It's so hard to pick all the great spots to eat, drink, and visit in Birmingham, especially when it involves working your schedule around games & tournaments. My taste might not be your taste, so feel free to ask for specific recommendations, directions, etc.
Most of the list consists of places that are unique to B'ham and located downtown or within a short drive.
Disclaimer: none of the establishments listed below have provided payment or offered free/discounted food or services to be added to this list.
B'ham Visitor's & Convention Bureau Guide http://birminghamal.org/
B'ham Events Calendar - http://weldbham.com/events-calendar/
Birmingham Yellow Cab - http://www.birminghamyellowcab.com/
DART downtown circulator trolleys - http://www.bjcta.org/wp-content/uploads/...4-2013.pdf
If you are looking for a night out in Birmingham, I'd recommend 2nd Avenue North, Uptown, the Lakeview District, or 5 Points South... see below. If you want to eat, shop, and catch a movie, The Summit
is your best bet. Try Avondale if you want unique & local (or you wonder what a Southern hipster looks like).
If you are looking to get reservations somewhere nice, look no further than James Beard Award & Iron Chef winner Chris Hastings' Hot & Hot Fish Club
. Or try famous Southern chef Fran Stitt's Highlands Bar & Grill
, a 5-time finalist for James Beard's National Restaurant of the Year... or his amazing Italian restaurant, Bottega
The Fish Market
- UAB/Southside location- Owner George Sarris brings his Greek heritage into fresh seafood dishes in a unique atmosphere.
- A Birmingham staple since 1957, Niki's West offers a huge cafeteria-style selection along with menu items.
- The definition of soul food since 1951. Class dismissed.
- I believe it's required to eat a Milo's burger at least once to be a citizen of B'ham. You'll either crave it for the rest of your life or hope to never see one again... since 1946, Milo's has been very divisive. Milo's original sauce, the seasoned crinkle cut fries, and the sweet tea are what define the Milo's experience. They just started serving breakfast, too, which has also caused a stir.
- Since 1973, Ted's has been serving up breakfast and lunch to hungry doctors, construction workers, and UAB students. There are lots of 'meat & 3' restaurants in B'ham, but Ted's just feels like home cookin'.
Fuel up for a long day of hoops at some delicious breakfast spots:
Sol's Sandwich Shop & Deli
- serving downtown B'ham since 1968
Trattoria Centrale - downtown pizza place that serves killer b'fast
- Playboy named it one of the nation's best breakfast spots in 2014
Another Broken Egg
- pricey but oh so worth it
- another great option
The Original Pancake House
- a favorite of UAB students
Waffle House - there are 2 downtown and like 20 in the B'ham metro... the 5 Points South location is where the UAB basketball team eats their pre-game breakfast
Big Bad Breakfast
- at the edge of Birmingham, way down a congested Hwy 280, but the name says it all.
Jim 'n' Nick's BBQ
- 5 Points South
Full Moon BBQ
- Original UAB/Southside location open M-F 10a-5:30p
- Greensprings Blvd location is the closest serving dinner
Moe's Original BBQ
- Lakeview District
3511 6th Ave S
Birmingham, AL 35222
Hours: Mon-Fri 10:30a-3:00p
Miss Myra's Pit BBQ - near The Summit
3278 Cahaba Heights Rd
Cahaba Heights, AL 35243
1008 Oxmoor Rd
Homewood, AL 35209
- multiple locations
If you want to kill 4 hours and stay close to the arena, try 9 or 18 at Highland Park Golf Course
... it's practically downtown. For an even greater experience, hit the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail's 54-holes at Oxmoor Valley
or one of the longest courses in the world at RTJ's Ross Bridge
. Both RTJ courses are within 13 miles of Legacy Arena.
***Highly Recommended*** Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum -- Home to the largest collection of museum-quality motorcycles in the world... you could go through it in an hour if you were really crunched for time, but you will never want to leave. I promise you, you have NEVER seen anything like it. I warn motorcycle enthusiasts to go AFTER your game... you will not want to leave.
***A Must for 1st-Timers***Vulcan Park & Museum -- Vulcan "God of the Forge" towers above downtown B'ham as the world's largest cast iron statue and second largest in the US. Visit the museum and follow the birth of Birmingham's iron and steel industry. Take the elevator up to the foot of Vulcan and see the best view of B'ham.
