City I Love: 9 Must-See Attractions in Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham isn’t just a place, it’s a lifestyle. Locals and visitors alike can enjoy its great outdoor activities, social and food scenes, unique attractions, and more.
Be a “Birminghamian” for a day with Direct Auto as we tour around the largest city in the state of Alabama! Click play in the videos below to see why it’s called “The Magic City” —and why it’s a city we love. Then, keep scrolling to learn more about the spots we visited!
We’re not just tourists in Alabama, we’re local. Come into one of our stores to get a car insurance quote. Don’t want to leave the house? Call 1-877-GO-Direct (1-877-463-4732) or visit us online, instead. We’re always just a call, click, or drive away.
Watch The City I Love: Birmingham- Part I
Watch The City I Love: Birmingham – Part II
Is there a better way to start the day than with a tasty treat? If you’ve never had Hero Doughnuts before, now is the perfect time to satisfy your sweet tooth. What started out as a small operation serving delicious, brioche-style doughnuts at the farmer’s market has grown into something that’s earned a special place in Birminghamians’ hearts. If you visit Birmingham, make it a goal to try as many flavors as possible, from the different fruits cooked down into glazes and fillings to the diverse array of toppings. And if you don’t make it to Birmingham, perhaps you’ll get to try the doughnuts soon enough; Hero Doughnuts has started to expand outside of Alabama.
Need a place to walk off those doughnuts? Head on over to Railroad Park and take advantage of the 19 acres of available green space. There’s a beautiful lake, a rain curtain, a bio-filtration wetlands area, plenty of paths, and “The Rail Trail,” a pathway for runners and joggers that extends the length of the park. With great views of the city and plenty of trees and plants, Railroad Park is the perfect space for a picnic or a friendly game of frisbee
Civil Axe Throwing
Embrace your inner lumberjack and try out a brand-new hobby at Civil Axe Throwing! Although you’ll technically be throwing hatchets, you’ll still be hopping on a trend that is taking the U.S. by storm. You can book an hour of open throwing or gather all of your travel companions for a private session with your own instructor to really learn the ins and outs of ax throwing. As far as afternoon activities go, we give this one a bullseye!
Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Searching for a little peace and quiet? Perhaps you could use a break to explore the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. For more than 55 years, this beautiful site has been a sanctuary for those who love and appreciate what nature has to offer. Every day of the week and all throughout the year, visitors flock to see what’s blooming. From fresh herbs to wonderful wildflowers, there’s something here for every green thumb.
Red Mountain Park
Red Mountain Park is where city locals, and often their dogs (it has the largest dog park in AL), come to play outside. This isn’t just any park though. At 1,500 acres, it’s one of the largest urban parks in the U.S. with a boatload of activities. Visitors can zip line, hike, climb through obstacle courses in the trees, and even participate in team-building exercises. It’s such a great way to spend a day outdoors!
Chocolata Artisanal Chocolatier
This small shop boasts a big chocolate flavor and design that is almost too pretty to eat. Chocolatá only uses 100% pure cocoa and single-origin chocolate that is ethically sourced from Latin American farms. Everything is made in-house at their inviting, bright location, and many of the chocolate names, such as Stargazer, Night Sky, and Moonwalk, have a celestial theme. Go see, and taste, for yourself why their tagline is, “a taste of the divine.”
The Atomic Lounge
Update: The Atomic Lounge closed its doors in 2021.
The Atomic Lounge is a retro eclectic haven that’s heavily influenced by mid-century modern design, combined with a quirky mash-up of decades mostly from 1945 to the 1960s and pop culture imagery. The food is great, the drinks are unique, there are games at every table, and a jungle-themed room with leaf-print wallpaper and hanging ferns in the back is one of the most popular spots. Oh yeah, and there are costumes—an entire closet full of costumes for patrons to wear. There’s no other place like it.
Saturn is a space-obsessed, video game-loving, coffee joint by day, and underground-style music venue at night. As owner Brian Teasley explained it, Saturn is an amusement park, a space station, a life-size video game, an artists’ haven, a childlike workshop — and an all-embracing spot that welcomes “freaks and populists.” No matter who you are, whether you visit day or night, it’s an all-around fun time. Saturn—it has a good ring to it!
The Vulcan Statue
Did you know that Birmingham was once the largest iron and steel producer in the southern U.S.? Reflecting this history lives the largest cast-iron statue in the world, the Vulcan statue, which depicts the Roman god Vulcan, god of the fire and forge. It is the city’s symbol and a beloved figure that is worth seeing.