BIRMINGHAM THE DIVERSE CITY IS CLASSIC SOUTHERN CHARM
AND HOSPITALITY. This vibrant, beautiful city is
nestled in the rolling foothills of the Appalachian Mountains
and serves up nationally recognized, History,
dining, shopping, and entertainment, world-class attractions, events and other things to see and
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1871 at the crossing of two railroads Birmingham became a
major southern city. The eccentricity of Birmingham is evident
from the first step into this city. With traditional southern
culture drenching this young vibrant city many fall in love as
soon as they move here.
Located at the foothills of
the Appalachian Mountains, Birmingham Alabama offers
residents a metropolitan life in a traditional southern state.
Birmingham is Alabama's largest city, with its bustling growth
it could be the next big southern city. Birmingham has
character that is unmatched by any other city near
Birmingham is known for its top notch medical
and financial centers. The city of Birmingham also offers
major cultural institutions like Civil Rights Institute, and
the Theatre for the Performing Arts.
Alabama is a city filled with shopping, and fine dining
restaurants. The best shopping centers in Birmingham are
the Riverchase Galleria and the Shoppes at Eastchase. Both
malls offer outstanding shopping establishments, with
With affordable airfare and accommodations, this centrally-located
southeastern city is easy to get to. Once you arrive you'll
wish your time here was longer.
Things To Do
Birmingham is home to exciting
attractions, fantastic, one-of-a-kind restaurants and a stock
of year 'round entertainment. Golf anyone? From the
world-class Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail to unique shopping
and nightlife, Birmingham has it all. Come play with
American Idol's Birmingham
world-class musical talent has put the
city in the national spotlight with two winners from the
mega hit TV show American Idol. Ruben
Studdard won in 2003 and Taylor
Hicks came home with top honors in 2006. In between,
Birmingham’s Bo Bice won first
runner-up in the 2005 competition.
- The University of Alabama at Birmingham's University
Hospital is the world's top kidney transplant
(Birmingham News, Fall 2002)
- Birmingham has one of the "Top Ten Bars Worth Flying
For," according to GQ Magazine. The article lists the
top ten bars in the world, among them "The Garages" in
Birmingham for its eclectic, authentic charm.
Magazine, April 2003)
- Birmingham's Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival was
named one of the "ten fantastic film festival vacations"
along with New Orleans, Austin and San Diego.
Festival Today, Spring 2003)
- Gourmet ranked Highlands Bar and Grill in
Birmingham among the top five restaurants in the
(Gourmet Magazine, Fall 2001)
- Birmingham's Barber Motorsports Park houses the
largest collection of vintage motorcycles in the world. The
park is considered the "Augusta of Motorsport," referring to
the quality of the world-class course and home of the
Porsche Driving Experience. "When it comes to road courses,
this is going to become the spiritual home to the sport,"
said Roger Edmondson, president of the Grand American Road
(Birmingham News, Spring 2003)
- Bon Appetit named Birmingham's Hot & Hot
Fish Club among the "Great Neighborhood Restaurants in the
(Bon Appetit, Fall 2002)
- The Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), the
global Catholic television giant, is headquartered and
broadcasts from its studios in Birmingham to millions of
viewers around the world.
(Birmingham News, Winter
- Birmingham is Alabama's largest city.
- Bare Hands Gallery, which carries exclusively the
work of local artists, was recently named one of two
“uniquely Birmingham sites” by National Geographic Traveler
magazine. The other site is the Birmingham Civil Rights
- Alabama ranks #3 in the nation in most runners per
capita. (Runner's World magazine, November 2001.)
- Birmingham is ranked #1 as host city for the annual
PGA Senior Golf Tour.
(Sports Illustrated, 2001)
- Birmingham took 10th place among U.S. cities on the
annual list of Fortune 500 companies.
Magazine, April 2001)
- Birmingham's Ruffner Mountain is larger than New York
City's Central Park
and a five minutes drive from
downtown. It is the second largest urban nature preserve in
(Birmingham News, Spring 2003)
- Only New York City has more of the top 50 banks
headquartered in the city.
