Uniquely Birmingham! New students at Birmingham-Southern tour the city – and you can, too.


Students take on new challenges at Southern Museum of Flight! Photo via Birmingham-Southern College

Birmingham-Southern College has a unique way of welcoming incoming students to the Magic City. They developed the ultimate choose-your-own-adventure of our beloved Birmingham, AL, and we’re sharing it with you! It’s the perfect way to spend a Saturday for old and new Birminghamians alike.

Back-To-School, Minus the School Bus

BSC President Daniel B. Coleman (left) helping move new students in. Photo via Birmingham-Southern College

Many city residents may not think about it, but every August, students flood to Birmingham from all over the nation in search of an outstanding education.

Located only 3 miles from downtown, Birmingham-Southern College (BSC) has been a staple of the central Alabama community for over 160 years.

This August, they welcomed more than 385 new students to campus, many from across the country and around the world. One student arrived from Oregon; another from Zambia. While welcoming them to campus, BSC also introduces them to our city!

Welcome to the Magic City!

Every August, Birmingham-Southern College hosts Fall Orientation for incoming students. This 5-day event starts with move-in and includes a hypnotist, a football scrimmage, a field day, a square dance, a late-night nacho bar, and a lot more. (Can I please be a college freshman again?)

One part of Fall Orientation is an event called Uniquely Birmingham. The goal of this event is to introduce students to their new (and awesome) city!

The BSC Orientation Leaders lead groups of students on excursions to popular Birmingham attractions. Students get to choose their destination from a list of 17 options.

“I am an accounting major, but I chose to come to an art museum so I could really branch out and learn more about Birmingham. I grew up here, but feel like there still is so much to learn about the culture.”

Litzy Salazar, class of 2023

Uniquely Birmingham

There’s no view like Vulcan! Photos via Birmingham-Southern College

BSC students visited 17 locations last Saturday all over the city! Check out the top 5 choices.

1. 16th Street Baptist Church

Ahkeem Lee, a 2019 graduate of BSC, led the tour for new students. Ahkeem works at the church and manages their tour ministry. Photos via Birmingham-Southern College
  • Location: 1530 6th Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35203
  • This church was the site of a racially-motivated bombing in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement.
  • Read more here

2. Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

Photos via Birmingham-Southern College
  • Location: 520 16th St N, Birmingham, AL 35203
  • The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is a large interpretive museum and research center that depicts the struggles of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s
  • Read about their latest exhibit here

3. Birmingham Museum of Art

Photos via Birmingham-Southern College
  • Location: 2000 Reverend Abraham Woods Jr Boulevard, Birmingham, AL 35203
  • The Birmingham Museum of Arts is widely recognized as one of the most impressive collections in the southeastern United States.
  • Check it out here

4. Sloss Furnaces

Photos via Birmingham-Southern College
  • Location: 20 32nd St N, Birmingham, AL 35222
  • Sloss Furnaces is a National Historic Landmark that was one of the first industrial sites in the U.S. to be preserved and restored for public use.
  • Visit here

5. Southern Museum of Flight

Photos via Birmingham-Southern College
  • Location: 4343 73rd St N, Birmingham, AL 35206
  • Southern Museum of Flight features nearly 100 aircraft, as well as engines, models, artifacts, photographs, and paintings.
  • Find out more here

Instilling a Spirit of Service

Photos via Birmingham-Southern College

Joining the Birmingham community is about more than just play, of course. Community service and involvement is a key part of the spirit of the Magic City.

Birmingham-Southern College wanted to instill this from the start. During the Uniquely Birmingham event, students also performed service projects at Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Bush Hills Community Garden, and Desert Island Supply Company (DISCO).

“It is so helpful that Birmingham-Southern gets students involved with giving back to the community so early on. Once you are involved, you’re invested, and if you are invested then it becomes important to you and is implemented in how you live your life.”

Brynne Morgan, a first-year student from Franklin, Tennessee

Make Your Own Uniquely Birmingham Tour!

Birmingham Museum of Art has no shortage of incredible pieces to gaze upon. Photos via Birmingham-Southern College

In keeping with that spirit of discovery and hospitality, Birmingham-Southern College invites locals to explore the city with fresh eyes.

You can’t go wrong spending a day in Birmingham—whether you’re new to the area, know someone who is, or just want to discover something new in the ever-growing Magic City.

Check out their list of Birmingham attractions, grab some friends, and make your route!

Follow BSC on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to tag us both in your Tour de Birmingham!

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Beth Cunningham
A Birmingham transplant who can usually be found hitting a new hiking trail or restaurant opening when she's not writing stories and snapping photos for Bham Now.
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