Condé Nast Traveler has released its annual list of best places to travel in the upcoming year, and Birmingham tops the list of 22 destinations. Included in the food travel category, Birmingham sits alongside Serbia and Trøndelag County, Norway. Some of the other destinations on the list—broken into categories of Arts & Culture, History, Transportation, Sustainability, and Outdoors & Beach—include Charleston, South Carolina; London; Querétaro, Mexico; The Great Lakes; and Singapore.
We already know how great Birmingham is, but here’s what Condé Nast writer Kelsey Ogletree had to say to future visitors:
Downtown Birmingham is feeling more revitalized than ever, as several historic buildings have been reimagined as restaurants by local chefs. Five-time James Beard finalist Rob McDaniel, who grew up 80 miles from the city, opened contemporary Southern grill Helen in 2020 inside a 1920s shotgun-style building. You can smell his wood-fired meats from the sidewalk, and inside every meal starts with warm angel biscuits topped with whipped cane syrup butter. A block away at The Essential, Southern-bred chef Victor King and pastry chef Kristen Hall have partnered with farmers to serve vegetable-heavy dishes, homemade pastas, and the tastiest desserts in town (look for Parisian-inspired Bar La Fête from the duo in early 2022).
There’s plenty to do downtown as well. The new Urban Supply mixed-use development will bring century-old warehouses in the Parkside neighborhood back to life with restaurants, bars, shopping, and fitness studios when it’s completed in mid-2022. City Walk BHAM is also in the works, adding markets, green spaces, and food trucks to city blocks beneath Interstate 59/20. The project is set to be complete by summer 2022, when the Magic City will serve as the first American host for The World Games, an 11-day, 34-sport event (including tug of war and wheelchair rugby) expected to draw 500,000 spectators. While downtown has its share of big-box hotels for groups, find a quieter stay at Elyton Hotel in a restored historic building, or the boutique Valley Hotel in Homewood, a mere 10 minutes away.
(Excerpted from Condé Nast Traveler’s The 22 Best Places to go in 2022)