The Filling Station Pizza Cafe and Bar

For more than forty years, the building which now houses The Filling Station Pizza Cafe & Bar in the Crestwood neighborhood of Birmingham, was a full-service gas station- the kind where they actually pumped your gas for you and cleaned your windshield.

Starting in 2015, the chef and his staff at The Filling Station now pump out a broad range of appetizers, handmade pizzas and calzones, pasta dishes and sandwiches that are sure to satisfy any craving you have. The old service bays are now filled with tables and a bar. Behind the bar is an intricate system of taps that deliver cold locally- and internationally-brewed beers without any temperature loss from the keg.

The Filling Station is perfect to visit anytime of the year, but when the weather is mild, the garage doors are open and patrons enjoy the expansive covered patio.

Sports fans appreciate the multitude of HDTV screens to keep them in tune with their favorite teams. In case you are the nostalgic type, there is even a vintage gas station pump, but the only fuel you get here now is the fantastic food, fine drinks, service with a smile and fun folks.

  • 5524 Crestwood Blvd., Birmingham, AL 35212
  • 205.592.3455
  • @thefillingstationbham
  • Sunday – Wednesday: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m
  • Thursday – Saturday: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
  • thefillingstationbham.com

Birmingham Night Life

Excerpted from EXCURSIONS by EXCURSIONS BY CITYVISION

Looking for a night out on the town, a fun date night, or just drinks after work? Birmingham’s vibrant night life scene has a lot to choose from! Whether you like a cozy, quiet spot or rocking live music, you’ll have the time of your life in these amazing spots.

ABHI Eatery + Bar

Located in The Summit shopping complex just south of downtown Birmingham, ABHI Eatery + Bar is a locally-owned Asian Fusion restaurant created by Chef Abhi Sainju and his wife, Ainah. Chef Abhi gained experience in other locally-owned restaurants, honing his skills, spending years developing the menu for ABHI and opened in February 2017.

The food is inspired by Abhi’s upbringing in Nepal and his travels throughout the world exploring different techniques and flavors. Abhi first made his mark in Birmingham creating sushi with the freshest and most inventive ingredients available. His reputation as a perfectionist and his inventiveness created a near-cult following of locals and visitors, alike.

The menu at ABHI ranges from shareables like Momos (Abhi’s house-made dumplings—a house signature dish), beer battered eggplant, Kathmandu Fried Chicken (KFC) Lollipops, and sushi to noodle, ramen and curry bowls. The sheer number of bowls to choose from on the menu is mind-blowing and you will need to visit over and over again to try them all.

The bar isn’t anything to overlook either. An award-winning bartender is constantly preparing special concoctions to pair with various items on the menu. Craftily combining fresh fruit juices, nuts and spices to create the base for cocktails that are only available at ABHI.

Chef Abhi’s eye for perfection, color and balance transcend the kitchen to the modern yet warm décor of the dining room and bar. Black cloth covered tables are punctuated by bright orange napkins and warmly lit by candles. The marble-topped wooden bar is stocked with the highest quality spirits from all over the world. Visit ABHI today.

Avondale Brewing

It all began when a circus owner’s misfortune at a game of cards bestowed the city of Avondale with a great gift. His prize attraction, Miss Fancy the Elephant, would inadvertently become the city’s greatest spokesperson. Known as the Queen of Avondale, Miss Fancy performed a wonder of tricks at her home in Avondale Zoo. During prohibition, City Hall kept a special Miss Fancy reserve on hand at all time in order to treat her stomach aliment. When her stomach starting acting up, Mr. Todd would call the prohibition officers down to the zoo for a little hooch action.

Avondale Brewing’s Miss Fancy’s Tripel is a strong Belgian golden ale rich in flavor and alcohol. The use of malts, traditional hops, a proprietary yeast blend and Belgian candi sugar creates a very special beer named after a very special elephant. Miss Fancy’s Tripel is remarkably smooth and refreshing for such a high ABV beer. CAUTION! Miss Fancy’s Tripel is brewed for humans but strong enough for elephants.

Baja California Cantina & Grill

With outstanding reviews and consistently high praise from customers, Baja California Cantina and Grill in Hoover should be on the top of your list for the best Tex-Mex cuisine, delicious drinks with your favorite spirits and impeccable service.

Baja California Cantina and Grill is open seven days a week and conveniently located to all hotels in the Hoover, Vestavia Hills and Bessemer areas. Catch live music performances by following them on Facebook.

  • HOURS OF OPERATION:
  • Sunday – Wednesday: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
  • Thursday – Saturday: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

The Filling Station

For more than forty years, the building which now houses The Filling Station Pizza Cafe & Bar in the Crestwood neighborhood of Birmingham, was a full-service gas station – the kind where they actually pumped your gas for you and cleaned your windshield.

