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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 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 city will host the 2021 World Games.
The weather in Birmingham varies greatly. Winter weather is highly unpredictable, with temperatures ranging from below 20 °F (−7 °C) to 60 °F (16 °C) or even 70 °F 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.
- 1 Birmingham–Shuttlesworth International Airport, ☎ . (BHM IATA) Served by American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Express. Birmingham-Shuttlesworth 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
Birmingham is served by Amtrak's Crescent service that runs daily between New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Charlotte, Atlanta, Birmingham and New Orleans. 2 Birmingham station (+1-800-872-7245) is at 1 19th St North.
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
- US Highway 31
- US Highway 280
Avoid rush hour (7AM-9AM and 4PM-6PM) if possible; for details on usual spots for rush hour tie-ups, see Get around#By car.
- Greyhound Bus Lines, 618 N 19th St, toll-free: . Provides bus service to Birmingham from most locations throughout the US. 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.
The downtown areas of Birmingham (notably separated by railroad tracks into a "north" and "south" side) are quite compact, walking is a reasonable way to get around. However, it's near impossible to walk from downtown to further out neighborhoods such as Avondale or Woodlawn. Summer temperatures and heat indices can reach 100 °F (38 °C) and 110 °F (43 °C) 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. $1.25 or less.
- 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, traffic 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. Expect heavy delays during rush hour on I-65 and 280.
There is metered parking throughout Birmingham. These spots generally run from 8AM-6PM, but are free on weekends.
- 1 Alabama Men's Hall of Fame, Harwell Goodwin Davis Library (Samford University, 800 Lakeshore Dr), ☎ , fax: . M-Th 7:30AM-midnight, F 7:30AM-5PM, Sa 9AM-5PM, Su 2PM-midnight. Not many places have a hall of fame expressly devoted to men, but Alabama does. This unusual institution was set up by the state legislature in 1987 to parallel the Alabama Women's Hall of Fame, which had been established in Marion years earlier. Free.
- 2 Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, 1631 Fourth Avenue North, ☎ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM (guided tours M-W F 10AM-1:30PM). $3/2 (guided/self-guided).
- 3 Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, 2150 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. N, ☎ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. M-Sa 9AM-5PM. Adults $5, seniors 60+ $4, students $3.
- 4 Arlington Antebellum Home and Gardens, 331 Cotton Ave SW, ☎ . 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.
- 5 Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum and Motorsports Park, 6030 Barber Motorsports Pkwy, ☎ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. April 1 - September 30: M-Sa 10AM-6PM, Su noon-6PM; October 1 - March 31: M-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM. Adults, $10, children 4-12 $6, children under 4 free. 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..
- 6 Birmingham Botanical Gardens, 2612 Lane Park Rd, ☎ . 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.
- 7 Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, 520 16th Street North (The museum is adjacent to historic Kelly Ingram Park and across from the 16th Street Baptist Church), ☎ , toll-free: , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 1PM-5PM. Adults $9, seniors 65+ $5, college students $4, children under 18 free. Free admission on Sunday..
- 8 Birmingham Museum of Art, 2000 8th Avenue North, ☎ , fax: . Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM. Free.
- Birmingham Public Library Murals.
- 12 Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark, 20 32nd Street North, ☎ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Sa 10AM-4PM, Su noon-4PM. Free.
- 13 Southern Museum of Flight, 4343 73rd St N, ☎ , fax: . Tu-Sa 9:30AM-4:30PM. Adults $5, seniors & students $4, children under 4 and active military members free.
- 14 Vulcan Statue and Museum, 1701 Valley View Drive, ☎ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. 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 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.
- 15 McWane Science Center.
In addition to standard activities, Birmingham also has tons of outdoor adventures such as paintballing, four-wheeling and hunting, during season.
- 1 Alabama Theatre, 1811 3rd Ave N, ☎ . Numerous performances, including concerts, comedians and movies.
- 2 Birmingham Zoo, 2630 Cahaba Road, ☎ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Labor Day-Memorial Day: Daily 9AM-5PM; Memorial Day-Labor Day: M W-Th 9AM-5PM, Tu F-Su 9AM-7PM. More than 750 animals, including cheetahs, cobras, lions and anteaters. General $11, children 2-12 & seniors 65+ free.
