Moving to Birmingham

Prepare to be charmed! Birmingham, an Alabama gem, is steeped in rich history and culture, oozing its undeniable southern charm. This city, famously called "The Magic City," manages to retain its heartbeat from the past while bustling headfast into the future. From mouth-watering soul food to green parks waiting to be explored, from exciting job opportunities to affordable neighborhoods, Birmingham is a city teeming with possibilities. In this comprehensive Birmingham relocation guide, we'll delve deep into everything that makes moving to Birmingham not just a big decision, but also an incredible adventure.

Moving to Birmingham, AL landscape image

What to Know Before Moving to Birmingham

1. All about that Southern Hospitality

Y'all, if you've never been blessed with experiencing Southern hospitality, then prepare yourself - you're in for a treat. One of the first things you'll notice about Birmingham, Alabama is that the people are as warm and sweet as a freshly baked peach cobbler. Say goodbye to anonymity and hello to neighbors that actually, y' know, talk to each other - in elevators, at the supermarket, everywhere!

2. Food, Glorious Food

Roll up your sleeves and bring your appetite; the Southern cuisine in Birmingham is nothing short of a gastronomic adventure. From soul food restaurants dishing out fried chicken and collard greens, to trendy eateries offering fresh farm-to-table meals, your taste buds won't be disappointed. Oh, and let's make this clear right now - the barbecue is a divine gift that must be appreciated in all its hickory-smoked glory.

3. No Shame in the Slow Lane

Unlike the fast-paced cities where the word 'rush' is a lifestyle, Birmingham likes to take it easy. Embrace the slow-paced life where sweet tea and front porch sitting is a legitimate pastime. No one's in a rush, and that's just the way they like it; it's all about taking time to smell the roses... or in this case, the magnolias.

4. A Haven for History Buffs

Did you know Birmingham was pivotal in the civil rights movement? It's home to several landmarks steeped in history, including the infamous 16th Street Baptist Church, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, and Kelly Ingram Park. The city is also proud of its industrial heritage - after all, it's not nicknamed "The Pittsburg of the South" for nothing. For a dose of fascinating history, visit Sloss Furnaces - a registered National Historic Landmark.

5. Scientists Developed The Magic City Clock

Perhaps one of the least known but most intriguing facts about Birmingham is the presence of a very unique timepiece - the Magic City Clock. Designed by local scientists, this giant, transparent clock showcases an intricate mechanical system, making it a sight for sore eyes and a testament to human ingenuity. There's nothing like it in the world, making it a point of pride for locals and a must-see for newcomers.

6. Unexpected Love for Soccer

While you might assume that football reigns supreme in the heart of Dixie (and it does hold a substantial place in the heart of the city), you'd be surprised to know that Birmingham also has a unique love for soccer. The city hosts a professional soccer team - the Birmingham Legion FC - and their matches are a spectacle of lively camaraderie and infectious energy. So, why not grasp this opportunity to learn a few soccer chants?

And there you have it, folks! A snapshot of what it's like moving to Birmingham, Alabama. This Southern gem of a city offers loads of charm, delightful dishes, historical treasures, and friendly faces. So if you're ready for a slower pace of life steeped in tradition and marked with a flare of the unexpected, Birmingham is calling your name!

What to know before moving to Birmingham, AL image
See the 10 Best Movers Nearest You
(Unbiased) Ranking of the top movers in every city.

Pros and Cons of Living in Birmingham

Pros of Living in Birmingham

Budget-Friendly City

One of the significant advantages of living in Birmingham, AL is its affordability. The cost of living is considerably lower compared with other US cities, which means you'll most likely have more discretionary income. You can enjoy a comfortable lifestyle without breaking the bank, and this includes costs related to housing, utilities, and groceries.

Cultural Richness

Birmingham, being a city steeped in historical significance, boasts a wealth of cultural activities. With museums like the Birmingham Museum of Art and the Civil Rights Institute, plus the historic Alabama Theatre, residents can enjoy a blend of educational and captivating experiences throughout the calendar year.

Culinary Scene

Another pro of living in Birmingham is its thriving food scene. The town boasts a range of diverse cuisines, and with a plethora of award-winning chefs and restaurants like Highlands Bar and Grill, dining in this city will satisfy even the most discerning foodie.

Natural Beauty

You're never too far from a bit of natural beauty in Birmingham. The city is enriched with outdoor spaces, boasting beautiful parks and hiking trails like the Red Mountain Park. Its subtropical climate also means plenty of beautiful foliage and flowers throughout the year.

