This classically Southern destination has an important history and a contemporary, cosmopolitan present. Birmingham is Alabama's most populous city, known for its world-class cuisine – it's sometimes referred to as the Dinner Table of the South – and warm hospitality, interesting architecture and thriving music industry. It's also, of course, a symbol of the Civil Rights Movement, a place where years of struggle gave way to hope, change, and peace.
The Magic City is full of surprises. Sports fans will want to visit the Barber Motorsports Park, home of the IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Alabama, or perhaps the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. For something more relaxing, Railroad Park is 19 acres of lawn, lake, trees and plants, in the heart of the city. Particularly unique are the Sloss Furnaces, which manufactured pig iron from the late 1800s and are now classed as a National Historic Landmark site, representing the city’s industrial heritage. And, the Birmingham Civil Rights District, which was designated a national monument by President Barack Obama, comprises important landmarks such as the A. G. Gaston Motel, the 16th Street Baptist Church, and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, which documents the plight of the African American community through photographs and fascinating exhibits.
While you're here, don't miss the opportunity to sample some authentic Southern cuisine. From succulent crawfish and collard greens to peach cobbler or grits, even restaurant dining here has a home-cooked feel, albeit elevated. The Pepper Place District is well worth a visit if you're feeling hungry. Former factory warehouses along the tracks now contain restaurants, coffee shops, and art galleries, while the onsite Farmers Market features live music and fresh local produce – which lots of the restaurants here utilise. This is a 'small-town' big city and food is an integral part of its sense of community.