- 3 Alabama Splash Adventure Theme Park, 4599 Splash Adventure Parkway, Bessemer, ☎ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Right on the outskirts of Birmingham is Alabama Splash Adventure. Formerly known as VisionLand, this adventure consists of both a theme park and a waterpark for those hot summer days. Alabama Splash Adventure has over 7 acres of land filled with over 25 main attractions, including Alabama's largest wooden roller coaster.
- 4 McWane Science Center, 200 19th Street North (Parking deck on 2nd Avenue North, between 18th Street and 19th Street, $3), ☎ , fax: . Sept-May: M-F 9AM-5PM, Sa 11AM-6PM, Su Noon-6PM; June-Aug: M-Sa 10AM-6PM, Su Noon-6PM. Exhibit halls: Adults $9, children 2-12 & seniors 65+ $8, children under 2 free; Exhibits and IMAX:$14/12/free.
- 5 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), ☎ . Daily 7AM-5PM. It's 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.
- 6 Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park, 12632 Confederate Parkway, McCalla, AL, ☎ . 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 numbers 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.
- 7 Ruffner Mountain Nature Center, 1214 81st Street South, ☎ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su 1PM-5PM. Nature preserve. More than 1,000 acres. Free.
- The Virginia Samford Theatre, 1116 26th Street S, ☎ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Offers Broadway type productions in an intimate setting throughout the year.
- WorkPlay, 500 23rd Street S, ☎ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Multipurpose complex for music concerts and film events.
- 8 Birmingham Barons, Regions Field, 1401 1st Ave. South, ☎ . Mid-April–early September. Baseball team in the Double-A Southern League, thus two levels below Major League Baseball. Affiliated with the Chicago White Sox. The team is perhaps most famous for having had basketball legend Michael Jordan on its roster during his first retirement from that sport in 1994.
- 9 Birmingham Legion FC, 2213 1st Ave. South (team offices) (Games at BBVA Compass Field, 800 11th St. South), ☎ , ✉ email@example.com. Early March–October. Men's soccer team that began play in 2019 in the USL Championship, the second level of the sport in the US. The stadium is on the campus of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, usually referred to as UAB, and as such is also home to the UAB Blazers men's and women's soccer teams (see below).
- UAB Blazers, ☎ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Ticket office: M–F 9AM-5PM; hours vary on game days. Sports teams of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, playing a variety of NCAA Division I sports, mostly in Conference USA. The highest-profile sports, as with most big schools, are football and men's basketball, with football having achieved unexpected success after having come back from a two-season hiatus in 2017. Football plays off campus at 10 Legion Field, and will move in 2021 to the new Protective Stadium at the downtown convention center, construction on which is set to start in the second half of 2019. The central ticket office for all UAB sports is at 11 Bartow Arena, home to men's and women's basketball and women's volleyball.
- Samford Bulldogs, ☎ . A cheaper alternative for Division I sports is Samford University, a member of the Southern Conference with its campus in the suburb of Homewood. Unlike UAB, whose football team plays in the top-tier FBS, Samford plays football in the second-tier FCS. Again, football and men's basketball tend to have the highest profiles. Samford's main athletic venues are on campus, most notably 12 Seibert Stadium (football) and 13 Pete Hanna Center (basketball and volleyball).
- Tour de Cure. Late April. Enjoy the ride of your life while raising needed funds for the American Diabetes Associaiton.
- 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.
- Birmingham Bowl, Legion Field. Late December. College football bowl game. Match-up: Southeastern Conference vs. American Athletic Conference
- 14 SEC Baseball Tournament, Hoover Metropolitan Stadium, 100 Ben Chapman Dr., Hoover. Late May. The championship event of Southeastern Conference college baseball, featuring 12 of the league's 14 teams battling for the SEC's automatic bid to the NCAA Division I tournament.
- Step Out; Walk to Fight Diabetes. First Saturday in October. Enjoy the walk of your life while raising needed funds for the American Diabetes Associaiton.
- Alabama Bound. April. Meet Alabama authors, publishers and illustrators at Birmingham Public Library's annual event.
- Magic City Classic, Legion Field. Of special interest to visitors interested in African-American culture is this college football event featuring the state's two largest historically black universities, Alabama A&M and Alabama State. The game, which consistently draws bigger crowds than UAB football or the Birmingham Bowl, caps off a week of festivities that draws nearly 200,000 attendees—many of them having no connection to either school involved. Many African-American celebrities and public figures participate, either as attendees or featured guests.
- Southern Heritage Festival. Beginning of August.