- Begun in 1975, Birmingham's annual "Miss Apollo
Pageant" is now the second oldest continuously running drag
queen pageant in the country.
(Black & White City
Newspaper, September, 2002)
- Birmingham's role in the Civil Rights Movement of the
1960s placed it "at the center of the most significant
domestic drama of the 20th century..."
- In 1995 Mercedes Benz chose a site just east of
Birmingham to build its first assembly plant outside
Germany. The plant produces the popular M-Class All Activity
Vehicle. A $600 million expansion is currently underway.
- Birmingham is the only place in the world where all
the ingredients for making iron are present: coal, iron ore
and limestone---all within a ten-mile radius.
- Vulcan, the mythical god of metalworking, is the
largest iron figure ever cast and is second in size only to
the Statue of Liberty. The statue was Birmingham's entry in
the 1904 World's Fair, where it won first place.
- The Club's multi-colored dance floor was director
John Badham's inspiration for a key icon in the definitive
1970s movie Saturday Night Fever, starring John Travolta.
- Southern Living, the nation's most successful
regional magazine, is published in Birmingham.
- The Birmingham Museum of Art houses the largest
museum collection of Wedgwood outside England.
- With the opening of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail
throughout the state, Alabama was called "…one of America's
top 10 golf destinations."
- Birmingham is home to the nation's oldest baseball
park, Rickwood Field, which opened in 1910 and hosted
baseball greats such as Jackie Robinson, Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth,
Willie Mays and "Shoeless" Joe Jackson.
- Saks, Inc., the nation's fourth largest department
store chain, has its headquarters in Birmingham and operates
330 stores in 24 states.
- The University of Alabama at Birmingham's Kirklin
Clinic was designed by world-renowned architect I.M Pei.
- Vonetta Flowers, the first African-American to win a
gold medal in the Winter Olympics (2002 - bobsledding) is a
track coach at the University of Alabama at
- Birmingham was recently voted “America’s Bass
Capital” by readers of BASSMASTER magazine. Anglers were
challenged to submit their choice for the country’s best
“big city bassin’.” Ten major cities were in the running,
with specifications including a major metropolitan
population, healthy bass populations, enthusiastic bass
fishing communities and opportunities for big fish.
- In a recent interview in the New York Times, NYC
mega-restaurateur Danny Meyer was asked about up-and-coming
food cities. His response: There are so many! Both
Portlands---Maine and Oregon---are obsessed with good food.
So are Seattle, Boston and Birmingham, Alabama. (Danny Meyer
is the president of the Union Square Hospitality Group. More
than 20 years ago, he opened his first restaurant, the
legendary Union Square Café, in downtown New York, an area
that has become “a foodie paradise.” Meyer now owns and
operates seven successful, high cuisine restaurants in New
Birmingham History At A
Though Birmingham stands in the
heart of the Deep South, it is not an Old South
Founded in 1871 at the crossing
of two railroad lines, the city blossomed through the early
1900s as it rapidly became the South's foremost industrial
center. Iron and steel production were a natural for
Birmingham; underground lay abundant key ingredients---coal,
iron ore and limestone. As an industry town, Birmingham
suffered greatly in the Depression. After World War II the
city grew moderately while retaining its strong Southern
At the same time a profound
movement toward diversification was afoot. The huffing and
puffing of Birmingham's legendary iron and steel mills was
gradually replaced by a work force of medical and engineering
professionals. Today, Birmingham enjoys a balance of
manufacturing and service-oriented jobs in a thriving work
Birmingham has been through a lot
for a city so young. Unlike many older cities, Birmingham, now
in its 128th year, is still in the stages of
Local historians divide the
city's history into six epochs. The first, from the 1830s to
the late 1860s, was a time when the area we now know as
Birmingham was called Elyton and was just a small pioneer farm
settlement. There was no town of any consequence---the great
Alabama cities were Mobile, Selma and Montgomery. Though local
residents fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War,
little damage was done to the area because, as one Union
general wrote in his diary, the area deserved no attack as it
was just a "poor, insignificant Southern village."
