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 ultimate 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 Midlands Arts Centre’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 stunning pre-batched cocktails at cult cocktail bar 18/81
Learn new skills and take a cookery class at Loaf
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
Indulge in Afternoon Tea at The Edgbaston
Get artsy at Ikon Gallery
Make foodie pilgrimage to Laghi’s Deli and eat all the pasta
And if you love Italian cuisine, then be sure to check out Legna by Aktar Islam – it’s fine dining Italian in a stunning location
Drink locally-brewed craft beer in one of the city’s micro-brewery taprooms
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, and yet more gin, at the UK’s best gin bar – 40 St. Paul’s
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!)
Head to Chinatown for delicious and authentic Chinese dishes – Look In is our pick of the bunch
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
Explore Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter and the stunning architecture of its doors and windows
Celebrate the changing of the seasons at The Seasonal Markets in Digbeth
Get drunk in The Prince of Wales beer garden
Eat these waffles from The Bournville Waffle Company
Drink wine and eat cheese at Kings Heath neighbourhood wine bar Grace + James
Enjoy a spiritual awakening at The Barber House with a traditional cutthroat shave
Stuff your face with grilled cheese sandwiches and drink natural wine at Kilder
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
Buy every single one of these legendary Brummie hot sauces by Pip’s Hot Sauce
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
Drink Mead At The Vanguard
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
Eat A Birmingham Balti in The Balti Triangle
Soak up the culture as you enjoy the diverse architecture of our beloved Birmingham
Eat These Cronuts From Medicine Bakery And Gallery
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 at Dig Brew Co.
Take a selfie down this corridor at Nocturnal Animals
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!
Explore Stirchley and dote on the awesome independents who are calling this cool suburb home
Check out the monthly Harborne Night Markets and go eat your fill of glorious street food
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
Drink ALL the whisky at The Birmingham Whisky Club Bar And Tasting Room
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, Opheem, Lasan, Viceroy Tandoori, The Indian Streatery and The Indian Brewery
Stuff your face with Dim Sum at Chung Ying Central
Drink Tiki cocktails at Island Bar until the early hours of the morning
Save the planet and do your grocery shop all in one go at zero-waste supermarket The Clean Kilo
Spend the afternoon wandering around BMAG pretending you know anything at all about art
Mill some bread at Sarehole Mill
Deck out your house with glorious purchases from indie homeware shop Kin Home
Eat a street food burrito from Habaneros
Battle orcs (in your mind) at Perrott’s Folly
Celebrate Birmingham Pride
Show your love for Brum 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
Drink this mint tea at Damascena
Dote on the growing cadre of awesome photographers in Birmingham – here’s one from our good friend Ross Jukes
Up Your Home-Ware Game At Minima
Spend the afternoon lamenting the destruction of our beloved Central Library
Join local charity Love Brum and help support the city and its local charities
Eat, drink and shop at over 115 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 115 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, 18/81, Zindiya, The Meat Shack, Nocturnal Animals, Baked In Brick, Harborne Kitchen, BoneHead, Purnell’s Restaurant, Bodega Bar Y Cantina, Wayland’s Yard, Purnell’s Bistro, Buffalo and Rye, mac Birmingham, Gaijin Sushi, Fiesta del Asado, 40 St Paul’s, The Plough, Hare and Hounds, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, The Lord Clifden, The Jekyll And Hyde, 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, The Clean Kilo 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, Tom Bird, Suzanne Lea Smith, Chris Fletcher and Jack Spicer Adams for some of the brilliant images featured above.