place for locals and tourist offering various activities, concerts and cultural events. It's also a great place to grab lunch because of the food trucks parked nearby. The park offers free wifi, playgrounds, skate park, outdoor gym and Birmingham History Wall with timeline and images. Free admission.
  • Southern Museum of Flight, 4343 73rd St N, +1 205-833-8226 (fax: +1 205-836-2439), [17]. 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), [18]. 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 statue and pays tribute to Birmingham as an historical center for iron and steel manufacture..

Do

Birmingham also has tons of outdoor adventures such as paintballing, four-wheeling and hunting, during season.

Alabama Theatre
  • Alabama Theatre, 1811 3rd Ave N, +1 205-252-2262 (), [19]. Numerous performances, including concerts, comedians and movies.
  • Birmingham Zoo, 2630 Cahaba Road, +1 205-879-0409 (, fax: +1 205-879-9426), [20]. 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), [21]. 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), [22]. 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.
  • TanneHill Park. Historical park that allows visitors to take part in Alabama’s iron work history. Here there are great amounts of deer roaming about, beautiful rivers and creek and remains of an entire iron working factory at the start of the industrial revolution.
Regions Field western elevation
  • Regions Field, 1401 1st Ave South, 205 988-3200, [23]. Catch a game in a newly opened (April 2013) baseball park that is the home field for Birmingham Barons. Regions Field was named the 2013 Ballpark of the Year by Baseballpark.com
Rickwood Field
  • Rickwood Field, 1137 Second Avenue West, 205 458 8161, [24]. Mon- Fri 8:00AM-4:30PM. America's oldest baseball park and one of the oldest attractions in the city. The park was built in 1910 for the Birmingham Barons that currently play at Regions Field opened in 2013. Rickwood Field is now a museum displaying history of baseball and hosting various events.
  • Ruffner Mountain Nature Center, 1214 81st Street South, +1 205-833-8264 (, fax: +1 205-836-3960), [25]. 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), [26]. Offers Broadway type productions in an intimate setting throughout the year.
  • WorkPlay, 500 23rd Street S, +1 205-879-4773 (), [27]. Multipurpose complex for music concerts and film events.
  • Red Mountain Park, 2011 Frankfurt Drive, +1 205-913-7899, [28]. 8AM-7PM. Signature park includes hiking, biking and walking trails. There are 3 mining sites and 2 overlooks. Fun activities are the Red Ore Zip Tour ($50) and the Hugh Kaul Beanstalk Forest ($40). Must reserve spots in advance.

Convention Centers

  • Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex, 2100 Richard Arrington Jr. Boulevard, [29]. Venue that offers sport events, concerts and 220,000-square-foot (20,440 m²) of an exhibition hall, together with 74 meeting rooms.
  • Cahaba Grand Conference Center, [30].
  • Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa, 4000 Grand Ave Birmingham, [31]. Hosted by Marriott hotel, it's a 21,000 sq ft of space that offers varous corporate and social events.

Annual events

  • Tour de Cure, [32]. Late April. Enjoy the ride of your life while raising needed dollars for the American Diabetes Associaiton.
Vulcan statue
  • Vulcan Bike Week, Birmingham Al, 205-447-7094 (), [33]. 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, (), [34]. October 11th, 2009 10AM - 9-pm. Enjoy 12 bands, food, crafts, art, and more! $10.
  • Sidewalk Film Festival, [35]. Late September. Enjoy independent films in historic venues during the three day film festival.
  • Birmingham ArtWalk, [36]. Early September. Stroll through the Loft District viewing works by hundreds of local artists.
  • Magic City Art Festival, [37]. 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, [38]. Early January. Match-up: Southeastern Conference vs. Big East Conference
  • Step Out; Walk to Fight Diabetes, [39]. First Saturday in October. Enjoy the walk of your life while raising needed dollars for the American Diabetes Associaiton.
  • Alabama Bound, [40]. 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, 205.870.5172 x3070 (), [41]. 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, [42]. First Saturday in November. Meet Alabama Romance authors at the annual event
  • Region's Tradition, Shoal Creek, [43]. 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.

Learn

  • The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)
  • Birmingham-Southern College
  • Samford University
  • Miles College

Work

Buy

  • Alabama Farmer's Market, 344 Finley Ave W, +1 205-251-8737, [44]. Daily 5AM-7PM. Free admission.

