Birmingham, Alabama, is a culturally rich city that exemplifies Southern hospitality. It came into existence shortly after the end of the Civil War and lies in the north-central part of the state. It’s no wonder people move to Birmingham and raise their families here. With several neighborhoods to choose from, families can buy or rent a home…
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Birmingham, Alabama, is a culturally rich city that exemplifies Southern hospitality. It came into existence shortly after the end of the Civil War and lies in the north-central part of the state. It’s no wonder people move to Birmingham and raise their families here. With several neighborhoods to choose from, families can buy or rent a home in a quaint area with access to parks, or they can be close to all the action. Explore the best neighborhoods in Birmingham to discover why residents enjoy living in “Sweet Home Alabama.”
Best Neighborhoods in Birmingham, Alabama
When searching for which neighborhood to look for your new home, there are different factors you might consider. While each situation is different, we’ve gathered a list of 10 neighborhoods that can appeal to different lifestyles and budgets. We crafted this list with special consideration to commuting times, activities, and price ranges, resulting in a list containing a variety of different types of neighborhoods.
Consider setting down roots in the southeast of Birmingham, where you’ll find the culturally rich suburb of Crestwood. It sits east of Avondale and north of Irondale. If you have children, you can send them to one of several schools in the area, including Crestwood Day School, Alabama Waldorf School, and the Crestwood Center. Most residents also own their houses rather than rent, which can make it hard for those wanting to rent a home or apartment to find a place to live in this neighborhood.
When you’re not at work or resting at home, you can venture out into the community for tasty food and family fun. Crestwood Village, formerly known as Shoppes of Crestwood or Crestwood Shopping Center, boasts plenty of stores for retail therapy. While you’re there, you can fulfill your prescription and satisfy your sweet tooth at Crestwood Pharmacy and Soda Fountain, which offers chocolate sundaes, root beer floats, and other treats. Crestwood Tavern is another local favorite, offering a gorgeous mural where you can pose for a selfie.
2. Highland Park
Another neighborhood that makes Birmingham proud is Highland Park. Renters here pay an average of $937 per month. The area often attracts young adults wanting to establish their careers. Although getting around with a car is easier, Highland Park has sidewalks, making it safe for residents to walk to restaurants and parks or grab coffee in the mornings. If you opt for the car-free life because this neighborhood has it all within walking distance, you will be at the mercy of the weather and Birmingham has its fair share of severe weather.
The neighborhood is also a hub for sports and outdoor physical activities, offering an 18-hole golf course on Highland Avenue and a tennis center for newbies to practice swinging their rackets. When you need a break from working out, you can catch a show at the Virginia Samford Theatre in Caldwell Park or grab a bite to eat at Rojo, which specializes in Latin and American cuisine.
Once a company town for employees at a local mill in the late 1800s, Avondale has historical roots in Birmingham. Today, it’s divided into three neighborhoods: North Avondale, South Avondale, and East Avondale. Rent prices can range from $875 to $1,395 per month. Young children in the community may attend Avondale Elementary School.
Locals appreciate the unique beer from Avondale Brewing Company, which has a patio and taproom. Be sure to try the made-from-scratch ice cream from Big Spoon Creamery and indulge in the tamales from Taco Morro Loco. Punch Love Coffee is another popular establishment, offering coffee and espresso options that are sure to brighten your mood in the mornings. You can walk off your meal in Avondale Park.
Due to this neighborhood’s relatively small size, it may be challenging for those wanting to rent here to find a place that exactly meets their needs and budget. Also, residents will have to deal with loud trains transiting the city as the tracks are just on the other side of Highway 11 which runs up against this neighborhood.
The Homewood neighborhood sits just south of the city center and takes up quite a bit of real estate. It has the largest population density in the state as it combined several communities together to become a sprawling suburb. The houses are typically ideal for single families and may remind you of a quaint cottage or the Mediterranean style that was popular in the 1920s. Rental prices range from $825 to $3,800 per month, with many of these rentals consisting of single-family homes.
There’s no shortage of family-friendly fun in Homewood. You can stroll through Sims Garden, which displays various blooming flowers all year and offers volunteer opportunities in the local community. The area’s Hollywood neighborhood includes eateries, such as Big Bad Breakfast and SoHo Social. You may also enjoy West Homewood, where you can explore delicacies at Buka Wine Shop or swipe your credit card at ETC Jewelry.
Due to the fact that many of these rentals are single-family homes, this does pose some negatives for those wanting the apartment lifestyle. Some property managers for single-family homes might ask that renters maintain the lawn. Also, single-family homes might not offer the same level of amenities as apartment complexes, such as a community pool or clubhouse.
5. Mountain Brook
Also in southeast Jefferson County is an affluent suburb called Mountain Brook, sitting south of Red Mountain. Rental prices range from $1,260 to $2,400 per month, making it a more expensive option for those wanting to move to the area.
There are plenty of options for you and your family to enjoy weekend fun in Mountain Brook. On Cahaba Road, you’ll find Birmingham Zoo, an attraction that welcomes visitors from across the region. Alabama Veterans Memorial on Overton Access Road is a park that spans 21 acres. Another spot to check out is Lane Parke. It has an assortment of high-end boutiques, specialty shops, and special events to entertain you in your free time.
