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51 Unique + Fun Things to Do in Birmingham | USA

Fun things to do in Birmingham - Magic City Street Art

Ok, Birmingham. I see you slipping in under the radar. Like the cool little brother that gets up to all kinds of trouble, Birmingham is also the city that never gets caught. It is Portland before it was Portland. Like Austin with lots more Southern charm. Birmingham is quirky but never tacky (ok… sometimes tacky). But anyway, there is no shortage of weird and fun things to do in Birmingham, Alabama. The city has done novelty, and it has done it well.

Alabama wasn’t exactly the first state I hoped to see after a long trip through South America. I made lazy generalizations about Alabama before visiting, throwing it in with the rest of The American South. More importantly, where was I supposed to get my California tacos and West Coast IPAs?

As it turns out, the birthplace of the Civil Rights movement is layered with history. Birmingham, Alabama is beautiful in a way that only traditional Southern cities are. It is a hotbed of creativity and there are artisan galleries, maker fairs, and Airbnb’s showing some real Southern hospitality to prove it. There’s way more to eat than BBQ (though you should definitely eat that too) and the craft beers and taco spots really are quite good. Give it a little time, and you’ll find Birmingham is anything but a conventional Southern city.

If you’ve got plans to venture to the American South, here’s what to do in Birmingham from classic experiences, bars, restaurants, day trips, things to do, and events you won’t want to miss.

51 Weird+ Fun Things to Do in Birmingham

Very Birmingham Experiences

1. See a summer show at the former pig iron-producing blast furnace, Sloss Furnace

2. Take a jog along Vulcan Street for views of the city below

3. Rent a Veo Bike (replacing Zyp Bike) from one of the docks in town and spend the day exploring the city by bicycle

Fun things to do in Birmingham - Zyp Bike4. Hit the hiking trails of the 1,500-acre Red Mountain Park

5. Have a nighttime photo shoot under the LED lights of the 1931 tunnel

6. Rent a tube and float down the Cahaba River

7. Head over to the Alabama Theater for a screening of Grease or another summertime classic in the Summer Film Series

8. Pack your own cheese and crackers for a summer picnic at Railroad Park or along the Rotary TrailFun things to do in Birmingham - Bike Path
9. Move your longwinded stories off the front porch and onto the stage with Arc Stories

10. Bring out the big guns and go skeet shooting at Selwood Farm

11. Scout out the best in secondhand clothing at Sozo Trading Company

Fun things to do in Birmingham - Sozo Trading Company

12. Browse the screen printed art like license plates, pins, and postcards at Yellowhammer Creative

13. Play all day with interactive exhibits at the McWane Science Center
14. Bait your hook and head out for an afternoon fishing trip

15. Pay a visit to the Civil Rights Institute to learn more about the early stages of the civil rights movement in the American South.

Eating Birmingham

16. Get your fingers covered in sauce with a Southern BBQ feast at Dreamland or Saw’s Soul Kitchen

Saws BBQ in Birmingham, Alabama

17. Get dumped and make it up with one of the super delicious, chocolate chip Breakup Cookies at Church Street

18. Beat the heat with a popsicle even adults can get behind (how does pineapple jalepeño sound?) at Steel City Pops

19. Explore the up-and-coming culinary scene of Birmingham at Birmingham Restaurant Week

20. Dine on some killer pizza in a restored post office at Post Office Pies

Fun things to do in Birmingham - Post Office Pies

21. Nosh on the famed tomato salad at Hot and Hot Fish Club

22. Go to Jack Brown’s Beer and Burger for (obviously) a beer and a burger

Drinking Birmingham

23. Get your morning buzz on with a very tasty cup from Revelator Coffee

24. Sip a range of sours with a flight at the Avondale Sour Room

25. Enjoy the creamy and very alcoholic Bushwacker (made with Kahlua, rum, cream of coconut, and more) from Lou’s Pub

Fun things to do in Birmingham - Bushwhacker

26. Refine your tastebuds for vodka at the Redmont Vodka Distillery

27. Slurp up a Good People Coffee Oatmeal Stout Beer Float at Birmingham’s ballpark

Fun things to do in Birmingham - Birmingham Ballpark

28. Check out the bizarre antique collection at Garage Café
29. Bar hop the Avondale-owned properties scattered around town
30. Wander the extensive local and nationwide beer collection at Hop City Liquor Store

Fun things to do in Birmingham - Hop City Liquor Store

31. Head to Trim Tab Brewing for their Trivia or Paints + Pints events

32. Rummage through the costume closet and get dressed for your night out at Atomic Vintage Bar

33. Get tipsy on one of the many funky flavors at Birmingham Daiquiri

Fun things to do in Birmingham - Birmingham Daiquiri

Events + Festivals in Birmingham

34. Go to the annual S’mores & Pours event at Avondale (June)

35. Experience all the best brews from Alabama and beyond at the Magic City Brewfest (August)

36. Venue hop to the rock and pop sets taking place across the city for the Secret Stages Music Festival (August)

37. Check out the Queens in the Mr. & Miss National Apollo Pageant hosted at Mystic Krewe of Apollo (August)

Love festivals? Discover more: 21 Weird + Unique World Festivals

Keeping Birmingham Weird

38. Head to the still-creepy Sloss Furnace on Halloween for one of the best haunted houses in the country

39. Suit up for a slip-n-slide block party of epic proportions at Slide the City

40. Head over to Satellite Cafe to play Sonic the Hedgehog and other old-school games on a classic gaming

Fun things to do in Birmingham - Satellite Cafe
Fun things to do in Birmingham - Satellite Cafe
Fun things to do in Birmingham - Satellite Cafe

41. Get locked in and try to make your way out at Locked In: The Birmingham Escape Game

42. Learn about the eerie history of Birmingham on the Birmingham Ghost Walk ($30)

43. Play a few rounds of shuffleboard at the 41st Street Pub & Aircraft Sales

Birmingham + Beyond

44. Venture to the Gulf Coast of Mobile to see where some of baseball’s greatest players come from.

45. Experience outer space and craft beer in the very cute city of Huntsville

Best Beer in Huntsville - Straight to Ale

46. Experience Southern hospitality and iconic civil rights sites in the capital city of Montgomery

47. Go to Tuscaloosa to experience what the Crimson Tide – the University of Alabama’s football team – is all about

48. Travel around the state in search of the best craft beer in Alabama (there are lots)

Alabama Craft Beer - Good People Bearded Lady

Just Because

49. Add some weight to the Heaviest Corner on Earth located on 20th Street + 1st Avenue

50. Head to Alabama Museum of the Health Sciences to check out dated wooden anatomical models and an iron lung

51. Check out the tall-and-tacky roadside attraction, Stan the Muffler Man

BONUS: Locals Suggestions on What to do in Birmingham

“Visit DeSoto Caverns, historic caverns with a theme park on top.” – Jean Marie

2 Comments

  • Reply
    Jean Marie
    May 21, 2019 at 3:18 am

    I love going to DeSoto Caverns. It’s right near Selwood Farms (mentioned above), and it’s the nation’s most historic caverns with a unique theme park on top. Definitely one of the most fun and very out-there things to do near Birmingham!

    • Reply
      Taylor
      May 23, 2019 at 5:11 pm

      Sounds pretty wild! Something to do with kids, or would you recommend it for anyone?

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