5 ways to make Boston College fans feel at home for the TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl

Legion Field Birmingham

On January 2, 2020, the Magic City will be welcoming thousands of college football fans from Boston College to the 14th annual TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl when they take on the Cincinnati Bearcats.

To make our friends from Boston feel at home, we’ve produced a short “tip” sheet for their visit.

A Little Football First

Back in 1984, the first college football game I attended as a Freshman at Alabama was against Boston College and Doug Flutie . The game was played at Legion Field in the evening.

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Screenshot from Youtube video on Alabama vs. BC in 1984.

What a game. We were in complete shock after Flutie led BC  to victory after falling behind 31-14 in the 3rd quarter. I can say one thing – as a lifelong Bama fan, I fell in love with Flutie & BC  (they were also NOT Notre Dame!).

Below is a video we found of that memorable game at Legion Field.

It’s great to have Boston College here in Birmingham. Welcome!

Now, onto our Magic City travel tips.

1) Visit Cathedral of St. Paul or make a pilgrimage to EWTN

Birmingham, Cathedral of Saint Paul, Christmas, Christmas Eve, services
Cathedral of St. Paul in downtown Birmingham, AL. Photo by Pat Byington, Bham Now

When I went to St. Joseph School up in Florence Alabama (my twin brother and I were the lone Episcopalians), the Benedictine nuns told us there were three Catholic colleges we needed to be thinking about.  Boston College, Notre Dame and Mobile’s Spring Hill.

The Catholic Church in Birmingham has a rich history beginning in 1872 when the Cathedral of St. Paul (it became a Cathedral in 1969) was constructed as one of Birmingham’s first churches. The cornerstone for the  neo-gothic cathedral was laid in 1890. Today, the Cathedral stands out in the Birmingham skyline with its soaring steeples. For info on daily services visit the Cathedral of St. Paul website.

Launched 38 years ago by Mother Angelica in Irondale, a suburb of Birmingham, the Eternal Word Television Network welcomes pilgrimages to the studio and their Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, which is about 40 miles from Birmingham. The TV network reaches millions of people worldwide in 140 countries. Here are details about taking a pilgrimage.

2) Compare our Italian food to that in North Boston

Birmingham, Tre Luna Catering, food, catering
Tre Luna beautiful and tasty. Photo via Sara Walker

Boston is known for its Italian food, thanks to North End Boston’s Little Italy.  If you are BC Eagles fan looking for Birmingham’s best Italian, here are some of my favorites.

Tre Luna Bar and Kitchen
Guiseppe’s Cafe
Bottega Italian Restaurant

3) Let Freedom Ring – From the American Revolution to the American Civil Rights Movement

Birmingham Alabama
Four Little Girls statue at the entrance of Kelly Ingram Park in front of 16th Street Baptist Church. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Two important revolutions in our nation’s history occurred both in Boston and Birmingham – the American Revolution and Civil Rights Movement.

Our friends from New England should schedule visits to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Kelly Ingram Park and 16th Street Baptist Church.

The Magic City’s new Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument will remind you of the Freedom Trail in Boston.  As Martin Luther King, Jr. exclaimed – “Let freedom ring!

4) Birmingham’s Boston Commons… Railroad Park

railraod park in fall 5 ways to make Boston College fans feel at home for the TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl
Railroad Park a.k.a Birmingham’s front lawn. Photo via @cotton_state

Nearly a decade ago, Birmingham took a page out of Boston’s playbook, and created a park in the center of the city. Of course, our Railroad Park is 340 years younger and about 1/5th the size of the Boston Commons, but they both have the same idea.

One thing folks Boston and Birmingham have in common is their love of the outdoors – we both cherish green space.

Along with visiting Railroad Park, check out Ruffner Mountain or Red Mountain Park.

Fun fact. Both preserves are larger than NYC’s Central Park.

5) It’s PeCONs not PeCANs – here is where you can find the best pie

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Photo from JaWanda’s Sweet Potato Pies Facebook page. JaWanda Jackson on the far right with WBRC’s Mickey Ferguson

One last bit of travel advice for our BC visitors.  Have some pecan pie.  It’s a staple at any meat and three you might visit in town or pick some up at JaWanda’s Sweet Potato Pie, Savages or Edolyn’s Pies.

And remember, in Birmingham we call it PeCON not PeCAN.

It’s Nice to Have Your in Birmingham

Trim Tab Brewery on Birmingham’s Southside. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Good luck BC against the Bearcats on January 2nd.  We’ll be there with you.

And don’t forget to join the Magic City at the Uptown Street Fest and Pep Rally on January 1st at Uptown.

  • What: Uptown Street Fest and Pep Rally
  • Where: 2221 Richard Arrington Junior Boulevard North, Birmingham, AL 35203
  • When: Wednesday, January 1, 1-6PM
  • Hosted by: TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl
  • Admission: FREE and open to all

Go Eagles from Bham Now!


Pat Byington
Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.

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