Birmingham – a city in the midst of a revolution, an uprising of localism.
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. Onward, for Birmingham and for glory!
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 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
Indulge in Afternoon Tea at The Edgbaston
Get artsy at Ikon Gallery
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
Relive your childhood with retro sweets from yesteryear at McTunney’s Sweet Emporium
Buy all the cheese from Anderson and Hill and have your very own cheese and wine night
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 five Michelin Star restaurants (suck it Manchester!)
Burn your face off at the annual Birmingham Chilli Festival
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
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
Start your day off right with breakfast at The Plough
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
Enjoy an afternoon cupcake and milkshake at Cherry Reds
Ask yourself at least once every 2 months where the Kong statue went – let’s start a petition to get it back right now!
Pick up a street food burrito from Habaneros
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
Grab yourself a Zodiac cocktail at Chung Ying Central
Catch your favourite live band at Hare and Hounds
Drink some locally brewed craft beer
Pick up a timeless piece from one of our vintage clothes shops
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
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
Eat a cake from BAKE
We’re renowned for curry, but try Indian cuisine with a difference at Lasan
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 all things Kings Heath (alongside many thousands) at the annual Kings Heath Festival
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
Find out what New Baltic cuisine is at Two Cats Kitchen
Enjoy Sunday Lunch at The Plough
Spend the afternoon lamenting the destruction of our beloved Central Library
Eat, drink and shop independent in Birmingham for less with the Independent Birmingham Membership Card (because we had to, right?)
Grab yourself an Independent Birmingham Membership Card and enjoy fantastic year-long discounts and deals at over 95 of the very best independent cafes, bars, restaurants and shops in Birmingham – including: Digbeth Dining Club, The Electric cinema, Simpsons, The Wilderness, Lasan, Birmingham Hippodrome, Adam’s, Smultronställe, Bodega Bar Y Cantina, Purnell’s Bistro, Buffalo and Rye, mac Birmingham, Fiesta del Asado, 40 St Paul’s, Turners at 69, The Plough, Two Cats Kitchen, 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 and many more.
To grab your key to the city for just £15 (or at the amazing price of two for £20), click here.
**FOR LIMITED TIME ONLY** PRE-ORDER THE NEW IBCARD AT A SPECIAL PRICE OF JUST £12 (INSTEAD OF £15) OR TWO FOR £18 (INSTEAD OF £20).
OFFICIAL RELEASE DATE: 1ST APRIL
The Independent Birmingham Festival: join us at The Bond Company (Digbeth) on Saturday 13 May (12pm – 6pm) for a day-long celebration of Birmingham’s independent culture – complete with restaurant pop-ups, cocktails, street food, craft beer, indie retailers, live music, performance and more.
Line-up so far: The Church, El Borracho De Oro, The Warehouse Cafe, Baked In Brick, Low ’N’ Slow, Rob Wood (showcasing drinks from The Wilderness, Smultronställe, The Loft and Zindiya), The Cuban Embassy, Buddha Belly, Clink Beer – with many more to be announced over the coming weeks.
Tickets cost just £8 (kids go free) and are available here.
To find out which of Brum’s best independents will be there on the day, visit our events page.