Birmingham – a city in the midst of a revolution, an uprising of local.
With new restaurants and bars opening by the score, flocking to Birmingham as if compelled by some foodie lodestone, inspiring projects taking off and awesome events occurring all over the city – there’s an indescribable electricity about Birmingham at the moment, a tangible excitement of new things on the horizon. All eyes are on us.
Indeed, with so much going on, knowing where to start can always be an issue. So, to lend a helping hand, we created an alternative bucket list – a glorious guide to all the things you must do in Birmingham before you die, inspired by the creative and the unique.
If you live and work here, study here, or simply plan on visiting for a few days one weekend, be sure to use this guide to rediscover your city and explore the real Birmingham. There’ll be a special Brummie passport waiting at the end for you.
In no particular order, here goes!
Watch the stars of Hollywood under the stars of Birmingham at mac Birmingham’s open air cinema
Stuff your face with the best street food around at Digbeth Dining Club
Wander down the canals to see how far they go (we’ve got rather a lot you know…)
Eat Incredible Seasonal Dishes At The Wilderness
Drink gin, and yet more gin, at the UK’s best gin bar – 40 St. Paul’s
Have a night to remember at Rainbow
Have a night you probably won’t remember at Snobs
Partake in an evening of culture at Birmingham Repertory Theatre
Attend An Independent Birmingham Festival – The Last One Saw 2000 People Journey To The Iconic Aston Hall For A Day Of Feasting, Drinking, Shopping Local and Rocking Out To Live Music
Indulge in Afternoon Tea at The Edgbaston
Get artsy at Ikon Gallery
Make foodie pilgrimage to Laghi’s Deli and eat all the pasta
Get your claws on a lobster at Nosh & Quaff, or the beef ribs – they’re good too
Take a loaf home from Peel and Stone
Work your way through all the beers at Purecraft Bar and Kitchen – although not all at once, that’d be sheer madness…
Watch a cult classic at The Electric cinema
Go nuts for the Birmingham Royal Ballet performing The Nutcracker
Go Play 18-Holes Of Ghetto Golf
Buy all the cheese from Anderson and Hill and have your very own cheese and wine night
Go eat sushi at either Gaijin or Otoro Sushi – both are ace and a ‘must visit’ for sushi fans
Explore Birmingham’s hidden depths with Hidden Spaces
Drink gin from a bathtub at The Jekyll and Hyde
Get your caffeine fix in one of our many fabulous independent coffee shops
Visit one of our four Michelin Star restaurants (Manchester still has none, suck it Manchester!)
Go Eat Cubano Sandwiches And Drink Mojitos At The Cuban Embassy
Revel in the glory of Birmingham’s street art – Digbeth, we love you
Kit yourself out with some new street wear at Liquor Store
Get folky at Moseley Folk Festival
Eat just anything from Baked In Brick, named the best street food trader in Europe (it’s official)
Celebrate the changing of the seasons at The Seasonal Markets in Digbeth
Stumble upon the hidden beach in The Prince of Wales beer garden (stumbling because you’ve probably had one too many zombies at the Mo-Tiki Bar…)
Eat this waffle from Bournville Waffle Company
Attend Taco Night At The Plough, Then Eat All The Tacos
Enjoy a spiritual awakening at The Barber House with a traditional cutthroat shave
Rekindle your lost love for science and history at Vincent Van Doodle
Go veggie at The Warehouse Cafe
Drink gin above the city at The Bureau’s rooftop terrace
Stock up on vinyl and CD’s at Swordfish Records
Rock out in the basement at The Sunflower Lounge
Eat these nachos at Bodega Bar y Cantina
Play ping pong in The Lord Clifden’s beer garden (their cider slushy is immense, just so you know…)
Run the Birmingham Half Marathon for charity
Eat all the fried chicken and drink craft beer at BoneHead
Ask yourself at least once every 2 months where the Kong statue went – let’s start a petition to get it back right now!
