These Are The 10 Most Exciting Places In Alabama

It may be hotter than Hades in the South, but at least in these 10 most exciting places in Alabama, you can have fun in the sun…or inside with the AC on.
  • Natalie Grigson
  • Staff Writer
  • 10,892 views
  • 5 comments
  • Natalie Grigson, Staff Writer
  • 10,892 views, 5 comments

If you’re in Alabama during the summer, we’re sorry. Not because Alabama isn’t a fun place to be—as you’re about to find out, it most certainly is. We’re sorry because anyone in the South worth their salt knows it’s hotter than Hades this time of year. So, try to stay cool while you read this, okay?

While the Movoto Real Estate blog can’t exactly do anything about the weather (we’re working on it), we can at least tell you which of the state’s places are the most exciting, so you can while away these hot months doing something fun, probably indoors.

Here are the 10 most exciting places in Alabama:

1. City of Birmingham
2. City of Florence
3. City of Montgomery (tie)
3. City of Mobile (tie)
3. City of Fairhope (tie)
6. City of Huntsville
7. City of Tuscaloosa
8. City of Enterprise
9. Phenix City
10. City of Selma

To find out how we came up with this ranking, and just what makes each of these places more exciting than the rest, keep on reading.

How We Created This Ranking

To create this oh-so-exciting list, we started by making a stop to the 2010 U.S. Census. There, we found all of the places in Alabama with populations of 10,000 or more, which left us with a total of 64 places. Then, we looked at each in terms of the following eight criteria:

  • Nightlife per capita (bars, clubs, comedy, etc.)
  • Live music venues per capita
  • Active life options per capita (parks, outdoor activities, etc.)
  • Arts and Entertainment per capita (movie theaters, festivals, galleries, theaters, etc.)
  • Fast Food restaurants per capita (the fewer the better)
  • Percentage of restaurants that are not fast food (the higher the better)
  • Percentage of young residents ages 18 to 34 (the higher the better)
  • Population density (the higher the better)

We ranked the 64 places with scores from one to 64, with the lower number being the more exciting. Next, we averaged these rankings into an overall Big Deal Score, where the lowest score was the most thrilling, most fun, all around awesome, and most exciting place in the state: Birmingham.

If you didn’t see your hometown in our top 10, don’t sweat it, you can look for it in the table at the end of the post, where we’ll list the rankings for all 64 places. Otherwise, let’s take a closer look at our winners.

1. Birmingham

Most Exciting Places In Alabama
Source: Flickr user Ralph Daily

It’s no surprise that Birmingham—home to more nightlife per capita than anywhere else in the state—came in at No. 1 on our list. Even aside from places like Workplay, Blue Monkey, and Parkside, though, Birmingham has a lot to offer.

It ranked No. 4 for both its number of music venues and arts and entertainment options per capita, No. 8 for its active life amenities, plus, it came in as the seventh youngest place on our list, with 28 percent of its population being between 18 and 34.

And if none of that interests you, maybe you can just go take a walk. With one of the highest population densities on our list, you’re bound to run into somebody exciting.

2. Florence

Most Exciting Places In Alabama
Source: Flickr user Kevin Stephenson

This city may be best known for its annual tourism events, like the W.C. Handy Music Festival, and the Renaissance Faire, but as our analysis showed, it has plenty of music and arts year-round.

With museums like Indian Mound, theaters like Shoals Theater, tons of galleries, dance studios, and venues like FloBama (which, by the way, serves a pretty mean mustard slaw), it earned fifth place in both the categories of music venues and arts per capita.

Plus, with 27.68 percent of folks being between the ages of 18 and 34, and the seventh most densely packed population in the state, you’re bound to rustle up some excitement… or at least run into that guy who’s name you forgot. (Go with John, always a safe bet.)

3. Montgomery

Most Exciting Places In Alabama
Source: City of Montgomery

Here’s the thing about the capital city: it’s pretty cool. We mean, it absolutely will not bore you to death; it’s just, across the board, pretty cool. At least according to our analysis.

Where a lot of our top 10 blew us away in one or two categories, and then bombed the rest, Montgomery did pretty well across the board.

It ranked 12th for its young population, 21st for nightlife, 17th for music, 32nd for active options, 14th for arts, 16th for its lack of fast food, 13th for non-fast food restaurants, and 17th for its population density.

Like we said, pretty cool. Of course, that’s before you’ve had the Bayou Classic at Wishbone Cafe. Then this place is freakin’ awesome.

3. Mobile

Most Exciting Places In Alabama
Source: Flickr user Pat David

Fun fact: Did you know that Mobile has the oldest organized Carnival celebration in the U.S.? And did you know that it’s home to several art museums, a symphony, a professional opera, ballet, and tons of beautiful historic architecture?

