No one can ignore Birmingham’s checkered past – civil rights violence earned it the nickname ‘Bombingham,’ and an industrial economy yielded another unappealing nickname, ‘The Pittsburgh of the South.’ But that was decades ago. Today this midsized blue-collar city has a surprising amount of culture to offer, and it has integrated its civil rights struggle into the tourist experience. The nickname these days is ‘Diverse City.’
Birmingham’s urban core is mostly a business district, and only a few attractions sit beneath the skyscrapers. To really capture the city’s essence, you’ll want to visit four neighborhoods – lively Five Points, near the University of Alabama Birmingham; funky Lakeview, home to one of the South’s greatest bars; charming Homewood, an upscale shopping strip with a pedestrian-friendly layout and a small-town vibe; and the Civil Rights District, an unforgettable cluster of attractions at the edge of downtown.