Birmingham is a great (and easy) city to get out and explore! Here are five suggestions of things to do over the Thanksgiving weekend...
1. Get Outside!
The weather this weekend is forecasted to be beautiful, so use this opportunity to take advantage of one of Birmingham's greatest assets - outdoor space.
Oak Mountain State Park is a great place to go hiking, biking, or enjoy a picnic. If you want to stay closer in to the city, check out Railroad Park, located in the middle of the city.
2. Check out the Birmingham Zoo & Botanical Gardens
Located within feet of each other, and right in the middle of downtown Mountain Brook, the Birmngham Zoo & Botanical Gardens are a sure bet. Once you're done looking at the animals and admiring the flowers, park your car, grab something warm at Starbucks, and spend some time meandering around the Mountain Brook city center.
3. Get in Touch with Your Cultural Side
The Birmingham Museum of Art has an exhibit, Norma Rockwell's America, running through Jan. 6. Admission is free! (The price for the Rockwell exhibit is $15).
4. Take a Walk through History
The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is the place to learn the history, context, and progress in the struggle for civil rights for all Americans. With special exhibits and guided tours, the institute is a must for understanding the story of Birmingham and indeed, the entire nation better.
5. Avoid the malls!
For those who love to shop, this is a great weekend. For those who don't, the traffic can make going anywhere nearly impossible. In Birmingham, there are three main areas to avoid: the Galleria, located at Exit 13 on I-459; the Summt, located at the intersection of Hwy 280 & I-459; and Brookwood Village, located on Lakeshore Parkway (off of I-65). There's also sure to be plenty of folks headed to the Shops at Grand River Outlets in Leeds, located off of I-59 N. There are usually back roads and alternate routes to get around these trouble spots, but they will be packed and traffic will be backed up for miles around these areas, starting Friday. If you're looking to shop local, What's on 2nd and several of the shops on 2nd Ave. North are having great sales this weekend.
The Game: one of the biggest (if not the biggest) college football games in the state happens Saturday, at 2:30pm. The Iron Bowl pits in-state rivals Auburn and the University of Alabama in a game that divides the citizens of Alabama and is watched by almost everyone. The game is being held in Tuscaloosa this year, so steer clear of 459 and I-59 S on Saturday if possible. If you aren't interested in college football, once the game starts, you'll basically have the city to yourself for four hours, assumming you don't get a huge craving for hot wings or beer. The bars will be packed! So, this could be a great time to get out, ride around, and even get a head start on Christmas shopping. Just make sure you're back home by the time the game is over. Half the folks leaving the bars will be celebrating their team's win, and the other half will be mad because their team lost. Either way, it'll be much safer to eat in Saturday night!