The city was founded in 1871 through the merger of three farm towns, which grew into an industrial railroad center with focus on mining, iron and steel. Since most of the settlers were of English origin, Birmingham received its name after Birmingham UK; one of England's major industrial cities. During Birmingham's growth spurt between 1881-1920, it received the nicknames "The Magic City" and "The Pittsburgh of the South". Similar to Pittsburgh, Birmingham's major industries were iron and steel production.
The Sloss Furnaces is an impressive monument to the Birmingham's steel era and is now a historical landmark. Other places to visit for those into history, include the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, which features original artifacts such as a bloodstained Ku Klux Klan costume. Walk the trail at Kelly Ingram Park for an overview of more historical events.
Birmingham has plenty of esteemed institutions for higher education, namely within all areas of medicine and law. The prestigious University of Alabama School of Medicine and Alabama School of Dentistry has been around since 1947, and the city hosts three of the state's five law schools: Cumberland School of Law, Birmingham School of Law and Miles Law School.
Foodies may find delight in the fact that Birmingham is famous for its fried chicken and James Beard-nominated chefs, and music fans should know that the city has a rich scene in this department ranging from blues and country, jazz and opera.
For a bit of culture and old folk art, visit the Birmingham Art Museum one of the finest art museums in the region.
Sport fanatics should dive by the Alabama Sports Hall of Fall in Birmingham.
It's worth noting that Alabama stands behind a number of athletic champions, like track star Jesse Owens with four Olympic gold under his belt, and a number of football teams who have won the last four national championships.
Families can visit the Birmingham zoo, or fore a more rigorous outing, hike in the Ruffner Mountain, one of the country's largest urban parks.
Also worth a visit is The Vulcan statue, the city symbol and largest cast iron statue in the world. This magnificent piece of art depicts a Roman god, and you can climb or ride to the top for a stunning view of downtown and the surrounding greenery.