Birmingham has been BUSY since we originally published this article back in 2018. In the wake of The World Games and small businesses booming all over town, we decided this was the perfect time for an update!
Birmingham is known not only as “the Magic City” but also for boasting several hidden gems in unexpected places. Whether you’re searching for the perfect photo op for Instagram or simply looking to explore a corner of Birmingham you haven’t seen before — these stunning murals, landmarks, and retail spots are all worth a visit.
Most Instagrammable Spots in Birmingham
The Pizitz Murals
Two of Birmingham’s newest murals are located right next to each other, so it’s easy to see both in one visit. The first is a collaboration between Color Bham and Marcus Fetch of Blank Space Bham (involved in many of the murals on our list), located inside the courtyard at The Pizitz. The second mural is at 19th Street and 2nd Avenue North across from The Pizitz. This mural is a collaboration between BHM Artist Collective, REV Birmingham, Blank Space Bham, and InSpero. These murals speak for themselves, providing colorful evidence that Birmingham’s community is united through art.
It’s the Right Time to Believe in Birmingham
Located at Birmingham Benz on 3rd Avenue South, Blank Space Bham reclaimed an otherwise plain space with this beautiful mural. “It’s the right time to believe in Birmingham” became the campaign for The World Games in Birmingham this summer, and a group of local artists turned that message into a mural. We certainly believe in Birmingham — do you?
Do Something Great
The neon “Do Something Great” sign is a sharp and eye-catching nighttime feature at one of the coolest offices in the city — Lewis Communications at 2030 First Ave North. This sign is not only inspirational, but it will infuse your social media presence with good vibes.
It’s Nice to Have You in Birmingham
“It’s Nice to Have You in Birmingham” is one of the most iconic murals in the Birmingham area. Travelers from near and far want to snap a pic in front of this mural to let their friends and followers know they are in the Magic City. This welcoming work of art is located on the wall next to John’s City Diner, which is at 112 Richard Arrington Jr. Boulevard North. “It’s Nice to Have You in Birmingham” has been the city’s official slogan since 1950!
Birmingham Botanical Gardens
The Birmingham Botanical Gardens is 67.5 acres filled with three classifications of gardens: Garden of Collections, Gardens of Nature, and Gardens of Culture. Wander through the picturesque gardens or hop over to the ever-popular Japanese gardens and brighten your day with all the flora and fauna. This gem is jam-packed with photo ops that change with the seasons!
Having produced pig iron from 1882 to 1971, Sloss Furnaces is the longest-running blast furnace in Birmingham’s history. These days the national historic landmark plays host to weddings, photo shoots, a haunted house at Halloween, metal arts workshops, and most recently, The World Games. You can wander through this sprawling complex or visit the museum to learn more about its remarkable history. Sloss Furnaces is located at 20 32nd Street North.
There are a couple of fabulous murals located on the north and south walls of Ted’s Restaurant at 328 12th Street South. Artist Bonard Hughins and his father painted murals showcasing the highlights of Birmingham, such as the Alabama Theatre, Railroad Park, the Vulcan, UAB, and more, with a cool and vintage-inspired look.
Mural of Hope
This mural is known as the Mural of Hope in honor of the Hope for Autumn Foundation, which raises money, awareness, and research funds for childhood cancer. Talented mural artist Marcus Fetch created this beautiful piece on the side of Good People Brewing Co. The leaves on the trees are children’s handprints, and the saying “With every fall comes spring” indicates the hope of a new season.
Wings of Avondale
The wings outside of MELT (at 4105 Fourth Avenue South) in Birmingham make a perfect Instagram photo, allowing you to feel like a real-life angel posing between a pair of colorful wings. After it was vandalized years ago, the community rallied to raise money so that muralist Marcus Fetch and Blank Space Bham could recreate this interactive mural, which remains a landmark today.
Did you know the Vulcan statue was first created to advertise Birmingham? City leaders felt that Vulcan perfectly captured Birmingham’s growing industrial abilities. If you’re okay with heights, you should visit the Vulcan statue for the BEST view of downtown Birmingham. Make sure to stop by the park and museum while you are there. Located at 1701 Valley View Drive, Vulcan is the largest cast iron statue in the world and has been around for 118 years. Birmingham’s iconic “iron man” is a quintessential Magic City landmark.
Colorful Vulcans + Theatre District Mural
This Vulcan-inspired silhouette mural is located at 1818 Third Avenue North. Kyle Kruse and Stephanie Guckenberger created the Vulcan Mural Project, which brightens the city and showcases a playful depiction of one of Birmingham’s staple landmarks. Plus, right next to the colorful Vulcans is the Theatre District Mural, a colorful piece by Andy Jordan of Blank Space Bham. Check them both out next time you’re in the area!
Eyes on Birmingham
Located on First Avenue North and 39th Street, this mural is definitely one to catch your eye! Check out another one of Marcus Fetch’s artistic masterpieces, wherein the haunting eyes of a weathered man stare back at you. Does The Great Gatsby come to mind for anyone else?
Farm Bowl & Juice Company
The pastel, geometric design outside Farm Bowl + Juice Company is worth a quick pose! Farm Bowl + Juice Company is at 1920 29th Avenue South in Homewood. Thanks to its calming color palette and geometric design, this is one of the hippest walls in town.
