The most populous city in Alabama, Birmingham boasts a storied history, especially as a leading industrial city. Rich in the three minerals — iron ore, limestone and coal — needed to make steel, Birmingham made a fortune at the turn of the century as a steel city. Also prominent in the city's history is its association with the Civil Rights movement and Martin Luther King Jr.'s efforts to end segregation.
The city, which has seen many ups and downs, has recently undergone a massive urban renewal effort due in part to a major medical research center at The University of Alabama at Birmingham. The downtown is seeing a significant revival as well with new condos going up and lots of independent restaurants and breweries opening. Restaurant favorites include the farm-to-table Hot and Hot Fish Club and the famed breakfast joint Bogues.
Birmingham offers its outdoor-loving residents a vast range of options. From hikes along the cliffs of the stunning Ruffner Mountain Park to a lazy river perfect for floating, there is always something to keep the outdoor enthusiast occupied. More experienced hikers love the proximity to the Appalachian Mountains, while amateurs find just what they need on the nearby trails of Red Mountain.
Festivals are a favorite pastime in Birmingham. Favorites including Sloss Fest, The Birmingham Folk Festival and the new and popular Secret Stages in the Historic Loft District. Other events include a yearly pet parade called Do Dah Day, the Alabama Book Festival and Magic City Brewfest, which raises money for local charities. In short, there's always something to do on the Birmingham festival scene.
Real estate in Birmingham is an attractive prospect, with the average home costing under $200,000. Neighborhoods most in demand include the affluent and historic Mountain Brook and Five Points South, which boasts an active nighttime scene perfect for those looking for a fast-paced, urban lifestyle. Birmingham can get hot, meaning those looking for a home with a pool are likely to find one. Home styles are varied, making it possible for buyers to find a house with their dream aesthetic. Buying a home in Birmingham is an excellent choice for people looking to set down roots in a long-standing, yet newly revitalized community.