Starting in 2015, the chef and his staff at The Filling Station now pump out a broad range of appetizers, handmade pizzas and calzones, pasta dishes and sandwiches that are sure to satisfy any craving you have. The old service bays are now filled with tables and a bar. Behind the bar is an intricate system of taps that deliver cold locally and internationally brewed beers without any temperature loss from the keg.

The Filling Station is perfect to visit anytime of the year, but when the weather is mild, the garage doors are open and patrons enjoy the expansive patio.

Sports fans appreciate the multitude of HDTV screens to keep them in tune with their favorite teams. In case you are the nostalgic type, there is even a vintage gas station pump—but the only fuel you get here now is the fantastic food, fine drinks and fun folks.

Birmingham District Brewing Company

Birmingham District is the name of the geologic formation containing plentiful supplies of iron ore, limestone, and coal, the ingredients needed to make steel. The discovery of these ingredients in 1865 led to the explosive growth of industry and population that made the city of Birmingham appear “as if by magic.” Birmingham has since been known as “The Magic City.”

There has been a bit of that magic over the last 10 years with the appearance of craft breweries in and around Birmingham. The area now has a reputation as a destination for quality craft breweries and none reflect the history, heart, and magic of the area better than Birmingham District Brewing Company.  

At BDBC you will find world-class beers crafted by artisans in a variety of styles from pilsners, IPAs, and stouts to fruited sours. Great indoor and outdoor spaces, they have places to watch your favorite sports team, play a round of corn hole, or reserve a quiet spot for an informal business meeting.  

If you can only visit one brewery while you are in town, do not miss Birmingham District Brewing Company.

Hours: Mon—Wed: 12p—10p; Thu—Fri: 12p-12a; Sat 11a—12a; Sun: 12p—8p.

Crestwood Tavern

Crestwood Tavern is your neighborhood bar in Birmingham bringing you traditional pub fare, delicious drinks, a backyard patio, and endless entertainment!

Photo courtesy of Crestwood Tavern.

Good People Brewing Company

In the South, when someone is genuine, honest, and caring, they’re called “good people.” That’s who Good People Brewing Company keeps in mind when they’re crafting beer—the kind of humble, caring, and respected folks they grew up with. That philosophy has carried over to how they designed their taproom and social spaces. The taproom and outdoor patios and terraces allow for beer-lovers, regardless of how many there in a group, to comfortably sit and enjoy great beer and engaging conversation. Great beer is meant to be set down on a tabletop and overshadowed by conversation, friends, family. And every glass is an invitation.

The vast indoor taproom features all of Good People’s mainstay brews and a rotation of seasonal and specialty brews only available on-site. Watch the magic happen in the brewery through the large windows while discovering your next favorite beers from the oldest and largest brewery in Alabama. Tours available.

Good People regularly hosts small and large events both private and public. A regular rotation of local food trucks keeps appetites satisfied. Book your next private or corporate event at Good People Brewing Company.

Hop City

With a commitment to carry every single bottle or canned choice available in Alabama, coupled with 60 constantly rotating taps for pints and growlers, Hop City is the go-to spot for all things beer. Sprinkle in an informed selection of over 1,000 wines and you have a grown-up version of Willy Wonka’s factory.

Magic City’s version of Hop City opened in September 2012. Hop City is one of the top ten beer retailers in the US, according to both Draft Magazine and Ratebeer.com. In addition, Beer Advocate  has awarded their highest ranking for Hop City’s amazing service, knowledge and selection.

Swing by and enjoy a beer at the bar, browse the aisles for a favorite or a rarity, then fill a jug with a draft for that party this weekend. Ask for a recommendation – the team loves to talk beer and wine! Check the website for an event schedule including free weekly tastings and new beer launches. 

  • hopcitybeer.com; 205-279-2337
  • 2924 3rd Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35233
  • Hours: Mon—Wed: 10a-9p; Thu—Sat: 10a-10p

Margaronas Cantina

Visit Margaronas Cantina in Homewood, Alabama. Serving traditional and authentic Mexican dishes, Margaronas Cantina has quickly become a stand-out among locals. The modern atmosphere pays tribute to Mexico with a heightened level of comfort and sophistication. Enjoy dining inside or out on the covered patio. The full bar offers the finest tequilas and all of your other favorite spirits. The owners and staff will greet you at the door and ensure your experience is the very best in Birmingham.

HOURS OF OPERATION: Sunday – Wednesday: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Thursday – Saturday: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Mom’s Basement

Located between Avondale and Crestwood off Crestwood Blvd., Mom’s Basement is laid-back, come-as-you-are, judgment-free space to drink, listen to great music from the DJ or live band. There’s plenty of free parking and plenty of characters to meet and enjoy. Be sure to bring a photo of your mom for the Wall of Fame. With a full bar, Mom’s Basement offers all the comforts of home with a few surprises. Bring your friends to the photo booth or hang out near it and share in the laughs and good times. Visiting Mom’s is like getting a warm hug and a slap on the hand all at the same time…ahhh, just like home.

