May 13, 2019

Student Insights: Which Birmingham neighborhood is right for you?

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You may be wondering these 7 questions as you search for a place to live this upcoming year:

  1. What is the general price range of the area?
  2. Do students live in a house or an apartment? Are both available in the area?
  3. What are some of the benefits and our favorite things about the area?
  4. Any downsides?
  5. How close is the nearest grocery store/market?
  6. How long is the commute to Volker hall/Lister Hill library? Do we drive or walk?
  7. Is it a pet friendly area? Any concerns with safety?

We asked some of our students to answer them for you!

Southside & Midtown: Clara Wan

  1. clara$650-$1600; the price range is broad depending on which apartment complex you choose and whether or not you have a roommate. If you don't have a roommate, it averages around $1400 and if you do then it averages $900. Popular apartment complexes are Southside Station, Bristol, Station 121, Parkside, The Waites, and Flats on Fourth.
  2. I live in an apartment. There aren't houses in this area, but there are condos you can buy. 
  3. There are a lot of restaurants super close by and so when I'm busy and don't want to cook, it's really nice. (E.g. Taco Mama, Farm Burger, Newk’s, Pies and Pints, Falafel Café, and Taziki’s) Also, I walk to class every day and don't have to deal with parking, which can be hectic.
  4. It can be a little loud at times, but not usually at night. My apartment complex also had some cars broken into, but there are plenty of complexes with gated parking. 
  5. Publix is about a 10-minute walk away (maybe less)! 
  6. I walk every morning to Volker Hall! It's a little less than 10 minutes to walk and if it's raining I just cut through the hospital, which is super nice. 
  7. All the apartments I know of are pet friendly! I haven't heard of any apartment break-ins and the streets are always well-lit so I think it's pretty safe. The only thing is the cars that were broken into last semester.  

Highland Park/Forest Park/Altamont Park: Sydney Blankenship

  1. Blankenship Sydney2$500-700; I live in a three-bedroom condominium, and I pay $650 per month. I would say that most places around here are within the same price range.
  2. I live in a condo, but there are a lot of different options available in the area ranging from one bedroom apartments to larger houses.
  3. One of my favorite things is that it is full of neighborhood parks and walking trails. I also love that it is a historic area so there are a lot of cool things to see and places to explore within walking distance. Rent is a little cheaper here than downtown, but I am still close to everything.
  4. I have to drive to school. It is not a long commute at all (normally less than 10 minutes), but there are a handful of red lights to go through and parking is not always ideal.
  5. There’s a Piggly Wiggly within walking distance. I am close to the Publix downtown. Target is about a 10 to 15-minute drive.
  6. I drive to school then park in the 16th street deck (A zone). It takes less than 10 minutes to drive then about another 5-10ish minutes to walk. I think you could walk or ride your bike to school from here, but I have never tried.
  7. Yes, it is very pet friendly with lots of parks and places to walk around the area. I have never felt unsafe, but I would probably never walk around by myself at night. 

Mountain Brook/Crestline: Reagan Hattaway

  1. Hattaway Reagan$800-$1300; this can vary if you rent either a house or apartment, and cheaper with roommates.
  2. I live in an apartment. There’re other houses and apartments that are available for rent. Those details can be found on or another website. (E.g., the Union At Cooper Hill, the Park at Alloa, Tapestry Park, and Eagle View.)
  3. I like how convenient the area is to grocery stores and shops, and traffic usually isn't an issue. 
  4. Living in certain apartment complexes can be a little pricey, but you pay for the amenities and a large apartment. It's also further from the interstate than other areas. 
  5. Publix and Winn-Dixie are a 2-5 minute drive. Aldi, Walmart, Walgreen, Dollar Tree, and Home Depot are 5-10 minutes away. 
  6. Volker hall is a 10-15 minute drive, depending on the time of day. It is definitely not a walkable distance.
  7. The area is very pet friendly! There are many parks and dog parks nearby. Some apartments also has a fenced-in area specifically for pets. I think this a fairly safe area of Birmingham. We don't have many care or apartment break-ins, and I feel comfortable walking to/from my car or going to the grocery store at night. 

