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Overview

By far the most cosmopolitan city in Alabama, Birmingham has undergone several personality shifts in its dynamic history. The world's only place where coal, iron ore and limestone (the components used to make iron) are found in one spot, the city grew up under the glow of industry - even earning it the moniker "Pittsburgh of the South." Its next incarnation was as the most racially segregated city in America, with Civil Rights issues embroiled in corrupt politics and violence. Today, Birmingham is a much more positive place, a youthful, hip city, with an excellent dining, nightlife and arts scene. The economy has diversified - there's still ...

By far the most cosmopolitan city in Alabama, Birmingham has undergone several personality shifts in its dynamic history. The world's only place where coal, iron ore and limestone (the components used to make iron) are found in one spot, the city grew up under the glow of industry - even earning it the moniker "Pittsburgh of the South." Its next incarnation was as the most racially segregated city in America, with Civil Rights issues embroiled in corrupt politics and violence. Today, Birmingham is a much more positive place, a youthful, hip city, with an excellent dining, nightlife and arts scene. The economy has diversified - there's still manufacturing but also high finance, health care and even a Mercedes Benz production facility. The population is active, taking full advantage of nearby Vulcan Park and Ruffner Mountain, playing golf or running on trails. The amazing Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is a must for anyone curious about the living history of such a defining era in American culture.

Debra Landau
About the Expert

Debra Landau has written eight Lonely Planet guidebooks, including books on the USA, Caribbean, and the South.

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Debra Landau for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Birmingham is a year-round destination.