The second period, from about
1870 to 1880, was a time when railroads and land barons built
a town that was named Birmingham, after England's industrial
giant. Formally organized in 1871, the new town became a
commercial hub, with railroads crisscrossing throughout the
community. The new community sprang up, thrived and grew so
quickly that many observers said it happened "just like
magic." Soon the nickname "The Magic City" was applied to
Birmingham. It also was a time when older Alabama cities began
to resent the growth and success of their neighbor to the
north. The city's detractors, and there were many, started
referring to the city as "Little Birmy."
Their scorn subsided somewhat
when the town was nearly wiped out, first by a cholera
epidemic and then by economic depression.
The natural abundance of coal,
iron ore and limestone, however, assured the resurgence of the
little boom town, and Birmingham moved into its third epoch
with remarkable vitality.
Beginning about 1880 and
continuing through the Great Depression, this city used Yankee
capital and an infusion of labor from former plantations and
European emigrants. The mining and metals industries were the
catalyst for other enterprises, from banks to barbershops. But
the controlling influences belonged not to local citizens, but
to wealthy industrialists from the North.
The fourth distinct period began
with the Depression and ran through the late 1950s. During
this time of wartime economy and shaky post-war recovery, the
city suffered greatly. The mills kept producing, but not a
single major commercial building was built downtown from the
1920s until the early 1960s.
The decade of the 1960s and early
'70s was the fifth epoch. It brought events that would forever
change the image of the city. This was the historic era of
police dogs and fire hoses turned on Civil Rights demonstrators, of the
bombed-out 16th Street Baptist Church. The city's national
reputation was near ruins.
The horrors of the 1960s still
haunt the city today and have turned a permanent global
spotlight on race relations – good and bad – in
But in the mid-1970s, the growing
influence and reputation of the University of Alabama at
Birmingham (UAB) and the strength of a thriving
business/service economy ushered in the sixth epoch. The old
magic was back as smart, affluent people associated with UAB
and other businesses took the lead in the community.
Commercial construction drastically changed the skyline of the
city, making it broader, more spectacular. Affluence and
education brought with it more cultural and recreational
Birmingham was growing
The opening of the Birmingham
Civil Rights Institute in 1993 did more to heal the city from
within and in the eyes of the nation than any other single
event. With the opening of the Institute, the city was able at
last to tell its own story, and by telling, soothe the wounds
of the past.
Recently Mercedes-Benz opened its
first American production facility in nearby Vance, turning
out the enormously popular M-Class All-Activity Vehicle. New
major attractions, including a full blown theme park and one
of the country's best science museums, have opened. And
Birmingham's medical community continues to be recognized
worldwide for its contributions to health care and
About Our Southern
Birmingham is a Southern city
that is---all at once---young, traditional, vibrant, friendly,
complex and, some even say, exotic. The eccentricities of the
South and Southerners have been widely noted in literature and
Unlike some larger Southern
cities that have chosen to trade soul for growth and
development, Birmingham has retained its true Southern
character; it has been said that Birmingham is the last major
Southern city in America. That is because it is impossible for
us to become like every place else.
Birmingham is a distinctive and
comfortable place to visit and to live. While we continue to
grow more sophisticated, we also treasure many of the ways of
the small-town South. One can enjoy asparagus salad with
roasted pecan dressing at an elegant salon for lunch, and look
forward to supper at a cafe serving country-fried steak and
butter beans. The audience at the symphony concert will
discuss college football games coming up the next day. And the
highbrow patrons of the Charity Ball will be elbow-to-elbow
the next morning with workers on a Habitat for Humanity
It is diversity that is our
greatest strength and our strongest appeal. We talk about
progress, but with a decidedly Southern accent. We are a
spectrum of attitudes and cultures, all a part of the charm
and exoticism that is the
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