By Lindsay Ferrier

I suggested one winter afternoon a couple of years ago. My husband and I had been brainstorming ideas for a weekend road trip in January and coming up empty. Birmingham, though, seemed plausible — It was just under three hours from Nashville and its warmer climate made a surprise snowfall seem very unlikely. Plus, I had a few friends who lived in Birmingham and they had been raving to me about their city for years. We decided to give it a try.

I’m so glad we did. We’ve now visited ‘The Magic City’ three times over the last two years, and each time we return, we fall more in love. Birmingham is a perfect blend of sweet Southern charm and exciting, modern innovation. You’ll find a thriving arts community here and sophisticated shopping options, as well as a dedication to preserving the city’s natural beauty and outdoor spaces. It is a city that embraces its history -the good and the bad- and thoughtfully presents it in a way that allows us all to benefit from its lessons. Birmingham is also a place where food and the enjoyment of it is taken very, very seriously. We’ve had some unforgettable meals here and have only scratched the surface of the restaurant scene. Visiting reminds me to slow down and savor the moment — It’s the Birmingham way.

I’ve researched the heck out of this city and visited as many of Birmingham’s most popular restaurants, shops, and attractions as possible. The result is this list of things anyone visiting Birmingham can enjoy. Whether you’re bringing kids, your girl squad, or your significant other along for the journey, you’ll find plenty to do, eat and see in this post. First, though…. a little history.