Eat A Life-Changing Burger At The Meat Shack. Just Choose Any Off The Menu, They’re All Incredible
Become a zombie for the day at the Birmingham Zombie Walk
Soak up the culture as you enjoy the diverse architecture of our beloved Birmingham
Eat These Cronuts From Medicine Bakery
Catch your favourite live band at Hare and Hounds
Head to Original Patty Men on Wednesdays for Wing Wednesdays. If you know, you know…
Drink some locally brewed craft beer from one of our many micro-breweries
Go Drink A Cocktail With A Skull Ice Cube At Bourne And Co.
Go indulge your inner culture vulture and watch a play or musical at the nationally-renowned Birmingham Hippodrome
Eat large amounts of small plates at El Borracho De Oro
Take a leisurely stroll through Cannon Hill Park – you could even picnic there too, what a great idea!
Visit Brum’s hidden cocktail bar with tasting menu format, Smultronställe
Rekindle your love for Digbeth’s forgotten architecture
Search out Buddha Belly at our city’s best street food events and then stuff your face with their amazing Thai eats
Enjoy a room with a view at The Rotunda with Staying Cool
Learn all about whisky at the annual Whisky Birmingham Festival
Find the perfect wine for you at Loki Wine
Explore The Custard Factory and revel in Birmingham’s awesome creative sector
Eat anything from BAKE
Grab yourself a unique craft beer from either Stirchley Wines or Cotteridge Wines (both named as one of the very best bottle shops in England). Go Brum!
We’re renowned for curry, but try Indian cuisine with a difference at Zindiya, Lasan, Viceroy Tandoori, The Indian Streatery and The Indian Brewery
Witness a cadre of creepy clowns just hanging around at the Birmingham Weekender arts festival
Drink Tiki cocktails at Island Bar whilst playing Super Smash Bros. on the N64 – just yes!
Eat this epic brunch platter for 5 all by yourself at Gas Street Social
Spend the afternoon wandering around BMAG pretending you know anything at all about art
Mill some bread at Sarehole Mill
Eat your fill of ribs at The Church
Learn how to become a witch at Zen
Battle orcs (in your mind) at Perrott’s Folly
Celebrate Birmingham Pride
Join Finn Wolfhard from Stranger Things and merch up on all the Provide gear you can get your hands on
Celebrate St Patrick’s Day in style at The Old Crown
Spruce up your home with a jam jar light from The Workshop Below
Get hooked on Low ’N’ Slow – and then post a picture of his food on Instagram to make everyone else jealous
Dote on the growing cadre of awesome photographers in Birmingham – here’s one from our good friend Verity Milligan
Up Your Home-Ware Game At Minima
Spend the afternoon lamenting the destruction of our beloved Central Library
Eat, drink and shop at over 100 of the very best independents in Birmingham for less with the Independent Birmingham Membership Card (because we had to, right?)
Shop local, celebrate the unique and rediscover your city!
Join over 18,500 Brummies and grab yourself an Independent Birmingham Membership Card. Enjoy fantastic year-long discounts and deals at over 100 of the very best independent cafes, bars, restaurants, pubs, theatres and shops in Birmingham – including: Digbeth Dining Club, The Electric cinema, Simpsons, The Wilderness, Carters, Lasan, Birmingham Hippodrome, Adam’s, Zindiya, The Meat Shack, Harborne Kitchen, Smultronställe, Bodega Bar Y Cantina, Purnell’s Bistro, Buffalo and Rye, mac Birmingham, Fiesta del Asado, 40 St Paul’s, The Plough, Hare and Hounds, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, The Lord Clifden, The Jekyll And Hyde, Nosh & Quaff, The Church, Bourne and Co., The Rose Villa Tavern, Cherry Reds, The Prince of Wales, The Loft, Laghi’s Deli, Medicine Bakery, The Paper Duck, Town Hall Symphony Hall and many more.
To grab your key to the city for just £15 (or at the amazing price of two for £20), click here.
Special thanks to Verity Milligan, Ross Jukes, Dave Musson, Suzanne Lea Smith and Jack Spicer Adams for some of the brilliant images featured above.