Opens daily at 4 p.m. with Happy Hour til 7 p.m. Live Music often, a Pool Table and a Patio.

Oasis

Oasis is well-known for the amazing talent of professional musicians on their stage; some of whom have become household names like Taylor Hicks. With live music every night, an Oasis guest may find anything from full rock-and-roll bands to intimate singer-songwriters to funky duos

They also provide professional dart boards that are free to play and drink specials 7 days a week.

Pies & Pints

Pies & Pints, is best known for their excellent selection of handcrafted beers from artisanal breweries around the world, which can be enjoyed by the bottle or on tap, as well as an intimate list of ciders and wines from California, Spain, and Italy.  Stop in for classic and specialty pizza pies, garden fresh salads, oven-toasted sandwiches and house-made desserts.
Monday–Thursday: 11am–10pm
Friday & Saturday: 11am–12am
Sunday: 11am–9pm

Photo courtesy of Pies & Pints.

Pilcrow Cocktail Cellar

Near the end of the 19th century, Founder’s Station originally hosted a printing press company. In honor of the building’s history, Pilcrow Cocktail Cellar chose its name after the typographical character used to indicate a new paragraph or section of text. Established in late 2018, Pilcrow Cocktail Cellar specializes in premium craft cocktails and has rapidly become one of Birmingham’s most favored and most unique watering holes and casual gathering spots.

SideBar

SideBar is the hottest spot in the most thriving entertainment district of Birmingham. Whether you’re just starting the afternoon or burning the midnight oil, this is your haven. With their weatherproof patio, there is plenty of space to enjoy the open air or belly up to the bar in our inviting front room and bring your A-game to our dance room—complete with back patio and a bar of its own. Come play or watch a game of beach volleyball on the newly-built outdoor beach volleyball court—equipped with loads of outdoor seating and a fully stocked bar.

  • Happy Hour: 3-8 p.m. weekdays
  • Live Music Every Friday and Saturday
  • 18 Beers on Tap
  • HDTVs inside and out.

Slice Pizza

Slice Pizza & Brew has become a Birmingham staple since it’s original location opened in the Lakeview District. Started by brothers, Jeff, Chris and Jason Bajalieh, Slice is as local as you can get, from the owners to the ingredients that go into every pizza to the beer on tap. Slice originated as a place not just to eat, but to hang out and has held true to this sentiment with the opening of the second Slice Pizza & Brew in Vestavia Hills across from Lifetime Fitness.

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No matter who you are or where you’re from, you’ll love the food and atmosphere at this local favorite amongst the movers and shakers of Birmingham. Come enjoy the best pizza in Birmingham! For more information on Slice or their two locations, please visit slicebirmingham.com.

  • Slice Lakeview 725 29th Street S Birmingham, AL 35233 205.715.9300
  • Slice Vestavia 304 Timberlake Drive Vestavia Hills, AL 35243 205.557.5423

SoHo Social

Soho Social is a community-based bar and grill centered around the needs and wants of Homewood, Alabama. They offer unique spins on American classics; familiar, yet fresh at the same time.

The menu ranges from salads, wings and latin-inspired dishes like empanadas and duck totchos to a wide variety of unique burgers, smoked hangar steak and fresh fish. Weekly specials include Monday Wine and Tacos and Tuesday Beers and Burgers with a special menu prepared specifically for those days.

Their focus on fantastic food, laid back, friendly and sincere service along with distinctive drinks with unique style has earned Soho Social  top-of-list status for places to go for both locals and visitors.

The Refinery

Named one of Birmingham’s Most Attractive Bars, The Refinery is a place in downtown Birmingham where you can find flavorful food and delicious drinks.

Twin Peaks

Welcome to your mountain lodge getaway. Here at Twin Peaks, we offer everything you crave and more: hearty made-from-scratch comfort food, draft beer served at a teeth-chattering 29 degrees and all the best sports on TV shown on high-definition flat screens. All of this is served by our friendly and attentive Twin Peaks Girls, offering their signature “Girl Next Door” charisma and playful personalities to ensure that your adventure happens at the Peaks. We’re your Ultimate Sports Lodge – Game on!

Village Tavern Scratch Kitchen-Craft Bar

Village Tavern Scratch Kitchen-Craft Bar stands out for its passion and perfection of classic American cuisine. Be it for business lunches, gatherings or date night, Village Tavern is the place for all occasions. They are committed to providing the highest quality food, wine and service at an affordable price, while creating unforgettable dining experiences with exceptional hospitality.

Every day has something special to offer with deals like HALF PRICE WINE Wednesday, offering more than 60 wines by the glass on an award-winning wine list at half price, so you can enjoy a glass of your favorite wine or try something new. In addition to daily drink specials, check out the best happy hour and bar bites available Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m.

Serving lunch and dinner seven days a week, and brunch on the weekends, Village Tavern is the neighborhood gathering place for all. Outdoor dining available when weather permits.

Escape Day Spa

Excerpted from EXCURSIONS by EXCURSIONS BY CITYVISION

Step into your own private retreat at Escape Day Spa. Relax and rejuvenate yourself in a peaceful setting. Unite your mind, body and spirit as you allow yourself a moment to get away from it all and immerse yourself in tranquility.

Escape Day Spa is a family-owned business that believes in the power of healing through touch and meditation. Their guests find rest and solace through their therapeutic and cosmetic services – all designed to offer the epitome of luxurious comfort.

Escape’s staff believes in offering luxurious treatment to those looking for their own private escapes, and seeks to create a deep sense of contentment and relaxation in each guest through their therapeutic treatments.

Call or go to their website to make your appointment today and get ready to feel amazing.

SPA SERVICES

Therapeutic Massage

Unwind as you drift away under the experienced hands of our massage therapist. We offer a variety of massages, all designed to offer therapeutic release for your body.

Body Treatments and Wraps

Experience the pinnacle of an elite day with a deeply soothing body treatment and wrap. We have a variety of therapeutic options available that promise to refresh your skin and surround you in bliss and comfort.

Facials and Skin Care Services

Rejuvenate your skin with our unique European facials that will sweep you away to Europe, customized just for you!

Dermasweep

The DermaSweep MD system is a state-of-the-art, non-invasive exfoliation and skin revitalizing system.

Manicure and Pedicure

Few treatments are as relaxing and soothing as a professional manicure and pedicure. We take great pride in pampering our quests, and that includes showing special care to their hands and feet.

Spray Tan

Obtain the look you want with our all-natural, 100% organic spray tanning solution. Our Natural Glow sunless spray tan is a perfect way to look your best while avoiding the sun or tanning beds.

Hair Removal and Waxing

Look and feel your best at all times. We offer a variety of hair removal and waxing treatments designed to give you the smooth, comfortable look you desire.

Xtreme Eyelash Extensions

For those who want lush, luxurious eyelashes, we proudly offer a revolutionary new treatment: Xtreme Lashes eyelash extensions!

Photos from Escape Day Spa.

Village Tavern Scratch Kitchen-Craft Bar

Excerpted from EXCURSIONS by EXCURSIONS BY CITYVISION

Village Tavern Scratch Kitchen-Craft Bar stands out for its passion and perfection of classicAmerican cuisine. Be it for business lunches, gatherings or date night, Village Tavern is the place for all occasions. They are committed to providing the highest quality food, wine and service at an affordable price, while creating unforgettable dining experiences with exceptional hospitality.

Every day has something special to offer with deals like HALF-PRICE WINE Wednesday, offering more than 60 wines by the glass on an award-winning wine list at half price, so you can enjoy a glass of your favorite wine or try something new.

In addition to daily drink specials, check out the best happy hour and bar bites available Monday through Friday from 4 p.m., until 7 p.m. Serving lunch and dinner seven days a week, and brunch on the weekends.

Village Tavern is the neighborhood gathering place for all. Outdoor dining available when weather permits.

  • 101 Summit Blvd., Birmingham, AL
  • 205.970.1640
  • villagetavern.com
  • @VillagéTavernBirmingham
  • @VillageTavern
  • Monday – Thursday 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
  • Friday – Saturday 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.Sunday 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
  • Sunday Brunch 10 a.m. -3 p.m.
  • Happy Hour available Monday – Friday 4 – 7 p.m.

Chef Spotlight: Chef Tukky Phornroekngam with Phuket Thai Restaurant and Sushi

from EXCURSIONS GUESTBOOK HUNTSVILLE, MADISON & DECATUR 10th Anniversary Edition by EXCURSIONS BY CITYVISION

If you’re in the mood for absolutely authentic Thai dishes, Phuket will not disappoint. Head Chef Tukky Phornroekngam is a masterful Thai Cuisine Chef, certified by no less than the government of Thailand. How’s that for authentic?

Far from her homeland, Chef Tukky has made a name for herself in the states, having been voted one of the Best Chefs in the Tennessee Valley in 2009. She says it’s her familiarity and artistry with exotic ingredients that make her such a successful chef.

“I love to use kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass, Thai basil leaves and any herbs that are essential to Thai cuisine,” Chef Tukky says. Though it’s hard to nail down a favorite, Tukky says it’s a toss-up between what she would order for dinner at Phuket. “Our grilled ribeyes are delicious, and any of the curry dishes are great,” says Chef Tukky, who has one more piece of advice for diners.

“I love having a Lychee Martini or a Thai Tea Martini with my meal,” she says.”You’ll be surprised how well they compliment the Thai dishes.”

