Explore the Birthplace of Civitan By Scarlet Thompson
It’s been 25 years since the Civitan International convention came to Birmingham, Alabama. The city where I was born has significantly changed since the last gathering of our members. Once considered a food desert, parts of downtown and surrounding areas have transformed into a delicious destination for natives and visitors alike. Birmingham and the communities around it have also embraced its rich history, taking the opportunity to share it with the world.
The Civitan World Headquarters was located on the 15th floor of the City Federal Building in the 1940s.
Just in case you have some time to explore during this convention, here are some suggestions: •If you get into town early, Pepper Place Market is a one-of-a-kind place to shop on Saturday mornings. There are all kinds of Alabama grown and made goods here from foods to décor. One of my favorite restaurants, Bettola, is also nearby. •Speaking of food, Birmingham is becoming known for it! We’re a city of James Beard finalists like Frank Stitt at Highlands Bar and Grill. As much as I love some of the creative and new places in town, I still enjoy some of the classics. When I need some good Southern comfort food I travel over to Irondale Café or Nikki’s West. Irondale Café is the restaurant made famous by the book and related movie Fried Green Tomatoes by Alabama author Fannie Flagg. Nikki’s also has a great history and just about any vegetable cooked up southern style. Other places I recommend: •For a good cup of coffee, Urban Standard or Octane
get to take part in one of the tours offered through the convention, it’s worth your time to still go to the Birmingham Civil Rights Museum and the 16th Street Baptist Church. These facilities are just across the street from one another, and Kelly Ingram Park is on the other side. All achieved national monument status recently and are great reminders of our progress when it comes to civil rights in this country. •History is one of my favorite subjects, so you can understand why my family likes to go to American Village. It’s a Colonial style attraction where you can go back in time to learn about our nation’s early days. American Village is a good 45-minute drive south from downtown so be prepared to drive. My family and I go there annually for its July 4th celebration, so they’ll be gearing up for it around the time of the Civitan convention. Their public tours are available only Monday through Friday.
•For lunch with history surrounding you, Roots and Revelry •For a sweet retreat, Steel City Pops •For a night of drinks and fellowship, Carrigan’s Public House •Birmingham’s Theatre district on 2nd Avenue North is a must-see site for those of you who enjoy gorgeous architecture. Since I was a little girl, I have visited The Alabama Theatre to see old movies and even Christmas classics. Their Summer Series is going on the week of the Convention. While you’re over that way, be sure to stop by The Lyric, which was recently renovated. Both of these movie houses were originally built back in the early 20th century. By the way, just around the corner is McWane Science Center where veterans get in free during the week of the convention. •Within just a few minutes of the theatres is Birmingham’s Civil Rights district. If you didn’t
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•The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum near Leeds has the world’s largest collection of motorcycles. It’s on the same property as the Barber Motorsports Park, home of the Grand Prix of Alabama race each spring. It’s an incredible collection. If you go, Rusty’s BBQ is just down the way where you can feast on the best hamburger and banana pudding in the area!
Published on May 30, 2017