8 things to love about Birmingham’s East Lake community, including a killer sunset spot

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Redemptive Cycles Trample
Redemptive Cycles Trample to East Lake Park. Photo by Kristina O’Quinn via Facebook

East Lake is one of those parts of town you might not get to much if you don’t live over there. And, it’s home to some happenin’ spots you’re gonna want to check out.

1—Where is the East Lake community?

This community on Birmingham’s eastern side includes these six neighborhoods:

  • Brown Springs
  • East Lake
  • Gate City
  • North East Lake
  • Wahouma
  • Zion City

2—A little history

A postcard from East Lake Park c. 1909.
“Shoot the schute” postcard from East Lake Park, c. 1909. Photo from East Lake Park Bham Wiki

Back in 1886, Robert Jemison, Sr. and a couple of business partners formed the East Lake Land Company, which developed East Lake, a suburb featuring East Lake Park.

The real estate developers marketed the area as a place for miners to live. In the Sumer 1887, East Lake Railroad started operating, in the Fall of that year, they filled the lake.

The 45-acre lake was the result of dams on Village Creek and Roebuck Springs, and quickly became a day-tripper’s resort, with all sorts of amusement-park type attractions.

Back in the day, people would hop on the train in this part of town to head over to Rickwood Field for games.

Fishing at East Lake.
Fishing at East Lake Park. Photo from East Lake Park via Facebook

3—What’s special about the area?

Check out this killer sunset spot overlooking Birmingham from Ruffner Mountain.
Sunset over Birmingham from Ruffner Mountain. Photo from Ruffner Mountain via Facebook

This community is largely residential, with some shops and attractions. Here are a few of our favorites:

One of the community gardens on the eastern side of Birmingham.
Part of the community garden at East Lake United Methodist. Photo by Sharron Swain for Bham Now
Adamson Ford's 2019 Ford F-150 would get you out to Ruffner or East Lake Park in style.
If you’re ready to make a trip out to East Lake Park or Ruffner, why not do it in a 2019 Ford F-150? The folks at Adamson Ford can hook you up.

4—Where do locals go to eat or hang out in the East Lake community?

The Downstairs Diner has tasty and affordable food.
A typical menu for the Downstairs Diner. Graphic from Downstairs Diner via Facebook

A lot of the hanging out that happens in this part of town is either at people’s houses or at the attractions in the area, such as Ruffner or East Lake Park.

That said, the Downstairs Diner at East Lake United Methodist has some tasty food for a great price.

And, Trussville, Irondale and Avondale are all close by for people in search of restaurants or night life.

Finally, East Village Arts of Birmingham is a new-ish performance space for artists, dancers, musicians. Follow them on Facebook to keep up with their busy events calendar, and find them at 7611 1st Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35206.

5—Any home listings in the area?

This home is currently for sale in East Lake through Brik Realty.
768 78th Pl S, Birmingham, Alabama 35206

Check out the full listing for this cute house.

Sometimes when you check out other neighborhoods, it can get you thinking about moving … BRIK Realty has a handy dandy calculator that can help give you an idea of what your options might be.

6—What local events are coming up?

Birmingham, Mitchell's Place, Dragon Boat Festival
Dragon Boat Festival. Photo via Mitchell’s Place

7—Best Instagram spot / the one thing that everyone who visits the East Lake community needs to see?

So East 59 Vintage & Café had to close back in November 2018 (due to issues with the building), much to the disappointment of all their fans.

The good news is you can still find this awesome mural on the side of the building where they used to be.

8—Where can I read about the other neighborhoods?

This is the 11th installment in a 23-part series Bham Now is doing to feature Birmingham’s 23 communities, comprising 99 neighborhoods. So far, we’ve featured the following communities:

Hard to believe we’re almost halfway there! Look for our next installments to learn things you never knew about all 99 of Birmingham’s neighborhoods.


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Author: Sharron Mendel Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference