The UK's second city, Birmingham, was and will always be my home in the UK. I spent my university years and a few after working, and feel like I grew into the person I am in this vastly, consistently underrated city. I learned to salsa dance in Birmingham, and also loved the parks in Birmingham.
I will admit, it rains quite a lot. The close presence of mountains, the proximity to a lot of water and wet areas and Wales, means that it really does rain a lot. And so in this modern, fast moving and ever-developing city, what can someone do on a rainy day. I have previously written about the parks in Birmingham (not great on a rainy day) as well as the canals in Birmingham (similarly not ideal). So I wanted to share some of my favourite activities and places just in case you happen to be visiting on one of the many rainy days. It shouldn't spoil your visit, nor should it stop you from appreciating this fantastic and energetic city.
This massive, shiny and really quite attractive shopping centre right in the middle of the city is the ideal place to get out of the rain and enjoy the shopping opportunities. There are more than 200 shops here, as well as cafes, restaurants and stalls. I used to love getting a coffee from somewhere on the main road (New Street) and then standing on the very top level of the Bullring, look down at all the people. I think it was 5 floors up, and you could see all the other floors beneath, with the twisting and curving shaped walkways. It was brilliant to see all the people scurrying around like ants, and was the ideal people watching spot!
Next on the list, and right next to my apartment when I lived there, is The Cube. I love the look of this angular, weird looking cube of metal and glass. The architect, Ken Shuttleworth, wanted the building to look like a glistening, sparkling jewellery box, inspired by the still busy jewellery industry that Birmingham is known for. The Cube is one of the best places in the city to find good food, with fun, cheap, expensive and atmospheric options all in the same building. The best part of The Cube is the 25th floor Marco Pierre White cocktail bar. The cocktails here are fantastic, and the food is also great - up there with the best in the city. However the real highlight of a visit here is the views out over the city. It certainly is great on a sunny day, but with the rain running down the floor to ceiling windows, and clear views from this high point, you can see the beauty of Birmingham.
In the next part of these activities in Birmingham, I'll look at the Birmingham Aquarium next to the canals and NEC entertainment venue, the loud and colourful indoor market with fish, meat, clothes, cafes and everything in between, and finally the Birmingham Museum.
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