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Birmingham, Alabama

Local Details

Learn more about Birmingham, Alabama using the City Guide below. Plan a trip, find local shopping centers, or just discover what makes Birmingham, Alabama so great!

Current Temperature

  • 8:40 AM CDT Jun. 25

City Guide

Birmingham is the largest city in the state of Alabama in the South of the United States of America. With more than 1.1 million people in the metropolitan area, Birmingham is the cultural and economic heart of Alabama.

Understand

Birmingham is an urban city. Although the state of Alabama has a reputation of being very rural, this is not true for the Birmingham metro area.

History

The City of Birmingham is relatively young. Founded in 1871 at the crossing of two railroad lines, it soon became the South's industrial center. Named for England's giant industrial city, Birmingham became a commercial hub as well.

"The Magic City" became known as a thriving and quickly growing community in what had once been a "poor, insignificant Southern village."

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. 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 nationally renowned for their medical programs, research, and services.

Climate

It's hot. Very, very hot. Although sometimes it is humid.

Neighborhoods

  • Southside
  • Forest Park
  • Downtown Loft District
  • Homewood
  • Mountain Brook
  • Vestavia Hills
  • Hoover
  • Trussville
  • Roebuck
  • Leeds
  • Irondale
  • Fairfield
  • West End
  • Ensley
  • Hooper City
  • East Lake
  • Wenonah
  • Center Point
  • Bessemer

Get in

By plane

  • Birmingham International Airport. Served by American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Northwest Airlines, US Airways, Southwest Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Express.Birmingham 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 located 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. Seeing as Birmingham is just beginning to grow as a city, the airport is not very congested and visitors will find it has a very friendly atmosphere and laid-back feeling.

By train

  • Amtrak, 1-800-872-7245. Birmingham is served by Amtrak's Crescent train, which runs daily and serves New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Charlotte, Atlanta, Birmingham and New Orleans (and vice-versa).The National Railway Service has 3 main stations through Birmingham Alabama. They are located at the airport,center city and eastern Birmingham. Public bus transportation is also available at the station in order to conveniently move about the city.

By car

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 (completion expected in 2011)
  • US Highway 31
  • US Highway 280

Please note traffic, as in most metro areas, is fairly terrible at rush hour -- which can last from 7AM-9AM and 4PM-6PM. In particular, the interchange of I-59 and I-65 downtown (malfunction junction) and Highway 280 East are especially problematic.

By bus

  • Greyhound Bus Lines, 1-800-229-9424. Provides bus service to Atlanta from many locations throughout the US. The MegaBus company and National Express Bus Service allows for visitors to arrive from a long or short bus ride (depending where you depart from) directly to the main bus terminal in Birmingham.

Get around

By foot

Within the downtown areas of Birmingham (notably separated by railroad tracks into a "north" and "south" side, walking is a reasonable way to get around within each section; but not from getting to one from the other. Also, keep in mind summer temperatures and heat indices can reach 100°F and 110°F respectively.

By bus

  • 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 or less. Five-day pass for $8.

  • 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

By car

Your best bet is to rent a car, or drive your own. However, please note traffic, as in most metro areas, 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 especially problematic.

See

  • Alabama Men's Hall of Fame, 800 Lakeshore Drive (Samford University), +1 205-726-2362 (fax: +1 205-726-4164). M-Th 7:30AM-Midnight, F 7:30AM-5PM, Sa 9AM-5PM, Su 2PM-Midnight. Free.

  • Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, 1631 Fourth Avenue North, +1 205-254-2731 (tours@jazzhall.com, fax: +1 205-254-2785). Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM (Guided tours M-W F 10AM-1:30PM). $3/2 (Guided/Self-guided).

  • Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, 2150 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. N, +1 205-323-6665 (info@ashof.org, fax: +1 205-252-2212). M-Sa 9AM-5PM. $5/4/3 (Adults/Seniors 60+/Students).

  • Arlington Antebellum Home and Gardens, 331 Cotton Ave SW, +1 205-780-5656.

  • Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, 6030 Barber Motorsports Pkwy, +1 205-699-7275 (bvmm@barbermuseum.org). April 1 - September 30: M-Sa 10AM-6PM, Su Noon-6PM; October 1 - March 31: M-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su Noon-5PM. $10/6/Free (Adults/Children 4-12/Children under 4).

  • Birmingham Botanical Gardens, 2612 Lane Park Rd, +1 205-414-3900. Daily sunrise to sunset.

  • Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, 520 16th Street North, +1 205-328-9696 or 1-866-328-9696 (bcri@bcri.org, fax: +1 205-251-6104), [11]. Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 1PM-5PM. $9/5/4/Free (Adults/Seniors 65+/College students/Children under 18). Free admission on Sunday..

  • Birmingham Museum of Art, 2000 8th Avenue North, +1 205-254-2566 (fax: +1 205-254-2714). Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su Noon-5PM. Free.

  • Birmingham Public Library Murals.

  • Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark, 20 32nd Street North, +1 205-324-1911 (info@slossfurnaces.com). Tu-Sa 10AM-4PM, Su Noon-4PM. Free.

  • Southern Museum of Flight, 4343 73rd St N, +1 205-833-8226 (fax: +1 205-836-2439). Tu-Sa 9:30AM-4:30PM. $5/4/Free (Adults/Seniors & Students/Children under 4 and active military members.

  • Vulcan Statue and Museum, 1701 Valley View Drive, +1 205-933-1409 (info@vulcanpark.org, fax: +1 205-933-1776). Park: M-Su 7AM-10PM; Museum: M-Sa 10AM-6PM, Su 1PM-6PM; Observation Balcony: M-Sa 10AM-10PM, Su 1PM-10PM.

Do

Birmingham also has tons of outdoor adventures such as paintablling, four-wheeling and hunting, during season.

  • Alabama Theatre, 1811 3rd Ave N, +1 205-252-2262 (JHanks6349@aol.com). Numerous performances, including concerts, comedians and movies.

  • Birmingham Zoo, 2630 Cahaba Road, +1 205-879-0409 (ppendleton@birminghamzoo.com, fax: +1 205-879-9426). Labor Day-Memorial Day: Daily 9AM-5PM; Memorial Day-Labor Day: M W-Th 9AM-5PM, T F-Su 9AM-7PM. More than 750 animals, including cheetahs, cobras, lions and anteaters. $11/6 (General/Children 2-12 & Seniors 65+).

  • Alabama Adventure Theme Park, 4599 Alabama Adventure Pkwy, Bessemer, +1 205-481-4750 (information@alabamaadventure.com, fax: +1 205-481- 4758). Right on the outskirts of Birmingham is Alabama Adventure.Formerly known as Visionland,this adventure consists of both a theme park and a waterpark for those hot summer days. Alabama Adventure has over 7 acres of land filled with over 25 main attractions, including Alabama's largest wooden roller coaster.

  • McWane Science Center, 200 19th Street North (Parking deck on 2nd Avenue North, between 18th Street and 19th Street, $3), +1 205-714-8300 (fax: +1 205-714-8400). Sept-May: M-F 9AM-5PM, Sa 11AM-6PM, Su Noon-6PM; June-Aug: M-Sa 10AM-6PM, Su Noon-6PM. Exhibit halls: $9/8/Free (Adults/Children 2-12 & Seniors 65+/Children under 2); Exhibits and IMAX:$14/12/Free (Adults/Children 2-12 & Seniors 65+/Children under 2).

  • Oak Mountain State Park. Has a small beach to relax on, wildlife observatories, golf course and biking routes.

  • TanneHill Park. Historical park that allows visitors to take part in Alabama’s iron work history. Here there are great amounts of deer roaming about, beautiful rivers and creek and remains of an entire iron working factory at the start of the industrial revolution.

  • Ruffner Mountain Nature Center, 1214 81st Street South, +1 205-833-8264 (info@ruffnermountain.org, fax: +1 205-836-3960). Tu-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su 1PM-5PM. Nature preserve. More than 1,000 acres. Free.

  • The Virginia Samford Theatre, 1116 26th Street S, +1 205-251-1228 (boxoffice@virginiasamfordtheatre.org, fax: +1 205-328-7677). Offers Broadway type productions in an intimate setting throughout the year.

  • WorkPlay, 500 23rd Street S, +1 205-879-4773 (info@workplay.com). Multipurpose complex for music concerts and film events.

Annual events

  • 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.

  • Southern disComfort (Scooter Rally). Beginning of November.

  • Birmingham Bowl. Mid December.

  • Alabama Bound. April. Meet Alabama authors, publishers and illustrators at Birmingham Public Library's annual event

  • City Stages Music Festival. Early summer. Hear national acts perform in the three day event

  • Magic City Classic.

