Here are a few:
- With a metropolitan population of nearly a million people, Birmingham is the largest city in Alabama.
- No need to pigeonhole Birmingham as serving only fried pies and barbecue. The city is home to “the Oscars of dining,” with James Beard Foundation award winners and nominees.
- Birmingham is a national leader in urban green spaces. Thousands of wooded acres for biking and hiking are within minutes of downtown in area parks.
- The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s UAB Hospital is an international leader in health care and one of the top transplant centers in the world.
- Though iron and steel production gave rise to the city of Birmingham, the area’s largest employer is now the health care industry.
- Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum has the largest collection of vintage and contemporary motorcycles in the world. Adjacent is Barber Motorsports Park, one of the finest racing facilities in the world and beautifully landscaped in the rolling hills just outside the city.
- Barber Motorsports Park hosts the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, making Birmingham the only Deep South city on the North American Indy circuit.
- USA TODAY calls Birmingham’s Sidewalk Film Festival one of “Ten Great Places for a Fabulous Film Festival.” Since its debut in 1999, the festival has attracted filmmakers from around the world to screen their work for fans of independent cinema.
- The Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), the global Catholic Television giant, is headquartered and broadcasts from its studios in Birmingham to millions of viewers around the world.
- In 1995, Mercedes Benz chose a site just west of Birmingham to build its first assembly plant outside Germany. Their visitors center indoctrinates guests on the automaker’s history. Tours of the plant are available by appointment.
- Birmingham’s role in America’s Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s placed the city at the center of the most significant domestic drama of the 20th The city’s Civil Rights District is now designated a National Monument.
- Birmingham is known as the founding city for the recognition of Veterans Day and hosts the nation’s oldest and largest Veterans Day celebration.
- Birmingham is the only place in the world where all the ingredients for making iron are present—coal, iron ore and limestone, all within a ten-mile radius.
- Vulcan, the mythical god of metalworking, is the largest cast iron statue in the world and is second in size only to the Statue of Liberty. The statue sits high atop Red Mountain as a symbol of Birmingham’s birth in the iron and steel industry.
- Vulcan’s bare buttocks, facing the suburb of Homewood, measure as wide as a Greyhound bus.
- The Club’s multi-colored dance floor was the inspiration for a key icon in the 1970s movie Saturday Night Fever starring John Travolta.
- The Birmingham Museum of Art houses 10,000 pieces of Wedgwood, the largest museum collection outside England.
- With the opening of Alabama’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, the state became the “Godfather of Great Golf.” Two of the RTJ courses are in Birmingham.
- Birmingham is home to the nation’s oldest baseball park, Rickwood Field, which opened in 1910 and hosted baseball greats such as Jackie Robinson, Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Lorenzo “Piper” Davis, Willie Mays and “Shoeless” Joe Jackson. Tours are available weekdays.
- The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Kirklin Clinic was designed by world-renowned architect I.M. Pei.
- Sloss Furnaces produced iron for nearly 90 years during the early days of the city’s emerging as an industrial giant. Today it is a city-operated museum and recognized as a National Historic Landmark, the only facility of its kind being preserved anywhere in the world.
- Country singing legend and Alabama native Hank Williams spent the last night of his life at Birmingham’s Redmont Hotel before leaving for a New Year’s Day performance January 1, 1953, in Canton, Ohio. Somewhere along the way, Williams’s friend and driver found him dead in the back of the famous blue Cadillac.
- The Alabama Theatre is one of only a handful of 1920’s movie palaces still in operation. The “Mighty Wurlitzer” pipe organ still rises from beneath the theater floor for live accompaniment to silent movie screenings and other events.
- The Irondale Café is a home-style cafeteria with strong Hollywood ties. The café was the inspiration for author and actress Fannie Flagg’s successful novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café and hit movie of half that name.