My first impressions after one week in Birmingham

A corner of the Pizitz building.
If you look hard enough into the second floor window of The Pizitz , you can see me drinking my 6th cup of coffee for the day. Photo via Irene Richardson for Bham now.

I may be a Tuscaloosa gal, but no one feels at home in the Magic City until the barista at Revelator lets you stay in the shop an hour after it closes. After one week of living like a local, here are my thoughts.

A beautiful day in the neighborhood

Trees lining a sidewalk
Morning runs just got a whole lot prettier and a whole lot harder (this neighborhood has tons of hills.) Photo via Irene Richardson for Bham Now.

Yes—I had a total Mr.Roger’s moment when I discovered the Highland Park Historic Neighborhood (I was even wearing a cardigan.) You can’t beat the dogs, gorgeous houses and proximity to bars and restaurants.

My first impression of Highland Park
My two favorite “F” words — fall and foliage. Photo via Irene Richardson for Bham Now.

Walking the sidewalked streets under huge oak trees narrowed down my apartment from 99 neighborhoods to one. While I love being less than two miles from downtown, it’s also nice to have a relaxing haven of parks and green space to call home.

Did you know there are five national historic districts in the Highland Historic Park neighborhood?

  • Country Club National District
  • Hanover Circle
  • Milner Heights
  • Rhodes Park
  • Highland Avenue
A park in the neighborhood
More than 6,000 residents live here, so if you’re reading this right now we may be neighbors. Photo via Irene Richardson for Bham Now.

Adding a dash of culture to my week

In between shopping for end tables and hauling furniture up my stairs, I squeezed in a little time for the arts. My first stop was to see the Barbie: Dreaming of a Female Future exhibit at the Birmingham Museum of Art (I’m late to the party I know, but it was worth the wait.)

I’ve always been a fan of the BMA, but being able to pop over anytime I want and see amazing exhibits? Priceless.

A selfie of a content producer at Bham Now
Give me a mirror and I’ll show you a selfie – it’s inevitable. Photo via Irene Richardson for Bham Now.

I also dipped into Jim Reed Books and the Museum of Fond Memories, because who can resist going into a store with a title like that. In addition to the thousands of books, you’re greeted with odds and ends from posters to vintage toys.

The unique shop is going on 38 years—it reaffirms my love for the city’s support of the small business community.

Jim Reed Books left a good first impression.
So many books. So little time. Photo via Irene Richardson for Bham Now.

My favorite first impression

Steak and hash at The Essential
The Essential’s steak and hash is so good I thought about asking it on a date. Not pictured is a beautiful, buttery croissant. I got lost in a trance eating it and neglected to take a picture. Photo via Irene Richardson for Bham Now.

Let me start by saying working a floor above the Pizitz Food Hall is a blessing and a curse. I don’t know if I’ll end up making any money, but I have made really good friends with the staff at mo: mo:.

I ate out A LOT my first week (Rojo three times), and I don’t think that’s going to change anytime soon. Unfortunately for my wallet, there wasn’t a single bad meal.

Tacos and a Moscow Mule at Rojo.
A Moscow Mule and Berkley’s Tacos from Rojo were the perfect cure to the pain I endured watching this game. Photo via Irene Richardson for Bham Now.

Drinking up the city

A beer at Good People Brewing Company.
I really don’t consider myself a beer drinker, but for Good People I’ll make an exception. Photo via Irene Richardson for Bham Now.

Beer? Wine? Cocktails? A drink served in a pineapple and then set on fire? Bham has it all and I’m thankful I turned 21 before moving here.

Aside from having plenty of drinking options, the creative settings of the bars make great a first impression. I mean, any place that slips me a tattoo when I order bourbon is somewhere I want to be (I’m looking at you Atomic Bar.)

A couch at Mom's Basement Bar.
Big Basement Energy. Photo via Mom’s Basement’s Facebook.

During my first weekend here I heard a Grateful Dead cover band at Mom’s Basement—my dad would be so proud. Maybe it’s the “That 70’s Show” vibes or the casual coolness hanging out in a basement makes you feel, but this bar gives off the best energy.

First impression, best impression

A view of some Birmingham Buildings.
A little shot of the city on my way out of work. Photo via Irene Richardson for Bham Now.

The best part about moving here? Endless opportunity! I have a long, running list of places to go and people to see. Luckily, I have a team of Bham Nowers prepared to show me the ropes.

Help a newcomer out! What are you favorite spots in the city? Tag us on social @bhamnow!

Irene Richardson
Irene Richardson
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