Here at The Hill Hangout everything’s a family affair. We all go to each others soccer tournaments, dance recitals, work events and so on. We love love love travel, and we also love the food that comes along with it. We’ve been to many places that are great for weekend trips and we thought that we’d share them with ya. We’ve come up with a series of different states and cities that we love going to and we thought you might to. They are all going to be included in our new series Fun Weekend Trips for the Family. Today we’re kickin’ it off with our own sweet home, Alabama. Stay tuned to see if your state is featured in this fun new series.
CITY 1: BIRMINGHAM
It’s no surprise that the largest city in the state, as well as our home town, is the first to be introduced. We love Birmingham and it’s a town that is passionate about their sports, food, and fun. We hope you’ll give our town a visit sometime and check out some of the great places listed below.
1. MCWANE SCIENCE CENTER
The Mcwane Center is one of our family’s favorites. It is an amazing place for kiddos to play, while still learning something. They cover tons of science projects and theories from weather to athletics. Once you get in, all activities are free and you can stay from open until close. They have many different floors filled with unique learning. They also have an IMAX Theatre that shows many science/educational movies.
2. SAW’S SOUL KITCHEN
This local joint is a great place to grab a quick bite before you head to your next Birmingham stop. It is a teeny-tiny restaurant with only about four tables inside. They have picnic tables outside, or you can pop your trunk and chow down. Even though seating is tight, the bar-b-que is worth it!
3. THE SUMMIT
If you’re looking for a great shopping district, then the Summit is my recommendation. They have lots of really good stores and restaurants. It is a very clean and safe environment, and they carry several different kinds of clothing, books, home decor, and gifts. This is a really great place to go and spend the afternoon and grab some dinner before heading back to the hotel.
4. LA PAZ
If you want some good Mexican food, you’ve come to the right place. Yes, this is the capital of Bolivia, but the restaurant is located in Crestline Village. They have great Mexican food, and it’s one of our favorite places. If you go at dinner time, you might have to wait. Lunch is normally less crowded though.
5. BIRMINGHAM CIVIL RIGHTS INSTITUTE
The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is a great place to go and learn about the historic movement. Being in the deep south, Birmingham had a big part in the historic 1960s. It was a city full of turmoil and judgement that is all showcased in this museum. It is a great family field trip that is neat to go through, as well as a great family experience.
CITY 2: HUNTSVILLE
This city is a great one! It’s in northern Alabama, so you Tennessee folks won’t have to drive too far. We have been here for soccer tournaments countless times and have found some fun things to do in the city, so we thought we’d share them with you.
1. ROSIE’S MEXICAN CANTINA
This restaurant is on the tippy top of our list when we go to Huntsville. It is an amazing Mexican restaurant that is super family friendly. It is a great place to go when you want a substantial amount of food, and some homemade tortillas. We go there almost every time we go to Huntsville, so it’s one of our faves.
2. U.S. SPACE AND ROCKET CENTER
If you’ve never been to this joint, you need to go. It is an amazing museum that houses some of America’s most watched air crafts. It is fascinating and a great place to spend the day learning. It is very kid-friendly and enjoyable for parents too. We have been countless times as a field trip and have loved it every time.
3. GERMAN FOOD
During the Space Race many scientists and mathematicians were brought into Huntsville to work on the rockets. Many of those people were German because, well, Germans are really smart. This created a vast population of Germans in the Huntsville area. They have since created many authentic German restaurants. Hildegard’s German Cuisine and Ol’ Heidelberg Cafe are just a few that we’ve heard are the bomb.
4. BRIDGE STREET TOWN CENTER
If you’re looking for a great place to shop in Huntsville, this is your jam. They have great stores and many of them. They sell everything from climbing gear, to clothes, to accessories. We love going there because they have a different selection of what we might be able to buy in Birmingham. They also have great restaurants so you can grab a meal while you’re there.
5. ALABAMA CONSTITUTION VILLAGE
I’ve never been to this place, but I did a little digging and it looks fantastic! This museum/village is a living display of what life was like in 1819. The village is on the very spot where the constitution was signed that made Alabama a state. They have actors that reenact various life tasks from 1819. It looks like a great display, and if you’ve been before, let us know in the comments below how it was!
CITY 3: GULF SHORES/ORANGE BEACH
This city is very near and dear to our heart. My grandparents lived there as from long as I could remember until just 3 years ago. We loved going with them to the local joints and get out of all of the tourist-y part of town. We thought we’d share them with you so that next time you’re on the coast, you’d have some suggestions.
1. DOC’S SEAFOOD SHACK AND OYSTER BAR
This fun joint was right down the street from my grandparents’ house, so we ate there almost every visit. We’re pretty big gumbo critics and this is the best we’ve found at a restaurant. It’s a great seafood place, but if you’re going around meal time, be prepared to wait a little while.
2. TANGER OUTLETS
This place is a great place to shop! They have so many outlet stores that you can find just about anything. We go there almost every time we are at the beach and it’s a great place to find a bunch of stores in one place. We’ve gone there for years and it’s always been a great experience.
3. BRAVO TACOS
This place is delish! It is a small taco shack on the side of a gas station across the street from Doc’s. They have super yummy tacos and it is a great break from all the seafood you’ve been eating. They’re never really crowded, so you shouldn’t have to worry about waiting too long. Aren’t I making you want to go to the beach right now?
4. COSMOS RESTAURANT AND BAR
This place is a little more fancy than all the other places I’ve mentioned. It is a great place to go on a date night and leave the kids. They have fantabulous food and the atmosphere is great. Make sure to add this one to your list next time you’re on vacation.
5. THE HANGOUT
I know what you’re thinking, “Mary Anneliese, why another restaurant???” Well, when you go to the beach, the activity to do, is go on the beach. I thought you’d much rather do that then have me tell you about some not-so-fun place you could go instead. So, I decided to include another restaurant because people, you gotta eat! This place not only has great food, but the atmosphere is amazing! You get that beach-y vibe as soon as you walk in the door.
I hope you’ve all enjoyed traveling around Alabama with me today! Let me know below if you’ve ever been to any of these fun places or plan to go! Tune in soon for the next post in our series, Fun Weekend Trips for the Family. See you there!
XOXO, Mary Anneliese