Park & walk to these 9 popular spots to hit from Railroad Park to the Rotary Trail

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Rotary Trail sign
The Rotary Trail is one of Birmingham’s connectors—let’s take a tour. (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

With the weather warming up, it’s the perfect time to bust out your walking shoes or bikes and experience Birmingham through its fantastic Rotary Trail system. Park in Parkside, then spend a few hours checking out fun businesses. Keep reading to discover nine hot spots to add to your bucket list, then find out why Orchestra Partners, a local redevelopment planning firm, is making strides to make Birmingham more walkable.

Hot spots to hit + why walkability matters

Why does walkability matter? Stone Ray, Senior Development Associate at Orchestra Partners, broke down four major reasons.

  • For economic development
  • For individual health
  • For environmental factors
  • For sociability

“When people live in a place where the public realm is active, these happenstances of meeting someone on the street or passing by a friend is pretty valuable for someone’s social life. Studies have proven that those unplanned encounters have spun off a lot of creative ideas.”

Stone Ray, Senior Development Associate, Orchestra Partners

1. Monday Night Social Club

Start your walking tour with a favorite taproom located just blocks away from Railroad Park—Monday Night Social Club. Grab one of their 25 brews on tap (I recommend Dr. Robot or the new Kinetic Energy) and split some guac for the table.

  • Location: 14 12th St S, Birmingham, AL 35233
  • Hours: Monday-Thursday 11:30AM-10PM | Friday-Saturday 11:30AM-12AM | Sunday 11:30AM-8PM
  • Website | Facebook | Instagram

2. Good People Brewing

Of course, a walking tour in Birmingham isn’t complete with just one brewery. In fact, with the new extension of the Rotary Trail, you’ll be able to walk to over five breweries! Located just a short walk from Monday Night Social Club, find Good People Brewing.

  • Location: 114 14th St S, Birmingham, AL 35233
  • Hours: Monday-Thursday Noon-10PM | Friday-Saturday Noon-12AM | Sunday Noon-8PM
  • Website | Facebook | Instagram

3. Urban Supply

Urban Supply
This spot is going to fill up with fun tenants. (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

Not familiar with Urban Supply? This Orchestra Partners development is one of the newest projects in Parkside. Urban Supply is the perfect example of what connection in Birmingham can look like. The development will feature 10,000 square feet of retail, office and fitness spaces along with restaurants and bars. While the development is still making progress, Urban Supply is already home to fun events like Grub on the Lot, an evening full of food trucks and live music.

4. Hero Doughnuts & Buns

Hero Doughnuts Super Crunch
If you’re not a donut fan, Hero has amazing lunch options too. (Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

After walking around downtown Birmingham, you’ll want to grab something sweet—luckily, Hero Doughnuts & Buns is conveniently located across from Railroad Park and the Powell Steam Plant.

5. Powell Steam Plant

Powell Ave Steamplant 4 scaled Park & walk to these 9 popular spots to hit from Railroad Park to the Rotary Trail
The future home of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. (Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

One of the openings we’re most excited about in 2023: the Powell Steam Plant, future home of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and other exciting tenants coming soon. Imagine starting your afternoon with a movie, then walking to grab dessert and drinks just a few blocks away!

6. Pies & Pints

Birmingham pizza
A fun option on your walking tour of Birmingham. (Pies and Pints Pizzeria / Facebook)

Need something savory to fuel your walks through Birmingham? Stop by Pies & Pints to fill up on pizza and apps.

  • Location: 125 20th St S, Birmingham, AL 35233
  • Hours: Monday-Saturday 11AM-10PM | Sunday 11AM-9PM
  • Website | Facebook | Instagram

7. Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken

Another foodie favorite on your walking tour near the Rotary Trail? Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken in The Battery. Go for a plate of fried chicken with baked beans and slaw, and don’t skip out on the honey mustard.

8. Birmingham District Brews

Another brewery to hit on your walking tour from Railroad Park to the Rotary Trail: Birmingham District Brews. Located in The Battery (also home of Wasabi Juan’s and Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken), it’s got the perfect patio for relaxing on a warm afternoon.

  • Location: 2201 2nd Ave S #102, Birmingham, AL 35233
  • Hours: Monday-Thursday Noon-10PM | Friday Noon-10PM | Saturday 11AM-12AM | Sunday Noon-8PM
  • Website | Facebook | Instagram

9. Good Dog Bar + Bar Park

Dog Park
One of the newest hot spots along the Rotary Trail. (Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

Good Dog Bar and Dog Park is located right along Rotary Trail, so it’s the perfect place to bring your furry friends as you walk on 1st Avenue. Stop in for a beer and let your pups enjoy connecting for themselves.

  • Location: 2307 1st Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35233
  • Hours: Monday-Friday 3-9PM | Saturday Noon-9PM | Sunday Noon-8PM
  • Website | Facebook | Instagram

Why connectivity matters

Railroad Park
When you head to Railroad Park, you never know who you’ll run into. (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

I wanted to learn more about how connectivity can affect a city, so I spoke with Stone Ray, a Senior Development Associate at Orchestra Partners, to see why it matters and how Orchestra Partners is making it happen.

For Orchestra Partners projects, it starts with a vision of connecting residents and pedestrians—to benefit them and the businesses that are there.

“When we start a project or we’re thinking about Birmingham, we prioritize those urban connections that are not automobile connections, and Urban Supply and the Steam Plant will be examples of those.”

Stone Ray, Senior Development Associate, Orchestra Partners

So how does Orchestra Partners prioritize connections? By filling buildings with businesses that will encourage heavier foot traffic and working on projects like the Rotary Trail that will make it easier to get from place to place. Plus, Orchestra Partners activates previously empty spaces like Urban Supply with pop-ups.

“If a building is situated on a pedestrian-only space that has street furniture and trees that provide shade, and the cars that are going very slowly, all of a sudden, that ground becomes much more valuable to lease to a commercial tenant.”

Stone Ray, Senior Development Associate, Orchestra Partners

One of Birmingham’s most well-known walkable destinations is the Rotary Trail, and Orchestra Partners is playing a key role in developing its expansion.

As Birmingham continues to grow, we’ll keep seeing new projects and activations like this.

Learn more about Orchestra Partners + their exciting projects by checking out their websiteFacebook and Instagram. Plus, see if a career at Orchestra Partners might be right for you.

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