Educational Opportunities

Birmingham is home to several highly regarded schools and prestigious universities, ensuring quality education for residents. Institutions such as The University of Alabama at Birmingham offer vast opportunities for higher education.

Cons of Living in Birmingham


Like any other city, Birmingham has issues with crime. Certain areas have higher crime rates than others. However, it's worth noting that local authorities are continuously making efforts to enhance security and minimize crime.

Public Transportation

The public transportation system in Birmingham is often viewed as inadequate. Commuting can be challenging in itself, and the lack of robust public transit options makes things a bit tough, especially for those without a personal vehicle.

Pollen and Allergies

The natural beauty of Birmingham comes with a downside - pollen. If you or a family member suffer from allergies, the high pollen count, especially in spring, can be challenging to manage.

Unpredictable Weather

The weather in Birmingham can be unpredictable. While the city enjoys a relatively moderate climate, it can get caught in the mix of things when there's severe weather in the surrounding areas, such as tornadoes or hurricanes.

Economic Health

While the cost of living in Birmingham is relatively low, this is partially due to a slower economic growth compared to other cities. Some industries offer more employment opportunities than others, which can make job hunting a bit more challenging depending on your profession.

Modern day picture of Birmingham, AL highlighting pros and cons of living in Birmingham, AL

Is Birmingham a Good Place to Live?

Birmingham, AL is a great place to live because it has a rich history, a vibrant food scene, and numerous outdoor activities to enjoy like hiking, biking, and fishing. The city also boasts a favorable cost of living, friendly locals, and top-notch educational institutions, which makes it an ideal place for families. Plus, let's not forget their football obsession - it's nothing short of contagious!

What Is Birmingham Famous For?

Vulcan Statue

The city of Birmingham is home to the world's largest cast-iron statue: the Vulcan Statue. This iconic landmark was created for the 1904 World's Fair and now symbolizes the city's background in iron and steel production. Don't leave town without hiking up to its platform for sweeping views of the city!

The Birmingham Zoo

Animal lovers, unite! The Birmingham Zoo, a long-standing city attraction, has over 700 animals across 200 different species from around the world. From African elephants to sea lions, it's a wildlife extravaganza not to be missed when in Birmingham, especially if you're with the little ones.

Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum

Vroom-vroom, where are the car and motorcycle enthusiasts at? The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum in Birmingham is home to the world's most extensive collection of vintage motorcycles. With over 1,200 bikes on display and a variety of classic sports car, it is undoubtedly a gearhead's paradise.

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

Step back in time at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and immerse yourself in the city's history. This is an informative and moving cultural and educational institution that chronicles the experiences and enduring contributions of African Americans during the Civil Rights Movement. The exhibitions are thought-provoking and very well-curated, making it a must-visit for historical enthusiasts.

Capital building of Birmingham, AL in artistic rendering

Overview of Tax Rates

Property Tax

In Birmingham, AL, the property tax rate as of 2023 is 0.77%. This is lower than the national median of 1.07%.

Sales Tax

The combined sales tax rate for Birmingham, AL is currently 10%. This rate includes both state and local taxes and is significantly above the average nationwide sales tax rate of 7.12%.

Income Tax

As of 2023, Birmingham, AL, residents pay state income tax rates between 2% and 5%. While this is seen as relatively low compared to other states, Alabama's use of federal tax liability as a basis for the state tax can negate this advantage for some taxpayers.

Housing Market

Compared to other parts of the US, Birmingham, AL's housing market is reasonably affordable, presenting opportunities for both renters and buyers. The median home price sits at around $148,000, significantly lower than the national average. Similarly, the average rent for an apartment in Birmingham is $934, lower than the national average of $1,468. However, the market is competitive, with a growth rate of nearly 10% in recent years. For those considering relocation or an investment, Birmingham's affordability coupled with its market growth makes it an attractive choice.

Cost of Living

Birmingham, AL boasts a significantly lower cost of living than the US average. Housing, one of the significant factors, is substantially more affordable. Grocery prices and healthcare costs are also comparably lower. When contrasted with other larger American cities such as New York or Los Angeles, Birmingham residents tend to enjoy more disposable income due to these factors. The lower costs make it an attractive destination for families and retirees looking to maximize their budgets. However, as with any city, specific costs can vary based on personal lifestyle and preferences.

