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Birmingham (Alabama)

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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.  
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.
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.

Revision as of 16:35, 29 April 2009

Downtown Birmingham.

Birmingham [66] is the largest city in the state of Alabama. With more than 1.1 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.



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 the 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 nationally renowned for their medical programs, research, and services.


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.


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

Get in

By plane

  • Birmingham International Airport, [1]. (IATA: BHM) Served by American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Northwest 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 located 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, 1-800-872-7245, [2]. 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).The National Railway Service has 3 main stations through Birmingham Alabama. They are located at the airport,center city and eastern Birmingham. Public bus transportation is also available at the station in order to conveniently move about the city.

By car

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, 1-800-229-9424, [3]. Provides bus service to Atlanta from many locations throughout the US. The MegaBus company and National Express Bus Service allows for visitors to arrive from a long or short bus ride (depending where you depart from) directly to the main bus terminal in Birmingham.

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; 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.

By bus

  • Birmingham Jefferson County Transit Authority, [4]. 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.


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), [5]. 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), [6]. 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), [7]. 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 (), [8]. 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, [9]. 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 or 1-866-328-9696 (, fax: +1 205-251-6104), [10]. Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 1PM-5PM. $9/5/4/Free (Adults/Seniors 65+/College students/Children under 18). Free admission on Sunday..
  • Birmingham Museum of Art, 2000 8th Avenue North, +1 205-254-2566 (fax: +1 205-254-2714), [11]. Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su Noon-5PM. Free.
  • Birmingham Public Library Murals, [12].
  • Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark, 20 32nd Street North, +1 205-324-1911 (), [13]. 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), [14]. 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), [15]. 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..


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 (), [16]. Numerous performances, including concerts, comedians and movies.
  • Birmingham Zoo, 2630 Cahaba Road, +1 205-879-0409 (, fax: +1 205-879-9426), [17]. 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), [18]. 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), [19]. 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.
  • Ruffner Mountain Nature Center, 1214 81st Street South, +1 205-833-8264 (, fax: +1 205-836-3960), [20]. 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), [21]. Offers Broadway type productions in an intimate setting throughout the year.
  • WorkPlay, 500 23rd Street S, +1 205-879-4773 (), [22]. Multipurpose complex for music concerts and film events.

Annual events

  • Tour de Cure, [23]. Late April. Enjoy the ride of your life while raising needed dollars for the American Diabetes Associaiton.
  • Sidewalk Film Festival, [24]. Late September. Enjoy independent films in historic venues during the three day film festival.
  • Birmingham ArtWalk, [25]. Early September. Stroll through the Loft District viewing works by hundreds of local artists.
  • Magic City Art Festival, [26]. End of April.
  • Doo Dah Day. End of April. Annual parade of pets and their owners.
  • Southern disComfort (Scooter Rally). Beginning of November.
  • Bowl (Birmingham Bowl), Legion Field- Birmingham, Al, [27]. Mid to late December.
  • Step Out; Walk to Fight Diabetes, [28]. First Saturday in October. Enjoy the walk of your life while raising needed dollars for the American Diabetes Associaiton.
  • Alabama Bound, [29]. April. Meet Alabama authors, publishers and illustrators at Birmingham Public Library's annual event.
  • City Stages Music Festival, [30]. Early summer. Hear national acts perform in the three day event.
  • Magic City Classic. Last Weekend in October.
  • Southern Heritage Festival. Beginning of August.
  • Gala, 205.870.5172 x3070 (), [31]. 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, [32]. First Saturday in November. Meet Alabama Romance authors at the annual event
  • Region's Charity Classic, RTJ Ross Bridge Golf Course in Hoover, [33]. Mid May. The 2007 Regions Charity Classic presented by Bruno’s Supermarkets, an official Champions Tour event, donated more than $688,000 to charitable organizations in Alabama. In its 16-year history, the tournament is approaching $10 million donated to Alabama charities!


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



  • Alabama Farmer's Market, 344 Finley Ave W, +1 205-251-8737, [34]. Daily 5AM-7PM. Free admission.

Shopping malls

  • Riverchase Galleria, 3000 Riverchase Galleria, Hoover, +1 205-985-3020, [35]. 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, [36]. M-Sa 10AM-9PM, Su 12PM-6PM. Comprised of Parisian's and Macy's as the main stores along with many high end restaurants.
  • The Summit, 214 Summit Boulevard, +1 205-967-0111, [37]. 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.
  • Century Plaza, 7580 Crestwood Blvd, +1 205-591-2451, [38]. M-Sa 10AM-9PM, Su 1PM-6PM.
  • Patton Creek, [39]. An outdoor mall that's set up like a small downtown. You'll find regular staples such as Barnes & Noble, Circuit City, The Bombay Company, Dick's Sporting Goods, Linens -N- Things and others.
  • 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 [67]



  • Irondale Cafe, 1906 1st Ave North in Irondale, 205-956-5258, [40]. 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), [41]. Daily 11AM-Midnight. Good Greek fast food.
  • Safari Cup Coffee, 300 Richard Arrington Jr Blvd, +1 205-326-0019, [42]. The coffee is outstanding. Lunches $5-9.
  • O'Henry's Coffee, 2831 18th Street South, Downtown Homewood, +1 205-870-1198, [43]. 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.