- Gala, ☎ , ✉ email@example.com. Second Saturday in November. Enjoy an evening of fun while raising needed dollars for the American Diabetes Association.
- Southern Magic's Romance Readers' Luncheon, Homewood Public Library. First Saturday in November. Meet Alabama Romance authors at the annual event.
- Regions Tradition, Greystone Golf & Country Club, 4100 Greystone Dr., Hoover. Early May. The Tradition, with locally based Regions Financial as name sponsor, is the first of the five major championships of PGA Tour Champions, the world's leading golf tour for men 50 and over.
- Alabama Farmer's Market, 344 Finley Ave W, ☎ . Daily 5AM-7PM. Free admission.
- 1 Riverchase Galleria, 3000 Riverchase Galleria, Hoover, ☎ . 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.
- 2 Brookwood Village, 780 Brookwood Village, ☎ . M-Sa 10AM-9PM, Su noon-6PM. Comprised of Belk and Macy's as the main stores along with many high end restaurants.
- 3 The Summit, 214 Summit Boulevard, ☎ . M-Sa 10AM-9PM, Su noon-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 noon-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
- Soho Square
- 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, a city which has numerous well-known restaurants with famous chefs. Ask locals about best "meat and 3" places for "soul food".
- 1 Green Acres, 1705 4th Ave North, ☎ . 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.
- 2 Irondale Cafe, 1906 1st Ave North in Irondale, ☎ . 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.
- Kool Korner Sandwiches, 1360 Montgomery Hwy (Vestrige Shopping Center), ☎ . 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.
- 3 Magic City Grille, 2201 3rd Ave North in Birmingham; 4610 Gary Ave in Fairfield, ☎ (Birmingham), (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.
- 4 O'Henry's Coffee, 2831 18th Street South, Downtown Homewood, ☎ . 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.
- Purple Onion, Several Locations, ☎ , fax: . Daily 11AM-midnight. Good Greek fast food.
- Pop's Neighborhood Grill, 1207 20th St S, ☎ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 6AM-3PM. The staff are super friendly, good proportion for what you pay. A real mom and pop type of restaurant.
- Gordos, 433 Valley Ave, ☎ . 8AM-9PM. Real Mexican food, great taste! You will enjoy all that they offer if Mexican is what you are looking for. Huarache, fresh and good! Burrito really good as well. They have a bakery, try the peach tres leches, fresh and very distinct.
- The Bright Star, 304 19th St N, Bessemer, ☎ . 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.
- Cantina Tortill Grill, 2901 2nd Ave. South, ☎ . It's 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.
- Demetri's BBQ, 1901 28th Ave S, Homewood, ☎ . 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.
- Dreamland BBQ, 1427 14th Avenue South, Birmingham, ☎ , fax: , ✉ 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.
- Rojo, 2921 Highland Ave S, ☎ . Rojo is a great neighborhood bar and grill 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.
- Surin West, 1918 11th Ave S, Birmingham, ☎ , fax: , ✉ 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.
- 26 and Ocean, 1210 20th St. S, Birmingham, ☎ . "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), ☎ . 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.
- Bottega, 2240 Highland Ave S, ☎ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. M-Th 5:30PM-10PM, F Sa 5:30PM-10:30PM. Dinners $25-35.
- Chez Fon Fon, 2007 11th Ave S, ☎ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 5 Highlands Bar & Grill, 2011 11th Ave S, ☎ , ✉ email@example.com. Tu-Th 5:30PM-10PM, F Sa 5:30PM-10:30PM. With two 2018 James Beard Awards (Outstanding Restaurant and Outstanding Pastry Chef - Dolester Miles), Highlands Bar & Grill is 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 Fon Fon are primarily French in character, while Bottega and Bottega Cafe are Italian. Dinners $25-40.
- Hot and Hot Fish Club, 2180 11th Ct S, ☎ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-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, ☎ , fax: . 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.
- Avondale Brewery, 201 41st Street South, Birmingham, AL, ☎ . Awesome local brewery with some great beers. Large outdoor area and a cool event space on the second level.
- Dave's Pub, 1128 20th Street South (across the street from Chik-Fil-a), ☎ . closes at 2AM. Classic American bar in 5 points.
- Dram Whiskey Bar, 2721 Cahaba Rd Mountain Brook. Whiskey bar with pretty good food. Overpriced but good food and unique cocktail selection.
- The Garage, 2304 10th Ter. South, ☎ . 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 antiques including stone tables, and statues. 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.