Weather & Natural Disasters

Birmingham, Alabama boasts a subtropical climate, offering warm, humid summers and mild, rainy winters. Summer temperatures average around 90degF, while winter temperatures drop to a pleasant 50degF. A significant annual rainfall of about 53 inches contributes to the city's lush, green landscape. While the weather generally remains stable, Birmingham is not a stranger to severe weather conditions. The city sits in Dixie Alley, an area notorious for devastating tornadoes, particularly during the spring and fall seasons. Hurricanes, although primarily affecting coastal regions, can cause significant rainfall and wind-driven damage in Birmingham. Winter can occasionally bring in snowstorms, although such events are rare. Despite these threats, Birmingham's climate provides a mostly comfortable and charming environment throughout the year.

Typical weather in Birmingham, AL

Economy & Job Market

* Iron and Steel Production

* Health Care and Medical Research

* Banking and Finance

* Higher Education

* Technology and Startups

Birmingham, AL, has an economy that has transformed dramatically over the years. Showing its fine Southern resilience, Birmingham evolved from its humble beginnings as a booming iron and steel town into a robust and diverse mecca for several industries. The city has retained its strong manufacturing heritage, with the iron and steel industry playing a significant role in its contemporary, bustling economy. However, the city's backbone has also become the health care and medical research industry, led by one of America's largest research centers, the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Adding to that, Birmingham has shaped up to be an economic powerhouse in the banking and finance sector, education, and some charming surprises with a fast-growing tech and start-up scene. Oh Birmingham, you really are a Jack-of-all-trades!

Now, if you've got your heart set on Birmingham, AL for a new job adventure, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. Birmingham enjoys a low unemployment rate compared to the national average, and they're always creating new jobs. Looking for the best area to job hunt? Look no further than the health care industry, thanks to UAB and other local hospitals, health service is one of Birmingham's biggest employers. Opportunities also abound in the growing tech sector, especially for you software and application development folks out there. The financial sector has its fanfare too, so there's something for everyone in this dynamic city. The economy is just as flavorful and inviting as its famous southern cuisine. So, why wait? Pack your things, bring your A-game, and let Birmingham, AL surprise you!

Traffic and Transportation

Over in Birmingham, AL, we're pretty easy-going when it comes to our daily commute. On an average weekday, it's a cool 21.1 minutes ride to work. Not too shabby, huh? And for those days when the wheels stay parked, the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority has us fully covered, offering an incredible 109 routes citywide with its spiffy MAX Transit buses. How's that for options? But hey, if you fancy routes that are a bit more... airborne, Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport is just the ticket, with about 130 daily flights. From land to sky, Birmingham has a bit of everything to get you where you're going. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride, whatever it may be!

What is the traffic like in Birmingham, AL?

Best Neighborhoods in Birmingham

1. Highland Park

Welcome to Highland Park, a historic neighborhood that screams charm and community! Adorned with wide sidewalks, beautiful parks and funky bungalows, it's like stepping back into an era of simpler times. Known for its diversity, the streets are a vibrant mix of modern families, young professionals, and artists. If you're a foodie, you'll love indulging in the trendy cafes, and if staying active is your jam, you'll appreciate the biking/running path around Highland Park golf course. And did we mention? The area boasts a view of the city skyline that is truly picture-perfect!

2. Homewood

Show up in Homewood, and you instantly get pulled in by its small-town feel. Located just moments from downtown Birmingham, this family-oriented community is booming with Southern charm. Homewood's Main Street is a shopper's paradise with unique boutiques, antique shops, and a delightful farmers market. Serving as the neighborhood's cultural hub, the state-of-the-art Homewood Public Library hosts an array of events sure to satisfy your intellectual palate. And for some fun in the sun, there's Homewood Central Park - a 4-acre green space that's a hit with families.

3. Five Points South

For the lovers of nightlife and gastronomic delights, Five Points South is your spot! This lively neighborhood is the epitome of Birmingham's urban cool. From hip bars, nearly 30 distinctive eateries to a rollicking music scene with pop-up shows on every other corner, there is always something happening here! The culinary experiences alone are worth the move with a rich tapestry of global flavors waiting to tickle your taste buds. Plus, the neighborhood's architecture is simply magnificent, with grand old churches and historic mansions dotting the landscape.

4. Mountain Brook

Mountain Brook, aka "the Tiny Kingdom", is all about elegance and prestige. If you're craving an upscale neighborhood that's known for top-notch schools, picture-book streetscapes, and ritzy shopping experiences - look no further. Your outdoor enthusiast side will love the proximity to Jemison Park and its miles of walking trails, while your inner historian would appreciate the exquisite English-style village and mature trees that line the streets. Even though it's one of the wealthiest 'hoods in Alabama, its small-town charm and friendly community are heartwarmingly genuine.