Shopping malls

  • Riverchase Galleria, 3000 Riverchase Galleria, Hoover, +1 205-985-3020, [45]. 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, [46]. 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, [47]. 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, [48]. 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, [49]. 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 [50]

Eat

Budget

  • 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, 205-956-5258, [51]. 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, 205-251-6500 (Birmingham); 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, 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.
  • Purple Onion, Several Locations, +1 205-822-7322 (fax: +1 205-822-1989), [52]. Daily 11AM-Midnight. Good Greek fast food.
  • O'Henry's Coffee, 2831 18th Street South, Downtown Homewood, +1 205-870-1198, [53]. 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.

Mid-range

  • Cantina Tortill Grill, 2901 2nd Ave. South, (205) 323-6980, [54]. 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), [55]. 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, 205-871-1581, [56]. 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), [57]. 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.[citation needed] Dinners $10-18.
  • The Bright Star, 304 19th St N, Bessemer, 205-426-1861, [58]. 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.

Splurge

  • 26 and Ocean, 1210 20th St. S, Birmingham, 205-918-0726, [59]. 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), 205.981.5380, [60]. 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.
  • Chez Fon Fon, 2007 11th Ave S, +1 205-939-3221.
  • Hot and Hot Fish Club, 2180 11th Ct S, +1 205-933-5474 (), [61]. 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), [62]. 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.
  • Highlands Bar & Grill, 2011 11th Ave S, +1 205-939-1400 (), [64]. 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.
  • Bettola, 2901 2nd Ave S #159, 205-731-6499. M-Th 11AM-9PM, F: 11AM-2PM and 5:30PM-10PM, Sat: 5:30PM-10PM. Italian restaurant and pizza place.

Drink

  • BottleTree Cafe, 3719 3rd Ave S, +1 205-533-6288, [65]. 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 wanna 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 (), [66]. 7days 11AM-11p. Bar B Que, live music, as well as a bar. Not usually much of a crowd except on special occassions such as halloween.
  • The Nick, 2514 10th Avenue South, +1 205-252-3831, [67]. Has late night rock shows.
  • Speakeasy, 1920 3rd Ave N, +1 205-251-1506, [68]. Closed Summer 2012. Reopened as BLACK MARKET BAR & GRILL at 5 Points South.
  • Steel First and 23rd, Corner of 1st Ave. N. & 23rd St. N., +1 205-323-4266 (, fax: +1 205-323-4260). Th-Sa 7PM-2AM. Trendy LA style martini lounge.
  • The J. Clyde, 1312 Cobb Ln S (in a back alley off of 20th St), (205) 939-1312, [69]. 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, (205) 323-5538, [70]. Cool blues bar in Lakeview.
  • The Garage, 2304 10th Ter. South, (205) 322-3220, [71]. 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, ect. 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)), 205.933.4030, [72]. closes at 2AM. - classic American bar in 5 points.
  • Oak Hill Bar and Grill, 2835 18th Street South, Homewood, AL, (205) 870-8277. - a classic neighborhood bar in Homewood. They also serve pub food.
  • The Barking Kudu, 2929 7th Ave S, [73]. 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, [74]. Great smoke free bar with daily live music.
  • Rogue Tavern, 2312 2nd Ave N Birmingham, AL 35203, [75]. 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, [76]. 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, [77]. 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.


Sleep

Budget

  • Econo Lodge Oxmoor, 195 Oxmoor Rd, +1 205-941-0990 (, fax: +1 205-941-1527), [78]. 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.
  • Motel 6, 151 Vulcan Road, +1 205 942-9414 (fax: +1 942 942-9499), [79].
  • Microtel Inns & Suites Birmingham, 251 Summit Parkway, +1 205-945-5550,[80].

Mid-range

  • Cobb Lane Bed and Breakfast, 215-918-9090 http://www.cobblanebandb.com/ $89-119 (tax excluded). The only B&B in downtown Birmingham. Good location and very nice rooms. Weekends can be noisy due to the proximity of the Blue Monkey Martini Lounge and The J Clyde next door.
  • Birmingham Microtel Inn'"', 251 Summit Parkway, +1 205 945-5550, Fax: +1 205 945-8823, [81].
  • Courtyard Birmingham Downtown UAB, 1820 5th Avenue South, +1 205 254-0004, Fax: +1 205 254-8001, [82].
  • Fairfield Inn Birmingham Inverness, 707 Key Drive, +1 205 991-1055, Fax: +1 205 991-2066, [83].
  • Holiday Inn, 5000 Richard Arrington Blvd., +1 205 591-6900, [84].
  • Holiday Inn - Hoover, 2901 John Hawkins Pkwy., +1 205 682-2901, [85] checkin: 3PM checkout: 11AM, price:, $119-$169.
  • Hyatt Place Birmingham/Hoover, 2980 John Hawkins Pkwy, +1 205 988-8444, [86].
  • Ramada Birmingham, 226 Summit Parkway (I-65 Exit 256-A), +1 205 916-0464 (fax: +1 205 916-0298), [87]. (33.465,-86.8314)
  • Rime Garden Inn & Suites, 5320 Beacon Drive, +1 205 951-1200, Toll-free: +1 888 828-1768, Fax: +1 205 951-1692, [88].
  • Roses and Lace Bed and Breakfast, 20 Rose Lane (North of Birmingham, on I-59), 205-594-4366, [89]. checkin: 3PM; checkout: 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. (-86.2552224,33.8343722)
  • SpringHill Suites Birmingham Colonnade, 3950 Colonnade Parkway, 205-969-8099, [90]. checkin: 3PM; checkout: 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), 205-322-2100, [91]. checkin: 3PM; checkout: 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. (33.5206,-86.8079)