Moe’s Original Bar B Que

The Perfect Combination of Great Barbeque and Nightly Fun in the Heart of Downtown Decatur

from EXCURSIONS GUESTBOOK HUNTSVILLE, MADISON & DECATUR 10th Anniversary Edition by EXCURSIONS BY CITYVISION

Ryan Helsley was already a devotee to the Moe’s Original Bar B Que brand when he got the chance to purchase the Decatur location of the restaurant. He had managed locations in Tuscaloosa and Auburn and had been a co-owner at a location in Panama City, FL, but Huntsville was home for his wife and Decatur is near her family. The fact that he could move his family closer to their extended family and still stay with the brand he loved made it the perfect choice.

So in 2015, Ryan and his family moved to Decatur and began operating the Moe’s Original Bar B Que in the heart of the downtown arts and entertainment district.Ryan said he loves the culture, family and “bulletproof concept” the Moe’s brand offers.

“There’s a reason I started with Moe’s in 2010 and decided to make a career out of it,” Ryan said. The restaurant is much more than barbeque though, offering a full bar, late-night hours and live music two or three days a week. The location in the entertainment district makes Moe’s a frequent stop for late-night visitors looking for a place to grab food and a nightcap after a show at the historic Princess Theatre or other location nearby. Last year, Ryan also opened a second Moe’s location in Priceville, just seven miles away from his original Decatur location.

While slow-smoked pulled pork barbeque topped in a house-made, sweet and tangy BBQ sauce is what Moe’s has always been known for, Ryan says the jumbo smoked wings are a constant fan favorite. The wings are served with celery and a creamy Alabama-style white BBQ sauce for dipping.

Ryan also said the fried catfish and fried shrimp sandwich are popular for those looking for something different. The sandwich features golden brown fried shrimp served on a toasted bun with creamy tartar sauce and cool, crisp marinated slaw and pickles.

There are also daily specials and events that make Moe’s Original Bar B Que a great location for family-friendly fun or a night out on the town.

  • MOE’S ORIGINAL BAR B QUE
  • 202 Moulton Street E, Decatur, AL 256.353.6284 (Open Late)
  • 3524 Deere Road, Priceville, AL 256.686.1462 (Closes 8 pm)
  • 200 Main St W, Hartselle, AL 35640 256.502.8092
  • moesoriginalbbq.com
  • @mobdecatur

Vulcan Park and Museum

Excerpted from EXCURSIONS by EXCURSIONS BY CITYVISION

A trip to Vulcan Park and Museum is a must for every visitor to the Birmingham region – in fact, it’s the best place to get started. In addition to seeing the iconic colossal statue, visitors gain an understanding of the region’s history and culture, and can learn more about other cultural, recreational and entertainment offerings at an onsite Visitor Information Center managed by the Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Vulcan is the world’s largest cast iron statue and is considered one of the most memorable works of civic art in the United States. Created by Italian artist Giuseppe Moretti, Vulcan was cast from local iron to represent the state of Alabama at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. Vulcan has overlooked Alabama’s largest city from atop Red Mountain since a 1930s WPA project created his permanent home and namesake park.

After decades of exposure to the elements, by the 90s, the 50-ton statue was in desperate need of repair. Recognizing Vulcan’s importance to the region’s history and persona, community leaders formed Vulcan Park Foundation, a nonprofit organization which oversaw a $16 million project that returned the statue to his 1904 grandeur. The meticulous restoration of Vulcan and his 124′ sandstone pedestal, completed in 2004, received numerous awards including the highest honor awarded by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Embracing the personality of the community Vulcan symbolizes, the park grounds and museum offer a dynamic edu-taining experience. Standing for Birmingham Alabama’s rich industrial history, the diverse cultures that settled and built the community, and the story of Vulcan are recounted in both indoor and outdoor exhibits.

Vulcan’s park grounds and observation tower offer breathtaking views of downtown and the surrounding areas – a great introduction to Birmingham, day or night.

Visit Vulcan and learn the fascinating history that has made him the iconic symbol of our city and why he has stood for Birmingham for more than a century and counting.

  • 1701 Valley View Drive
  • Birmingham, AL 35209
  • visitvulcan.com
  • @visitvulcan
  • Museum and The Anvil Hours: Monday – Sunday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Observation Tower Hours: Monday – Sunday 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Main Attractions

from ‘EXCURSIONS GUESTBOOK HUNTSVILLE, MADISON & DECATUR 10th Anniversary…’Wide Open Spaces

From shopping to museums to nature preserves, Huntsville has the perfect agenda for every traveler.

Alabama Constitution Village

Discover the newly renovated Alabama Constitution Village.

Constitution Village is a unique and unforgettable journey into Alabama’s past. Come see villagers busy with their daily tasks, seemingly unaware that nearly two centuries have come and gone. Hear the whir of the spinning wheel, smell the enticing aroma of freshly baked bread being prepared over an open fire and turn the great wheel lathe in the cabinetmaker’s shop. Admission charged. See website for hours. {109 Gates Avenue, 256.564.8100; earlyworks.com}

Big Spring International Park

Located in downtown Huntsville, this iconic park serves as the center of the city. Named after an underground spring that John Hunt, Huntsville’s founder, built a cabin next to in 1805, it’s now surrounded by museums, hotels and more. The park plays host to major area events, like the Panoply Arts Festival and local concerts, and showcases gifts bestowed upon the city by other countries, including the “Red Bridge” and 60 cherry trees from Japan. Free Admission. {Located adjacent to downtown Huntsville}

Bridge Street Town Centre

The Carousel at Bridge Street Town Centre is a favorite for all.