5. Avondale

Last, but certainly not least, is Avondale - a hipster's paradise! This creative corner of Birmingham is bursting with indie businesses, chic lofts and a spirited sense of community. The crown jewel of the neighborhood is the sprawling Avondale Park, where a spring-fed lake, duck pond, and historic amphitheater spark many a local gathering. Music, arts, craft breweries and farm-to-table restaurants are entrenched in Avondale's DNA. Eccentric, eclectic, and effortlessly cool, this neighborhood keeps its residents in love with life every day.

In the end, when choosing a neighborhood in Birmingham, AL, you're not just selecting a plot of land, but a lifestyle. Whether you're seeking an urban playground, an artistic hub, an upscale retreat, or a tight-knit community, Birmingham has got you covered. So, pack up your treasures, say hello to new adventures, and find your neighborhood match in the happening city of Birmingham!

Best neighborhoods in Birmingham, AL image

Things to Do

Are you relocating to Birmingham, Alabama, and looking for the best ways to immerse yourself in your new city? Stay tuned! Birmingham offers a myriad of cool attractions, delicious eateries, and vibrant locales that you shouldn't miss. So, buckle up as we explore the Magic City and uncover seven awesome things that you must do in your new hometown.

1. Discover Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

Get a thorough understanding of the city's role in the Civil Rights Movement at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. This museum features compelling narratives, interactive exhibitions, and informative videos that offer visitors a deep dive into the tumultuous period in American history. You'll leave with a greater understanding of the significance of Birmingham's past and its impact on today's world.

2. Indulge at Pepper Place Saturday Market

If food and fresh produce ignite your interest, don't miss Pepper Place Saturday Market. Every weekend, locals gather at this bustling farmer's market to enjoy locally sourced goods, fresh fruits and veggies, and mouth-watering local cuisine. It's not only a great place to shop but also provides a fantastic space for community engagement.

3. Unleash You Inner Bookworm at Reed Books

Hidden away in downtown Birmingham, Reed Books is a treasure trove for literature lovers. With over 50,000 books and manuscripts, you can easily lose yourself in this labyrinth of literary gems. It's a perfect place to spend a quiet afternoon submerged in the wealth of knowledge and stories.

4. Embrace Nature at Ruffner Mountain

A city isn't all about skyscrapers! Ruffner Mountain is the ideal spot for nature lovers. With over 1,000 acres of beautiful forest, it's one of the largest urban nature reserves in the US. Spend the day hiking on miles of serene trails, or enjoy a breathtaking view of the city from the mountain peak. Embrace the serenity and fresh air!

5. Wrestle with the Ghosts at Sloss Furnaces

An eccentric fun-ride for history and supernatural fans alike, Sloss Furnaces is an old industrial behemoth turned National Historic Landmark. Explore its rusted walkways and decrepit structures during the day, or dare to join its notorious Ghost Tour in the dark hours. Legends whisper of the spirits still lurking around, so thrill-seekers, this is a unique experience you can't miss!

6. Engage with local communities at Railroad Park

Railroad Park, sometimes referred to as "Birmingham's Living Room," characterizes the city's dynamic spirit. It hosts numerous community events, music concerts, and food festivals and boasts a serene man-made lake, a playground, and sprawling greenery. It's a perfect place to unwind and mingle with the locals.

7. Dig into Birmingham's Culinary Scene

Birmingham is a foodie's paradise. From soul food to fine dining, the city boasts an incredible array of cuisines. Stop by iconic eateries like Saw's Soul Kitchen or Highlands Bar and Grill, and don't miss out on the unique culinary delights like Birmingham sushi, locally known as "Bama Rolls". It's an epicurean adventure you'll relish!

In conclusion, Birmingham, Alabama, is a splendid city boasting a rich history, vibrant community, and exciting hidden gems that wait to be explored. So, make your move and prepare to plunge into an incredible new chapter of adventures in your life. Happy exploring!

Things to do in Birmingham, AL?

Find Movers for Your Birmingham Relocation

As you embark on your journey to Birmingham, allow Great Guys Moving to simplify your transition. Known for providing award-worthy service, our trusted network of professional and affordable movers strive to ensure a seamless move. By simply providing the details of your move, Great Guys swiftly connects you with top-tier, licensed, and insured movers, eager to assist you. Easily compare quotes and choose the perfect fit for your move to Birmingham, AL. Take a step forward in this exciting new chapter by requesting a free moving quote right now, with Great Guys Moving.

See The Best Movers For Moving To Alabama From...

Find out how much your move costs!