Teachers everywhere rejoice – it is Winter Break! My life is usually very “Go Go Go” so I am using this time off for some much needed
rest and relaxation traveling! I was long overdue for a trip to see Bestie, my childhood best friend, who you probably remember as the bike riding maven from my summer trip to Greenville, SC. (Side note, Bestie is also an amazingly talented artist! I got to see her studio during this trip and it is so cool to see the process that goes into making such stunning prints, drawings, and paintings. You can find her work here). Bestie lives in Birmingham, Alabama and I’m ashamed to say that, even though it is only a few hours from my hometown, I haven’t seen much of the historical (and tasty!) city. Bestie helped me fix that, and it is with her thoughtful guidance and excellent food choices that I am able to bring you this guide to a quick getaway in Birmingham, AL.
Birmingham Mini Food Tour
I didn’t realize how foodie Birmingham is until this trip. Bestie and I have an aggressive love for Mexican food but we tried to add some variety to this guide so you aren’t eating tacos for days on end… which actually sounds wonderful to me. We started our food tour at El Barrio where I enjoyed vegan tostadas whose veganness was promptly ruined by lots of excellent queso dip. When we needed an afternoon pick-me-up, White Peony Tea from Woodlawn Cycle Cafe did the trick. I didn’t even know that there such at thing as white peony tea, it was similar to green tea with a little more floral flavor it it. The coffee shop itself was a cyclers paradise, and I think we were the only patrons that didn’t arrive on bikes. For dinner, we decided to tackle Melt, a fancy grilled cheese food truck turned restaurant. Melt was decent but I was expecting more crazy cheese options. I wanted to see cheeses options I couldn’t even pronounce or cheeses so strong you can smell them from the parking lot. But most of the cheeses were pretty standard. The restaurant has a great name and great potential, but it wasn’t my favorite meal stop. In the morning, more Mexican at Little Donkey and the cherry on top was a coffee popsicle from Steel City Pops with ground coffee beans and expresso. Yum!
Exploring the Historic City
It was a little on the cold side during my stay in Birmingham. The cold meant that a lot of our outdoor sightseeing locations had to stay on the to-do list for next time. I’m not using this as an excuse… but I kind of am. I can be a total wimp when it comes to cold. That being said, we got to drive around some of the beautiful historic district of downtown Birmingham (I’m kicking myself for not getting pictures of the cool “Welcome to Birmingham” graffiti). The architecture of downtown gives it a feel of a different time, but the street names and signs with familiar civil rights references remind me that this “different time” was actually not very long ago. We visited 55th Place Thrift Store in Woodlawn for some quirky plates and art pieces that will soon be part of a gallery wall. I didn’t realize that Birmingham was so hilly and beautiful, so we spent some time just driving the more scenic streets and finding places with nice views. Tip Top Grill had a beautiful overlook which we caught at dusk, and in the evening as we drove home I could look out through the trees at glowing Birmingham, nestled in the valley.
Things To Do Next Time
On a future trip we will definitely be stopping by the Sloss Furnaces, a historic iron factory turned museum and home to some seriously cool metal sculptures. We also love sweeping city panoramas and of course, more industrial history, so we will have to check out the Vulcan Park and Museum. Did I mention that the statue in Vulcan Park is actually worlds largest cast iron statue? Do I want to climb the worlds largest cast iron statue? Yes, yes I do. The last thing on the to-do list for next time is a trip to the Birmingham Museum of Art. This stop was left off the list for time reasons. Bestie and I are both 3+ Hour Museum guests.
If you live in the south and need a quick getaway this holiday season, Birmingham is a historical, scenic, and tasty option! What are your favorite cities for a quick little adventure?
Happy travels and happy holidays!
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