25 Most Dangerous Cities In the US

The United States is ripe with amazing cities to live in and travel to (in fact, here are some of our favorite cities to visit in the US). Despite ongoing concerns over firearm violence in America, the country as a whole is safer than you might realize. In fact, with a violent crime rate of 369 incidents committed for every 100,000 people in 2018, the U.S. is statistically the safest it’s been in the last three decades. Unfortunately, safety can look quite different at a local level than it does nationally. When it comes to individual cities, there are definitely some that are considered more dangerous than others.

Using the FBI’s most recent crime data from its 2018 Uniform Crime Reporting Program, we’ve ranked the cities with the highest violent crime rates in the country. This population-adjusted statistic measures all violent crimes and is a useful tool for determining how dangerous a city is.

We should note that just because a city is declared dangerous, doesn’t mean it should be avoided altogether. You’ll find there are safe neighborhoods in even the worst cities. Still, we’d recommend exercising caution if you’re thinking of traveling to one of the following 25 cities, which rank as the most dangerous cities in the US.

25. Chattanooga, Tennessee

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,048
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,058

Surrounded by mountains and nestled along the Tennessee River, Chattanooga more than lives up to its official nickname of “Scenic City”. However, those looking to explore the great outdoors in Chattanooga should take heed of the city’s high violent crime rate. While homicides were low, the city experienced 783 cases of aggravated assault per 100,000 people in 2018 — more than triple the national average.

The good news is that local authorities are taking steps to address the problem. More than 30 surveillance cameras have been installed across the city over the last three years to help increase public safety in Chattanooga’s most dangerous areas.

Chattanooga, Tennessee view of river and bridges from above
Source: Shutterstock

24. Beaumont, Texas

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,059
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,783

With a violent crime rate of 1,059 per 100,000 residents, Beaumont just narrowly tops Houston as the most dangerous major city in the Lone Star state. Much like Chattanooga, Beaumont has an aggravated assault problem, with a whopping 798 reported in 2018. In 2019, Beaumont has also experienced more homicides than the previous year and city officials are desperate to change the narrative.

“Per ca-pita, we are the murder capital of the state of Texas, and we want to change that, we’re not satisfied with that,” said Jefferson County District Attorney Bob Wortham.

The Beaumont Police Department has implemented a high tech tool to help curb firearm violence. Known as the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network, the tool allows authorities to better track firearms used in different crimes.

Beaumont, Texas cityscape from above
Source: Shutterstock

23. Tulsa, Oklahoma

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,065
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,430

While it may not be under attack by masked criminals like in HBO’s hit 2019 series Watchmen, the real-life city of Tulsa is still a dangerous place. In fact, based on its violent crime rate, Tulsa is the most dangerous major city in the state of Oklahoma.

While there’s a lot to love about Tulsa, including a thriving craft beer scene and a world-renowned art museum, its violent crime rate is not one of them. Firearm violence, in particular, has been a major problem for Tulsa, which has prompted police to more than double the number of firearms confiscated since 2011.

Tulsa, Oklahoma cityscape
Source: Shutterstock

22. Hartford, Connecticut

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,066
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,602

The capital city of Connecticut, Hartford is also known as the “Insurance Capital of the World” thanks to the many insurance companies headquartered there. It also holds the distinction of being one of the oldest cities in the United States and a great destination for history buffs. In spite of these distinctions, Hartford is a city currently suffering through a high crime rate and economic woes.

Hartford’s violent crime rate of 1,066 incidents per 100,000 people can be at least partly attributed to the city’s high unemployment and poverty. The unemployment rate (7.0%) and poverty rate (30.5%) are both well above the national average of 3.9% and 14.9%, respectively.

Hartford, Connecticut city view from the river
Source: Shutterstock

21. Lansing, Michigan

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,108
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,030

The capital of Michigan (that’s right, it’s not Detroit!), Lansing is home to Michigan State University — one of the largest universities in the country — and is an important cultural, commercial, and industrial hub. Unfortunately, Lansing is held back by higher than average violent crime and poverty. The city’s main issue is aggravated assault, which accounted for nearly 74% of the 1,301 violent crimes reported in 2018.

