Birmingham, Alabama, is a vibrant and exciting city. It serves as the seat of Jefferson County and is a regional commercial and financial hub. As an important business center, the city provides a wealth of employment opportunities. Plus, as a capital of culture with excellent possibilities for entertainment, there are plenty of reasons to choose Birmingham for your next move.

Here are nine things to know about the Pittsburgh of the South before moving there:

1. How big is Birmingham?

With a total area of just under 150 square miles, Birmingham is the second-largest city in Alabama. It’s the principal city in the Birmingham metropolitan area, which covers six counties and a total area of approximately 4,566 square miles.

The city proper comprises 23 communities divided into 99 recognized neighborhoods. More than 30 suburbs surround the city, and it is in these that most of the population resides.

2. What is the weather like in Birmingham?

With a subtropical climate, Birmingham’s weather is characterized by hot, humid summers and mild winters. Rainfall is abundant throughout the year, with an annual average of 56 inches.

Gate post in the Birmingham Botanical Garden in Birmingham, Alabama.
Gate post in the Birmingham Botanical Garden in Birmingham, Alabama

Renting a storage unit in Birmingham can be an excellent way to keep your belongings safe during the hot summer months and also throughout the year. Storing heat- and humidity-sensitive items in a climate-controlled unit can help protect them from damage. Seasonal decorations, bulky items, vehicles, outdoor furniture, bicycles and much more can be kept in self storage. Photographs, paintings and collectibles are also excellent candidates for a climate-controlled unit.

3. What is Birmingham’s job scene like?

Birmingham has a pretty diverse economy driven by a number of different industries. The steel industry has long been a major driver and continues to be to this day. The banking and finance sectors are also thriving in the city, while healthcare, with a focus on biotech research, is a huge employer. Construction and engineering continue to boom in Birmingham, with many of the nation’s top design companies and international construction companies calling the city home.

Renting a self storage unit in Birmingham can be an excellent solution for self-employed workers as well as large and small businesses. Self-employed construction contractors can use a unit for safely storing tools and materials, for example. Larger firms can improve their organization by transferring records and other paperwork to self storage.

4. Universities and college life in Birmingham

Birmingham is an educational hub, home to several institutions of higher education. The University of Alabama at Birmingham is one of the largest, providing education for more than 22,000 students from around the world. Jefferson State Community College, the largest in the Alabama Community College System, enrolls more than 10,000 students, with several campuses in the city. In addition, there are several law and medicine schools in the city.

Students looking to gain a little extra space can rent a storage unit in Birmingham. It’s a great place to keep seasonal items like bulky winter clothes, as well as bicycles, sports gear, books and other educational materials. Moreover, students can benefit from this great service during the summer break when they can keep their belongings in town instead of temporarily moving them back home.

5. Enjoying outdoor recreation in Birmingham with self storage

Surrounded by state parks, rivers and lakes, Birmingham is a hub for plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy. There is an impressive variety of hiking and mountain biking trails to explore in Red Mountain Park. Meanwhile, Oak Mountain Lake offers plenty of opportunities to get active outdoors with water sports such as kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, fishing and swimming. Birmingham is also a popular spot for golf, with a huge number of courses in and around the city.

If you need somewhere to keep your sports gear, renting a self storage unit in Birmingham is a great idea. With options for boat storage, it’s the ideal place for kayaks, saving a lot of space at home. Meanwhile, a standard 10’x10’ unit is perfect for mountain bikes, fishing equipment and even golf clubs.

Oak Mountain State Park near Birmingham Alabama with blue sky and reflections on the lake
Oak Mountain State Park near Birmingham, Alabama

6. Moving to Birmingham made easy with self storage

With good employment prospects and tons of things to do, Birmingham is an attractive location for those looking to relocate. More people from Georgia choose to move to Alabama compared to any other U.S. state. On average, you can expect to pay a professional moving company between $3,000 and $3,400 to assist with such a move. Taking care of the moving process yourself can save you cash, but it will cost you time and isn’t always as simple as it seems.

Whether you’re a DIYer or you’ll need the help of professionals, renting a storage unit in Birmingham is a great way to ease the process. Sending your belongings to storage gives you the flexibility to move into your new home when it works for you. As a result, you can spend time finding your ideal house. Once you’ve settled in, your unit will prove to be invaluable during renovations, keeping your home neat and your belongings safe.

