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…)
Enjoy Rock ‘N’ Roll Fine Dining At The Wilderness
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
Feast on life-changing bao buns at Tiger Bites Pig, and fall in love with this tiny restaurant doing big things in the city
Drink locally-brewed craft beer in one of the city’s micro-brewery taprooms
And if you love craft beer, then you definitely need to check out the Stirchley Beer Mile. And just Stirchley in general – so many incredible independents, all in one incredible place.
Watch a cult classic at The Electric cinema
Go nuts for the Birmingham Royal Ballet performing The Nutcracker
Dancer: Karla Doorbar, Photo by Bella Kotak
Go Play 18-Holes Of Ghetto Golf
Go for a swim at the iconic Moseley Road Baths
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
Wander down this amazing corridor in Aston Hall
Drink gin, and yet more gin, at the world’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 five Michelin Star restaurants (Manchester only has one, suck it Manchester!)
Revel in the glory of Birmingham’s street art – Digbeth, we love you
Kit yourself out with some new street wear at Liquor Store
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 this waffle 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
Become a gelato popsicle artist and create-your-own gelato lolly at LA-POP
Get tipsy and watch a cult classic at one of The Mockingbird Cinema and Kitchen’s Bottomless Brunch Screenings
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
Make your own chocolates at The Chocolate Quarter
Eat nachos at Bodega Bar y Cantina
Have a beer (or three) in the Old Crown’s beer garden
Get your dancing shoes on and head to The Night Owl
Eat all the fried chicken and drink craft beer at BoneHead
Stuff Your Face With Delightful French Macaroons At Miss Macaroon
Drink Mead At The Vanguard
Snack on cute cartoon macarons at Twist
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
Take a yoga class at Zurakaro
Eat These Cronuts From Medicine Bakery And Gallery
Play pinball as you sip on beer at Tilt
Rock a YES BAB t-shirt from Punks and Chancers
Catch your favourite live band at Hare and Hounds
Eat a Bacon Cheese Burger At Original Patty Men
Drink locally-brewed craft beer at Dig Brew Co.
Take on this gigantic sushi platter served in a wooden ship at Sushi Passion
Go indulge your inner culture vulture and watch a play or musical at the nationally-renowned Birmingham Hippodrome
Drink A Hot Chocolate With All The Trimmings At Coffee Tales
Marvel at the stunning architecture of Symphony Hall as you take in a concert
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 Whisky Club
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
Stuff your face with delicious brunch at The Early Bird Bakery
Celebrate Birmingham Pride
Show your love for Brum and merch up on all the Provide gear you can get your hands on
Stuff your face with this epic meat and cheese board at Arch 13
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
Join local charity Love Brum and help support the city and its local charities
Enjoy up to 20% off (alongside exclusive 2-for-1 offers, freebies and more) at over 125 of the very best independents in Birmingham, with the Independent Birmingham App – and then go rediscover your city, one hidden gem at a time
If you like to discover new hidden gems and support local, download the Independent Birmingham App.
Enjoy up to 20% off (alongside exclusive 2-for-1 offers, freebies and more) at over 125 of the very best independent cafes, bars, restaurants, pubs, theatres, cinemas, hotels, shops and experiences in Birmingham – including: Digbeth Dining Club, The Electric Cinema, The Wilderness, Carters, The Indian Brewery, Birmingham Hippodrome, Adam’s, Zindiya, The Meat Shack, Baked In Brick, Harborne Kitchen, BoneHead, Purnell’s Restaurant, Chakana, Tiger Bites Pig, Bodega Bar And Cantina, Stirchley Wines And Spirits, Wayland’s Yard, Purnell’s Bistro, Buffalo and Rye, Midlands Arts Centre, 40 St Paul’s, The Plough, Hare and Hounds, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, The Jekyll And Hyde, The Rose Villa Tavern, Cherry Reds, The Prince of Wales, The Loft, Laghi’s Deli, Medicine Bakery, The Paper Duck, The Clean Kilo, The Early Bird Bakery and many more.
To download the IB App for just £1.99 a month on Apple, click here.
To download the IB App for just £1.99 a month on Android, click here.
Special thanks to Verity Milligan, Ross Jukes, The Fat Foodie, Patty Master, Jake’s Food Bible, Dave Musson, Tom Bird, Suzanne Lea Smith, Chris Fletcher, OCUK Photography and Jack Spicer Adams for some of the brilliant images featured above.