Birmingham, Alabama for Valentine’s Day

Like cities across the country, 210,000-person Birmingham, Alabama has a growing creative class pocketed among communities of post-industrialization decline (though some of it remains).

Founded in 1870s after the Civil War while much of the leading Southern cities of the era were in shambles, Birmingham grew up as an iron town, as symbolized by the Sloss Furnaces National Park, an elephant-graveyard of production hidden underneath a highway leaving the city center (it had the nickname of Pittsburgh of the South, for its wide-ranging metal production).

But as Birmingham twisted in the wind in the mid-20th century, other took hold of new industries — Atlanta fought to be a air transit hub. Today, that small creative class — aided in part by the University of Alabama at Birmingham — is helping to fuel a few small pockets of the walkable urban ideal.

Yes, what better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than a great long weekend in Birmingham, Ala.

Some adventures:

  • Our first AirBnB experience here
  • Loli’s BBQ, our first meal was at the tiny, delightful and tasty roadside BBQ house
  • Saw’s BBQ with Andre, which was among the best pulled pork I’ve had
  • Good People Brewery with Andre, where we met his friend David Perry and had a fancy beer
  • Avondale Brewery near where we stayed
  • Vulcan Park (James McKnight, a leading journalist made the recommendation)
  • Bottletree Cafe for its flea market
  • the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, where we listened to kids learn the craft
  • Peanut Depot for boiled peanuts

  • Pepper Place for fashion week
  • Hot and Hot Fish Club
  • Ollie Irene
  • J-Clyde for last dinner
  • Walked Center City Birmingham, with its beautiful, restored warehouses
  • Saw the Alabama Theater, dubbed the ‘Showplace of the South,’ which has been a performance venue since 1927
  • Some photos here.

Also, I’m sorry.


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