- Inisfree, 710 29th St S, ☎ . 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.
- The J. Clyde, 1312 Cobb Ln S (in a back alley off 20th St), ☎ . 3PM-2AM most nights, till 4AM on F. 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.
- 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.
- Moe's Original Bar B Que, 731 29th St, ☎ , ✉ email@example.com. Daily 11AM-11PM. Bar B Que, live music, as well as a bar. Not usually much of a crowd except on special occasions such as Halloween.
- The Nick, 2514 10th Avenue South, ☎ . Has late night rock shows.
- Oak Hill Bar and Grill, 2835 18th Street South, Homewood, AL, ☎ . A classic neighborhood bar in Homewood. They also serve pub food.
- Oasis Bar, 2807 7th Ave South, ☎ . Cool blues bar in Lakeview.
- Pale Eddie's Pourhouse, 2308 2nd Avenue North. 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
- Steel First and 23rd, Corner of 1st Ave. N. & 23rd St. N., ☎ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Th-Sa 7PM-2AM. Trendy LA style martini lounge.
- Econo Lodge Oxmoor, 195 Oxmoor Rd, ☎ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. The Econo Lodge hotel is less than two miles from the University of Alabama and Samford University. Free continental breakfast, indoor pool, and an exercise room are available to guests.
- Microtel Inns & Suites Birmingham, 251 Summit Parkway, ☎ , fax: .
- Motel 6, 151 Vulcan Road, ☎ , fax: .
- Cobb Lane Bed and Breakfast,, ☎ . The only B&B in downtown Birmingham. Good location and very nice rooms. $89-119 (tax excluded).
- Courtyard Birmingham Downtown UAB, 1820 5th Avenue South, ☎ , fax: .
- Fairfield Inn Birmingham Inverness, 707 Key Drive (Off of US 280), ☎ , fax: .
- Holiday Inn, 5000 Richard Arrington Blvd, ☎ .
- Holiday Inn - Hoover, 2901 John Hawkins Pkwy, ☎ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. In Hoover. $119-169.
- Hyatt Place Birmingham/Hoover, 2980 John Hawkins Pkwy, ☎ . In Hoover.
- 1 Ramada Birmingham, 226 Summit Parkway (I-65 Exit 256-A), ☎ , fax: .
- Rime Garden Inn & Suites, 5320 Beacon Drive, ☎ , toll-free: , fax: .
- SpringHill Suites Birmingham Colonnade, 3950 Colonnade Parkway, ☎ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. All-suites extended-stay hotel 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.
- 2 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), ☎ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Birmingham's most famous historic hotel was renovated 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.
- Birmingham Marriott, 3590 Grandview Parkway, ☎ , fax: .
- Hotel Highland at Five Points South, 1023 20th Street, ☎ , fax: .
- The Westin Birmingham, 2221 Richard Arrington Jr. Boulevard North, ☎ , fax: , ✉ Westinreservations@bjcc.com.
Common sense rules should apply for most of the city center, e.g. 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 (e.g. 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 +1 205 251-0111 for a free security escort, directions, assistance with a dead car battery, etc.
The region's sole telephone area code is 205 – there is no need to dual it before the 7-digit number. In November 2018, when area code 659 is added to the area, all 10 digits will have to be dialed.
There are more than 70 locations in Birmingham that offer free WiFi access.
- Avondale Branch Library, 509 South 40th St, ☎ . M Tu 9AM-8PM, W-Sa 9AM-6PM, Su 2PM-6PM.
- Birmingham Public Library, 2100 Park Place, ☎ . M Tu 9AM-8PM, W-Sa 9AM-6PM, Su 2PM-6PM.
- Five Points West Branch Library, 4812 Avenue W, ☎ . M Tu 9AM-8PM, W-Sa 9AM-6PM, Su 2PM-6PM.
- North Birmingham Branch Library, 2501 31st Ave. North, ☎ . M-Tu 9AM-8PM, W-Sa 9AM-6PM, Su 2PM-6PM.
- Springville Road Branch Library, 1224 Old Springville Road, ☎ . M-Tu 9AM-8PM, W-Sa 9AM-6PM, Su 2PM-6PM.
- West End Library, 1348 Tuscaloosa Ave SW, ☎ . M-Sa 9AM-6PM.
The summertime heat from June through September can be oppressive. It is not unusual for highs to be 90 °F (32 °C) to 100 °F (38 °C). 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.
- 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|