Local Information

The Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau is excited to host all our CMPs for the CMP Conclave 2018! Birmingham, Alabama was born out of the iron and steel industry. Remnants of those early beginnings are preserved in places around the city. The city is also well known for its prominent role in America’s Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Birmingham, Alabama has retained its strong Southern character while embracing progressive attitudes. This Southern city has its own cosmopolitan personality that is an eye-opener to visitors. It’s hip without being pretentious. It’s tuned-in without being pushy. It’s very cool without the exertion.

Birmingham should not be pigeonholed as serving only barbeque and fried pies as Birmingham is home to numerous James Beard Award winners and nominees. Dining is one of the great joys of being in Birmingham. While you’re visiting the city should take great delight in the beauty of fine Southern cooking here as well and see a few of the restaurant recommendations below.

The art we hold up as fine examples of the talent is intriguing as well. Birmingham has become something of a colony with recent openings of dozens of new art galleries of every sort. Clusters of galleries downtown and in nearby suburbs are is giving art enthusiasts and collectors wide open options on paintings, sculpture, jewelry, ceramics, fine art and folk art. In addition, thousands of visitors to the Birmingham Museum of Art each year marvel at this collection.

The quantity and quality of shopping opportunities is often a discovery for Birmingham guests. The area’s antique shops are becoming places of legend in upscale lifestyle magazines around the country.

Things to Do

The Summit of Shopping – Over 1 million square feet of shopping, dining, and entertainment sits at the intersection of US Highway 280 and Interstate 459.

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute – Tour through detailed exhibits of life in Alabama starting in the 1800s. Galleries share stories of daily life from the Civil Rights Movement to "Bombingham" - a reference to the relentless violence that rocked the city in the late 1950s and '60s.

Barber Vintage Motorsport Museum – Home to the world-class 2.3 mile road course, built to FIA and FIM standards, you'll find a new breed of rancing here for both motorcycles and cars!

Birmingham Museum of Art – The Birmingham Museum of Art houses a diverse collection of more than 27,000 paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, and decorative arts dating from ancient to modern times. The collection presents a rich panorama of cultures, featuring the Museum’s extensive holdings of Asian, European, American, African, Pre-Columbian, and Native American art.

Visit Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau website for more ideas.

Restaurant Recommendations

Highlands Bar & Grill – Probably the best-known dining establishment in the state, Highlands sets the standard for many of the best restaurants in the country.  To know Highlands, you must first know about owner and chef, Frank Stitt.  Stitt’s love of cooking with fresh Southern ingredients comes from his rural raising in Cullman, Alabama.  An avid traveler, Stitt studied French culinary styles which led him to the blending of Southern favorites with French sauces and braises.  Even in this tony establishment, diners will find stone-ground grits and country ham on the menu.  Highlands has been nominated repeatedly by the James Beard Foundation for the country’s “Most Outstanding Restaurant.”  Through the years, Chef Stitt has been nominated for and received other awards from the prestigious foundation. 

Chez Fonfon – This casual French bistro, just next door to Highlands, is also owned by Frank Stitt.  The bustling café serves classic, hearty French fare with an exceptional selection of wines.

Bottega Café – The third in Stitt’s trio of restaurants, Bottega is a casual trattoria about four blocks from Highlands and Chez Fonfon. The seasonal menu includes fresh gulf seafood, naturally-raised meats and fresh organic vegetables.  Adjoining the café is Bottega Dining Room for upscale evening dinners.  

Hot and Hot Fish Club – Chef Chris Hastings specializes in and excels at memorable dining.  Guests along the sweeping limestone chef’s counter have front row seats to the energetic, detailed preparation of the cuisine.  Located in the intimate setting of an historic Southside building, Hot and Hot adheres to the philosophy of using fresh ingredients from local providers.

Café Dupont – Part of the charm of this café is its setting in an 1870s renovated store in the heart of downtown.  The dining room’s exposed brick, high ceilings and original floors reflect the building’s history.  Chef/Owner Chris Dupont, like others, relies on locally-grown produce for preparing top quality cuisine.  

Bettola – Located in the historic Martin Biscuit building, Bettola is a casual upscale restaurant with an array of foods reflecting the Campania region of Italy.  Their signature Neapolitan pizzas are prepared in an authentic brick oven from Naples. 

Ocean – Sea Scallops, halibut, grouper, tuna, salmon, fresh oysters on the half shell---all the very best and freshest seafood is what Ocean offers diners at this casually sophisticated establishment.  The restaurant is particularly well known for its extensive selection of fresh oysters and good sushi.  

Five Point Public House Oyster Bar – Next door to Ocean is its sassy little sister.  With an industrial chic décor, this bustling bistro, with roll-up doors for breezy service, is a favorite with the young business crowd at lunch.  It’s also a cozy spot for after-meeting drinks.  

El Barrio Restaurante Y Bar – Set among restaurants and taverns on lively 2nd Avenue North, El Barrio’s menu is inspired by multi-regional Mexican cuisine, urban design and locally-sourced ingredients.  Saturday brunch is a big deal at El Barrio. Arrive early.

These dining rooms are just a handful of the many excellent restaurants in the downtown area.  Check the corner nearest you; you’ll likely find another.

Learn more about Birmingham, Alabama

Video courtesy of Birmingham CVB