Birmingham. A city of real magic.
Birmingham is a seductive city. On first impression, it doesn’t dazzle with the tinseled glamour of the west coast or the electric cynicism of the east; it doesn’t overwhelm with the mad, frenetic movement of our noisy neighbors down I-20. It’s not mid-western or Texas, or the hipster Northwest.
Birmingham defies comparison because it’s a city growing comfortable in its own skin. Born of steel and industry, it thrives now on health care, education, finance and the resurgent automotive industry. Birmingham is entrepreneurial, a place that nurtures bold ideas and bold people.
Birmingham isn’t the caricature so often presented by those who don’t know it. To the surprise of many, Birmingham is smart; you can barely sneeze on Southside without a world-renowned research scientist handing you a tissue. The city has born or been home to a long line of gifted writers and musicians, innovative physicians and researchers, inventors and business leaders.
We’re no stranger to tragedy, but time after time, those events only reveal the caring side to the city. Ask the victims of the 2011 tornado or the refugees from hurricane Katrina who migrated here. Birmingham has a generous heart.
Birmingham is creative. While ignoring the long history of winners and runners up on American Idol (Taylor Hicks! Bo Bice! Ruben Studdard!), the city is a favorite of performers in every genre. From local venues like Iron City, Bottletree and WorkPlay to national-act venues like Oak Mountain and the BJCC, no music lover is ever bored in this town.
Birmingham is a beautiful place, with more green space per capita than any city in the country. Red Mountain Park. Railroad Park. Oak Mountain. Turkey Creek. Ruffner Mountain.
For those who love to eat, and really you can’t trust anyone who doesn’t love to eat, few places in America do food better. The nation has noticed. The city’s reputation is strong, bolstered by the artistic efforts of people like Frank Stitt (Highlands, et al), Chris Hastings (Hot & Hot Fish Club), Chris Dupont (Cafe Dupont), George Reiss (Ocean), James Lewis (Bettola) and Jeff Hansell (Veranda). And there are more, many more that should be mentioned. From casual to fine, from old standards to innovative genius — Birmingham rivals any city in the country for food worth writing home about.
It’s a brilliant place to visit, a brilliant place to raise a family. Come for the weekend or come for college. But don’t be surprised if you end up calling it home for the rest of your life.