Weekend Getaways

How to Savor a Magical Long Weekend in Birmingham

The city of Birmingham, Ala., regularly tops various travel lists for its impressive Southern foodie scene, hip craft brewery trail and top-notch live-entertainment venues. Plus, it boasts plenty of parks and preserves for golf, running, biking, climbing and all your outdoor adventure needs. Here’s an itinerary for an extended weekend that will show just why Birmingham is called “The Magic City”:

Wednesday: Hang Out in the “Living Room”

2 p.m.: Take a stroll in Railroad Park, known as “Birmingham’s Living Room” to get acquainted with the city skyline and stretch travel-weary muscles.

3 p.m.: Order cocktails and snacks at The Westin Birmingham’s rooftop pool overlooking swanky Uptown, the city’s premier entertainment district.

7 p.m.: Dine on some of the best seafood in town at Ocean in Birmingham’s Five Points district. Ocean has been a regular winner of The Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence and the AAA Four Diamond award.

Thursday: Hit the Links

9 a.m.: Get your caffeine and pastry fix at casual and comfy Seeds Coffee Company, which employs a variety of brew methods.

10:30 a.m.: Tee off at the legendary Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Oxmoor Valley. This 54-hole facility offers challenging elevation changes amidst a forested and creek-cut landscape, one of a collection of 468 holes of championship-caliber golf across Alabama.

1 p.m.: Grab a post-game lunch at Urban Cookhouse in Homewood, which serves sandwiches, salads and wraps made with locally sourced ingredients.

3 p.m.: Time for beer tasting: Start out at Good People Brewing Company and work your way northeast to hit up Ghost Train Brewing Company, Trim Tab Brewing Co., Avondale Brewing and Cahaba Brewing.

6 p.m.: The stuffed taters are reason enough to head to SAW’s Soul Kitchen in Avondale, but the pork and greens dish are a definite must.

Friday: Culture Break

9 a.m.: Grab the beverage of your choice at Octane Coffee and work a crossword puzzle at this happening cafe.

things to do in birmingham
Birmingham Museum of Art. (Photo: Getty Images)

11 a.m.: The Birmingham Museum of Art has an array of paintings, sculptures, prints and decorative pieces from varying eras. Grab lunch at Oscar’s, the museum café, while overlooking the gardens.

2 p.m.: Walk to Kelly Ingram Park for a history lesson on the civil rights movement via a sculpture tour. Dial in for an audio guide.

6 p.m.: Time for dinner at Uptown’s The Southern Kitchen & Bar, which serves regional favorites with a modern flair.

8 p.m.: Finish the night with comedy, theater or music at the BJCC, a sports and entertainment complex.

Saturday: Reach for the Heights

9 a.m.: Grab street grub like breakfast burritos, browse artisan wares and catch some tunes at the Market at Pepper Place, a Saturday tradition in Birmingham.

things to do in birmingham
Moss Rocks Preserve. (Photo: Getty Images)

Noon: The boulder field at Moss Rocks Preserve in Hoover, just a short drive south from downtown Birmingham, is the place to get your climb on. You’ll find challenges for all skill levels.

5 p.m. : Sip margs or craft beer at El Barrio while fueling up on plantain nachos and ceviche or a plate of tacos.

7 p.m.: Take yourself out to the ballgame at Regions Field when the Birmingham Barons, a Double-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, are at home.

things to do in birmingham
Kelly Ingram Park. (Photo: Getty Images)

Sunday: Time for Brunch

8 a.m.: Located just southeast of the city, Red Mountain Park has 15 miles of trails for your workout, some that lead to treehouses and scenic overlooks.

10 a.m.: No trip to the area would be complete without taking a selfie with the 56-foot blacksmith of the Roman gods. Find the world’s largest cast iron statue at Vulcan Park and Museum on top of Red Mountain.

1 p.m.: Trattoria Centrale gained fame with its delicious Roman-style pizza, but on Sunday, locals flock there for brunch favorites like fried farm eggs with steak, salsa verde and polenta.

2 p.m.: Explore the more than 60 acres of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Noteworthy features include the Southern Living Garden, the Fern Glade, the Wildflower Garden and the Japanese Garden with its tea house.

6 p.m.: Grab an early dinner at John’s City Diner, which will more than satisfy that hankering for chicken and waffles and other down home dishes.

Monday: Wind Down with Yoga

9:30 p.m.: Hit up the restorative “Yoga for Athletes” class at The Yoga Circle in Southside to rejuvenate those overworked vacationing muscles.

Noon: Stock up on reading materials for your flight home and enjoy fresh-baked goods like the famous Breakup cookie—which might just be the best chocolate chip cookie ever—at Church Street Coffee & Books.