Bridge Street Town Centre is the premier retail and entertainment center in North Alabama. Featuring over 70 upscale shops and restaurants, including favorites like J. Crew, The Apple Store and Anthropology. The center also includes the 14-screen Monaco Pictures Theater, a 10-acre lake with gondola boats and watercraft rentals, a beautiful carousel, fountains and lots of open green spaces. Free admission. {Located at the corner of Old Madison Pike and Research Park Blvd.; 256.327.8400; see their ad inside back cover; bridgestreethuntsville.com}

Burritt on the Mountain

Explore the past at Burritt on the Mountain.

Also known as the “Jewel on the Mountain,” this living museum is seated atop RoundTop Mountain and features entertainment for all ages. At the 19th-century farm, children can pet barnyard animals, while adults can wander the 14-rooms of the unique X-shaped 1930s mansion. Visitors can explore the winding nature trails, visit authentic exhibits and even attend concerts and plays. Admission charged. See website for hours. {3101 Burritt Drive, Huntsville; 256.536.2882}

Ditto Landing

Visit the newly renovated Ditto Landing.

For overnight, over the weekend, or week-long vacation, Ditto Landing is a camper’s paradise. Nestled in the shaded comfort of densely wooded lots, the campground is cool, peaceful and just a moment’s walk from an abundance of fun-filled activities. It serves as the gateway to Wheeler reservoir, which has more than 60,000 acres of adventurous playground. There are ample facilities for boats of all sizes. See website for hours. {293 Ditto Landing Road, Huntsville; 256.882.1057}.

Dublin Memorial Park

Located in Madison, this park features 66 acres of recreational activities. The Dublin Memorial Park Facility includes an outdoor swimming pool with baby and diving pools. Indoor facilities include a double-court gymnasium equipped for basketball and volleyball, an upstairs walking

track and a 25-yard heated indoor swimming pool. Other outdoor activity areas include a walking trail, five soccer fields, a community-built playground and seven tennis courts. See website for hours. Free admission. {8324 Old Madison Pike, Madison; 256.772.9300}

EarlyWorks Children’s Museum

Children love exploring the past at EarlyWorks Family of Museums.

EarlyWorks was designed for children—go ahead…touch, climb, pull, explore! Hear stories from the Talking Tree, play a tune on the giant-sized instruments at the Alabama bandstand and try your hand at building in the Kidstruction Zone. Explore a 46-foot Keelboat, trade your wares at the general store and try on clothing from the 1800s in the federal house. Preschoolers will enjoy exploring Biscuit’s Backyard, a touch-and-learn area that includes a garden, grocery store and even karaoke. See website for hours. Admission charged. {404 Madison Street in Huntsville; 256.564.8107; earlyworks.com}

Harrison Brothers Hardware

Shop for souvenirs at Harrison Brothers Hardware.

Better than a museum, Harrison Brothers is a living 19th-century landmark sitting serenely in the midst of downtown Huntsville. When you’re searching for that perfect souvenir to take home, Harrison Brothers is the place to visit. This shopper’s delight is filled with treasures, like a stack of antique biscuit jars brimming with old-fashioned candies, cotton throws, colorful tins, marbles by the scoop, cast iron cookware and oak rocking chairs. See website for hours. Free admission. {124 South Side Square in Huntsville; 256.536.3631; harrisonbrothershardware.com}

Historic Huntsville Depot

Meet Andy at the Historic Huntsville Depot.

Hear the rattle of the tracks and the engineer’s whistle as you experience life on the rails in 1860. Discover Civil War graffiti and listen as Andy, the robotic ticket agent, tells of Alabama’s railway history. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Depot was an active passenger station until 1968. The original depot building now stands as a symbol of Huntsville’s transportation history and city growth. See website for hours. Admission charged. {320 Church Street, Huntsville; 256.564.8100}

Huntsville Botanical Garden

The Huntsville Botanical Garden also offers a beautiful setting for private events.

Open year-round, the Huntsville Botanical Garden has 112 acres to explore, learn, and discover the beauty and wonder of plants. From grassy meadows to woodland paths, aquatic habitats to stunning floral collections, the Garden invites guests of all ages to make memories together in nature.

At the Garden, you can admire collections of native plants or stroll along nature trails. You can play in the Children’s Garden or find a moment of serenity in the cool shade of the trees. With additional exhibits and events throughout the year, the Garden is a place of beauty, education, and celebration for all in every season.

