Birmingham Alabama - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Birmingham Alabama

Birmingham Alabama

Birmingham is Alabama's largest city, with nearly one million people living in the metropolitan area. Although it is a world-renowned financial and medical centre, its sophistication has not come at the expense of its Southern charm. The foothills of the Appalachian Mountains provide the backdrop for its tall buildings, cafés still specialise in country-fried steak and butter beans, and its history as a centre of segregation has been transformed into a future that celebrates African American heritage. Because it has retained a true Southern distinctiveness, it has been called the last major Southern city in America.

The city of Birmingham is rich in diverse architecture, with sleek office buildings as well as historic homes and landmark churches. Tree-lined streets, parks, the botanical gardens and the Birmingham Green, and a landscaped promenade running through the city mean visitors never feel far from nature. Trendy neighbourhoods have come alive in Birmingham, complete with antique shops, coffeehouses, bars, restaurants and nightclubs. Especially popular areas include the Lakeview District, which was originally a resort area at the turn of the 20th century, and is now full of stylish entertainment options; and the Five Points South District, an eclectic area of restored historic buildings now popular with local university students.

Most significant, perhaps, is the Civil Rights District, a six-block section of the city in which major civil rights events took place. Here visitors can tour the 16th Street Baptist Church, the site of a bombing that killed four African American girls. The church was rebuilt and today continues to serve the community as an open-door institution. Also worth a visit is the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, which tells the story of African-American life and the struggle for equality through arresting multimedia exhibitions.

Information & Facts


Birmingham has hot summers and mild to chilly winters. The annual mean temperature is 62°F (17°C), with a July maximum of 90°F (32°C) and a January minimum of 34°F (1°C). May and June are the sunniest months but Birmingham is located on the heart of a tornado alley called Dixie Alley and can be host to strong thunderstorms and tornadoes during the months of March to May.

Getting Around

Walking is enjoyable within certain areas, such as Five Points South, though getting from district to district on foot can be challenging. However, Birmingham boasts Alabama's largest transit system, with Metro Area Express (MAX) providing fixed-route buses and vintage trolleys. Bus service ends at 9pm. Some trolley routes stop earlier, though others continue to run until midnight. There are several taxi companies offering 24-hour service.

English is the most common language but Spanish is often spoken in south-western states.

The US Dollar (USD) is the unit of currency and is divided into 100 cents. Only major banks exchange foreign currency. ATMs are widespread and credit cards and travellers cheques are widely accepted. Travellers cheques should be taken in US Dollars to avoid hassles. Banking hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.

One of the most popular attractions in Alabama, the Alabama Adventure Park is located just 30 minutes' drive from Birmingham in Bessemer. The park has two parts, a waterpark and an amusement park. The amusement park contains the state's largest wooden roller coaster and other thrill rides, while the water park has eight major attractions for all ages. There are a range of restaurants and souvenir shops scattered throughout the park.

This stately plantation house is a great way to get a taste of real Southern heritage. Situated on six acres in the heart of Old Elyton, the house was built by Judge William S Mudd, one of the founders of Birmingham, in the 1840s. The house itself functions as a decorative arts museum, with a collection of furniture, artwork, textiles and silver from the 19th century.

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is a homage to the spirit of both well-known and unsung civil rights heroes. Visitors take a self-directed journey through the permanent exhibitions, which chronicle the history of segregation and the civil rights struggle in America. It is a 'living institution', using the lessons of the past to shed new light on human rights issues today.

The Birmingham Zoo, Alabama's most popular non-profit attraction, brings 800 wild animals to the centre of Birmingham. There is an interactive aviary, where parrots land on visitors' shoulders, a savannah safari exhibit and a sea lion show. Picnic areas and a food and gift shop are available.

The South is the home of NASCAR, and about 30 minutes from Birmingham lies the legendary Talladega Superspeedway, one of the most competitive motorsports facilities in the world. More than 143,000 guests can be accommodated in the stands and thousands more in the 212-acre infield. The sheer volume of fans, let alone the record-breaking speed of the racers, makes a visit unforgettable. When no events are scheduled, tours are available daily. Adjacent to the track is the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and Museum, also open daily.

Located atop Red Mountain, Vulcan Park is home to the world's largest cast iron statue, the second tallest statue in America after the Statue of Liberty. The statue of the Roman god is surrounded by a 10-acre green space offering panoramic views of Birmingham. The park contains a museum and observation blacony with panoramic views of Birmingham.

Looking for something a bit different?  Check out our selection of cultural & adventure holidays or if you're looking to go it alone then see our selection of solo holidays.

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