Last week, I had the opportunity to travel to Birmingham, AL for work. While this was a quick 2 day trip, I was able to explore a bit of the downtown area. Without doing much research beforehand, I felt unprepared but a few last minute Instagram pleas resulted in excellent recommendations from friends near and far. Here are my top 5 things to do in Birmingham, AL.
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Top 5 Things To Do in Birmingham
1. Walk the Birmingham Civil Rights Heritage Trail. I feel embarrassed to admit that I didn’t realize how significant this city was in the Civil Rights Movement. This trail educates and walks you past significant and historical sites that took place in the 50s and 60s during the Civil Rights Movement. The trail starts at the Civil Rights Institute and Kelly Ingram Park and takes you through four routes. Learn more here.
2. Visit Kelly Ingram Park. When you walk into this park, you’ll see the words “Place of Revolution and Reconciliation”. It was very difficult to think about the ugliness and hurt that took place in Birmingham, specifically at this park. The statues, memorials and quotes speak loudly of hate but there are also messages of hope and a more loving future.
3. Eat at the Pizitz Food Hall. I stumbled across this foodie gem and enjoyed my first experience so much, I went back the next day! This food hall is on the first floor of an office building that has been renovated to accommodate multiple different vendors, most of which are food related. I ate delicious chicken shawarma, Israeli Salad, tahini and warm pita bread from Eli’s Jerusalem Grill on the first night. During my second Pizitz outing, I grabbed a fresh blackberry salad from Reveal Kitchen and a mango chili popsicle from Lichita’s Paleteria. There is a beautiful outdoor seating area complete with multiple picnic tables, greenery and string lighting. Seriously, go here! I’m jealous of the co-working space located directly above the food hall…talk about great lunch options!
4. Explore Birmingham’s brewery scene. Okay, so I honestly didn’t get to do this but I heard from multiple sources (especially my Uber drivers) that the following breweries are excellent: Good People and Cahaba. I did try a Cahaba brew at The Louis bar located inside of the Pizitz Food Hall and It was really good! Hopefully you’ll have more time than me to explore the others!
5. Stroll through historic downtown Birmingham and dine on southern cuisine. I stayed at the historic Tutwiler Hotel and ate Shrimp and Grits at their hotel restaurant which was buttery, spicy (from the sausage bits) and oh so delicious.
Other places I would’ve liked to visit if I had more time:
- The Collins Bar: I heard from my Uber driver and a friend that this bar mixes amazing cocktails. I walked past it but didn’t have an opportunity to stop in.
- Johnny’s Restaurant: Another recommendation from my Uber driver! He said this place is a local favorite.
If I’m being completely honest, I was not that excited to visit Birmingham. With that being said, I found this city to be a gem rich in history, great food and southern charm. The right attitude and helpful recommendations can lead you to find beauty in all places.
Now that you’ve heard my top 5 things to do in Birmingham, please share your own in the comments section below!