A Local's Guide to the Best of Birmingham: 10 Must Do Things | Intentional Travelers

08 May The Best of Birmingham: 10 ‘Must Do’ Activities

The latest adventure on our post-Peace Corps road trip from Orlando to Chicago included a whirlwind stop in Birmingham, Alabama. This detour was not in our original itinerary, but a week before we left Jamaica, plans to visit fell in place with our friend, fellow Peace Corps Volunteer, and Birmingham native: Riley.
No one loves their hometown more than Riley loves Birmingham. He has been constantly promoting his city- and the South in general- to us Peace Corps Volunteers over the past two years. In fact, we dubbed him “future mayor of Birmingham.” So when we had the chance to stop in Alabama for a few hours and get a personal tour, we couldn’t pass it up.

We saw quite a bit in a few short hours, but if you have a full weekend, here are the ten “uniquely Birmingham” things that Riley says you don’t want to miss:

Riley’s Recommendations: A Local’s Guide to the Best of Birmingham

1. Dine Out
Eat dinner at one of Frank Stitt’s restaurants: Highlands Bar & Grill, Chez Fon Fon or Bottega. Or at Chris Hastings’ Hot and Hot Fish Club.

2. Visit the Civil Rights District
This historic area saw its share of tragedy but was also instrumental in propelling the Civil Rights movement forward. Stroll through Kelly Ingram Park’s powerful monuments, then step across the street to the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, and visit the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute next door.


3. Have a beer at a local craft brewery
Riley’s top recommendations for the best brews include: Good People, Avondale, Cahaba Brewery, and Trim Tab.


4. Take in a Barons baseball game at Regions Field.


5. Grab some BBQ
Top eatieries include Saw’s (pictured below), Dreamland, and Jim n’ Nicks.


6. See the city from Vulcan Park
Vulcan, a cast iron Roman god, has overlooked the city of Birmingham from the top of Red Mountain since the 1930’s. Today, it is the centerpiece of Vulcan Park and Museum where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the city from its observation deck.


7. See a live concert at The Bottletree
According to Riley, this place gets some cool bands. They also host movie nights and the occasional disco night, and apparently they have a great vegetarian lunch menu.


8. See a live concert or watch a classic movie at the Alabama Theatre
Enjoy this beautiful and historic building while taking in first-rate entertainment- or just schedule a tour.

Alabama Theater, Birmingham | Intentional Travelers

9. Check out Gip’s Place
On a Saturday night, this is the place to be for live Blues and Rock and Roll. Mr. Gipson has been hosting a backyard concert in Bessemer since 1952.


10. Get into an argument about college football


Bonus: Pick up a T-shirt or poster at YellowHammer Creative, a quintessentially-Birmingham studio where classically old-school meets hip and happening.


Have you ever been to Birmingham? Do you agree with this “must do” list – or do you have something to add?

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7 Comments
  • swo8
    Posted at 14:23h, 08 May Reply

    More adventures ahead for you. Looking forward to reading about it.
    Leslie

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    Posted at 16:05h, 08 May Reply

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  • Nick
    Posted at 12:12h, 09 May Reply

    I would probably add “play a round of golf”. Birmingham has great public golf courses between the RTJ courses, Farmlinks, etc.

    • intentionalmc
      Posted at 06:56h, 10 May Reply

      Good suggestion, and thanks for your comment!

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    Posted at 09:57h, 20 May Reply

    […] hopping around to visit family and friends after Peace Corps, we first hit Cocoa Beach, Atlanta, Birmingham, Nashville, Memphis, and Chicago. After two years of living in Jamaica, our road trip slowly led […]

  • boyink
    Posted at 17:10h, 27 June Reply

    If you are into libraries nearby Hoover has an amazing public library. We’ve visited many around the US and short of Salt Lake City this was our favorite. We spent 2 days there, RV parked in the lot, then Walmarting it at night.

  • Mike Nayler
    Posted at 05:55h, 05 June Reply

    Being a local carpet cleaner here in Birmingham I need a respite from being indoors all the time. The new red mtn park off of Lakeshore is great for hiking and ziplining… what a very cool place it is

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