By Joey Amato
During these strange and unsettling times, it’s important to have something to look forward to. Travel has always been the satisfying escape for those seeking adventure and new experiences. While this is not a time to make immediate travel plans, the idea of future journeys helps our imaginations prepare for something better, for a time to explore new places and to meet new people. One such place waiting for your visit is Birmingham, Alabama.
Top Five Reasons to Visit Birmingham:
-Birmingham is known as the “Dinner Table of the South.” James Beard award winners and nominees serve up some of the finest dining in the country, and it goes without saying that the local barbecue is something to relish.
-Birmingham is active and entertaining after dark. Bars and nightclubs around the city are friendly and welcoming, many with exceptional mixologists to stir up interesting cocktails. Local breweries have inviting taprooms and create nationally notable brews for their guests.
-People come from around the world to visit attractions like Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, with the world’s largest collection of antique and contemporary motorcycles and Lotus cars.
-Birmingham’s Theater District includes the historic Alabama and Lyric Theatres. Built in the 1920s for vaudeville shows and later for moving pictures, the theaters have been carefully restored and are in continuous use for movies and live performances. Across the street from the theaters is the Sidewalk Cinema, a new movie venue screening arthouse and independent film.
-The city’s Civil Rights District is a national landmark and takes visitors on a journey through Birmingham’s pivotal role in the national Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Birmingham was Ground Zero in that era of struggle for equal rights. The district includes the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and Kelly Ingram Park, site of clashes between demonstrators and Birmingham police. Across the street is Sixteenth Street Baptist Church where four little girls died in a hate-related bombing in 1963.
Top Five Things to Do in Birmingham this Summer:
Check out the Sidewalk Film Festival, recognized repeatedly by MovieMaker Magazine as one of the Top 25 Festivals in the World. Set for August 24-30, Sidewalk brings more than 250 independent films to a dozen screening venues around the city. Sidewalk delivers a variety of film to its audiences with low-price passes in a concentrated footprint. Films highlight civil and social issues, along with LGBTQ content in the accompanying SHOUT festival.
Catch the outdoor concerts at downtown Railroad Park. This massive green space hosts everything from Alabama Symphony Orchestra concerts to a gathering of dozens of food trucks called “Trucks by the Tracks.” Go to nearby Regions Field to enjoy a baseball game with the Double-A Birmingham Barons.
Enjoy the many rooftop bars around the city. Rooftop bars are popular gathering spots for cocktails, conversation, and good cuisine. Several of Birmingham’s most historic buildings are crowned with bars that offer a panoramic view of the city. And speaking of great bars, be sure to stop in at The Atomic Lounge, where mixology meets mid-century décor and costumes are encouraged!
Take advantage of being in the heart of farm-to-table dining. Alabama’s agricultural community provides the best in fresh produce, meats, and fresh-from-the-Gulf seafood. With Birmingham’s proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, fresh seafood is on the menu at the city’s top dining rooms.
Come party for a good cause when Birmingham Aids Outreach throws its Arty Party in June. Benefitting BAO, the annual gathering features donated paintings, photography, handmade jewelry, and more in a silent auction. The live auction gets livelier with competitive bidding on works of art. Lots of fun, food, and frivolity at this special event.
For itineraries and more information on visiting Birmingham, go to inbirmingham.com.
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