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In Love With: Skyline Sightings

03.11.2008 by André Natta · → 3 Comments

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I enjoy looking at a good skyline. I can’t help but feel the excitement and energy emanating from those mountains of steel, glass, and stone, beckoning me to come explore. In my estimation, Chicago and Atlanta have great skylines—and so does Birmingham. It may not have the tallest buildings, but it has distinctive ones, such as the Regions Harbert Plaza (with a peak and spheres inspired by the surrounding older architecture) and a rich collection of classic skyscrapers including the City Federal building (once the South’s tallest building) and the Alabama Power Building (crowed with Electra’s golden statue).

So where are some of the best spots to gaze upon what we’ve built in a former cornfield?

The prime place is, of course, Vulcan Park—and for good reason. Whether you’re on the ground or next to Vulcan’s toes, you’ve got a great mountaintop panorama of Jones Valley—and if you think you’ve seen that view a million times, try it at night. Vulcan Park and the observation tower are open until 10 p.m. each night to let you see the Magic City sparkle.

If you’re driving, Birmingham’s skyline can often reveal itself dramatically. I like to introduce visitors to it by going north on Red Mountain Expressway. First there’s The Cut, then the tunnel, and then, suddenly, the skyline spread out before us, showing off its layers of old and new buildings. Another dramatic entrance is via I-65 heading north from Homewood. Between downtown’s skyscrapers and UAB’s growing group of towers, the city looks quite impressive when you come around the curve.

My other favorite skyline spot is a little closer in, on the Rainbow Viaduct—where Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. crosses the railroad tracks into downtown. Here you can start to see details on some of the historic buildings, plus the trains and traffic help bring the skyline to life.

If you want a skyline view you probably haven’t seen before, be sure not to miss The Terminal’s 1st anniversary party this Friday. It takes place at the top of the old Protective Life/Chamber of Commerce building, which is the green-roofed tower at the end of the Rainbow Viaduct at 2027 1st Ave. N. Click the link above or the button in the upper right for full details on the party.

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  1. […] 12, 2008 Posted by cbuchanan in Uncategorized. trackback I’ve got a new installment of the “In Love With” column up at the Terminal, and this time it’s all about Vulcan’s favorite […]