Hoover: John Hoyle 

  1. Hoyle JohnSince we bought our house, we are paying a mortgage rather than rent. Depending on the house and the down payment, the payment per month could easily be anywhere between $850-$1500.
  2. Our neighborhood is pretty much only houses, but there are a couple of apartment complexes not far away. (E.g. Bluff Park and Shades Cliff) I would not really recommend the Park at Wakefield and Wellington though.
  3. This area is quiet, the people are friendly, and it is perfect for walking. If we need anything quickly, there are a Piggly Wiggly, CVS, and gas station right there. Although our daughter is not old enough yet, the schools are also quite good. (If you have kids, you may take school district into consideration). The Moss Rock Preserve, Oak Mountain State Park, and the Riverchase Galleria are nearby.
  4. Not really any downsides. (The traffic on Lakeshore Dr., Hwy 31, and I-65 can be busy.)
  5. As I said before, there is a Piggly Wiggly just down the street. We only really get odds and ends there because of the high price, but it is definitely serviceable. There are plenty of stores on Greensprings, so it really is not hard to just go shopping on my way home.
  6. Without traffic, it is about a 15-minute drive to the 16th St. deck. I try to leave around 7am and can usually get to the parking deck by 7:30 at worst.
  7. There are definitely plenty of pets around. This is a very safe and family friendly area. 

Homewood/Lakeshore: Wesley Curles

  1. Curles WesleyThe price range in Homewood varies widely, depending on the type of housing. My apartment is a little over $550 a month, and I would guess that is about the average. 
  2. I live in a two-person apartment with another medical student. Both apartments and houses are available in Homewood, e.g. the Crescent, and places near Samford University. I am planning to stay in Homewood next year, and will likely move into a house with a group of medical/dental students. There is a lot of variety in Homewood– I am confident that most people would be able to find something that works for them. 
  3. The downtown Homewood/Soho square area is great – lots of good restaurants, coffee shops, and stores. Homewood Park is within walking distance of that area, as is Homewood Library – a solid study spot. It’s also a great place to exercise – lots of running/walking trails nearby. 
  4. There aren’t a ton of students that live in Homewood. I haven’t minded that, but be advised that most of your neighbors will be adults/families. 
  5. There are plenty of grocery stores within a 5-10 minute drive, including Piggly Wiggly, Walmart, Aldi, and more. 
  6. I am a 10-15 minute drive away from Volker hall, depending on traffic.
  7. The neighborhood as a whole is very pet friendly, though some apartment complexes may have rules/fees for them. No safety concerns. 

Glen Iris/ Five Points South: Isabella Mak 

  1. Mak Isabella$650-$1200
  2. Crowne on 10th is probably the most popular apartment among students. Other places I’ve heard of are Mountainside, University Flats, Mountain Woods, and University Place apartments. Many students rent or pay mortgage for houses together, and they can sell the house later.  Some students recommended H2 Real Estate to help find houses/apartments.
  3. For Glen Iris area, there are newly constructed bike lanes near UAB Alys Stephens Center, about a 10-minute drive to Seeds Coffee (a popular study spot) and Urban Air Trampoline (especially if you have kids). For Five Points South area, there are award-winning restaurants, coffee shops (Lucy’s, and Filter), a salon, a post office, and many events like Historic Home tours, and the St Patrick’s parade.
  4. The buildings/homes are older, and new residential buildings are still being constructed.
  5. It is a 10-minute drive to Walmart, Sam’s Club, Aldi, and Publix.
  6. If you live in Glen Iris, it depends on your parking zone and the streets you live on- it can be 10 minute drive, or 15-20 minute biking. If you live in Five Points, it is a 10-15 minute walk.
  7. Glen Iris park is pet friendly. The UAB Police Department is also located in this area. For safety concerns, I recommend taking advantage of the late-night on-demand van service provided by UAB: 

Here are the links for more information:

The UAB School of Medicine and the interviewees in this article in no way endorse individual realtors, banks/lenders, apartment complexes, or property management companies.

Interviews compiled by Isabella Mak