The good news is the Department of Justice awarded Michigan more than $122 million earlier this year to help curb violent crime, so the situation stands to get better in Lansing going forward.

Lansing, Michigan downtown view from above
Source: Shutterstock

20. Nashville, Tennessee

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,113
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,011

With its unbeatable live music scene and an amazing selection of bars and restaurants, it’s no surprise Nashville is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the US. But what you won’t find on your typical list of the best things to do in Nashville are the city’s crime statistics, which are actually quite alarming.

Believe it or not, Nashville’s violent crime rate is more than triple the national average, with aggravated assaults leading the way. In fact, the city’s Metro Police reported that aggravated assaults were up 23% in 2019, which suggests things may be getting worse in Nashville.

However, this doesn’t mean you should cancel your trip to “Music City, USA”. As long as you take precautions and avoid Nashville’s most dangerous spots, there’s no reason you can’t safely take in the Grand Ole Opry.

Nashville, Tennessee city at night over the river
Source: Shutterstock

19. New Orleans, Louisiana

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,163
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,557

The home of Creole cuisine and Mardi Gras, New Orleans is one of the most unique cities in the United States. But while the city has benefited greatly from redevelopment efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina’s mass devastation, crime continues to be a major issue in “The Big Easy”.

Homicides are especially high in New Orleans, with the city’s homicide rate (37 per 100,000 people) ranking fifth-highest among mid – to large-size American cities. Fortunately, the 141 homicides New Orleans saw in 2018 were actually the lowest total since 1971 and that downward trend has continued in 2019, so things might be looking up for Louisiana’s most populous city.

New Orleans, Louisiana colorful downtown streets at night
Source: Shutterstock

18. Wichita, Kansas

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,179
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,618

Wichita is the largest city in the state of Kansas and a major aeronautical hub, earning it the nickname of “The Air Capital of the World”. While Wichita’s unemployment and poverty rates fall within national averages, the city has experienced a “precipitous increase” in violent crime over the last three years.

The situation has gotten bad enough that earlier this year, Wichita sought federal help. The city is now a participant in the U.S. Department of Justice National Safety Partnership, a national program that aims to drive down crime. The three-year program provides training and technical assistance to the Wichita Police Department at no extra cost.

Wichita, Kansas city view
Source: Shutterstock

17. Indianapolis, Indiana

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,272
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,129

Home to the Pacers and Colts, Indianapolis is also where you’ll find the world’s largest children’s museum and one of the largest privately funded zoos in the country. The city is an economic hub for the state of Indiana and boasts an unemployment rate lower than the national average. Unfortunately, Indianapolis’s violent crime rate makes it the most dangerous city in the state, with hate crimes and firearm violence, in particular, standing out as pain points.

The good news is that Indianapolis has made great strides in tackling its firearm problems in recent years. There are now several intervention programs in place, including firearm buyback events designed to get firearms off the streets.

Indianapolis, Indiana
Source: Shutterstock

16. Oakland, California

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,273
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,390

For years, Oakland has struggled to break free of its reputation as a dangerous city. Unfortunately, statistics only help support the reality of Oakland being one of the most dangerous places to live in California. While the city’s violent crime rate did go down a bit in 2018, it still sits nearly four times the national average. The robbery rate in Oakland (610 incidents per 100,000 people) is especially concerning, trailing only Baltimore as the highest in the country.

There is reason to be optimistic about crime prevention in Oakland though. The city’s police department now uses a high tech program developed in nearby Silicon Valley called Law Enforcement Analysis Portal to help collect and analyze large amounts of crime data.

Oakland, California
Source: Shutterstock

15. Anchorage, Alaska

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,309
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,927

Home to more than 41% of Alaska’s entire population, Anchorage is an important northern economic center that boasts spectacular views (six different mountain ranges make up its skyline). Sadly, along with being the most northern capital city in the U.S., Anchorage holds the unfortunate distinction of being the country’s sexual assault capital.

With 210 reported sexual assaults for every 100,000 people, Anchorage has the highest rate of any US city with a population of at least 100,000. The reasons for this are complex but it’s not just Anchorage suffering from violent crimes. Alaska as a whole is considered the most dangerous state for women, with 59% of women who live there having experienced violence.

