If you’re wanting to explore the Ham, Forest Park stands as one of the city’s lesser known but happening spots. On the National Register of Historic Places, Forest Park includes the areas surrounding Clairmont Avenue and the Highland Golf Course.
History of Forest Park
Forest Park began as a residential neighborhood in 1906, and you can still see some of the well-preserved, historic homes in this area. If you’re looking at the map above, you will see a small green triangle where Clairmont Avenue meets Essex Road, and this little spot, called Triangle Park, boasts a playground where you can take the kiddos and see the area’s historical marker.
What to Do & Eat in Forest Park Village
Forest Park Village is the small commercial district of Forest Park, and it is a definitely a place to go if you want to eat. One of my (current) top 5 Birmingham restaurants is located here – Silvertron Cafe. The cafe gets its unique name from the Silver-Tron TV and Picture Tubes store, a TV sales and repair shop, that previously utilized the cafe space. The restaurant’s logo and even some pictures hanging inside pay homage to the building’s unique history.
In addition to Silvertron Cafe, you can taste Chef Clif Holt’s Southern, farm-to-table cuisine at Little Savannah Restaurant & Bar. Little Savannah’s Gulf Shrimp & Grits is included in the 100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die, and you can watch this video to hear owner Maureen Holt tell you what makes their shrimp and grits so unique. A fun activity that you can take advantage of at Little Savannah are their hands-on Cooking Classes ($75), which last 2-3 hours, are taught by Chef Clif Holt, and are themed (everything from Italian to Moroccan to Southern to Seafood). Click here to view a schedule of their upcoming cooking classes.
I recently went to Forest Park Village to peruse through Zoe’s, which is a fabulous vintage and consignment boutique, and I bought a spectacular black swing coat that looks like its straight out of the 1950s. The back half of their store is organized by decade (you can have some major fun with the 1970s and 1980s sections), and I’ve even had a friend get her wedding from there! So when you head to Forest Park, make time to pop in and browse through this fun shop.
When I was coming out of Zoe’s on my recent trip, I spotted a sign pointing me to the Pink House Cafe, which was totally unknown to me up until that point. So of course, I had to go sample the food, and while you’ll see an upcoming “Have You Tried…” blog post on this place, I’ll go ahead and tell you that you’ll want to order the Cubano sandwich.
Art-lovers can check out the works of over 70 “not-yet-famous” artists at Naked Art Gallery that is down the street from Silvertron Cafe and is so named because they want you to appreciate these artists’ work “with the naked eye.”
Across the street from Naked Art Gallery is a Zyp Bike station, so for $6, you can rent one of these bikes and ride down to Avondale or even Lakeview.
And if you are a golfer, Highland Park Golf Course is the oldest golf course in the state of Alabama. Established in 1903, Highland Park has been the site of many important golf events over the years, and Bobby Jones, famous golfer and founder of the Masters Tournament, even played on this course!
A great time to visit Forest Park is the Third Friday in Forest Park event each month, for on these nights, the shops in this area will stay open later (5-8 p.m.) and the restaurants will offer specials. The next Third Friday in Forest Park event will occur on Friday, February 17, and you can click here for more details.