9 reasons why one recent grad from Knoxville decided to call Birmingham home

Birmingham
Nothing better than an afternoon stroll at Railroad Park. (Jacob Blakenship / Bham Now)

You may have had a job lined up before graduation, just wanted a last summer break or still searching for a perfect job. No matter if you’re a recent grad or just on the hunt for somewhere new to live, here are the reasons why I fell in love with Birmingham and why I think you will too.

1. The community

three women sitting at a table outside at Protective
We have the best neighbors. (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

First and foremost, let’s give it up to The Magic City’s community. The sweet, southern charm got me, y’all. With people, businesses and organizations working together to be better neighbors and to help Birmingham be the best it could be, you really can’t find a more meaningful community.

2. The best + growing food scene

automatic seafood
Automatic Seafood and Oyster is making us proud as the James Beard winner of the Best Chef in the South for 2022. (Automatic Seafood / Facebook)

Was living near a Taco Mama a non-negotiable for me? I can’t even be embarrassed by that fact—it’s just that good! No matter if you want casual dining, food trucks or a fancy sit-down dinner, The Magic City has it all. Plus, it’s all the best—we even just had a Birmingham chef win the James Beard Best Chef of the South. Here are some guides to help you find your favorite spots:

3. The quaint suburbs

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The perfect weekend afternoon is spent on 18th Street in Homewood. (Selah Vetter / Bham Now)

Between sipping a coffee in Mountain Brook and strolling 18th Street in Homewood, my “Gilmore Girls” dreams have come true. Full of local coffee shops, bookstores and cafes, there’s no better way to spend a Saturday or fall afternoon than in the quaint suburbs of Birmingham.

4. The cups and cups of coffee

Red Cat - Birmingham coffee shop
Cup of coffee + a book = the BEST. (Laura Beth Thomason / Bham Now)

If you’re like me, a day isn’t started until a cup of coffee is in my hands. With so many options—no matter if you’re in downtown or a suburb—it’s hard to just have one cup. Here are my favorite places to get my caffeine fix:

5. The local breweries

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Cheers to all of our local breweries. (Beth Cunningham / Bham Now)

Name a better way to unwind on a summer evening, watch Saturday football or attempt to win a trivia game with friends than at a local brewery. Lucky us, Bham has so many to choose from. Back Forty‘s Bama Mosa may just hold my heart, but here are some of the other Magic City breweries:

If beer isn’t really your thing, fortunately, Birmingham has many bars to choose from, including some fun rooftop bars with stunning views of the city.

6. The way you can shop until you drop

Renaissance / Seasick Records
Bham Now’er Nathan Watson browsing through the rock n’ roll section in Renaissance Records. (Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

Between local shops and big malls like The Summit, there’s no end of ways you can shop until you drop. Bham is the perfect spot if you’re on the hunt for a perfect present or want a girl’s day out. Here are some of my local shops:

7. The Birmingham sports teams to root for

Birmingham
Birmingham Squadron’s John Petty, Jr and Jared Harper helping a teammate up. (Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

A sports game + hotdog + friends has to be the best combination. Here are the teams you need to get ready to root for:

8. The proximity for weekend getaways

Birmingham
But with a skyline this beautiful, why would you ever really want to leave? (Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

Whether it’s heading back to my hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee or taking a weekend getaway to the beach, Atlanta or Nashville, Birmingham’s a central spot on the map. Isn’t it a wonderful thing to save money on gas and airfare with the short drives? Weekend getaways can include:

  • Gulf Shores
  • Mentone
  • Mobile
  • Tishomingo County, Mississippi
  • Tupelo
  • Oxford

9. The abundance of museums

people looking at art at the Birmingham Museum of Art
Check out the art the breathtaking art. (Birmingham Museum of Art)

Ready to geek out? Birmingham has so many museums to check out and has so many that are great for the whole family. Focusing on the city’s civil rights history, art, science and more, you can never stop learning.

If you’re debating whether to stay in or move to Birmingham here’s me giving you the green light to go for it—I don’t think you’ll regret it.

Why is Birmingham your favorite place? Let us know on Instagram @BhamNow.

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Selah Vetter
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