Instead of booking a flight to New York City for a good time, stop by Birmingham, Alabama for the opportunity to experience a unique kind of vacation. Birmingham’s metropolitan area, better known as Greater Birmingham, welcomes all hungry travelers with appetites for something new and exclusive as well as traditional. Downtown alone offers a nostalgic refection of the 1960s that is sure to convince one to believe they walked the same streets advocating civil rights. Travelers who admire southern tradition and an odd style of shopping, Birmingham is the pit stop for a dash with art and history.
In September of 2013, Birmingham’s 16 Baptist Church victims were honored, attracting churchgoers from all over the United States. Of course, the city is known for this particular pivotal moment during the Civil Right’s movement when four little girls lost their lives to a villainous hate crime. The church has been remodeled to accommodate seating for travelers who want a true historic experience. The Birmingham Civil Right’s Institute offers an array of historic events that has trailed from the height of the movement to today’s modern perspective, symbolizing the art and history of a nation’s past.
For travelers who have appetites for piquant, southern dishes and corner shops that supply timeless odds and ends, Second Avenue North is one of the many spots downtown to grab a peculiar bite to eat and to thrift. Rogue Tavern, simultaneously placed on the opposite end of Second Avenue North has a delectable menu accompanied with some rhythmic, hip slapping tunes. Those who visit on weekend nights can expect special appearances from upcoming artist playing live in a corner just near the entrance. What’s on Second sits on the corner of Second Avenue North in Birmingham, a three -story thrift shop filled with books, art, history and vintage goodies.
Artists from Birmingham and surrounding areas meet annually to appreciate art history by indulging in an art festival, proudly named The Art Walk. First and Second Avenue are transformed from a lofty community to an art district where over 100 visual artists showcase their work, musicians play live music and vendors keep shoppers satisfied. This event will take place September 5-6, 2014. Supporting art galleries such as The Beta Pictoris Art Gallery and other locally famous artists such as Wellon Bridgers, Bonnie Browne, Scott Bragen will be in attendance.
University of Alabama at Birmingham students scatter over downtown, raiding coffee shops in colored scrubs that express patriotism in its highest respect. Travelers are made to feel welcome at any time of the year. The residents of Birmingham are eager to meet tourists and give them a sweet brisk of southern hospitality. Birmingham is a growing city, beautiful and illustrious, overflowing with new talent, great art, rich history and delicious food. Downtown offers a southern feel that is absolutely unforgettable.
Birmingham is renown for its rich historic culture and disturbing past. Although the city’s past may be disturbing, it is always refreshing to revisit and reflect. Be sure to list Birmingham, Alabama on this summer’s bucket list – definitely a don’t miss! Enjoy beautiful art, friendly people and a glass of sweet tea in a city that has made history.
Opinion by Erica Sandifer