If you did know all that, here’s something you didn’t know. Per capita, it has the sixth most nightlife options in the state, the 12th most music venues and arts, and it’s the 13th most densely populated.

So even if you’ll probably be able to find something you’re into, no matter what kind of tastes you have.

3. Fairhope

Most Exciting Places In Alabama
Source: Flickr user Shadow Fields Photography

The third and final of our No. 3 places was Fairhope. This Baldwin County city was recently named the second best small town in the south by Southern Living magazine, and clearly, for some good reasons.

Specifically, Fairhope ranked well in our analysis for its high number of nightlife options per capita (second in this category), its arts (third), non-fast food restaurants (sixth), and best of all, for its number of active life options per capita (first).

Of course, the most exciting thing about this city, at least for your taste buds, has got to be Master Joe’s. If you’ve had the Russian Revolution, you know what we mean.

6. Huntsville

Most Exciting Places In Alabama
Source: Flickr user Shannon

Home to UAHuntsville, this city not only has a pretty young population (where 26.79 percent of people are between 18 and 34), it also has all of the fun that comes with it.

For example, with bars like Amendment 21, the Nook, and the Voodoo Lounge, just to name a few, Huntsville ranked No. 3 when it came to nightlife per capita.

It also ranked well for its music venues (eighth) and arts per capita (ninth) as well, which really should be no surprise. Just Google “Huntsville, AL Festival” and you’ll get a whole list of music and arts festivals, like the Big Spring Jam and the Panoply Arts Festival just to name a couple.

7. Tuscaloosa

Most Exciting Places In Alabama
Source: Flickr user James Williamor

Obviously, if we were handing out awards for most exciting city names in Alabama, this one would be a contender. Since we’re not, we guess we’ll just have to measure it by all of its exciting characteristics. Good thing it has a ton.

For starters, Tuscaloosa is home to the University of Alabama, plus several other smaller colleges, making this the second youngest city in the state, with 44.71 percent of people between 18 and 34.

It’s also the ninth most densely populated, so whether you’re heading from Egan’s to Downtown Pub, or any other number of nightlife options, really (this city does have the eighth most per capita), you are bound to run into somebody. Hopefully somebody exciting.

8. Enterprise

Most Exciting Places In Alabama
Source: Flickr user {Just Jennifer}

Despite the fact that this city’s claim to fame is a giant statue of a woman holding a boll weevil in the center of town, it’s actually still a pretty exciting place.

Enterprise came in with the 15th most young people in the state (25.38), the 18th most nightlife options per capita, and most impressive of all, the 14th most non-fast food restaurants per capita.

This place has it all: Thai, Indian, seafood, Japanese, banana pudding French toast at Annie’s… Yeah, that’s pretty much enough of a reason to move to Enterprise on its own.

9. Phenix City

Most Exciting Places In Alabama
Source: Flickr user Aaron Spraggins

This city may be known as Hub City for its proximity to Columbus, GA, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have plenty to offer on its own, thank you very much.

With 25.66 percent of its population between the ages of 18 and 34, it is the 13th youngest place in the state, plus, it has a ton of active life options and restaurants per capita.

Don’t know where to begin? Try Epic Restaurant. The name says it all.

10. Selma

Most Exciting Places In Alabama
Source: Flickr user No Papers No Fear - Ride for Justice

This city may be best known for the Selma Voting Rights Movement and the Selma to Montgomery Marches back in the ‘60s, but these days, Selma’s excitement is a bit more low key.

First of all, Selma is one of the most densely populated places in Alabama, with 1,503 people per square mile. To put that into perspective, just take a look at another one of our top 10, Huntsville, where there are only 862 people per square mile, or better still, Scottsboro, where there are only 292 people per square mile.

Selma also ranked well for its arts and entertainment options per capita, placing seventh in this category.

Alabama Is So Hot Right Now

Really, it is. But if you’re in any one of these 10 places, or browsing Movoto to find a home there, you can at least ignore what’s remaining of that summer heat by focusing on all of the exciting things there are to do.

For those of you who didn’t make the top 10, well, at least there’s air conditioning and cable, right?

Most Exciting Places In Alabama

Who is Movoto Real Estate, you might ask? Movoto is an online real estate brokerage based in San Mateo, CA. Our blog has been recognized for its unique approach to city-based research by major news organizations around the world such as Forbes and CBS News.
Posted on: July 28, 2014
10,892 views, 5 comments
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New Listings in Alabama
4663 Old Looney Mill Ln, Birmingham, AL
$479,900
  • 4 Beds
  • 3&1/2 Baths
  • N/A Sqft
  • 2 Days on Movoto
17 N 20th St #18, Birmingham, AL
$299,000
  • 1 Beds
  • 1 Baths
  • N/A Sqft
  • 2 Days on Movoto
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