Landscape Photography by Matt Glasscock
Birmingham used to be a well-kept secret. But, fact is, over the last few years, more and more publications like Travel + Leisure have discovered her charms, making our fair city one of the top destinations for people looking for something different. In Kelsey Ogletree’s write up of Birmingham in Travel Leisure’s “Top 50 Places to Visit in 2021,” she puts it this way: “The modern scene in The Magic City is a great example of what can happen when Alabama kids head off to the big city to hone their skills, then return home to do their thing — in a really high-quality way.” She goes on to describe Birmingham as a city “where contemporary charm and old Southern hospitality mingle on a big scale.” Amen, Kelsey! We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
Now, you may be asking yourself, “What on Earth does Kelsey Ogletree see in a southern city like Birmingham, Alabama.” To which we answer, come see for yourself! In fact, spring break is just around the corner and, despite the fact that we’ve come into 2021 carrying the pandemic of 2020 on our backs, you’ll find Birmingham more than accommodating when it comes to safely enjoying a trip to someplace special. Have a look at just a handful of the attractions that have garnered attention from the likes of Travel + Leisure, and make Birmingham so desirable.
1. Links. No, not web links… golf links. We’ve got them and they are absolutely stunning. So, if you’re looking for fairer fairways, look no further. From the courses of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail to a number of other public and semi-private courses, Birmingham’s rolling terrain and emerald greens offer up a siren call to the duffer and low-handicapper alike. And if your round gets rained out, you can take those clubs indoors at Topgolf.
2. Room to breathe. We’ve got all the social distancing you want with hundreds of acres of parks and miles and miles of trails. So, if you’re tired of being cooped up but still want to avoid the plague, we’ve got you covered (or uncovered as the case may be). Get your hike and history in with a visit either to Red Mountain Park or to Ruffner Mountain where much of Birmingham’s iron mining history comes to life. Or, head just south of the city and check out Oak Mountain State Park with its pristine lakes, and miles of trails. Or, hey, stop by one of our world-class restaurants and pick up a to-go lunch and spend the day relaxing and soaking up the sun at Railroad Park. Which brings us to our next point. Eats.
3. It’s certainly no secret that Birmingham is a foodie town (they don’t call us The Dinner Table of the South for nothin’). Here, the range of dining experiences separate us from the pack with everything from James Beard Award-winning white tablecloth fare, to authentic soul food, to some of the world’s finest barbecue. More importantly, our restaurants have come up with some super clever ways of keeping guests separate from one another. Let’s hear it for safe dining out!
4. Drinks. Birmingham took to mixology and beer brewing like biscuits to gravy. From brewpubs to hip little cocktail joints, Birmingham has all kinds of options for wetting one’s whistle. And if the pandemic has you skittish, not to worry. Birmingham’s bars have celebrated social distancing with some excellent outdoor seating options (Now, that’s what we’d call a breath of fresh air.)
5. Wide open indoor spaces. From the Birmingham Museum of Art (trust us when we say you’ll be surprised at the sophistication and depth of the exhibits to be found there), to the largest collection of motorcycles in the world and the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, to Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark, Birmingham offers a wealth of indoor spaces and activities that observe proper social distancing and provide excellent experiences.
For the weekend or for the week (did we mention spring break was coming up?), or even for a night if you happen to be just passing through, when you’re ready to travel we’re ready to welcome you with open arms and plenty to do in one of the top 50 places to visit this year. Come on down, there’s a seat at the table for you.
Currently, Alabama has extended the statewide mask ordinance, which requires that a mask or other face covering be worn when in public and in close contact with each other.