Birmingham Civil Rights District and Institute --
Birmingham Civil Rights Institute Website
Kelly Ingram Park Walking Tour Info
16th Street Baptist Church
Rickwood Field -- Check out America's oldest baseball park
McWane Science Center -- great for kids 2 through teens... IMAX Theater & food court there, too --
Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark -- Visit and tour a unique landmark from B'ham's industrial past... one of the coolest and creepiest places you'll ever visit
Southern Museum of Flight -- by the airport... small but nice... they have an SR-71
Oak Mountain State Park -- Best place for road & mountain biking
Railroad Park -- great spot downtown to relax, walk, and people-watch... great spot for kids to run off some energy http://railroadpark.org/
Red Mountain Park -- includes hiking/biking trails and ziplines; not too far from downtown -- http://www.redmountainpark.org/
The Birmingham Zoo -- http://www.birminghamzoo.com/
Birmingham Botanical Gardens -- http://www.bbgardens.org/
Uptown is a brand-new development adjacent to the BJCC & Legacy Arena (walking-distance), Westin Hotel, and Sheraton Hotel. All restaurants with bars and most with live music every night.
-Todd English P.U.B.
-Texas de Brazil
-Bottle & Bone
-Octane Coffee & Bar
***Bottle & Bone and The Southern both win for being unique to Birmingham... don't miss Bottle & Bone's BACON BAR! Yes, BACON.***
Civil Rights & Theatre Districts
-Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
-Kelly Ingram Park
-16th Street Baptist Church
-Green Acres Cafe
-McWane Children's Science Center
-Revelator Coffee Company
-Shive Design Sign & Salvage
Loft District/2nd Avenue North
Hipsters, urbanites, & foodies have all staked a claim to redevelop this area... one of the coolest spots downtown right now.
- Reed Books & The Museum of Fond Memories
- What's on 2nd?
- El Barrio
- The Collins Bar
- Urban Standard
- Pale Eddie's Pour House
- Rogue Tavern
- Carrigan's Pub
Gastropub with half an antique Land Rover mounted to the tap wall
- Trattoria Centrale
Open breakfast & lunch only
Like a tiny, hip Dave & Buster's with much better food
- The Peanut Depot
Roasting peanuts in downtown since 1907
5 Points South/Highland Avenue
5 Points South Merchant List & Links
Moe's Original BBQ
Jack Brown's Beer & Burger Joint
BYOB Burgers & Music
Red Cat Coffee House
Red Mountain Rovers - sweet vintage Land Rover dealership
All the cool kids are in Avondale.
Post Office Pies
Painted Shovel Mercantile
Saw's Soul Kitchen
Hotbox at Parkside
41st St Pub & Aircraft Sales
-Birmingham Botanical Gardens
-Davenport's Pizza Palace
-Saw's Juke Joint
offers casual and fine dining, stadium movie theatre, and a wide variety of retailers from Saks 5th Avenue to Orvis, Barnes & Noble, Sur la Table, Williams-Sonoma, Anthropologie, Vineyard Vines... the list goes on.
- Best patio dining in Birmingham
- Top Chef winner Richard Blais' burger restaurant
The Outlet Shops of Grand River
Bass Pro Shops
Barber Motorsports Park & Vintage Motorsports Museum
Post Office Pies
Slice Pizza & Brew
Davenport's Pizza Palace
Some of the best craft breweries in the South are located in downtown Birmingham...
Trim Tab Brewing
Good People Brewing
Or if you just want an endless selection
World of Beer
- 5 Points South
The J. Clyde
- 5 Points South/Cobb Lane
Or some for the trip home (due to weird AL alcohol distribution laws, you can drink beer at the breweries, but they can't sell it to take home... you'll have to buy at a retailer)
I'd recommend exploring downtown Homewood if you want more of a local flavor (several unique shops, galleries, & restaurants). The Summit is the most popular shopping area, with a lot of national retailers like Saks 5th Ave, Williams-Sonoma, Orvis, Restoration Hardware & a variety of restaurants.
If you really want to go upscale, visit the different shopping villages of Mountain Brook. You'll need your GPS for this one, even though you're only a couple miles from downtown. The Birmingham Zoo, B'ham Botanical Gardens, the Country Club of B'ham, and hundreds of beautiful old homes connect Crestine, English, and Mountain Brook Villages.