Splurge

  • Birmingham Marriott, 3590 Grandview Parkway, +1 205 968-3775, Fax: +1 205 968-3742, [92].
  • Hotel Highland at Five Points South, 1023 20th Street, +1 205 933-9555, Fax: +1 205 933-6918, [93]
  • Hyatt Regency Birmingham-The Wynfrey Hotel, 1000 Riverchase Galleria, [94]. 329 well-appointed guest rooms. Shula's Steak House onsite. Complimentary airport shuttle service
  • Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa, 4000 Grand Ave, 205 916 7677, [95]. checkin: 4:00PM; checkout: 11:00 AM. The hotel offers 6 floors , 248 rooms , 11 suites as well as 9 meeting rooms and 21,000 sq ft of total meeting space. This hotel has a smoke-free policy and pets are not allowed. Complimentary on-site parking and valet parking for 16 USD daily..

Stay safe

Common sense rules should apply for most of the city center: travel in groups (especially late at night), avoid looking like a tourist, avoid dark alleyways, etc. While the city has a reputation for crime, these areas are generally far away from any normal destinations. Avoid the areas north of the civic center and west of I-65, which get dangerous quickly. All of the villages over the mountain are virtually crime-free, with little to fear. Downtown Birmingham is also extremely well-patrolled, so there is not much to worry about except beggars asking for money.

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 the area's merchants. The area's wonderful restaurants, pubs, and dance clubs are among the attractions there.

The downtown area has a supplemental bike patrol called CAP (City Action Partnership) [96] to deter crime and assist visitors. Call 205-251-0111 for a free security escort, directions, assistance with a dead car battery, etc.

Contact

Wireless internet

There are more than 70 locations in Birmingham that offer free WiFi access. Visit the link [97] to locate free wireless hot spots in this area.

  • Avondale Branch Library, 509 South 40th St, +1 205-226-4000, [98]. M-Tu 9AM-8PM, W-Sa 9AM-6PM, Su 2PM-6PM.
  • Birmingham Public Library, 2100 Park Place, +1 205-226-3610, [99]. M-Tu 9AM-8PM, W-Sa 9AM-6PM, Su 2PM-6PM.
  • Five Points West Branch Library, 4812 Avenue W, +1 205-226-4013, [100]. M-Tu 9AM-8PM, W-Sa 9AM-6PM, Su 2PM-6PM.
  • North Birmingham Branch Library, 2501 31st Ave. North, +1 205-226-4025, [101]. M-Tu 9AM-8PM, W-Sa 9AM-6PM, Su 2PM-6PM.
  • Springville Road Branch Library, 1224 Old Springville Road, +1 205-226-4081, [102]. M-Tu 9AM-8PM, W-Sa 9AM-6PM, Su 2PM-6PM.
  • West End Library, 1348 Tuscaloosa Ave SW, +1 205-226-4089, [103]. M-Sa 9AM-6PM.

Cope

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.

Consulates

Get out

  • Cullman, about 50 miles north of Birmingham on Interstate 65, is home to St. Bernard Abbey, [105] the only Benedictine abbey in Alabama. The Ave Maria Grotto [106], a miniature fairytale land on the grounds of the abbey, has been a favorite among visitors since it opened in 1934.


Routes through Birmingham
MeridianTuscaloosa  W noframe E  HeflinAtlanta
MemphisTupelo  NW noframe SE  END
HattiesburgTuscaloosa  SW noframe NE  Fort PayneChattanooga
NashvilleDecatur  N noframe S  HooverMontgomery





This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


Variants

Actions

Destination Docents

In other languages

other sites