Learn

  • The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)
  • Birmingham Southern College
  • Samford University

Buy

  • Alabama Farmer's Market, 344 Finley Ave W, +1 205-251-8737. Daily 5AM-7PM. Free admission.

Shopping malls

  • Riverchase Galleria, 3000 Riverchase Galleria, Hoover, +1 205-985-3020. M-Th 10AM-9PM, F-Sa 10AM-10PM, Su 11AM-6PM. One of the largest indoor malls in the US. The main stores are Parisians, Belk, Macy's, Sears, JCPenny, and McRae's

  • Colonial Brookwood Village, 780 Brookwood Village, +1 205-871-0406. M-Sa 10AM-9PM, Su 12PM-6PM. Comprised of Parisian's and Macy's as the main stores along with many high end restaurants.

  • The Summit, 214 Summit Boulevard, +1 205-967-0111. M-Sa 10AM-9PM, Su 12PM-6PM. One of the largest lifestyle centers in the US, the Summit is a very up scale 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.

  • Century Plaza, 7580 Crestwood Blvd, +1 205-591-2451. M-Sa 10AM-9PM, Su 1PM-6PM.

  • Patton Creek. Strip mall that houses: Barnes & Noble, Circuit City, The Bombay Company, Dick's Sporting Goods, Linens -N- Things and others.

  • Wildwood Center
  • Western Hills Mall
  • Eastwood Village (under construction)
  • Soho Square
  • Caufield Square Promenade (under construction)
  • Colonial Promenade at Fultondale (under construction)
  • Colonial Promenade at Alabaster
  • Colonial Promenade at Trussville
  • Colonial Pinnacle at Tutwiler Farm
  • Hayes Market Place
  • The Village at Lee Branch
  • Watermark Place

Eat

Budget

  • Safari Cup Coffee, 300 Richard Arrington Jr Blvd, +1 205-326-0019. Lunches $5-9.

Mid-range

  • Purple Onion, 1550 Montgomery Hwy # P, +1 205-822-7322 (fax: +1 205-822-1989). Daily 11AM-Midnight.

  • Dreamland BBQ, 1427 14th Avenue South, +1 205-933 2133 (contactus@dreamlandbbq.com, fax: +1 205-933 9770). 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.

  • Surin West, 1918 11th Ave S, +1 205-324-1928 (infosw@surinwest.com, fax: +1 205-326-6688). 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. Dinners $10-18.

Splurge

  • Chez Fon Fon, 2007 11th Ave S, +1 205-939-3221.

  • Los Angeles Restaurant, 2801 7th Ave S, +1 205-328-7160 (fax: +1 205-328-7161).

  • Rojo, 2921 Highland Ave S, +1 205-328-4733.

  • Hot and Hot Fish Club, 2180 11th Ct S, +1 205-933-5474 (email@hotandhotfishclub.com). T-Th 5:30PM-10PM, F-Sa 5:30PM-10:30PM. Reservations recommended. Try and get a seat at the "chef's table" to watch your food as it's prepared. Dinners $20-25.

  • Ocean, 1218 20th St S, +1 205-933-0999. Tu-Sa 5:30PM-? (Patio opens at 4PM). Reservations recommended. Dinners $20-40.

  • Little Savannah, 3811 Clairmont Ave S, +1 205-591-1119 (fax: +1 205-592-0415). Tu-Th 5:30PM-9:30PM, F-Sa 5:30PM-10PM. Dinners $24-37.

  • Bottega, 2240 Highland Ave S, +1 205-939-1000 (maitre-d@bottegarestaurant.com, fax: +1 205-939-1165). M-Th 5:30PM-10PM, F-Sa 5:30PM-10:30PM. Dinners $25-35.

  • Highlands Bar & Grill, 2011 11th Ave S, +1 205-939-1400 (info@highlandsbarandgrill.com). Tu-Th 5:30PM-10PM, F-Sa 5:30PM-10:30PM. Dinners $25-35.

Drink

  • BottleTree Cafe, 3719 3rd Ave S, +1 205-533-6288.

  • The Grape, 1101 20th Street South, +1 205-933-7790 (fivepointssouth@yourgrape.com). M-Th 11AM-Midnight, F-Sa 11AM-1AM, Su 11AM-10PM. Upscale wine bar.

  • The Nick, 2514 10th Avenue South, +1 205-252-3831. Has late night rock shows.

  • Speakeasy, 1920 3rd Ave N, +1 205-251-1506.

