5 reasons you want to get to know and love Birmingham’s Five Points West community

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Athletes from around the world will be bustling around Birmingham come summer of 2021! Photo via World Games 2021

Come summer of 2021, The World Games will have Five Points West—along with the entire City of Birmingham—bustling with athletes from around the globe!

This neighborhood with a rich history has uplifting community leaders that are continuously enriching the area. Keep reading to see what makes Five Points West so unique to Birmingham.

1—Where is Five Points West?

Nestled between Ensley, Smithfield and West End sits the community named Five Points West. The community consists of 6 of Birmingham’s 99 neighborhoods:

  • Belview Heights
  • Bush Hills
  • Central Park
  • Ensley Highlands (no…it’s actually not in Ensley despite the name)
  • Fairview
  • Green Acres

2—A Little History Lesson on Five Points West

Aerial View of the Alabama State Fairgrounds
An aerial view of the Alabama State Fairgrounds. Photo via BhamWiki

Five Points West a.k.a “Shopping City”

5 Points West was also known as Shopping City in the mid-1900s. Photo via BhamWiki

Did you know that Five Points West was once the original shopping epicenter of Birmingham?! It was the largest shopping development in Alabama during the 1920s. The shopping center even had its own trolley service to carry shoppers around the center. Want to learn more about Shopping City? We’ve got you covered!

Home of the Alabama State Fairgrounds

Vulcan Statue at Alabama State Fairgrounds in 1915. Photo via howdyyall.com

Five Points West is home to the historic Alabama State Fairgrounds. It was a 117-acre exhibition ground that held the Birmingham International Raceway and Alabama State Fair. The iron man himself, Vulcan, was once displayed at the Fairgrounds after it was brought to Birmingham from the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri.

Kiddieland Amusement Park

Kiddieland Park Entrance Sign. Photo via Jefferson County Historical Association

The Fairgrounds had a small amusement park named “Kiddieland” which operated from 1948 to the mid-1980s. There was a drive-in movie theatre known as “Fair Park”. To make things even better, there was a pool complete with floodlights and a man-made beach in the 1950s.

Why the Fairgrounds are no more

Motorcycle racers at the fairgrounds with Vulcan in the background. Photo by O.V. Hunt in 1914.

The glory of the Alabama State Fairgrounds wasn’t shared amongst all of Birmingham. Administrators closed the Alabama State Fairgrounds to avoid court-ordered desegregation. Years afterward, it was used by the Birmingham Police Department to hold arrested demonstrators after the city jails were full.

3—Did you know that Five Points West will play a key role in the World Games 2021?

CrossPlex Village
Image courtesy of CrossPlex’s Facebook

Just in time for the 2021 World Games, the Crossplex Village is the newest development in Five Points West. This redevelopment project encompasses over 80 acres of the former Alabama State Fairgrounds.

This new, expansive development includes a state-of-the-art athletic facility complete with an Olympic-sized pool and indoor track stadium. The newest additions to the Crossplex Village include a hotel, restaurants, and a Starbucks unlike any other in Alabama.

The World Games features over 30 sports, including some we are familiar with in the U.S. This is called “Aerobics Gymnastics.” I can definitely get on board with this. Photo by 2021 World Games Twitter.

If you’re looking to catch a few games when the World Games 2021 comes to the Magic City you’re going to want to be in Five Points West! The Crossplex is one of several venues across the city that will be hosting events for the games.

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4—What else is special about the Five Points West community?

The first Starbucks of its kind in ALL of Alabama

Bham Now Starbucks
Mayor Woodfin with the Starbucks employees at the new Starbucks at Crossplex Village in Ensley Five Points West. Photo by Billy Brown for Starbucks

Five Points West is home to a one-of-a-kind Starbucks! This particular chain is the 11th Community Store in the U.S. (the 1st in Alabama) and is located at the Crossplex Village.

The Starbucks Community Store initiative began in 2015 to help create local jobs. It connects youth to education and employment opportunities. They offer in-store training so that trainees have the chance to earn a National Retail Federation Customer Service Certification. This will give them a competitive advantage throughout their future careers.

As a Community Store, the Five Points West Starbucks location made sure to work with local, minority-owned general contractors to build the store. Customers are greeted with a custom mural by Birmingham artist Debra Riffe.

Inside Starbucks Crossplex. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

If you need a cool new place to get some work done or a change in scenery, I would 10/10 recommend the Five Points West Starbucks. As a Birmingham-Southern College grad, the store was just down the street and I spent many long hours studying here. Not to mention, Starbucks Storyteller Brian Voice Porter Hawkins considers this one of his favorite places in the city.

Bama Health Foods

Bama Health Foods
Bama Health Foods in Five Points West. Photo via REV Birmingham

Jacquie Fazekas is Canadian by birth but grew up in Philidelphia. After visiting Birmingham, she quickly decided to make the Magic City her home. As an advocate for living a healthier life, Jacquie saw a gap in the Five Points West neighborhood. There weren’t many healthy food options in the area.

It was fate when she stumbled into the Health Foods West store in Five Points West and met the store manager Steven Cox. The two had the same vision: to provide the Five Points West neighborhood with healthier options.

Along with hosting leadership workshops, Bama Health Foods equips the Five Points West neighborhood with a center dedicated to educating, nourishing, and serving the community.

Marino’s Market

Anthony Marino
Anthony Marino, owner of Marino’s Market in Five Points West. Photo via The Birmingham Times

Marino’s Market has been a staple in the Five Points West neighborhood for decades. Founded in the early 1950s, Joe Marino’s mission was to serve his local Birmingham community with quality groceries at affordable prices. Even after experiencing the economic decline that caused many grocers to close, Anthony Marino (the founder’s grandson) refused to leave.

Thanks to a $4.2 million dollar renovation, the store is able to provide the community with healthier options. In a city where 69% of people live in a food desert, Anthony Marino saw how important the grocery store was to the area.

Marino’s is more than just a grocery store. Anthony Marino provides college scholarships through his Education with a Purpose program. He has also been recognized by the NAACP and Southern Christian Leadership Conference for his achievements within the Five Points West neighborhood.

“I’m doing this because I’m trying to get people interacting with and involved in their communities.”

Anthony Marino, owner of Marino’s Market in Five Points West

5—Where Can I Read About the Other Neighborhoods?

This is the 14th 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:

Look for our next installments to learn things you never knew about all 99 of Birmingham’s neighborhoods.


Now we want to hear from you, Birmingham. What are your fave spots in Five Points West?

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