They call it the Magic City for a reason.
Birmingham, Alabama is one of the most vibrant cities in the Southeast—from its mining and metalworking roots, Birmingham grew to become one of the most crucial activity centers of the Civil Rights Movement.1 The city only continues to grow in cultural relevance, boasting countless historical sites, a welcoming environment for commerce, and a climate of social justice.
Whether you’ve just moved to the city or you’re considering a Southern-style change of scenery, you’ll be impressed by the sheer volume of things to do near Birmingham AL. From the Birmingham Zoo and Railroad Park to Alabama Theatre and Alabama Jazz Hall, the list of Birmingham attractions is endless. Below, we’ll explore some of the highlights.
#1 Birmingham Museum of Art
The Birmingham Museum of Art, located just North of Linn Park in Central City, is one of Birmingham’s most vibrant attractions.
The southern museum is so much more than an artistic hub—check out everything it has to offer, including:
- Art After 5, a cocktail hour featuring live music and art-centered activities
- Art on the Rocks, an annual concert and gathering of Birmingham’s creatives
- Oscar’s Sunday Brunch, a weekly reservation-only meal at the museum’s cafe
Whether you’re a bona fide patron of the arts or simply love an occasional walk through an elegant gallery, the Birmingham Museum of Art is the place for you.
#2 McWane Science Center
Located inside the historical, refurbished Loveman’s department store building just South of the Lyric Theater, McWane Science Center should be at the top of your list of places to see while visiting (or moving to) Birmingham.
McWane Science Center is so much more than a museum. While you’re there, check out:
- The 280-seat IMAX Dome theater, playing documentaries and feature films all year long
- The World of Water exhibit featuring a touch tank and aquarium
- The Itty Bitty Magic City exhibit for Birmingham’s youngest future scientists
- The Alabama Collections Center showcasing fossils, artifacts, and more
#3 The Fennec
Live music, cocktails, and food — The Fennec has it all.
Just South of Railroad Park, The Fennec is an intimate music and entertainment venue with an elevated menu of bar vittles and craft cocktails.
Luckily, you don’t have to wait for your favorite band to play to make an excuse to visit. The Fennec is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11:00 AM to midnight (or 2:00 AM on weekends).
If you’re looking for an institution of Alabama cuisine, look no further than Fife’s Restaurant on 4th Avenue North in Central City.
Founded over 60 years ago by Ernest and Margaret Fife, Fife’s serves the best of Southern comfort food from 6:00 AM to 6:30 PM Monday through Saturday. The menu rotates daily, but don’t miss Southern favorites like:
- Collard greens
- Chicken Livers
- Country Fried Steak
- Squash Croquette
#5 The Museum of Fond Memories at Reed Books
For the quirky, bookish, and nostalgic, Central City’s monument to tomes and tchotchkes is perfect for your next walkabout in Birmingham.
At the Museum of Fond Memories—an annex of Jim Reed’s home collection of oddities and random objects—visitors can sift through books old and new, antiques, and doohickies of bygone eras.2
But, watch your step when you enter. You may literally trip over the number of books in this place.
#6 Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark
Newcomers to Birmingham simply can’t miss the Sloss Furnaces—a National Historic Landmark in Avondale. Construction of the furnaces began in 1881, and they featured state-of-the-art technology for the time.3
Self-guided tours of the landmark educate visitors about:
- The iron-making process in the 1880s
- Workers’ conditions and their stories
- The Furnaces’ importance in Birmingham’s history
#7 Birmingham Civil Rights Institute/Kelly Ingram Park
One of the most historical Birmingham attractions, the Civil Rights District marks significant fights for human rights. An official stop on the US Civil Rights Trail, Kelly Ingram Park served as an assembly point for activists throughout the Civil Rights Movement.4 The four-acre park features numerous impactful sculptures depicting the struggle for African American civil rights in Birmingham.
But, while you’re in the neighborhood, be sure to stop by its neighboring historic center—The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, featuring
- Rotating and permanent exhibits
- An oral history collection
- Documentary film screenings
The Institute is a truly multimedia experience, with impactful activities and educational materials for people of all ages.
#8 Roots and Revelry
Just two blocks away from The McWane Science Center lies Roots and Revelry, an upscale restaurant making fine dining fun.
It’s the perfect spot if you are looking for date night ideas in Birmingham, AL, work meetings, or even a weeknight splurge. Serving brunch, lunch, dinner, cocktails, and dessert, their menus truly have something for everyone. Don’t miss the:
- Fried Green Benedict
- Pimento Grilled Cheese
- Braised Lamb Shank
- Cheesecake-Stuffed Crepes
A spectacular fusion of Southern fare and innovative cuisine, Roots and Revelry is a staple of Birmingham fine dining.
Discover Home in Birmingham, AL with Common at The Frank
What’s not to love about this southern charmed spot? From the rich history of Birmingham, AL, the decadent southern food, and countless sights to see make the Magic City the perfect place to live for young people. You won’t often find yourself head-scratching over what to do in Birmingham, Alabama—you’ll be surrounded by activities, culture, and the best of the South. The list of attractions in Birmingham Alabama is guaranteed to have a fun thing or two for everyone.
But, if you’re moving to Birmingham, you’ll have to find a home base before you start planning your weekend activity schedule—Common has you covered.
Common at The Frank is the perfect location for Birmingham newcomers. With 1-bedroom apartments and studios nestled in the heart of Central City, The Frank is pet-friendly, features a furnished rooftop common area, and an interior courtyard hosting countless community events.
With Common, you’ll find so much more than a place to lay your head—discover our built-in communities, stellar amenities, and close proximity to the hearts of cities around the country. You’re ready to explore all the best things to do near Birmingham AL.
- City of Birmingham. About Birmingham. https://www.birminghamal.gov/about/
- Atlas Obscura. Museum of Fond Memories at Reed Books. https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/museum-of-fond-memories-at-reed-books
- Sloss Furnaces. About Us. https://www.slossfurnaces.com/about-us/
- US Civil Rights Trail. Kelly Ingram Park. https://civilrightstrail.com/attraction/kelly-ingram-park/