As part of Bham Now’s neighborhood series, we’re taking a look at Birmingham’s Southwest community. Southwest has a lot to offer and some of your favorite places may be in this community without you even knowing.
Where is Southwest?
Just like the name suggests, Southwest sits southwest of the city center. It’s an expansive area nestled between Bessemer, Homewood and some of Hoover. The community consists of six of Birmingham’s 99 neighborhoods, including:
- Garden Highlands
- Jones Valley
- Mason City
- Sand Ridge
A little bit about Southwest
We all know the story of how Birmingham became a thriving “Magic City” due to its abundance of raw materials needed to fuel the steel-making industry. But did you know that Southwest was home to some of the city’s earliest pioneers? As a matter of fact, Jones Valley was originally called the Birmingham District and is where much of Birmingham’s industrial development saw its booming growth.
As more opportunities for the working class became available in Birmingham, the Southwest community, Powderly, was developed specifically to house blue-collar workers. The Riley-Travellick community followed shortly after.
It’s kind of similar to the growth we’re seeing in Birmingham right now. Except instead of the steel industry, lots of eyes are on the tech and medical sectors.
So what’s there to do in Southwest?
As I was doing some research about the neighborhood, I was pleasantly surprised to see that several notable local spots are in Southwest.
We all know and love Red Mountain Park. From its stellar views at Grace’s Gap to the remnants of historic mines, the park has a lot to offer.
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We made it out to the historic @redmountainpark to do some exploring just before the rain came.🌦 . Located just 20 minutes outside of downtown, this 15-mile trail system covers 1,500+ acres and comes with 150 years of Birmingham history. 🙌 . The opening of Red Mountain Park in 2007 made Birmingham one of the “greenest” cities in America. 🌱 . NOTE: The high-rope courses + aerial adventure tours are currently closed due to COVID-19. Make sure to follow @redmountainpark for updates. . Where’s your fave spot to go hiking in Bham? Drop it in the comments.👇 . #bhamstrong #bhamal #birminghamal #instagrambham #bhamnow
This one is for all of Birmingham’s avid rock climbers. Y’all are probably very familiar with this place.
Birmingham Boulders is where I had my first rock climbing experience and let’s just say it’s astronomically harder than it looks.
If you’re looking for the ultimate upper body workout, this might be your best bet. If you’re a beginner, no worries. The staff is extremely helpful and the floors are padded.
Built on former mining land, did you know that the world-renowned Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail was in the Sand Ridge community?
This 54-hole facility winds through scenic forests, creeks, lakes and valleys of the Appalachians.
I’m not a fan of golf to be honest, but these photos of the RTJ Trail are stunning. Just take a look for yourself.
You know those Pepsi products you’ve been drinking? They’re produced right here in Birmingham at Buffalo Rock’s largest division in the country. Their product line up includes Mountain Dew, Dr Pepper, Maxwell House and Aquafina to name a few.
Buffalo Rock is also a proud sponsor of the Birmingham Legion FC. Along with Red Diamond, Mercedes Benz of Birmingham and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Buffalo Rock supported the team’s special limited-edition, commemorative kit. You may have noticed the new jerseys at their recent opening game. They’re redesigned to recognize the current movement aimed to combat racial and social injustices.
Where to eat in Southwest
These two spots are on the cusp of the Southwest community and Hoover. The territory lines between Birmingham and Hoover get a little murky but I figured that I would include these two local restaurants anyways.
Since 1975, this family-owned business has been serving up hearty sandwiches and selling a variety of local products in its market. Seasonings, sauces, marinades, cookies, you name it.
This casual American restaurant is serving up delicious food with an even better view. The hotdogs and burgers are worth the visit, but it’s the panoramic views that’ll make you stay.
The 600 sq-foot restaurant was originally a gas station. I wouldn’t call it a hole-in-the-wall, but it’s pretty small. No worries though. There’s plenty of outdoor seating to take in the view.
- Where: 588 Shades Crest Rd, Birmingham, AL 35226
- Contact: Website | Call
- Hours: Mon.-Fri. 6:20AM-4PM & Sat. 6:30AM-3PM
Where Can I Read About the Other Neighborhoods?
This article is the 21st installment in a 23-part series Bham Now is doing to feature Birmingham’s 23 communities, comprised of 99 neighborhoods. So far we’ve featured the following communities:
- Red Mountain
- Roebuck/ South East Lake
- North Birmingham
- East Lake
- East Pinson Valley
- Five Points West
- West End
- Airport Hills
- East Birmingham