Wisebread is running through a theme right now asking bloggers to tell of inexpensive ways to enjoy their cities. $5 events is quite the challenge for any city, but here goes.
The first thing that pops into my mind is Pepper Place and the Pepper Place Market. Essentially it is the largest farmer’s market in the region held in an area of downtown that has a lot design or home decoration type stores around it. A great place to walk on a Saturday to see all of the crafts and fresh produce. Dogs are allowed too, so the puppy can get some exercise as well.
The second place I would tell you to visit would be Vulcan Park. The Vulcan statue is the largest cast iron statue in the world. You can take an elevator to an observation deck and see some stunning views of Birmingham for $6. That’s above our budget. You could use the “put a quarter in” observation lenses on the lower level, too. Birmingham has deep steel industry roots and the Vulcan is the Roman god of fire and forge. The Vulcan has stood as a symbol of Birmingham for more than a century.
As you might expect there are several large parks in the area to spend the day. Oak Mountain State Park is by far the largest and admission is only $3 per person for an entire day. Hiking, biking, and a large lake for canoeing or kayaking would mean a day of fun for the family. Don’t forget to bring cookout materials.
You could visit Samford University (one of the nicest campuses in Birmingham) and just sit on the quad or walk around looking at the buildings and new athletic building.
If you want to window shop you will not be disappointed in Birmingham. The Riverchase Galleria is the largest mall in the area and is 100% indoor — a good thing considering the temperatures in Birmingham during the summer. The Summit is an outdoor mall that has all of the stores you would expect in an indoor mall. We’ll go up there sometimes just to walk around and pop into stores, cautious to spend any money.
If you come to Birmingham and only have $5, the number one thing you should do is to go to Jim ‘N Nick’s Barbeque. By far the best barbecue I have ever tasted. You won’t be able to get a pulled pork sandwich for $5, but if you had a partner you could split it. Above all, get a glass of sweet tea and a basket of cheese biscuits. Unbelievable with honey butter. Mmmm… (Granted, Jim ‘N Nick’s is expanding to other cities, but I think they started here in Birmingham.
Have you ever been to Birmingham? Have I missed something?