Years from now, historians will look back at 2017 and say, “Hokey smokes, what the heck happened in Birmingham, Alabama?” It’s been that kind of year. Read on to see for yourself.

First off, we were recognized by just about every publication except Marvel Comics as being awesome. New York Times listed us among the 52 Places to Go in 2017. No secret there. We’ve been onto that for a long time. Buzzfeed listed us among 12 of the Most Underrated Food Cities. And, while we’re on the subject of food, Southern Living listed us among the 15 Southern Cities for Foodies and Zagat named us one of the Most Exciting Food Cities in the US. What can we say, when it comes to this kind of praise, we eat it up!

It wasn’t just our food that got props. Outside Magazine poured the love on our hiking, trail biking, bouldering, and really just about everything about us in their article highlighting best towns. Travel and Leisure listed us among America’s Friendliest Cities, and DK Eyewitness Travel has us as one of the 15 Best Cities to Visit this Summer.

It’s really no wonder Birmingham is being discovered as an unsung gem of a place to visit. Look at everything that’s happened just in this year alone. This year, the National Senior Games brought 10,500 of the buffest grandmas and grandpas you’ll ever see to town along with their families, friends, and fans; the Birmingham Civil Rights District became a National Monument; and Food and Wine Magazine moved their headquarters here (really, if you’ve spent any time at all here eating and drinking you know that was a no-brainer). The newly renovated Pizitz building opened up offering up the food court to beat all food courts and an excellent bar. Moon Shine, an intoxicating rooftop bar, opened up on what was once the Empire building. Topgolf opened in the Uptown District and gave us a whole new way to think about “hitting a bucket of  balls.” And, if that’s not all (and believe us when we say, these are just a few of the highlights; this has been that kind of year), we’re poised to have even more fun next year with a USL expansion soccer team heading our way and the possibility (even if remote) that Amazon might locate their eastern headquarters here. (If we lose that one, it isn’t for the lack of trying. We mounted one heck of an effort with large “A to B” boxes scattered around downtown.)

All in all, it was a banner Birmingham year. If you’re a resident or one of the thousands who visited us in the past year, thank you for being part of it. If you’re thinking about visiting, all we can say is, “Aren’t you packed yet?”