News has come down that the Auburn Tigers and the Houston Cougars are headed to town for the annual TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl.

This is good news.  If there’s anything we like better than enjoying our own town, it’s showing it off to visitors.  So, for your reference, football fans, here’s a little guide to what to see and do before and after the game.  (By the way, the TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl will be played Tuesday, December 28, at 11:00 a.m. CT at Birmingham’s new Protective Stadium. Get your tickets here.)


Birmingham is widely known as the “Dinner Table of the South.”  The greater Birmingham area has developed a reputation as a culinary gem in the Southeast.

Established, award-winning chefs, coupled with a new crop of up-and-coming stars, make for memorable dining.  Find the local eats here.

Before we move on to other recommendations, let us remind you that Conde Nast Traveler has just named Birmingham one of the 22 places in the world to go in 2022.  So, you’re getting a head start on everyone else.

Now here are our suggestions for filling your time before and after the game:

  • Pack your sticks. With moderate temperatures year-round, it’s almost always golfing weather in Birmingham.  The city has courses along the famed Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.
  • Don’t want to haul that golf bag? Topgolf Birmingham has everything you need for a fun-filled evening, including restaurant and bar service.
  • Family adventure is calling at Red Mountain Park. The park has experiences like the Zip Trip or the Mega Zip.  Or take a nice, long hike here.
  • Shop The Summit. This mall is so upscale that they call it a “lifestyle center.”  You’ll find good restaurants here, too.
  • Cruise through the world’s largest collection of old, new, and rare motorcycle at Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum.
  • Take the kiddos up to Vulcan Park & Museum to see the view from the world’s largest cast iron statue.
  • Birmingham’s rich civil rights history is a lesson for all ages. Visit the historic Civil Rights District, now a national monument.
  • Go to the Pizitz Food Hall for global bites served from a variety of food stalls. Get your cocktail at The Louis bar.
  • Check out one of the finest collections in the Southeast at the Birmingham Museum of Art.
  • See the heroes of our state’s sports at the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, just across from Protective Stadium.

When the pep rallies are over, there’s still plenty of time for more fun.  So, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of places to party when you get down in Birmingham.

  • Paramount – This place is well-known for its haute bar food and for its arcade of classic games. Yeah, we’re talking Lethal Enforcers and Nightmare on Elm Street Pinball.
  • Carrigan’s Public House – Carrigan’s specializes in craft cocktails, and if the weather’s cooperating while you’re here, you’ll like their rooftop patio.
  • Cayo Coco Rum Bar & Restaurante – A little Cuban culture right here in the heart of downtown
  • Avondale Brewing Company – In the heart of the Avondale neighborhood, this popular watering hole is the anchor for great restaurants in the area, including Post Office Pies and Saw’s Soul Kitchen.
  • Back Forty Beer Company – While you’re doing the brewery tour, stop in here for a nice selection of craft beers and one of the best burgers in town. For a guide to all area breweries, check here.
  • The Garage – Also once filled with antiques, this neighborhood bar is known for the quirky statuary scattered about the outdoor seating. GQ magazine once called The Garage “one of the 10 bars worth flying for.”  No credit cards—cash only.  ATM on the premises.
  • Queen’s Park – You’ll be here just in time to catch their holiday spirits with the over-the-top seasonal décor.
  • Oasis – Since Birmingham is made up of neighborhoods, this is another place where everybody knows your name—or will before you leave. Live music often.
  • Lou’s Pub and Package Store – In the historic Lakeview district, Lou’s has been around for a while and has lots of friendly regulars. The bartender is talented, and you can buy a bottle to go here, as the name suggests.

The Nick – If you’re feeling really adventurous, you can visit The Nick, but be forewarned that it’s not called “Birmingham’s Dirty Little Secret” for nothing.

For the most part, these places are near downtown Birmingham.  If you’re staying out on Highway 280, you’ll find dozens of bars and nightclubs out that way.

Here’s an entertainment option that’s really intriguing.  The Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Center is hosting Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience. This traveling exhibition brings the artist’s words and pictures out of the frames and into a world that surrounds you in an immersive experience.  For tickets, go here.


For a complete guide of things to see and do during you bowl game visit, check around this website.  Questions?  Call the Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau at 800-458-8085.