There’s a lot to learn about Alabama’s history - from steel mills to civil rights, Birmingham has a complicated and complex past that has shaped the city it is today.
Birmingham, once the industrial centre of the Deep South of the United States, was established as a city in 1871 thanks to the discovery of limestone, coal and iron ore in the city’s soil. The mills that sprung up to accommodate the swell in productivity led to the prevalence of manufacturing opportunities in Birmingham today: A hefty population of Birmingham’s residents have either worked in the mills or had family members working the mills, which led to Birmingham’s nickname as the “Pittsburgh of the South”.
Birmingham was the site of explosive, violent protests that took place in the city during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. Known as “Bombingham” during the 1960s and 1970s, Birmingham’s streets saw unspeakable horrors as Civil Rights Demonstrators made their way through the city streets. Today, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is open to educate the masses about the conflicts responsible for shaping Birmingham’s role in 20th century in American history.
Whether you’re visiting Birmingham for a trip through history or just stopping through on your way across America, take time to revel in one of the “last of the Southern cities” that proudly refers to itself as Alabama’s “Diverse City.”
Regardless of when you visit Birmingham, you’ll be met with mild seasons that shy away from drastic changes in temperature. Winters (November to February) in Birmingham are rainy with chilly temperatures resting well above freezing at around 5 degrees 5 on average. Birmingham’s summers are hot and humid with temperatures rising as high as 30 degrees in the months of July and August. The transitional seasons of spring, though not nearly as damp as the winter months, experience some precipitation and average temperatures of 10 degrees.
When to fly to Birmingham
Flights to Birmingham fill up particularly in the summer months, when the sun is out and Central Alabama’s weather is on its best behaviour. Birmingham gets busy during the winter holidays, as well: as a high-traffic time for most destinations, Birmingham, like many other major American cities, is subject to the hike in ticket prices and accommodation rates that last from the beginning of December through January.
Birmingham frees up in spring and fall, after the rush of the winter holidays dies down and before the heat of summer sets in. If you were able to find a cheap flight to Birmingham for a trip during the month of April, you’re in luck: The Birmingham International Festival has been taking place since 1951 and features food, entertainment and fun activities of a particular foreign country.
Getting around Birmingham
You can get around Birmingham easily by taking a bus or public transportation. Spend some time on the ground and travel to and from Birmingham from several southern states by Greyhound buses or Amtrak trains.
Birmingham insider information
- If your springtime visit to Birmingham lands you in the middle of a rainstorm, don’t fret: There are plenty of museums and art galleries that’ll provide you with hours of indoor entertainment. The Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame is a favourite with music fans visiting Birmingham for its occasional live performances and engaging exhibits. The Birmingham Museum of Art is also a local favourite for its impressive collection of Asian, Native American, African, contemporary and impressionist art.
- Birmingham is one of the most influential American cities when it comes to the Civil Rights Movement. Learn more about the Civil Rights Movement by heading over to the 16th Street Baptist Church. The church was a rock for Birmingham’s black community and acted as a headquarters for various Civil Rights Meetings before it was bombed by the Ku Klux Klan in the 1960s. The church was rebuilt, and today visitors can pay their respects in downtown Birmingham.
- Looking to sample some local cuisine? The Peanut Depot on Morris Avenue features one of Birmingham’s favourite snacks. The Peanut Depot has been shelling out heaping portions of boiled, roasted, salted or Cajun-seasoned peanuts since 1907, and you can snag a whole pound of peanuts prepared to your liking.