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CAN BIRMINGHAM STAY HUMBLE?

NEWS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:   Dilcy Windham Hilley
                        VP Marketing/Communications
                        800-458-8085 or dhilley@inbirmingham.com
 
                                             CAN BIRMINGHAM STAY HUMBLE?
                           The city feels a new sense of enthusiasm as the accolades roll in.
 
Birmingham, Ala. ----- Who doesn’t love a compliment?  Even when you know you’re wonderful, it just feels good to have an impartial party tell you so.  That’s how Birmingham has been feeling the past few months as national websites and publications sing the praises of this Southern city. 
                        When travel media company and respected travel information source Lonely Planet released its “Best in the U.S.” list for 2016, Birmingham was among their top five picks.
                        The recent rounds of recognition included food media giant Zagat naming Birmingham as “America’s #1 Next Hot Food City.”  In naming Birmingham, Zagat editors wrote that the city, previously overshadowed by its larger neighbors, “…has now come into its own as a premier culinary destination.”   
                        On the heels of the Zagat ranking came the Travel Channel’s choice of Birmingham as one of the “11 Next Great Destinations.”  Birmingham was the only U.S. city selected and found itself in the company of Estonia, Cuba and The Philippines.  The Travel Channel pointed to the city’s dining and craft brewing reputation, along with the restoration and opening of the historic Lyric Theatre downtown.
                        The reopening of the Lyric Theatre was also recognized this month by Southern Living magazine, who called it one of the “50 Best Places in the South Now.”  The Lyric reopened in January following an $11 million restoration.  The 750-seat theater now hosts a regular schedule of events by regional and nationally-known performers of all varieties.  Preservation magazine also offered up a nice piece on the Lyric, noting, too, the historic Alabama Theatre just across the street and the Carver Theatre for the Performing Arts, all saved from the wrecking ball and lovingly restored. 
                        With an eye on Southern culture, the very popular Garden & Gun magazine dedicated a five-page spread to Birmingham in its February/March edition.  The introduction describes Birmingham as “…a city fueled by the heart, creativity, and optimistic spirit of its youth.”  The article details how downtown has come alive as a business hub, residential choice and entertainment district.  Titled “The Magic City’s Next Act,” a reference to the city’s nickname, the piece praises Birmingham’s new attractions, ongoing restorations, gentrified neighborhoods and much more.
                        Then enter Bon Appetit magazine with another article praising travels to Birmingham.  The article mentions places such as The Tutwiler Hotel, the Market at Pepper Place, The Collins Bar and the Birmingham Museum of Art.
                        In noting “16 intriguing things to see and do in the U.S. in 2016,” CNN International included the astounding Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, just outside Birmingham.  With the world’s largest motorcycle collection, the museum houses more than 1,400 bikes and a dazzling assembly of Lotus cars.  It is eye candy for those who don’t know a single thing about motorcycles and near heaven for racing enthusiasts.
                        Zagat returned for seconds in “Eight Must-Try Restaurants in Birmingham.”  The food guide acknowledged local eateries such as Ollie Irene in the tony suburb of Mountain Brook and Ovenbird, Chef Chris Hastings’ newest venture.  Also included were the venerable Highlands Bar and Grill and millennial favorite El Barrio Restaurante y Bar.
                        Dining and live music are widely considered to be Birmingham’s signature entertainment.  The trendy British music and fashion magazine and website Clash took notice this month when they wrote, “Birmingham, Alabama, boasts a thriving music scene, one that seems to cough up oddball talent on a near weekly basis.”  Compliment accepted.
                        Number one on Southern Living’s list of “The South’s Most Iconic Music Venues and Festivals” is Birmingham’s Sloss Fest, a new music festival now headed into its second year.  Held at Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark, the music and arts festival attracted an astounding 25,000 attendees in its inaugural year.  Other better-known festivals included were South by Southwest, Bonnaroo and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
                        “An appreciable buzz has grown up around the city, and voices of travel around the country are taking notice of new developments here,” J. John Oros, Jr, president of the Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau said.  “We’re enjoying our own hometown more than ever before, and we’re eager to introduce visitors to the city people are talking about.”
                        For information on visiting Birmingham, go to www.inbirmingham.com, or call the Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau at 800-458-8085. 
 
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Photographs sent promptly by request.  Contact Dilcy Windham Hilley at 800-458-8085 or dhilley@inbirmingham.com.