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That this Southern city has its own cosmopolitan personality is another eye-opener to visitors. It’s hip without being pretentious. It’s very cool without the exertion. Should you have Birmingham pigeonholed as serving only barbeque and fried pies, just remember that Birmingham is home to “the Oscars of dining” with James Beard Foundation Award winners and nominees.

The area’s antique shops are becoming places of legend in upscale lifestyle magazines around the country. Trendy malls have taken root all over the area, bringing posh, high-end shops to join the state’s retail giants. 

The city has become something of a colony with the recent openings of dozens of new art galleries of every sort. Clusters of galleries near the downtown area are giving art enthusiasts and collectors wide options on paintings, sculpture, jewelry, ceramics, fine art and funk art.

Birmingham’s most famous story is the city’s role in America’s Civil Rights Movement. Exhibits in the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute document the rise of the movement and the succession of events it bore around the nation. Facing the institute, Kelly Ingram Park served as a congregating area in the early 1960s for demonstrations, including the ones in which police dogs and fire hoses were turned on marchers by Birmingham police.

Just across the street, the 16th Street Baptist Church National Historic Landmark became the focus of the world on a September Sunday morning in 1963 when four African-American schoolgirls died in a dynamite blast. The bomb, set by Ku Klux Klansmen, ripped through that side of the church, killing 11-year-old Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley and Addie Mae Collins, all 14 years old. 

Also nearby in the district is the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, honoring jazz greats with ties to the state. The Eddie Kendrick Memorial Park, just down the block, is a tribute to the Temptations' lead singer, a Birmingham native.

Some of the best golf on earth can be found at public courses in the area, including Birmingham’s two challenging courses along Alabama’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. As you’ll find during your visit, Birmingham has plenty of other attractions, including the African Safari at the Birmingham Zoo and panoramic views from Vulcan, the largest cast iron statue in the world.

It is diversity of every sort that is this city’s greatest strength and strongest appeal. Charm and entertainment bring people back time and again to enjoy Birmingham.

Fun Fact

A guitarist at Gip’s Place
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Gip's Place is one of the last known juke joints in the southern USA.

The Birmingham Civil Rights Monument
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The Birmingham Civil Rights District was designated a National Monument in 2017.

Vulcan, the mythical god of metalworking, is the largest cast iron statue in the world and won first place in the 1904 World’s Fair.
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Vulcan, the mythical god of metalworking, is the largest cast iron statue in the world and won first place in the 1904 World’s Fair.

Hot Air Balloon over Asheville, North Carolina
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