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Birmingham, Alabama, also known as “Steel City” and “Magic City”, was born as a result of the post-Civil War period. It was originally established, as the anticipated intersection between the North & South and Alabama & Chattanooga railroads. Birmingham was a natural location for iron smelting due to nearby mineral deposits of iron ore, limestone, and coal.
If you’ve been following my blog for the past year, you may have seen that we moved to Birmingham, AL for Jake’s anesthesiology residency last June. We’ve already been here for 1 year and will be here a minimum of 3 more years. Jake and I love to travel, but we also love to explore our “home” just as much. I mentioned earlier this month I would be launching a series called “Bite-Size Birmingham,” and wanted to start with my Birmingham bucket list first. Jake and I consider Birmingham a hidden gem because there is sooo much to do. It also has some of the best food we’ve ever eaten. Since we are close to other major cities like Nashville and Atlanta, I see the huge influence those cities are having on Birmingham. For example, Nashville has grown very fast and now people are starting to come to Birmingham and open similar restaurants and businesses. I hope this bucket list will give y’all a big picture of what there is to do in our city. We’ve already done several of these things, so the ones that are crossed off means we’ve done it.
Unique Things to DO:
- Farmers Market at Pepper Place (Saturday farmers market in summer/spring. See blog posts here and here.)
- Visit a winery (these are outside of Birmingham, but sound so fun)
- Pick Fruit (We’ve done strawberries (see post here), now I want to do apples and peaches)
- Visit the Woolworth (a grown up version of Main Event).
- Float The Cahaba River
- Color Tunnel
- See Sloss Furnaces
- Going to a Barons game (Minor League Baseball). Thirsty Thursday is a fun time to go.
- McWane Science Center
- Watch 4th of July Fireworks at Vulcan: I’ve been to the Vulcan (one of the best views of the city), but have yet to spend a 4th of July in Birmingham.
- Visit The Barber Motor Sports Museum
- Visit the Civil Rights Institute to learn more about Birmingham’s history
- Alabama Sports Hall of Fame
- Arlington Antebellum Home & Gardens
- Shop at the Summit
- See a Show at The Lyric Theatre
- See a show at Alabama Theatre: I especially want to go around Christmas for a Christmas movie.
- Visit The Art Museum: Although I’ve been there for a couple of events, we haven’t gotten to really explore.
- Pepper Place
- Avondale: One of our favorite little districts
- Explore Homewood
- Explore Mountain Brook
- Food festivals (Birmingham has so many amazing food festivals; sadly we will be missing Zoo, Brews & Full Moon Bar-B-Que event this weekend).
- See a show at Avondale Brewery
- Sidewalk film festival
- Secret Stages (a yearly music festival).
- Art on the Rocks (I went to the preview party, but want to visit the actual event this year. The next one is July 12th then August 9th).
- Try a James Beard Award winning restaurant: Highlands Bar and Grill was named the most outstanding restaurant in America in 2018. We have visited there and 2 of Executive Chef Frank Stitts’ other restaurants (Bottega, Chez Fon Fon). We personally prefer Bottega
- Eat all southern staples (pimento cheese, fried green tomatoes, pork belly, and more).
- Peanuts at Alabama Peanut Co.
- Sunday Jazz Brunch at the Birmingham Museum of Art
- The Pizitz Food Hall
- Steel City Pops (founded in Birmingham).
- Local Breweries (I used to hate craft beer until we moved here). Good People is my favorite and I want to try several others
- Visit the roof top bars at The Elyton Hotel and The Redmont Hotel (great views of downtown Birmingham)
- Wine Blending at The Grand Bohemian Hotel
- Visit fabulous garden shops (Shoppe/Leaf and Petal)
- Visit The Zoo: Birmingham has a great little zoo. I’ve been twice and loved it.
- Picnic at Railroad Park
- Birmingham Botanical Garden: A beautiful free garden (see post here).
- Moss Rock Preserve
- Red Mountain Park
- Oak Mountain State Park
- Ruffner Mountain
- Aldridge gardens
- Magic City Rotary Trail
Up next month, I will be sharing the most “Instagramable spots in Birmingham”. Make sure to check out my Birmingham guide here if you need some ideas for a visit. Did I miss any must-do spots in Birmingham?