With gorgeous beaches and beautiful weather most all year round, the Gulf Coast is a vacationer’s paradise. But if you’re coming from the Midwest, the Northeast, or even further out, it’s tough to fit an entire road trip into one day—especially if you’ll be bringing a couple kids with you.
The answer? A reprieve in Birmingham, of course.
Not only is the coolest city in the South the perfect distance away from the Gulf Coast (if you leave after lunch, you’ll be at the beach before dinner), there’s plenty of delicious and affordable Southern food, tons of one-of-a-kind family activities, and convenient accommodations for families of every size.
Turn your beach trip into an adventure with some of these Birmingham highlights.
After being named Zagat’s #1 Next Hot Food City, our dining scene has been getting some major publicity.
If you love barbeque, or you simply haven’t tasted the best yet, you’ll be served well at Saw’s Soul Kitchen, Full Moon Bar-B-Que, Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q, Golden Rule Bar-B-Q, and many others.
There’s plenty more one-of-a-kind Southern fare on the table too. You’ll find Greek-inspired seafood at The Fish Market, Mexican/American fusion at Rojo, artisan sandwiches at Brick & Tin, award-winning brick oven pizzas at Post Office Pies, and a delectable breakfast menu at Over Easy.
And if you’re just looking for a quick snack on your way out of town, there’s an array of fresh-baked treats at Edgar’s Bakery and some of the most inventive popsicles you’ve ever tasted at Steel City Pops.
Check out these itineraries for more restaurant options.
With so much to see and do in Birmingham, you have plenty of options for an overnight stay. (And your kids will be thoroughly entertained.)
When baseball season rolls around, enjoy a game with the Birmingham Barons, one of the most storied programs in all of professional baseball. And swing by Railroad Park next door for a great spot to watch the sunset!
For a more of a hands-on experience, children of all ages will love the McWane Science Center, featuring an IMAX Dome and brand new exhibits like Body Worlds Rx and Itty Bitty Magic City exhibit. Just a few miles away, you’ll find the Vulcan Park & Museum, home to the largest cast iron statue in the world. And for the truly adventurous, Red Mountain Park is your source for rock climbing, rappelling, and the unforgettable Mega Zip.
When it’s time to take the party indoors, dive into the world of modern art at the Birmingham Museum of Art, or witness one of the world’s biggest collections of vintage cars and motorcycles at the Barber Motorsports Museum.
There’s plenty more to do in the ‘Ham too, so check our fun family itineraries.
With hundreds of high-end boutiques, hidden treasures, and one-of-a-kind shops, it’s impossible to visit Birmingham without grabbing a souvenir—or a couple bags full.
Start at The Summit, one of Birmingham’s premier shopping centers. You’ll find top-notch clothiers like Saks Fifth Avenue, Gus Mayer, Chico’s, and Lilly Pulitzer alongside specialty shops like Sunglass Hut, West Elm, and Pandora. And if you need a spa day thrown in, pay a visit to Halcyon Days.
Still craving lots of options? Head to the Riverchase Galleria, one of the state’s biggest shopping malls and home to big-name brands like Express, Coach, and Victoria’s Secret. Or if you’re looking to save a few bucks, the Outlet Shops of Grand River will serve you well with brands like J. Crew Factory Store, Nine West Outlet, Le Creuset, and Dressbarn.
For a more quaint setting with lovely little shops, head to the city of Homewood to explore the downtown area. You’ll find everything from exquisite art galleries to charming gift shops to custom furnishings—and great coffee and baked goods if you need a quick snack.
And don’t leave town before you explore Birmingham’s vibrant downtown area. You’ll want to write home about the wonderfully unique shops like Reed Books, a goldmine for collectibles and knickknacks, and Sojourns, a fair trade shop with accessories and décor from 57 countries.
Ready to map out your trip? Check out our shopping itinerary for more ideas.
No matter how big your clan is, Birmingham has more than 14,000 hotel rooms to accommodate our guests. Visit our hotel directory to find the right room for you and your family.
Looking for more ideas on what to do while you’re in Birmingham? Head on over to our homepage to check out our full list of itineraries, including a Girls Weekend Out and Golfer’s Guide.