Birmingham is Alabama’s cradle of cool, a blue-collar city on the upswing. Neighborhoods like Five Points South – strewn with Art Deco buildings, award-winning Southern restaurants like Hot & Hot Fish Club and hipster hangouts like Renaissance Records – showcase Birmingham's trendier side and act as magnets for the young and restless from around the state.
It wasn’t always so. Birmingham has done wonders in recent years to leave its checkered past behind, but not forgotten. Downtown's Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and 16th Street Baptist Church are stirring testaments to the city's struggles, but Birmingham is about more than history.
Don't miss Vulcan Park's namesake Vulcan, the world's largest cast-iron statue and just one of the city’s many quirky attractions. Blues lovers should do everything in their power to find Gip's Place, a hidden-away juke joint in Bessemer, a dicey Birmingham suburb. Fueled by moonshine, hair-raising blues and a come-one, come-all attitude, it shows more than anywhere else just how far Birmingham has come.