What makes you want to dance with joy? What puts the spring in your sandals, the Gangnam Style in your golf shoes, the hip hop in your high tops? Whatever it happens to be, we’re willing to bet we can serve it up to you in extra helpings here in Birmingham. In fact, here are a few ideas guaranteed to whet your appetite for a visit.
Let’s talk golf first. From Oxmoor Valley to Ross Bridge, we’ve got some of the best public courses on the planet. Spend a day on the emerald links of one our Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail locations and you’ll be feeling like lining up for the electric slide on the eighteenth hole. We’re talking miles of gorgeous fairways, bent grass greens, and topography that will have you slack jawed in awe on every tee box.
On the other hand, if you’ve got the need for speed (and you ascribe to Mark Twain’s notion that golf is a “great walk spoiled”), then Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum is where you want to be. With the largest collection of vintage motorcycles in the world ranging from an 1894 Hildebrande & Wolfmüller to a 1995 Britten V1000 and everything in between, as well as a healthy selection of Lotus and other cars, it’s no wonder more than a quarter of a million people visit each year.
Prefer to kick up your heels out in the natural world? You simply must check out the Cahaba River. Described by Smithsonian magazine as one of the most biologically diverse locations in the nation, the Cahaba is home to more species of fish than you can find in England and 13 species of snails that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. And that’s just for starters. Let’s just say that a day trip on the Cahaba is a memory that will make you feel like dancing every time you think about it.
A lot of our visitors find themselves deeply moved by the incredible history we have to share with the world. It was here that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s foot soldiers fought for the rights of all Americans. Our Civil Rights National Monument offers profoundly moving experiences. Spend the day, for example, exploring the Civil Rights Institute, wandering through Kelly Ingram Park, or checking out the A.G. Gaston Motel where Dr. King and those who marched alongside him met. See the statue of the four little girls who were tragically killed in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing. We promise you’ll find the experience one to remember forever.
Of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t remind you that Birmingham is known as the Dinner Table of the South, a reputation earned for our diverse and delightful food scene. From soul food to James Beard Award-winning fare, Birmingham has been known to get the taste buds dancing in even the hardest-to-please palate. Picture yourself, for example, enjoying a warm Birmingham summer evening. A light breeze in the air conveys the smell of brewing grain and hops from Back Forty’s brewing operation in the expansive building behind you. The malty air commingles with aromas of hamburgers and pork confit sandwiches, pepperoni pizzas and Korean grilled chicken. Are you feeling it yet? No? Well then, let’s try again: you’re dining al fresco at El Barrio. You order an exquisite Mexican stew with pork and fava beans and small barrels of corn steeped in a rich spicy broth that makes you crave one more margarita. The evening is crisp and clear and cars glide by on 2nd Avenue as you enjoy the subdued hum of the city and the bright flavors of this unique Mexican fare. Now is hunger beginning to gnaw at you un poco? Now are your feet beginning to dance a little salsa involuntarily in anticipation. Yep. Us too. Which is why we’re going to finish up this article and head over there for a libation, lively conversation, and something delightfully spicy to eat. Salud!