I got into an friendly argument with a friend recently when I mentioned that I was strongly considering moving away from Alabama to pursue more career opportunities. I live in the most populated city in Alabama–Birmingham–and this place has always struggled to stand out among so many great tourist-friendly southern cities like Atlanta, New Orleans, and Nashville. However, as of late, B’ham has been seeing a bit of a revitalization. A lot of great venues and popular destinations have become available in the past couple of years, such as Region’s Field, the new baseball park for our minor league team, the Birmingham Barons; and Railroad Park, a huge and beautiful park, complete with trails, ponds, and a natural amphitheater (not to mention free Wi-Fi). It’s additions like this, and popular support of them, that is starting to make Birmingham seem like a real city.
Another aspect of Birmingham’s transformation into a city worth bragging about is the opening of tons of great spots for eating, drinking, and grooving. Birmingham has always been a good place to live if you are a music lover or a foodie, but the options are more diverse than they’ve ever been. The friend I mentioned, in fact, is a restaurateur herself, and is strongly devoted to helping this city become great. So naturally, it was annoying to her that a person like me, who is one of the only people in town with this kind opportunity to go far with YouTube, is considering to take those talents elsewhere.
Regardless of what I decide to do, I love Birmingham, and Alabama in general, in spite of it’s many flaws; and it’s unlikely that anywhere else will really feel like home to me. I’ve been thoroughly proud of the strides my city has made, and I believe that one day people will talk about Birmingham in the same way they talk about great cities like Memphis or Austin.