As summer moves into its third act, temperatures continue to rise. Average temperatures throughout July hovered at about 80 degrees with humidity reaching as high as 84 percent, and August promises more of the same, not to mention generous helpings of our region’s notorious thunderstorms.
Despite the sweltering weather, Birmingham residents show no sign of slowing down and the month of August offers plenty of opportunities for you to soak up every last drop of the summer.
The folks at Birmingham Magazine have put together a Birmingham Bucket List with 55 quintessential things to do in Birmingham this summer. Below are some of our personal picks from this very thorough list, along with a few of our personal additions.
Float Down the Cahaba River
If you’re one of the 65,000 people to move to Alabama in the last few years, you should know the Cahaba River is one of the hands-down most popular things to do in Birmingham this summer. Rent a tube at Bulldog Bend, the put-in just south of Montevallo, and hop a shuttle that takes you upriver. From there, sit back and float, drift and spin your way back down the to where you started, high-fiving your neighbors as you go.
If you’re a longtime resident of Magic City, you’ve probably already done this…but why not take one more trip down the river?
Insider tip: Bring a cooler full of cold beverages, strap it into an extra tube and tether it to one of the tubes in your flotilla. It’s a great way to make new friends along your way.
Locally Made Frozen Treats
It goes without saying that staying cool is among the top things to do in Birmingham this summer. One of our favorite ways is to seek out the frozen treat emporiums that abound in every neighborhood of our city. Ice cream at Big Spoon Creamery, popsicles at La Sabrosita, Italian Ice at Doodle’s, Good People beer floats at the ballpark…the list goes on and on.
Far too few Birmingham residents realize the amazing treasure hiding in plain sight among us. Our city’s natural forests are head and shoulders above the “green spaces” of our much larger neighbors.
Between Red Mountain Park and Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve, there are over 2000 acres of hiking trails that offer a serene, shady respite from the heat.
Insider tip: if you fancy an adventure among the trees, Red Mountain Park offers zip lines, a ropes course and even treehouses to explore.
What’s summer without a music festival? Birmingham has plenty throughout the summer, but one of the best (and most unique) happens at the beginning of August. Secret Stages features 60 or so up-and-coming acts rocking out in hidden venues around Birmingham’s Loft District. Along with discovered untapped talent, part of the fun is finding where they’re playing. Get a group of friends together and start a fan club that can truly say “we liked them before they were cool.”
Birmingham has a wealth of outdoor film venues that take full advantage of the lower temperatures and lighter humidity that comes with the
setting sun. Spend a balmy summer night watching movies the old-fashioned way—under the stars—at the Coyote Drive-In. Bring the whole family and the dog (the drive-in is pet-friendly); come early to secure the best spot and enjoy a round of mini-golf before the feature starts. We prefer Double Feature Tuesdays when you get to enjoy two movies for the price of one.
If you’re just dying for the benefit of air conditioning, the Alabama Theatre’s summer movie series shows celluloid classics in every genre—Jaws, The Sound of Music, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Gone with the Wind are just a few of this summer’s selections.
Insider tip: If you’re headed to the Alabama Theatre, get there early for a singalong session with the theatre’s vintage Wurlitzer.
Southern culture is known for its storytelling; Arc Stories puts this tradition on full display. A regular Saturday evening event at the Avon Theatre, this gathering is where locals of all ages come to regale their neighbors with true stories, personal memories and local histories that will inspire new friendship and fuel your pride in this great state.
For more great things to do in Birmingham check out the full Birmingham Bucket List here, and make sure to add your own suggestions to the list by posting photos on social media with the hashtag #BhamBucketList.