7. Finding your dream home in Birmingham—how can self storage help?

When looking for your ideal home in Birmingham, self storage can help whether you choose to live in a house or an apartment.

Here’s what you need to know to make the most of your living situation in Birmingham:

  • Single-family home dwellers

Single-unit homes dominate the housing market in Birmingham, with apartment buildings and townhouses mostly limited to central and downtown areas. Meanwhile, a range of house styles can be found in the surrounding neighborhoods.

Historic styles, including craftsman cottages, bungalows and prairie houses, can all be found within the city’s older neighborhoods, such as Norwood. Meanwhile, the surrounding suburbs tend to boast more modern homes. Even if single-family homes usually have more space than apartments, there’s never enough space to hold all your belongings without cluttering your living space. You can turn to storage to keep a tidy and breezy home—place bulky and seasonal items in a storage unit.

Besides helping you keep an organized home, self storage can assist in various other circumstances such as home remodeling. Whether you’re renovating one room or more areas of your home, the belongings from those spaces need a home too. Instead of moving them to another spot in your home—and consequently cluttering your living space—you can keep them in a storage unit until the project is completed. Moreover, as moving in with your extended family is becoming more popular, you might also find that forming a multi-generational household can put a strain on your living space. As two or more families share a home, you might discover that not all belongings can fit under the same roof. Additional furniture, appliances and family heirlooms can sit in a storage unit until you can use them again.

  • Apartment dwellers

Apartment living is also possible in various parts of the city. Many former industrial areas have undergone renovations, creating modern luxury apartments and lofts in areas like Avondale. Apartment living comes with less space by default—even though upgrading your apartment space in Birmingham comes with a low price tag. Renting a self storage unit in Birmingham can help you enjoy your new apartment more. With the extra space for seasonal items, bulky furniture, bicycles and even cars, you might be more willing to compromise on the square footage of your new apartment and forgo amenities like a double garage or basement.

Birmingham, Alabama downtown cityscape at dusk
Birmingham, Alabama downtown cityscape at dusk

8. Is Birmingham, Alabama, a good place to live?

Birmingham might have had the steel and iron industry to support its growth in the past, but the city has continued to grow while maintaining its small-town charm. Here are some common moving routes to the Magic City:

Moving to Birmingham from Boston

When you move from Boston to Birmingham you not only leave the cold northeastern winters behind, but you also get to enjoy other perks in the Magic City. You get access to more affordable homes compared with Boston’s red-hot housing market. Additionally, Birmingham is also ranked highly by the U.S. News & World Report as one of the best places to retire — moving here from Boston in your golden years can help you cut down on your living costs.

Moving to Birmingham from Huntsville

Leaving Huntsville, Alabama, behind for Birmingham could be a good thing — the cost of living is much lower in Magic City. Additionally, Birmingham has a much richer music and arts scene that makes it a perfect city for people who appreciate diversity in their entertainment opportunities. Additionally, Birmingham boasts a couple of award-winning dining locations that put it on the culinary map.

9. What self storage options are there in Birmingham?

Once you get settled in the Magic City, you should get familiar with the self storage market in Birmingham —which responds to the city’s demand for this service. There are 3.6M sq. ft. of self storage spread out among 55 self storage facilities.

When looking for storage in Birmingham, you should also consider storage unit size. While the most popular unit is a 10’x10’, there are smaller and larger sizes available. A  5’x5’ or a 5’x10’ unit is perfect for storing smaller items such as sports gear, but if you to store bulkier items, you could use a 10’x15’ or 10’x20’ unit. The largest standard unit is the 10’x30’ and can fit the contents of a four- or five-bedroom home.

Besides unit size, think about self storage cost. A standard 10’x10’ storage unit in Birmingham, Alabama, costs $108 per month. A climate-controlled unit of that same size rents for about $133 per month. To find a self storage unit in Birmingham, Alabama, you can find more self storage listings on  StorageCafe’s search portal.


Mirela is a real estate writer and lifestyle editor for Yardi. With an academic background in English and translation, Mirela now covers a range of topics including real estate trends, lifestyle and economy. Her previous experience in proofreading academic articles has inspired Mirela to choose a writing career path. In her free time, Mirela enjoys reading, but also hiking and creating art. You can contact Mirela via email.

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