Before I moved to Nashville, I lived in one of the most underrated cities in the South. Yes, Birmingham, Alabama, is seriously underrated.
After I graduated from college, I was back home in Dallas and I was pretty miserable. (After spending my college years in Boulder, I found “Big D” to be a little large and flashy.) I’ll spare you the long-and-very-random story, but in the midst of this “miserable” time I had the opportunity to drop-in on a friend in Birmingham for a weekend get-away. And immediately I feel in love with the city, with the food, and with the people. After each trip, I returned home bursting with excitement, ready to quit my job, pack up all my junk, and move.
But you should have seen the look on my parents face…. It was as if I had completely lost it (I know, I’m not sure that I ever had “it” to begin with).
“You are young, smart, and single. You could go anywhere and do anything. And you want to move, without a job mind you, to Alabama?”
You see my parents only Alabama points of reference were Orange Beach (which they’d admit was a great vacation spot) and Montgomery (which I would go on-the-record stating IS NOT underrated). They could not fathom my desire to up and move to Birmingham.
But if you asked them today about Birmingham? They would smile deceptively and then they’d begin raving. They’d be quick to share that it is a charming place full of great restaurants. (Yes, this is how we judge places in my family, by the food that can be found there. Don’t you go and judge us.)
All this to say, if ever get the opportunity to travel to “The Magic City”, do not miss out.
Here is a sampling of some of my favorite things to do in Birmingham:
- Enjoy a nice Italian lunch and an “Orange Thing” outside on the patio of Bottega Cafe.
- Devour an “Ocean Salad” with melt-in-your-mouth Fried Feta Croutons at Ocean Restaurant.
- Take a seat at the bar, grab a glass of wine and hang out with my favorite bartender Bob at daniel george. Their salmon tartare is one of my favorite things in this world.
- Catch a singer-songwriter or two in the theater of WorkPlay.
- Pick-up some hummus, tabouli, chicken salad, and pita bread from Nabeel’s Cafe and Market. Oh, and some homemade and simply heavenly pickles.
- Catch a concert or just enjoy the outdoors at Vulcan Park and Musuem.
- Listen to Chris Hodges do this thing on Sunday mornings at Church of the Highlands.
Instead of going on-and-on, I’ll provide those who want to dig deeper with a link to this cool flip-book that has a long list of all the Best Spots IN Birmingham.
Have you been to Birmingham before? Did it surprise you? What were your favorite things about the city?
PS – I am headed to Birmingham this weekend and writing this post made me even more excited about my trip.