Rotary Trail is located along First Avenue South and is the perfect Instagram shot to grab while visiting or exploring downtown Birmingham. The trail stretches out four blocks; you can’t miss it — the sign is a 46-foot frame. The Rotary Club of Birmingham gifted the trail to the city upon the club’s 100th anniversary, and B.L. Harbert International contributed the iconic sign — both in an incredibly generous gesture honoring the community of Birmingham.
The art installation known as “Light Rails” is a must-see in Birmingham. The railroad underpass makes a fun and visually stimulating drive or walk. The colorful Art Deco tunnel was built in 1931, and artist Bill FitzGibbons created the illuminated LED light installation. It contains 16 different colors changing at varying speeds. Find it at the 18th Street South viaduct near Railroad Park.
Another fun mural in Birmingham’s lineup of fabulous street art is this robot mural. This one was done by local artist John Lytle Wilson. Find this friendly robot and his sidekicks along Morris Avenue!
House Plant Collective
House Plant Collective is a great local plant shop with a picturesque interior. Inside, the greenery and vibrant wall art will make you feel like you just walked into the jungle. If you’re lucky, you may even see House Plant’s vintage school-bus-turned-pop-up shop with quirky exterior decor that makes for a great photo. Pick up a plant when you take a picture and show this woman-owned business some love!
Stay Cool, Birmingham
Next time you drive down I-65 South and pass University Boulevard, look to the right, and you’ll see this mural by Marcus Fetch.
Cyclist with Sunflowers
This unique mural features a cyclist pedaling through the Magic City and leaving a happy trail of sunflowers in his path. Located at the Alabama Ballet at 2726 First Avenue South and created by artist Trés Taylor, it exudes an art-forward romantic vibe.
Railroad Park is the perfect place to take pictures of the beautiful Birmingham skyline. You can choose to walk, bike, or even check out the playgrounds at this award-winning urban park located at 1600 First Avenue South. Every season offers its own uniquely lovely views.
The Alabama Theatre
The Alabama Theatre offers live performances year-round, so you can enjoy a show and post a pic of that iconic glowing marquee at night. The Alabama Theatre is located at 1817 Third Avenue North in the Theatre District. It was built in 1927 as the flagship theater for the Southeastern region of the United States.
In the mood for a little retail therapy? Check out Shoppe, a picturesque plant nursery on Clairmont Avenue that will feel like walking into a breath of fresh air. Their greenhouse space with sprawling flora will have you wishing for a green thumb — while also making for a great photo. (Be courteous to other shoppers, and try to make your photo op quick!)
The Lyric Theatre
The Lyric Theatre is a performing arts theater located in the heart of Birmingham at 1800 Third Avenue North – this 102-year-old building is the oldest theatre in Birmingham. Built in 1913 and opened in 1914 as a vaudeville theater, the space hosted such greats as the Marx Brothers, the Keaton Family Acrobats featuring Buster Keaton, Sophie Tucker, Jack Benny, Mae West, and Roy Rogers, along with his horse, Trigger, among others. This is the perfect place to see a concert, ballet, or play while also taking in the striking lights at nighttime!
It’s odd to drive down this picturesque cobblestone street and not see a photo shoot underway. Morris Avenue exudes that old-Birmingham feel with a rustic yet urban-cool aesthetic, perfect for pics. Morris Avenue is an east-west avenue between First Avenue North and the railroad tracks, and it runs from 14th Street North to 25th Street North.
The Storyteller Fountain
The Storyteller Fountain is at the nexus of the five-point crossroads that gives historic Five Points South its name. Created by nationally renowned, late-great Birmingham artist Frank Fleming, the Storyteller Fountain features a ram reading to other animals. It is a tribute to the Southern tradition of connection through storytelling.
This mural is a community-painted masterpiece located at 6 55th Place near First Avenue South. The people of Woodlawn painted it as a way to express their love of the community. The piece showcases a diverse patchwork of vibrant colors and elements of jazz music.
The Birmingham Museum of Art
In 1908, the formation of the Birmingham Art Club was the spark that lit the fire for an eventual museum for the city of Birmingham. The Birmingham Museum of Art opened its doors in 1951 and houses more than 26,000 paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, and decorative arts dating from ancient to modern times, including one of the world’s largest collections of Wedgwood pottery. The museum hosts many cultural events for all ages as part of its mission to provide Birmingham with a cultural and educational experience.
The Jemison Company built Old Mill to promote the newly developed area of Mountain Brook. It opened to the public in July of 1927 to allow people in the area to enjoy picturesque scenery while having tea. The Old Mill is located at 2780 Mountain Brook Parkway, where the popular Jemison Trail hosts a steady parade of walkers and joggers.
Sibyl Temple is perched at the mountain’s crest as you enter Vestavia Hills from the north. Commonly referred to as The Temple of Vesta, the structure was built by wealthy landowner George Ward in 1929 in red-hued sandstone and modeled after a mountaintop temple in Tivoli, Italy. Over time, the temple changed hands and was painted white. It is now owned by the Vestavia Hills Garden Club and is open to the public for picnics and gatherings. It’s a great spot for group shots!
Time to explore! Be sure to tag us on Instagram if you visit any of these awesome spots around town.
For even more Instagram-worthy spots around Birmingham, check out these 11 Must-Try Birmingham Cocktail Bars — their vibrant spaces are packed with photo ops!