April 24, 2017

Which Birmingham neighborhood is right for you?

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Trying to decide where to live in Birmingham? Read the pros and cons of different neighborhoods from your future classmates. Students looking for a roomate can check out the Housing/Roommate Search form. 


I've really enjoyed living in the Southside neighborhood (roughly between University and the mountain). Southside is within a 10-15 minute walk of Volker. There is a variety of townhomes/houses to rent/buy. There are also a few smaller apartment buildings. Rent is very affordable, and usually cheaper than things closer to the hospital/downtown. 

-  Bruce Pittman

Highland Park

Pros: I love Highland Park!!!! It’s close to the Lakeview and Five Points bars, and has a O’Henry’s Coffee Shop and Rojo restaurant complete with weekly trivia that are within walking distance from anywhere you live in the neighborhood! People who live in Highland Park are mostly hipsters and young professionals, so there is always someone new to meet or a old friend to run in to! Apartments tend to be older, but most have been recently redone. In my research, it was $100-200 dollars cheaper a month to live here versus downtown, and utilities tend to run less than a hundred a month. I generally feel very safe in the neighborhood, and am comfortable walking everywhere by myself. However, like anywhere in a big city, I am always mindful of my surroundings. 

Cons: I have to drive to school, which takes less than ten minutes. I recently tried biking and it took less than 20 minutes on the rideshare bikes that are stationed all around town! Traffic is not bad, and you do not have to brave any of the main busy streets in town, but there are lots of red lights to hit on the way. And as I'm sure you've heard, parking on campus can be nightmarish, so my day does require a little more planning than those who live downtown and can just roll out of bed and walk. 

- Callie Perkins

Hoover/Living with parent(s)

Pros: Free rent, don’t buy groceries, pay bills etc., ability to separate from school, familial support 
Cons: Live a hefty drive from school, miss out on having a roommate, less “freedom”

 - Christopher Johnson

Bluff Park

    • Smaller than the city (what I’m used to)
    • Feels safer than city (crime rates lower)
    • Generally short commute
      • 10-15-minute commute on interstate (depending on time of day)
      • 15-20-minute commute if taking smaller roads
    • Ÿ Right in the middle of everything
      • Hoover, Birmingham, Homewood, and Vestavia are all within a few minutes’ drive
      • Less than 5-minute drive to: Walmart, Sam’s, Piggly Wiggly, CVS, Dollar General, etc.
    • If you are a religious person, there are churches around every corner
    • Good school district if you have kids (Hoover City Schools)
    • Much quieter than the city
    • Ÿ Although the drive is generally short, you still have to drive to get to class
      • Definitely have to buy a parking pass
    • Ÿ Tends to be more houses to rent than apartments
      • yard upkeep (cutting grass, etc.)
    • Harder to run home between classes if you are short on time (for lunch, to shower after a workout, etc.)
-Clint Kilcrease


           Pros: When looking for a place to live, I wanted to get away from downtown and find a community that felt more like home.  Homewood has a variety of restaurants, gyms, outdoor trails, and plenty of opportunities to get outside of the hustle and bustle of downtown.  In addition, if you want a place to study outside of Volker, there are lots of coffee shops and public libraries to choose from.

         Cons: However, traffic on Lakeshore Dr., Hwy 31, and I-65 can be atrocious.  In the mornings, the commute isn’t too bad.  It usually takes me about 15 minutes to get to school.  However, if we get out of class/ICM/other activities during rush hour, it can take up to 30+ minutes to get home.

            Overall, if you don’t want to live downtown, the Homewood area is a good place to start looking.  There are plenty of apartment complexes throughout Lakeshore Dr. with a variety of price ranges and amenities to fill your needs.

- Phillip Braswell


Pros: as close to Volker Hall as you’re going to get, plenty of apartment options (many are new), Publix downtown, Railroad Park (great for running, relaxing, etc.) is nearby, can walk through hospital to get to class, don’t need to deal with traffic, can definitely get by without a parking pass

Cons: typically more expensive, can be sketchy at night if alone (although they are really sprucing up the area), not close to many shops

- Alex Peña

Interviews compiled by Alex Peña