  • Dreamland BBQ, 1427 14th Avenue South, Birmingham, +1 205-933 2133 (, fax: +1 205-933 9770), [44]. 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, [45]. 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.
  • Surin West, 1918 11th Ave S, Birmingham, +1 205-324-1928 (, fax: +1 205-326-6688), [46]. 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, [47]. 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.


  • 26 and Ocean, 1210 20th St. S, Birmingham, 205-918-0726, [48]. 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.
  • Chez Fon Fon, 2007 11th Ave S, +1 205-939-3221.
  • Los Angeles Restaurant, 2801 7th Ave S, +1 205-328-7160 (fax: +1 205-328-7161).
  • Rojo, 2921 Highland Ave S, +1 205-328-4733.
  • Hot and Hot Fish Club, 2180 11th Ct S, +1 205-933-5474 (), [49]. 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), [50]. 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), [51]. 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 (), [52]. 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 Grape, 1101 20th Street South, +1 205-933-7790 (), [53]. M-Th 11AM-Midnight, F-Sa 11AM-1AM, Su 11AM-10PM. Upscale wine bar.
  • The Nick, 2514 10th Avenue South, +1 205-252-3831, [54]. Has late night rock shows.
  • Speakeasy, 1920 3rd Ave N, +1 205-251-1506, [55].
  • The U 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, [56]. 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.



  • Econo Lodge Oxmoor, 195 Oxmoor Rd,, +1 205-941-0990 (, fax: +1 205-941-1527), [57]. 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), [68].
  • Microtel Inns & Suites Birmingham, 251 Summit Parkway, +1 205-945-5550,[69].


  • Birmingham Microtel Inn, 251 Summit Parkway, +1 205 945-5550, Fax: +1 205 945-8823, [70].
  • Courtyard Birmingham Downtown UAB, 1820 5th Avenue South, +1 205 254-0004, Fax: +1 205 254-8001, [71].
  • Fairfield Inn Birmingham Inverness, 707 Key Drive, +1 205 991-1055, Fax: +1 205 991-2066, [72].
  • Holiday Inn, 5000 Richard Arrington Blvd., +1 205 591-6900, [73].
  • Hyatt Place Birmingham/Hoover, 2980 John Hawkins Pkwy, +1 205 988-8444, [74].
  • Ramada Birmingham, 226 Summit Parkway (I-65 Exit 256-A), +1 205 916-0464 (fax: +1 205 916-0298), [58]. (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, [75].
  • Roses and Lace Bed and Breakfast, 20 Rose Lane (North of Birmingham, on I-59), 205-594-4366, [59]. checkin: 3 pm; checkout: 11 am. 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 and 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! $119-$160. (-86.2552224,33.8343722)


  • Birmingham Marriott, 3590 Grandview Parkway, +1 205 968-3775, Fax: +1 205 968-3742, [76].
  • Hotel Highland at Five Points South, 1023 20th Street, +1 205 933-9555, Fax: +1 205 933-6918, [77]


Wireless internet

There are more than 70 locations in Birmingham that offer free WiFi access. Visit the link [78] to locate free wireless hot spots in this area.

  • Avondale Branch Library, 509 South 40th St, +1 205-226-4000, [60]. M-Tu 9AM-8PM, W-Sa 9AM-6PM, Su 2PM-6PM.
  • Birmingham Public Library, 2100 Park Place, +1 205-226-3610, [61]. M-Tu 9AM-8PM, W-Sa 9AM-6PM, Su 2PM-6PM.
  • Five Points West Branch Library, 4812 Avenue W, +1 205-226-4013, [62]. M-Tu 9AM-8PM, W-Sa 9AM-6PM, Su 2PM-6PM.
  • North Birmingham Branch Library, 2501 31st Ave. North, +1 205-226-4025, [63]. M-Tu 9AM-8PM, W-Sa 9AM-6PM, Su 2PM-6PM.
  • Springville Road Branch Library, 1224 Old Springville Road, +1 205-226-4081, [64]. M-Tu 9AM-8PM, W-Sa 9AM-6PM, Su 2PM-6PM.
  • West End Library, 1348 Tuscaloosa Ave SW, +1 205-226-4089, [65]. M-Sa 9AM-6PM.

Stay safe

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.

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) [79] to deter crime and assist visitors. Call 205-251-0111 for a free security escort, directions, assistance with a dead car battery, etc.


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.

Get out

  • Cullman, about 50 miles north of Birmingham on Interstate 65, is home to St. Bernard Abbey, [80] the only Benedictine abbey in Alabama. The Ave Maria Grotto [81], a miniature fairytale land on the grounds of the abbey, has been a favorite among visitors since it opened in 1934.

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!