Birmingham, Alabama is a show-off, in the best way. Built on the iron and steel industries after the Civil War, Alabama’s most populous city has evolved into a modern mecca of cool that displays its turbulent past, classic architecture and culinary chops with style. Many of the city’s top parks, trails and hangouts have opened or debuted lovely updates in the last 10 years, making the Magic City a newly vibrant place to explore.
1 Railroad Park
Vacationers are routinely impressed with this massive downtown green space, affectionately dubbed "Birmingham's living room." Ponds, trails and a lit-up former train tunnel leading up to the park are intriguing places to play around with your camera.
2 Alabama Theatre
3 Hot & Hot Fish Club
This James Beard award-winning eatery is famously decorated with local and international art yet totally unpretentious. Foodstagrammers will get closeups of classic local dishes like tomato salad and okra, along with some artful desserts.
4 Regions Field
5 Vulcan Park & Museum
6 Fancy's on Fifth
This laid-back bar in Birmingham's historic Avondale neighborhood is named for Miss Fancy, the star elephant at the former Avondale Zoo. Piled high with toppings like fried peppers, the gourmet burgers demand a vertical shot.
7 Rotary Trail in the Magic City
8 Cahaba River
9 Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
Explore moving exhibits on racial segregation and the civil rights struggle at one of the biggest and oldest museums of its kind in the South. Photo-ready sculptures of activists and heroes populate the institute and adjacent Kelly Ingram Park, where police and fireman attacked protestors in 1963.
10 Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts
11 Elyton Hotel
This classy Autograph Collection hotelopened this year as part of a $45 million rework to the historic Empire building, one of the South's tallest buildings and a symbol of Birmingham commerce. Inside, you'll find historic touches worth photographing, like mailboxes and old staircases; on the roof, you'll find a popular bar with incredible views.
12 Birmingham Botanical Gardens
More than 12,000 different plants thrive in this 67-acre collection of themed gardens, which is free to visit every day of the year. Photographers will love hunting for a perfectly framed nature shot.
13 Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark
You can learn about Birmingham's history as an iron town at this impressive national historic landmark. Walk through the mazes of machinery, or climb into the belly of a furnace for a post that'll stand out in your friends' feeds.
14 Birmingham Art Crawl
On the first Thursday of every month, downtown art galleries, restaurants, bars and businesses fling open their doors to give visitors a taste of Birmingham's creative talent. Check out work from local artists, or shoot pics around the downtown streets.
15 Morris Avenue
This one-way cobblestone street, named for one of Birmingham's founders, retains the city's old-school charm. Even locals love to pose for portraits near the historic brick buildings, some of which are transforming into modern condos.
Do you love to take photos in Birmingham? Tell us what we missed! Tag your favorite Instagram posts with #ListenToAmerica, and we’ll add a few to this post.
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.