Smack in the center of the Bible Belt’s buckle is the exact opposite of where you would expect to find a thriving cultural hub, but that’s exactly what Birmingham, Alabama, is becoming. Talk about the Deep South, and you’re bound to draw mixed emotions from pretty much everyone, even those who were born and raised there—including me. Sure, there’s that adorable, if antiquated, notion of Southern charm, but there’s still a lot of negativity associated with those living in areas south of the Mason-Dixon and east of the Mississippi. Well, it’s time to change those perceptions, because Birmingham is actually... cool. I grew up in this city, and I’m not sure whether its cultural activity is new or if it’s just new to me, but it’s definitely a welcome surprise every time I visit.
And it’s not just me who’s surprised. Even those people who have lived in this city forever are finding new things to enjoy, which is why it’s my pleasure to let you in on Birmingham’s secrets. Sharing is caring after all, and I still have a little Southern hospitality left in me (even after living amongst Yankees for almost five years).
So though the South has long been (erroneously) regarded as devoid of cultural cachet, there are many pockets where artists flock and build their communities. We’ve already shown you around Nashville and Charleston, so read on to find out an insider’s perspective on the best places to eat, drink, stay, and shop in the ’Ham (yeah, I said it).