Dinner Table of the South

Dinner Table of the South
Photos by Art Maripol

Birmingham has always been something of a place apart. Compared with many of its southeastern counterparts, this is a young city, springing from gutsy beginnings in the iron and steel industry and evolving into a major medical center in the U.S.

Though Birmingham is Alabama’s largest city, it has retained inviting Southern underpinnings and a sense of counting family and friends important, not population statistics. 

There’s a reason people call Birmingham the “Dinner Table of the South.” Defining highlights these days are connected to a flourishing food scene. From James Beard culinary award winners to the world’s best barbecue, the city’s food culture has attracted national attention among those in the know. Birmingham breweries are producing craft beers that connoisseurs are clamoring for. Other local watering holes are full of fun and character, some even with their own James Beard nominations.

Live theater and musical performances fill the entertainment schedule, especially in Birmingham’s Theater District. The historic Alabama and Lyric Theatres are meticulously restored for performances, and, across the street, the new Sidewalk Cinema is in full swing with arthouse and independent films.

International visitation is on the increase in Birmingham. Shopping in the state’s retail giant is a big draw, along with attractions such as Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum. There, tourists from around the globe find the world’s largest collection of antique and contemporary motorcycles and Lotus cars. It’s a banquet for bike enthusiasts and a feast for the eyes for everyone.  

An American revolution took place in the streets of Birmingham in the 1960s. The city was Ground Zero for the Civil Rights Movement, with police dogs and water cannons on one side and non-violence and the certainty of a better tomorrow on the other. Today, the Civil Rights District is a national monument, with the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute serving as the focal point. 

Golfers come from around the country to enjoy the moderate weather and to play the city’s courses along the famed Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. And all skill levels love the challenge and entertainment they find at Topgolf Birmingham.  

Birmingham visitors find a city that embraces the freedom of self-expression and the vigor of progress. To be in Birmingham is to be in a contemporary and continuous renaissance.