Birmingham Alabama Travel Guide
Why? Birmingham is unique in that it has transformed its role in American civil rights history into a celebration of diversity. Its nickname, the 'DiverseCity', is manifested through literally hundreds of festivals marking different movements in music, art, drama, film, food and culture.
When? The best time to travel to Birmingham is during the spring, when the city is warm and various Get Downtown events, including local art, music and food initiatives, are kicked off. Summer and early autumn can be extremely hot and muggy, and winter, though short, is chilly.
Who for? A holiday in Birmingham is for those who want to experience classic Southern hospitality along with vibrant shopping, dining and entertainment in an affordable setting.
More Info: Our Birmingham travel guide is updated regularly to provide current information on all aspects of a holiday in Birmingham, from the top attractions and excursions to how to use the bus service.
Birmingham is Alabama's largest city, with nearly one million people living in the metropolitan area. Although it is a world-renowned financial and medical centre, its sophistication has not come at the expense of its Southern charm. The foothills of the Appalachian Mountains provide the backdrop for its tall buildings, cafés still specialise in country-fried steak and butter beans, and its history as a centre of segregation has been transformed into a future that celebrates African American heritage. Because it has retained a true Southern distinctiveness, it has been called the last major Southern city in America.
The city of Birmingham is rich in diverse architecture, with sleek office buildings as well as historic homes and landmark churches. Tree-lined streets, parks, the botanical gardens and the Birmingham Green, and a landscaped promenade running through the city mean visitors never feel far from nature. Trendy neighbourhoods have come alive in Birmingham, complete with antique shops, coffeehouses, bars, restaurants and nightclubs. Especially popular areas include the Lakeview District, which was originally a resort area at the turn of the 20th century, and is now full of stylish entertainment options; and the Five Points South District, an eclectic area of restored historic buildings now popular with local university students.
Most significant, perhaps, is the Civil Rights District, a six-block section of the city in which major civil rights events took place. Here visitors can tour the 16th Street Baptist Church, the site of a bombing that killed four African American girls. The church was rebuilt and today continues to serve the community as an open-door institution. Also worth a visit is the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, which tells the story of African-American life and the struggle for equality through arresting multimedia exhibitions.
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