Over the years, Kyle and I have passed through Birmingham countless times on our way to Memphis. Most of the time, if we stay the night, we grab a hotel room right off the interstate, but the past few trips we have started to explore more and more. A few weeks ago, we met some friends there for a Saturday night getaway and did some more exploring. Here is my advice on how to spend a highly enjoyable 24 hours in the Iron City.
Check in to The Grand Bohemian, Mountain Brook. Go upstairs and enjoy an afternoon cocktail at the hotel bar - I recommend their version of the moscow mule! While you're there, you should also take a peak in the art gallery for a small dose of culture.
Head on over to Trim Tab Brewing and try out some craft beer in the brewery's tasting room/art gallery. Since you are in the neighborhood (an the Iron City), from Trim Tab, take a trip to nearby Sloss Furnaces. Sloss is a National Historic Landmark that operated as a pig iron-producing blast furnace from 1882 to 1971. After closing it became one of the first industrial sites (and the only blast furnace) in the U.S. to be preserved and restored for public use.
For dinner, there are plenty of options close to the hotel in the Mountain Brook area. Dram Whiskey Bar offers a great selection of burgers or if you're in the mood for something a bit fancier, go upstairs to Avo for a great atmosphere and menu.
Plan to spend a bit of time in the great outdoors the next morning. You can walk over to Birmingham Botanical Gardens, which is almost directly across from the hotel, and explore the Japanese and English gardens. Admission is free.
Before you hit the road, energize yourself with a delicious brunch at Babalu Tacos & Tapas in Birmingham's Lakeview District. With new locations throughout the southeast in Knoxville, Memphis, Jackson and Charlotte, Babalu is spreading the taco love far and wide, but don't sell yourself short. The chicken and waffles are also to die for.