1, 2, 3: Birmingham, Alabama Destination Guide

Affectionately known as “The Magic City,” Birmingham is an emerging destination for foodies, design enthusiasts, and nature lovers. Home to widely acclaimed restaurants, idyllic neighborhoods, and plenty of gorgeous landscapes for kayaking, hiking, and biking with a view, there’s much to discover in this Southern city. Journalist and resident Lauren Wicks shares the below destination guide. 


Room at the John Hand Hotel. There is a white bed behind a sliding door and a mirror next to the door.

The John Hand Hotel

Residing in one of Downtown Birmingham’s most prominent buildings, John Hand Hotel is the best kept secret for luxe accommodations in Birmingham. Spacious suites and proximity to the best drinking and dining spots make for the ultimate home base. 


Automatic Seafood & Oysters. There is an orange broth-based dish served on a white plate.

Automatic Seafood & Oysters

Automatic Seafood & Oysters is one of the city’s buzziest restaurants, serving up fresh-from-the gulf seafood, local veggies, and fantastic cocktails. Chef Adam Evans and his wife, Suzanne, have created a chic destination for brunch, happy hour, or a celebratory dinner.

Inside of the Trattoria Zaza. There are many tables and chairs inside.

Trattoria Zaza

Arguably the best brunch spot in town, Trattoria Zaza serves up inventive, Roman-style pizza, pasta, and an exciting wine list. You’ll likely find the mayor dining here on his lunch break, so make sure to say hi.


White building with a Pepper Place sign. The building is right off of a street.

Spend Saturday Morning at Pepper Place

There’s no better place to be on a Saturday morning in Birmingham than Pepper Place, home to a beloved farmers market, eats, and local shops. Find a new favorite artist at Design Supply Shop, find a souvenir at Yellowhammer Creative, and refresh your wardrobe at Billy Reid.

Waterfall surrounded by yellow and orange leaves and trees.

Take a Hike at Oak Mountain State Park

It’s worth venturing out to the ‘burbs to hike, bike, or kayak at Oak Mountain State Park. King’s Chair is the most popular trail and offers sweeping views that you’ll be shocked to find just 20 minutes from downtown.

Statue of Martin Luther King, Jr. outside of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.

Learn about the Civil Rights Movement at Birmingham Civil Rights Institute 

Learn about the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s at this large, informative museum. 

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