  • The U First and 23rd, Corner of 1st Ave. N. & 23rd St. N., +1 205-323-4266 (prajai@theu.us, fax: +1 205-323-4260). Th-Sa 7PM-2AM. Trendy LA style martini lounge.

Sleep

  • Candlewood Suites, 600 Corporate Ridge Dr, +1 205-991-0272 (fax: +1 205-991-1549)

Budget

  • Motel 6, 151 Vulcan Road, +1 205 942-9414 (fax: +1 942 942-9499).
  • Microtel Inns & Suites Birmingham, 251 Summit Parkway, +1 205-945-5550.

Mid-range

  • America's Best Inn & Suites, 9225 Roebuck Parkway East, +1 205 836-5400, Fax: +1 205 833-4561.
  • AmeriSuites Inverness, 4686 Highway 280 East, +1 205 995-9242.
  • AmeriSuites Riverchase, 2980 John Hawkins Pkwy, +1 205 988-8444.
  • Best Western Carlton Suites, 140 State Farm Pkwy, +1 205 940-9990, Toll-free: +1 800 213-0079, Fax: +1 205 940-9930.
  • Birmingham Microtel Inn, 251 Summit Parkway, +1 205 945-5550, Fax: +1 205 945-8823.
  • Candlewood Suites, 600 Corporate Ridge Drive, +1 205 991-0272.
  • Courtyard Birmingham Colonnade, 4300 Colonnade Parkway, +1 205 967-4466, Fax: +1 205 967-2499.
  • Courtyard Birmingham Downtown UAB, 1820 5th Avenue South, +1 205 254-0004, Fax: +1 205 254-8001.
  • Fairfield Inn Birmingham Inverness, 707 Key Drive, +1 205 991-1055, Fax: +1 205 991-2066.
  • Holiday Inn, 5000 Richard Arrington Blvd., +1 205 591-6900.
  • Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, 156 Resource Center Pkwy., +1 205 776-6370.
  • Residence Inn Birmingham Homewood, 50 State Farm Parkway, +1 205 943-0044, Fax: +1 205 943-0668.
  • Residence Inn Birmingham Inverness, 3 Greenhill Pkwy, at US Hwy280, +1 205 991-8686, Fax: +1 205 991-8729.
  • Rime Garden Inn & Suites, 5320 Beacon Drive, +1 205 951-1200, Toll-free: +1 888 828-1768, Fax: +1 205 951-1692.
  • TownePlace Suites Birmingham Homewood, 500 Wildwood Circle, +1 205 943-0114, Fax: +1 205 943-0115.

Splurge

  • Birmingham Marriott, 3590 Grandview Parkway, +1 205 968-3775, Fax: +1 205 968-3742.

Contact

Wireless internet

There are more than 70 locations in Birmingham that offer free WiFi access. Visit http://www.bhamwifi.com to locate free wireless hot spots in this area.

  • Avondale Branch Library, 509 South 40th St, +1 205-226-4000. M-Tu 9AM-8PM, W-Sa 9AM-6PM, Su 2PM-6PM.

  • Birmingham Public Library, 2100 Park Place, +1 205-226-3610. M-Tu 9AM-8PM, W-Sa 9AM-6PM, Su 2PM-6PM.

  • Five Points West Branch Library, 4812 Avenue W, +1 205-226-4013. M-Tu 9AM-8PM, W-Sa 9AM-6PM, Su 2PM-6PM.

  • North Birmingham Branch Library, 2501 31st Ave. North, +1 205-226-4025. M-Tu 9AM-8PM, W-Sa 9AM-6PM, Su 2PM-6PM.

  • Springville Road Branch Library, 1224 Old Springville Road, +1 205-226-4081. M-Tu 9AM-8PM, W-Sa 9AM-6PM, Su 2PM-6PM.

  • West End Library, 1348 Tuscaloosa Ave SW, +1 205-226-4089. M-Sa 9AM-6PM.

Stay safe

Common sense rules should apply for most of the city center, i.e. travel in groups - especially late at night, don't look like a tourist, avoid dark alleyways, etc.

However, it should be noted that Birmingham's historic Five Points South area is one of the most popular night/weekend spots. The areas wonderful restaurants, pubs, and dance clubs are among a few of the attractions you'll find there.

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Goods & Services in Birmingham, Alabama.

Find out the little necessities in life like, Grocery Stores, Department Stores, Gas Stations, Dry Cleaners, Nail Salons, Fast Food, Auto Repair, Plumbers, Shopping Centers and Post Offices.