Last week, I had someone contact me saying that they were wanting to explore downtown but didn’t know where to start or even what to see or do, so that led to the idea of writing a series of posts these next couple of weeks on exploring various parts of the Magic City, starting today with 2nd Avenue North.
A great time to visit 2nd Avenue North is the 1st Thursday of each month from 5-9 p.m. because that is the monthly Birmingham Art Crawl. At this event, local artists and artisans set up alongside 2nd Avenue North, so you can stroll the street, view their exhibits, and purchase their products. If you’re wanting to check this out, the next Art Crawl is next week (February 2nd)…
On the corner of 24th and 2nd across from Yo’ Mama’s and Urban Standard is a fun little store called Charm, which sells both new and vintage jewelry and accessories. If there, I suggest popping around the corner to What’s on 2nd (which is actually now located on 1st Avenue in between 23rd and 24th St.). It has the coolest assortment of collectibles and antiques – everything from comic books to postcards to toys to baseball cards. There’s also Storkland on 2nd Avenue between 22nd and 23rd Street, if you want to shop for baby furniture, bedding, and accessories.
The Pizitz will also be opening (hopefully) next month! And when it does, you will want to tour this beautifully restored building that was originally built in 1923 and once served as a premier department store in the city. On the corner of 2nd Avenue and 19th Street, The Pizitz will contain a food hall with 13 food stalls, one of which will rotate quarterly and serve as a restaurant incubator for start-ups. REV Birmingham chose Tropicaleo, a Puerto Rican restaurant concept, to serve as its first tenant for this Reveal Kitchen.
Along these lines, one thing you’ll notice on the map above is the number and variety of restaurants on/near 2nd Avenue North. (And there’s a couple of other restaurants that aren’t even listed on this map!)
On the corner of 24th and 2nd is one of my top 10 current food faves in Birmingham: Feast & Forest. You’ll see a a blog post about them on Friday, but suffice it to say, you’ll want to go there for brunch, coffee, dessert, pasta…
If you’re wanting coffee, another stop to make is Urban Standard. Unfortunately, they’re closed for the next month or so for repairs after a fire, but when they reopen, know that they make one mean cup of chai and have great breakfast/lunch/dinner options.
Other restaurants you’ll want to try on 2nd Avenue includes Yo’ Mama’s, Bamboo on 2nd, El Barrio, Pita Loco, Trattoria Centrale, and Paramount (great burgers). You’re also in close proximity to Brick & Tin (another one of my faves), Bistro Two Eighteen, Cafe Dupont, and John’s City Diner (where you can take a selfie in front of the “It’s Nice to Have You in Birmingham” mural).
Things to Know if Exploring 2nd Ave. N.
- Traffic is one way, heading towards 65.
- To head towards 31/280, you’ll need to be on either 1st Ave. N. or 3rd Ave. N.
- Have at least $2 in quarters to pay for parking meters (that will buy you 2 hours). There is some free parking in the 24th/25th Street area as well as a parking lot if you’re going to visit Rogue Tavern or Pale Eddie’s.
- Several of the businesses are only open Monday-Friday, so you will want to check their hours before trying to visit on Saturday or Sunday.
- To get back onto 31/280, get on 3rd Ave. N. and be in the second to left lane. That lane takes you straight onto the ramp.