If you’re wanting to enjoy all that the heart of the city has to offer, you will have to rely on car transportation to get there. Since this is a distance from the city center, public transportation doesn’t extend to this neighborhood as the transportation system has a small network of buses and no extensive rail system.
You and your family may also enjoy living in the northern part of Red Mountain, where you’ll find Southside. It’s the overarching name for three neighborhoods in Birmingham: Five Points South, Glen Iris, and Southside. It is a cosmopolitan neighborhood bustling with entertainment and culture. If you want to rent an apartment here, you can expect prices to range $811 to $2,655 per month. Most rentals are apartment complexes, which can deter those wanting a single-family home to call their temporary home.
Southside prides itself on being one of the state’s most walkable and culturally diverse communities. There are endless places to enjoy good food. Downtown Birmingham is home to Shu Shop, which offers vegetarian and Asian cuisine. You can take yourself to the ball game at Regions Field, where the Birmingham Barons play. Event venues in the area, including Iron City and Sloss Furnaces, typically host special events throughout the year.
7. Forest Park
Another area to consider making your permanent home is Forest Park, a neighborhood that Alabama coins The Country Club District. Your route to work and school will be scenic, thanks to the view of Red Mountain and the hills unique to the suburb. You can also admire mansions that belong to public figures. Rent prices range from $860 to $2,259 per month, and mostly include apartment complexes, so if you’re wanting a single-family home to rent, you might try looking in a different neighborhood.
Forest Park has multiple parks that encourage you to immerse yourself in nature. Triangle Park has a three-tiered playground for young kids to embark on outdoor adventures. At Altamont Ridge, you can marvel at the blue sky from a 400-foot ridge that overlooks Jones Valley. Consider stopping at Shoppe, where you can write in your journal in the greenhouse or take a plant home with you. Popular eateries in the neighborhood include The Rougaroux, which specializes in New Orleans cuisine, and Red or White, an ideal spot for restocking your wine collection.
8. Five Points South
Take a drive to the Southside of Birmingham to visit Five Points South. The name of this historic neighborhood comes from the star-shaped intersection in its center, where 20th Street South, 11th Ave. South and Magnolia Avenue collide. You won’t have to use your car as much since the area is walkable, and you have your pick of multiple restaurants when you’re hungry. Rental prices range from $650 to $4,700 per month, making options widely available across many price points.
Consider grabbing lunch with your co-workers at Dreamland BBQ or Hot and Hot Fish Club, or enjoy dinner at Highlands Bar and Grill. Five Points South is home to interesting landmarks. The Storyteller Fountain, in front of Highlands United Methodist Church, is a great spot to meditate or catch your breath during your morning run. The Birmingham Festival Theatre hosts shows throughout the year to keep you entertained. You can also find something to do at Vulcan Park and Museum, which displays the largest cast iron statue in the world.
Being that this neighborhood is a little drive from the city center, driving is one of the only options to get there. This means facing city traffic and if you’re traveling during peak commuter hours you can expect your drive to take you longer than normal.
9. Vestavia Hills
The historic and upscale suburb of Vestavia Hills belongs to both Jefferson and Shelby County. One advantage of raising a family in Vestavia Hills is having access to its prestigious schools, which received recognition from the Wall Street Journal. Young residents may enjoy the city’s recreational activities, such as basketball, lacrosse, football, and tennis. Rent prices start around $750 per month and can increase up to $2,700 per month.
Vestavia Hills provides plenty of opportunities for shopping and fine dining. Treat the entire family to dinner or dine on craft beer and cocktails with your significant other at Cayo Coco Rum Bar and Restaurant. Opera Birmingham on Sixth Avenue will fulfill your love of theatrical productions.
If you do decide to venture into the city to do one of the numerous activities, it’s important to note that parking can be challenging to find in the city. Also, since it’s still tight to drive around during large events, you can expect random street closures that can impede your commute.
Located in the north-central part of Alabama, the city of Hoover is part of Jefferson and Shelby County. The city is also within 10 miles of the University of Alabama. When you live in this city, you might catch your neighbors at the Riverchase Galleria, a shopping mall that sells products from leading brands and welcomes you to sit-down and fast food restaurants. You can also kill time by taking a stroll or bike ride through the Aldridge Gardens or catching a baseball game at Hoover Metropolitan Complex.
Rental prices in this city range from $1,025 to $2,785 per month, making it a somewhat less affordable option for those considering moving here. And while being so close to the university has its perks for those attending, it presents a unique challenge to those who don’t attend. This means traffic during college events, crowded common places near the university, and higher traffic volume during events like graduations where people from all over the nation come to see their loved ones graduate.
Whether you’re moving to another state for a new job, searching for a home to retire, or seeking a community to raise a family, Birmingham, Alabama, is a great city to consider. Every neighborhood offers something special, including historic landmarks, delicious eateries, and expansive parks. Whether you want to live in a house or prefer the flexibility of apartment living, it’s important to consider how well you will fit into these communities.