I am now entering my fifth year of residency in Birmingham, as an adult with an apartment and a job and responsibilities and bills and laundry (so much laundry). And like most who live here, I discover daily something new that makes this city, my city, so magical.
I could write 100s of blogs about the magic in Birmingham, AL, because it is endless. For now, I’ll begin by sharing with you this guide.
Nisha’s Tiny Tour of Birmingham: aka the proven, sure-fire, quickest way to make any visitor fall in love with the Ham.
1. It’s Nice To Have You in Birmingham Mural.
This may seem dumb or like it should be last on the list, to secure the deal. But trust me. Take your guest here first. Take them when it’s beautiful outside.
When it’s a bit busy downtown, so you have to park just far enough away that you have to walk a little bit to get there. Inconvenient? Yes. Will your guest start to unknowingly take in the beautiful surrounding skyline and busy city noise? Also yes.
You’ve got ’em hooked, and they don’t even know it. Reel ’em in!! Don’t forget to drive down cobblestone Morris Avenue, across 2nd Ave bridge overlooking the railroads, and past the brilliant Alabama Theatre marquee to really pile on the charm.
2. Melt for a Meal
Located in Avondale, Melt has amaaaaazing food. Basically everything on the menu is delicious. You really cannot go wrong. I have tried their grilled chicken salad, their pulled pork BBQ nachos, and their buffalo- sauced chicken tender sandwich on Texas toast. (Is your mouth watering, too?) It just always seems like everyone there is having a great time (because they are). And like Disney World, that makes you believe you’re having a great time (and then you do).
The food is by far some of the tastiest, most flavorful and unique food I have had around these parts. Beyond the menu, the atmosphere is fun and hospitable. There are board games at the booth tables. The waiters are all very friendly. There’s a corn hole game set up outside the restaurant and long bench style seats to wait on.
You most likely will have to wait awhile to be seated, because they are always busy. But, grab a drink from the bar and enjoy the beautiful twinkling lights outside the restaurant, the people taking their game of corn hole too seriously, and the company you came with.
3. The Magic Tunnel
Wrap up your Iron City adventure by driving through the Magic Tunnel, located near Railroad Park at 18th Street. Commissioned by REV Birmingham, the 1931 tunnel has been refurbished with brilliant colorful lights. Called “Light Rails” by some, “The Magic Tunnel” by most, it is a fascinating, bright, and beautiful structure in the middle of dark downtown.
Go kinda slowly, if you’re driving. Let your first-timer get that feeling you did when you first when through the tunnel: that feeling like you’re definitely in Wonka’s factory on that crazy boat about to try the greatest, most magical never-ending lollipop. The feeling of “Man, Birmingham is a beautiful city. I can’t believe I never noticed how quaint and quiet and yet secretly magical it really is.”