In this dynamic young garden, you’ll find inviting woodland paths, stunning floral collections and exhibits to delight visitors of all ages. Paths meander through the shady woodlands of the Dogwood Trail and the lush fern glade, while native wildflowers quietly populate the Nature Trail. The daylily and herb gardens rival or surpass those of older, more mature botanical gardens. The demonstration vegetable garden showcases varieties of produce and inspires home gardeners. With new exhibits every season, there’s always something blooming at the gardens! See website for hours. {4747 Bob Wallace Avenue in Huntsville; 256.830.4447; hsvbg.org}

Spring, summer, fall, or winter – the Garden is an oasis of natural beauty in every season!
4747 Bob Wallace Avenue, Huntsville, AL 35805 256.830.4447 hsvbg.org @HuntsvilleBotanicalGarden @hsvgarden

Huntsville Madison County Veterans Memorial

Huntsville Madison County Veterans Memorial honors our fallen heroes.

This memorial recognizes by name the Madison County veterans killed in action during all wars from WWI to the present and recognizes and honors Madison County veterans awarded the Medal of Honor. The mission of the memorial is to inspire visitors by instilling a sense of pride and respect for all veterans who have served in the armed forces of the United States of America, to provide an incentive to serve and to educate visitors, especially the young, about the sacrifices made by those that came before them and those who continue to guarantee our freedom by serving in the Armed Forces of the United States of America. {200 Monroe Street NW; 256.604.3896; hmcvm.org}

Lowe Mill Arts & Entertainment

Located in historic Lowe Mill, supports a diverse creative community dedicated to the free expression of the arts in Huntsville. Our vision is to be a true arts destination and to grow Huntsville’s appreciation and interaction with the arts. {2211 Seminole Drive Huntsville, 256.533.0399; lowemill.art}

Monte Sano State Park

Get back to nature at Monte Sano State Park.

Slip into your walking shoes and get ready to explore beautiful North Alabama outdoors! Spread across more than 2,100 acres, historic Monte Sano State Park sits 1,900 feet above sea level and boasts some of the most beautiful views of the Huntsville area. Spanish for “Mountain of Health,” this park features cabins and camping facilities, as well as 20 miles of hiking trails and 14 miles of biking trails. Hours: 7 am – sundown. Admission charged. {5101 Nolen Road SE, Huntsville 256.534.3757}

North Alabama Railroad Museum

Located just east of Huntsville in the historic Chase community, this museum is a boon for train lovers. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, take a guided tour of more than 30 train cars, including locomotives, dining cars and sleeper cars. On Saturdays from March – Dec, you can even take an hour-long train ride and enjoy the local scenery. Admission charged. {694 Chase Road in Huntsville; 256.851.6276; northalabamarailroadmuseum.com}

Old Town Historic District

The Old Town Historic District features homes in a variety of styles including Federal, Greek Revival, Queen Anne, American Craftsman and Prairie School with homes dating from the late 1820s through the early 1900s. {Roughly bound by Dement and Lincoln Streets and Randolph and Walker Avenues}

State Black Archives Research Center and Museum

Located in the historic James H. Wilson Building on the campus of Alabama A&M University just outside Huntsville, the center is a repository of African American history and culture, providing a dialogue between the present and past. Archival collections and featured exhibits span three floors of beautiful gallery areas. Admission charged. {Located on the campus of Alabama A&M University in Normal, AL; 256.372.5846}

Twickenham Historic District

Alabama’s largest collection of pre-Civil War homes features Federal, Italianate, Queen Anne, Bungalow and Classical architecture, including the Weeden House Museum, Alabama’s oldest house open to the public. Guided tours conducted. {109 Gates Avenue at Constitution Village in Huntsville}

U.S. Space and Rocket Center

The world’s largest space attraction features dozens of interactive exhibits surrounding Apollo, Mercury and Space Shuttle spacecraft. The U. S. Space and Rocket Center is the only place in the world where you can stand under a “full stack”—the Space Shuttle, external tank, and two rocket boosters. Experience three times the force of gravity as you spin in the G-Force Accelerator, feel the powerful G forces of launch aboard the Space Shot and maneuver through space aboard the Mission to Mars. You can also stop for a show in the Spacedome Omnimax theater. Hours: 9 am – 5 pm, seven days a week. Admission charged. {One Tranquility Base in Huntsville; 1.800.63.SPACE; rocketcenter.com}

Veterans Memorial Museum

Take a walk through American military history at this museum filled with exhibits, memorabilia and more. The collection includes more than 30 military vehicles, including tanks, helicopters, motorcycles and boats. Dedicated to promoting and disseminating the accomplishments of American military men and women, the museum is popular among veterans and their families. Cash only admission. {2060A Airport Road in Huntsville; 256.883.3737; memorialmuseum.org}

