Birmingham, Alabama

Magic City



Sunny Days: 213
43100 Affordability
65100 Schools
32100 Diversity
21100 Safety

The Best Thing About Birmingham?

The Buzz

Cheap housing and short commutes to a buzzy little city. There are baseball games, breweries, art, old theaters and a foodie scene worthy of national attention.

Birmingham is located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, which lends itself to some pretty incredible scenery and there’s lots of good, live music being played in the plentiful venues, juke joints and festivals.

Here's a local's pov on the city: In the past 10 years Birmingham has gone through a radical change. More jobs in medical and tech. Important to this revival is the restoration of historic areas like Downtown, Southside and and Avondale. They have the vibe of Austin or Portland. If you live in those areas it's a friendly, eclectic environment. Worth a look. To maybe further refine the answer, in general if you're a very conservative person, and prefer an environment where most people you’ll run into are roughly identical in outlook, the suburbs are best. Homewood, Vestavia Hills, and North Shelby county. If you're conservative but happy to hang with liberals, liberal but happy to hang with conservatives, libertarian and open to pretty much anything, find the occasional Millennial with spiked hair to be interesting but not at all offensive, and like funky locally owned coffee shops instead of Starbucks..Downtown, Southside, and Avondale are ground zero. We preferred the latter to the former.

The Worst Thing About Birmingham?


Local, county and state government is a mess. While Birmingham is a liberal bastion and has reinvented itself after a painful and ugly past, politics and corruption can still be problematic and transplants are not as common as some other southern cities so the welcome may not be quite as warm. But the summers certainly are hot and humid. If you get even just a little bit outside the city, life is going to slow to a Pabst-swilling crawl.

When you're in a blue spot largely surrounded by red things like politics and religion can get a bit tense. Here's a transplant with a pov on these topics: It's definitely the most religious place I've lived. Everywhere else I've lived I just assumed that anyone I met that was my age was not religious, that strategy has failed me pretty consistently here. That being said, I'd say religious people in the millennial-and-younger age bracket are still the minority and we've met plenty of like-minded people as ourselves. I wouldn't say it's different enough from the rest of the country to be a major decision-making factor. Take this with a grain of salt, this is all anecdotal.

Despite AL's political position at large, Birmingham is pretty blue. Like most metropolitan areas in the country, you'll find a pretty diverse mixture of political beliefs but urban areas tend to trend more liberal and Birmingham is no different. You'll find this less true the further you go from the city.

Lifestyle Of Birmingham

B’ham is a city of distinctive neighborhoods—the bustling Southside with its towering buildings and the UAB campus; industrial downtown, now being renovated into lofts and cool restaurants; hipster-centric Avondale with its artisanal breweries and coffee shops all accessible by foot.

With about a million people in the metro area and just over 200,000 in the city itself, Birmingham’s big enough to have an international airport, The Birmingham Museum of art and its own version of the High Line (Railroad Park) and a bustling food hall (Pitzitz.) It’s small enough to be much more affordable than Atlanta or New Orleans. A five to fifteen minute commute is about all you need to live, work and play in Birmingham.

Homewood is the best of liberal Birmingham but more expensive and the housing market there is very competitive for renters and/or buyers. A similar vibe can be had in Crestwood, Forest Park and/or parts of Avondale.

The Atomic Lounge is James Beard noteworthy for its crafty/wacky cocktails, like the Sex Panther, an old-fashioned riff made with bourbon, rum and Cynar and garnished with a temporary panther tattoo, all while wearing one of the full-body animal costumes the bar keeps available upon request.

If you want to check out all the shenanigans locals get up to here is the calendar of festivals and events:

Why You Should Move Here Now?

Threading The Needle

Birmingham threads a tight needle: It’s small, but diverse. Charming, but sophisticated. The city hasn’t grown so fast that there’s outward sprawl. Entrepreneurs and residents can still grab historic downtown factory space and other creative space affordably.

Neighborhoods in Birmingham

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The Area

Snuggled inside of the Jones Valley, Birmingham is its own urban oasis in northern Alabama. Although there are just over 200,000 people within the city limits, the greater Birmingham area is home to roughly a million total people living in a wide variety of neighborhoods and suburbs that stretch up into the mountains around Magic City. Birmingham is at the crossroads of a number of state and interstate highways that lead locals directly to cities like Nashville (north), Atlanta (east), Montgomery (south) and Chattanooga (northeast) in a straight shot.


College Students

Several colleges, such as the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and Birmingham-Southern College call Magic City their home. The Southside is one of the best neighborhoods for college aged folks not only due to its proximity to UAB, but on account of its vibes as well. It’s both affordable while still being upscale and modern. A hot restaurant and bar scene also pervades throughout the neighborhood.

  • Southside
  • College Hills
  • Five Points South

Highland Park

Young Professionals

Despite what others might say about the south, young professionals can find an urban environment to call home in the heart of Birmingham. Highland Park is a great place to start looking for young professionals. It’s close to downtown for those looking to work in the city, and its proximity to the Entertainment District, Five Points South, and UAB gives the location a leg up for those looking to be close to work and the social scene. The aforementioned Five Points South neighborhood itself is also a solid option for young professionals. The nightlife home of Birmingham, Five Points offers its residents the opportunity to be right in the heart of the action for a reasonable price.

  • Highland Park
  • Five Points South
  • Lakeview

Five Points South


An aptly named neighborhood due to its proximity to the action, Central City is one of the best neighborhoods for those without kids, and likely offers the most urban feel in the Birmingham area. Replete with bars, restaurants, parks and coffee shops, there’s always something to do for those without kids. Renters and buyers alike will be happy to hear that prices are more palatable here then comparable downtown neighborhoods in similar cities.

  • Five Points South
  • Highland Park
  • Fountain Heights



Despite being a southern metropolitan dominated by suburbia, Birmingham is known for being a relatively liberal and inclusive area. Homewood is likely the best of liberal Birmingham but more expensive while offering a dense suburban feel. More generally, Birmingham is home to one of the largest Pride celebrations in the south, Central Alabama Pride, and Birmingham’s local chapter of the national PFLAG organization is known for providing support, education, advocacy, networking opportunities, and resources to LGBTQ communities.

  • Homewood
  • Crestwood
  • Central City

Mountain Brook


The expansive suburbia around Birmingham is the knee-jerk for most families to move. Given the layout of the city, some of these suburbs are closer to downtown than other neighborhoods in the city itself. One suburb that is particularly popular is Mountain Brook. A ten minute drive from downtown Birmingham, Mountain Brook has a great school system and the lowest crime rates in the metropolitan area. It also has a pretty good variety of excellent restaurants and lots of shopping options.

  • Mountain Brook
  • Vestavia Hills
  • Homewood