A Few Reasons Why Downtown Birmingham is Better Than Ever

Posted on March 23, 2016 at 11:27 am

Downtown Birmingham is experiencing a major resurgence – no, this is not breaking news. However, if you are responsible for planning your next company meeting, family reunion, birthday celebration, alumni event, corporate retreat, or even wedding, listen up.

Compared to just five years ago, heck, even just two, downtown Birmingham has made significant progress to become more inviting, exciting, and fresh to visitors and locals alike. Let’s take a moment to clarify, for the purpose of this post, ‘downtown Birmingham’ refers to the area between 1st Avenue North to 9th Avenue North, and Red Mountain Expressway to about 15th Street North. The area that not too long ago turned into a ghost town after 5pm. People went to work and went home, or at least they didn’t hang around this area after-hours. Now the sidewalks are bustling with activity and life, nearly 24 hours a day. As someone who works in this area with often odd hours (event life, right?), it is refreshing and invigorating to leave The Harbert Center after a late night event and not be the only person on the street.

The intent of this post is to encourage folks to consider downtown Birmingham for the location of their next meeting or social event. Many of you already know The Harbert Center is a totally awesome venue (shameless plug), but I want to give you a list of reasons when the thought “But what will my attendees/guests do during their free time that is also convenient to their hotel…” Fear not, there is plenty to keep them entertained!

Here’s my list of awesome reasons to host your next event at The Harbert Center, and treat your guests to a unique experience in downtown Birmingham:

#1     HISTORIC HOTELS: There are currently two beautiful historic hotels within walking distance to The Harbert Center!

  • The Tutwiler Hotel the-tutwiler-2(0.3 mile) has long been a fixture in the area, and has hosted a myriad of distinguished guests visiting Birmingham since 1914. It’s not uncommon to see a bridal party posing for photos on the steps of this National Historic Landmark. The Tutwiler has 149 guest rooms and suites.



  • The Redmont Hotel Birmingham Redmont(0.1 mile) is Alabama’s oldest operating hotel, and it is Birmingham’s newest. After a multimillion dollar renovation, The Redmont Hotel is the newest of the select 22 properties in the Curio Collection by Hilton. The hotel features state-of-the-art technology and amenities, while retaining the style and glamour of the hotel’s 1920s roots, allowing guests to enjoy old world charm in the heart of downtown Birmingham.


#2     ZYP BIKESHARE:  ZypBikes

  • Birmingham’s first ever bikeshare program will get you anywhere on this list, and then some! There are 20+ stations (with even more planned) to get you from point A to B, including one across the street from The Harbert Center.



#3   HISTORY & CULTURE: Museums, Theaters, and a {very special} Church — oh my!

  • 16StreetThe Sixteenth Street Baptist Church (0.6 mile) serves as the symbolic epicenter of the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham. Most famously known for the bombing that killed four little girls in 1963, this National Historic Landmark receives over 200,000 visitors per year. Tours of the church are $5 per person, and take about an hour.


  • Birmingham Museum of Art (0.4 mile) is home to a diverse collection of over 25,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, decorative arts, and prints. BMA offer adult tours as well as tours more geared to kids. Admission is free.


  • The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute‘s (0.5 mile) mission is “to enlighten each generation about civil and human rights by exploring our common past and working together in the present to build a better future”. The BCRI was named by BudgetTravel as ‘One of the 15 Places in the Country that Children Should Visit Before They’re 15’. 


  • At the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, you can check out over 5,000 sports artifacts in this 33,000 square foot space. Immerse yourself in memorabilia from the impressive lives of native sports legends you may have heard of, such as Jesse Owens, Hank Aaron, and Carl Lewis, to name a few. Admissions are $5 with discounts for senior citizens, students, and large groups.


  • lyric0120Built in 1914, the century-old Lyric Theatre (0.3 mile) was once home to vaudeville shows that featured major stars like Mae West and the Marx Brothers. Though seating was segregated, the Lyric was actually one of the first venues in the South where blacks and whites could enjoy the same show at the same time for the same price. After a multimillion restoration, 2016 marked the grand reopening of this historic theater as a new downtown venue for concerts and live performances. Check out their upcoming events!


  • Alabama auditoriumThe Alabama Theatre (0.3 mile) has been considered the “Showplace of the South” since 1927, when it was built by Paramount Studios to showcase films. Today, you can enjoy concerts, live performances, films, and even take a tour of the historic theater that concludes with a demonstration of ‘Big Bertha’, the Alabama’s famous Mighty Wurlitzer Organ. Tours cost $10 per guest and last about an hour. The beautiful architecture and intricate details are definitely worth checking out!


  • McWane Science Center (0.2 mile) is fun for all ages, but a definite must-go if you have kids in your group. This unique hands-on venue has a number of permanent exhibits and an IMAX dome theater – rain or shine!

#4    AWARD WINNING BALLPARK & GREEN SPACE: Three of our favorite spots to spend a sunny afternoon at are just a short bike ride from The Harbert Center!

  • Railroad Park (0.7 mile) is 19 acres of green grass, walking trails, and water features surrounded by the beautiful buildings that make Birmingham’s skyline. There are two play areas and an outdoor gym, a cafe, and even free WiFi is available throughout the park. Railroad Park has received many awards and accolades, including Urban Land Institute’s Urban Open Space Award in 2012, and USA Today’s ’10 Best’ U.S. parks that have helped revive their cities in 2015.
  • The Rotary Trail (0.5 mile) is Birmingham’s newest green space that follows a railroad cut through downtown along 1st Avenue South.  It includes walking paths, benches, landscaping, boardwalks, an amphitheater and more!
  • Regions Field (0.9 mile) is home to the Birmingham Barons, Birmingham’s minor league  baseball team. This state-of-the-art 8,500 seat facility was named the 2013 Ballpark of the Year it’s inaugural year by baseballparks.com. With 360 degrees views of the field, it’s contemporary and industrial design, and amazing views of the Birmingham skyline, this park is a home run and a guaranteed fun way to spend an afternoon!

There are a TON more reasons to list, but the point is, downtown Birmingham is more visitor and local friendly than ever!  Go see for yourself!