Von Braun Center

The Von Braun Center is a multi-purpose facility located in downtown Huntsville, Alabama and is home to Huntsville Havoc (a professional ice hockey team in the Southern Professional Hockey League), Broadway Theatre League, Huntsville Symphony Orchestra, and Arts Huntsville. The VBC offers multiple venues for presenting cultural, educational, entertainment, sporting and social events. Venue spaces include the Propst Arena, Mark C. Smith Concert Hall, Mars Music Hall, North Hall, South Hall, and East Hall. Additionally, the VBC has an on-site full-service restaurant and rooftop bar – Rhythm on Monroe. With over 170,000 square feet of flexible meeting space the VBC is able to accommodate events of all types and sizes. {700 Monroe Street, Huntsville; 256.533.1953; vonbrauncenter.com}

Weeden House Museum

Alabama’s oldest open-to-the-public building is best known as the birthplace of 19th-century poet and artist Maria Howard Weeden, whose poetry and paintings captured the essence of nineteenth-century Southern culture. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Weeden House is the only home in the Twickenham Historic District open as a museum. {300 Gates Avenue, SE, Huntsville; 256.536.7718; weedenhousemuseum.com} ❖

The Cupboard

The best little locally-owned gourmet kitchen shop in North Alabama

from EXCURSIONS GUESTBOOK HUNTSVILLE, MADISON & DECATUR 10th Anniversary Edition by EXCURSIONS BY CITYVISION

Being north Alabama’s only gourmet kitchen shop is a big responsibility, but Ginger Cobl loves talking kitchen supplies and cooking with anyone who comes through her doors. She also works tirelessly to source her unique items from local farms, small businesses, and crafters.

“From day one, I have tried to make a big focus on bringing in other small or family-owned businesses;” Ginger said. As a result, about 95% of the items she has curated are from small businesses, generating an impressive array of cutlery, cookware, pottery, gourmet food items and more. Among those brands are the local 1818 Farms, which she became the first brick-and-mortar store to sell, and German knife brand Wusthof, which isn’t local but has been family-owned since the early-1800s. The knowledge of the people who make the items she sells, and the assurances of quality items creates a partnership among the dozens of small businesses whose products are featured in the shop.

“It’s fun to be able to work with other small businesses to do fun things,” Ginger said. One of those fun things is her “Cook the Book” event series that is now entering its third year. She chooses a cookbook, and the participants must purchase the book from her and prepare a recipe from it. The participants then enjoy the dishes and discuss the intricacies of each recipe. She describes it as a “book club for foodies.”

“It’s a really great way to delve a little bit deeper into a cookbook than you would on your own,” Ginger said. The books for the event have included Mimi Thorisson’s international books for French and Italian cooking, as well as others, such as “Beautiful Platters and Delicious Boards,” “Ama A Modern Tex-Mex Kitchen” and “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.”

The Cupboard is so much more than just a store that sells kitchen items, Ginger has turned her shop into a one-stop for anyone with a love of food and people. In the eight years since she opened, Ginger has met a number of people from all over the world, learned their stories and helped build their businesses together. She loves cooking and helping others cook, but her passion for people is even greater. Helping an individual find the right items for them has set her store apart since it opened and her individual attention to customers keeps the regulars coming back and first-time visitors feeling like family. “Food brings the world together,” Ginger said. “It doesn’t matter what your background is, you can always find common ground around food GOOD food.”

THE CUPBOARD

McWane Science Center

In 1998, a stimulating and interactive science museum opened its doors in the heart of downtown Birmingham. McWane Science Center is housed in the historic and refurbished Loveman’s department store building in Birmingham’s revitalization district.

McWane Science Center has welcomed millions of visitors—from ages 1 to 100—year-round to see, to hear, to touch and to experience the wonder of science in one of the South’s most unique venues.

Four floors of interactive exhibits celebrate science and wonder—you can play tunes with your feet on the giant piano, learn about gravity with a daring ride on the High Cycle or pet the sharks and stingrays in the Shark & Ray Touch Tank—there is a new discovery around every corner.

The adventure intensifies in the IMAX Dome Theater, where wide-eyed visitors experience the sights and sounds of breathtaking films on a five story tall screen surrounded by three tons of high-intensity speakers. McWane’s IMAX Dome Theatre shows features covering a variety of topics ranging from great white sharks to Super Power Dogs, as well as special event Hollywood hits. McWane Science Center can also be a wonderful backdrop for a group of 10- 500+, day or night. McWane Science Center offers unique but functional event spaces perfect for your business luncheon, meeting, employee appreciation day, wedding reception or even an overnight adventure.

For 24 years, McWane Science Center has stayed true to its mission—to spark wonder and curiosity about our world through hands-on science. As a cornerstone of the downtown community, McWane opens its doors to young and old alike for laughter, learning and an experience like no other.

  • 205.714.8300
  • 200 19th Street North
  • Birmingham, AL
  • mcwane.org
  • @mcwane-science-center
  • Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Sunday 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Weekdays 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.