In the beginning, farmland ruled the lone stretch of land around that railroad crossroad in Alabama. But once it merged with the surrounding towns, the Magic City saw tremendous growth. Since then, this hotbed of history played a major role in the Civil Rights movement and changed the iron manufacturing game. Today, it’s known for its flourishing art scene, Roll Tide and making a mean gourmet popsicle. It’s no surprise you’re thinking of making the move to this charming southern city. But with any big change in life, being prepared and arming yourself with knowledge always makes the transition significantly smoother. Let’s dive in to some need-to-know info about the city of Birmingham.
Prepare to Have More Cash
You’ll be happy to know that your potential new home is easy on the wallet. You can expect an extremely low cost of living compared to other metro areas in the United States. Birmingham scored a 126 on Expatistan’s cost of living price index. New York City, on the other hand, scored a whopping 229.
So you get to enjoy all of the big city vibes without having to live in a flat where the kitchen doubles as a bathroom. If fact, Forbes ranked the Magic City as No. 1 in the U.S. in value for your money. That means the typical resident earns more and spends less on necessities.
Don’t Go in Weather-Blind
Let’s make sure you don’t end up walking in without the necessary information. The weather in Alabama can require a bit of getting used if you’re from a dry climate. Summer months see temperatures around the 90’s. Occasionally the city will experience temperatures in the triple digits. It’s not unusual for temperatures to drop below freezing in the winter but it mostly toggles right around the 50’s. Any time of year expect high humidity.
There are many options for job opportunities in Birmingham. Magazines such as Cooking Light, Southern Living and Coastal Living are all published here. If you want to pursue a career in writing or photography but you’re not sure if you’re ready for the hustle and bustle of New York City, this might be the place for you.
There are several banks that call the Magic City home. It’s a central hub for national banks such as Regions and BBVA Compass. The University of Alabama at Birmingham Medical Center is one of the leading international medical centers as well as one of the largest employers in the state. Aside from these three hotspots, there are plenty of other opportunities to check out.
It’s a City of Culture
Now that we have the nitty-gritty housekeeping out of the way, let’s jump into the fun stuff. Art, music and culture in general are a major facet of life in Birmingham. If by some chance you’ve always dreamed of seeing live music at a renovated 20th century blast furnace, Birmingham is the right place! Sloss Furnace is a somewhat creepy yet utterly unforgettable historic site, event center and music venue. Be sure to pass through to learn more about the city’s legacy of iron production and industry.
Maybe you’re into art that grows from the ground. Lucky for you, the Birmingham Botanical Garden has you covered with all the topiaries and rose gardens your heart desires. And the best part is, it’s free year-round. Birmingham is certain to provide you with endless history to learn, art to admire and cool indie music to jam out to on the way to work.
Sports and the Like
Everybody knows that Birmingham and Roll Tide go hand-in-hand. Come fall, lines are drawn and War Eagle fans are kicked over to the other side. The rivalry is as real as you’ve heard. But even when football season winds down, you can expect to see sports and an active lifestyle rule all year long.
Baseball season is a highly celebrated time. The Barons are Southern League Champs and they always draw a massive crowd on Thirsty Thursdays. GoKickball is a Birmingham rite-of-passage you’ll surly participates in regardless of your athletic status. It’s a great way to get a feel for the Birmingham social scene.
You might be surprised to hear that this urban city has a lot to offer the nature-loving soul too! Whether you’re into paddle boarding or hiking, you’ll have no problem getting your fill of the great outdoors.
A Food and Drink Scene to Die For
At this point you’re probably getting a grasp of how amazing this city truly is. The list of things to do in Birmingham is endless. You might have guessed this but there’s no shortage of great places to eat or grab a drink. There’s an impressive brewery scene. And, as mentioned before, Steel City Pops has a simply exquisite selection of popsicles. Pepper’s Place Farmers Market might be right up your alley if you want to prepare your own meal with a harvest of farm-fresh goodies. Just about every taste palette can find a home in Birmingham.
While making a move can be stressful, there’s no doubt you’ll be happy with you new home in Birmingham. With this knowledge, you’ll take the city by storm and fit in just like a local in no time.