Anchorage, Alaska
Source: Shutterstock

14. Springfield, Missouri

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,316
Property Crimes Per 100k: 7,019

Home to three universities — Missouri State University, Drury University, and Evangel University — Springfield has the look and feel of your average midwestern college town. However, this unassuming city has a surprisingly high violent crime rate, nearly three times that of Missouri as a whole.

In an effort to curb violent crime, Springfield Police recently formed the “Career Criminal Task Force” alongside the FBI to target repeat offenders. “We’re going to go after the bad guys and we’re going to put them in jail. People deserve to feel safe,” Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt told KSPR.

Springfield, Missouri
Source: Shutterstock

13. San Bernardino, California

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,333
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,135

Home to the very first McDonald’s restaurant (now a McDonald’s Museum), San Bernardino is an inland California city that lies along the iconic Route 66. Unfortunately, the city has become better known for its struggling economy over the last 25 years. The closing of Norton Air Force Base in 1994 cost San Bernardino 10,000 jobs and the city has never truly recovered.

San Bernardino was declared America’s second poorest city behind Detroit in 2011 and while things have somewhat improved, more than 30% of residents still live below the poverty line. Areas with limited economic opportunities tend to have high crime, so it’s little surprise the violent crime rate in San Bernardino is nearly four times the national average.

San Bernardino, California
Source: Shutterstock

12. Albuquerque, New Mexico

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,364
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,179

Although it never had to deal with a drug kingpin named Heisenberg, the real-life Albuquerque, New Mexico has crime problems of its own. Incidents of sexual assault and homicide are more than double the national average, while aggravated assaults are three times as common.

The fact that Albuquerque accounts for half of all crime in New Mexico while only being home to a quarter of the state’s population prompted the city’s mayor Tim Keller to ask for state help. We’ll have to wait until the FBI releases its 2021 data to see if the situation in Albuquerque improves.

Albuquerque, New Mexico
Source: Shutterstock

11. Rockford, Illinois

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,386
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,671

Although Chicago is probably the first city that springs to mind when you think of crime in Illinois, the Windy City is actually not the most dangerous place in the state. With a violent crime rate of 1,386 incidents per 100,000 people, Rockford stands as the most dangerous city in Illinois.

Despite economic revitalization efforts creating new jobs in the automotive, aerospace, and healthcare industries over the last few decades, Rockford continues to struggle economically. Both its unemployment rate (6.8%) and poverty rate (22.2%) sit well above national averages.

Rockford, Illinois
Source: Shutterstock

10. Stockton, California

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,399
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,768

With a violent crime rate of 1,399 incidents per 100,000 people, Stockton ranks as California’s most dangerous city and the 10th most dangerous in the country. Home to the oldest university in California — The University of the Pacific — Stockton has a rich history, being one of the hubs of the 19th century Gold Rush.

Unfortunately, the 2008 financial crisis hit Stockton especially hard and in 2012, it became the largest city in US history to file for bankruptcy protection (Detroit would surpass it the following year). Despite exiting bankruptcy in 2013, job opportunities in Stockton remain slim, with 6.9% of the city’s labor force unemployed in 2018.

Stockton, California
Source: Todd A. Merport / Shutterstock.com

9. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,413
Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,971

Milwaukee is often associated with its proud brewing tradition and cold Midwestern winters; not violent crime. Alas, with 1,413 violent crimes for every 100,000 people, the home of the Bucks is not only the most dangerous city in Wisconsin but the United States as a whole. Researchers have pointed to segregation and the opioid crisis being major factors behind Milwaukee’s violence, though a poverty rate nearly doubles the national average also hasn’t helped matters.

Much like the young Parkland survivors, Milwaukee’s youth have become heavily involved in violence prevention. 414LIFE and other organizations are currently working to establish a youth violence interruption coalition in the city’s school system.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Source: Shutterstock

8. Little Rock, Arkansas

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,446
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,547

Don’t let the name fool you. Despite having a name one would associate with a quaint American town, Little Rock has a shockingly high crime rate. In 2018, the city saw 1,446 violent crimes for every 100,000 people, nearly quadruple the national rate.

Property crime is also a major problem in Little Rock, with non-violent crimes like burglary and larceny leading the way. The city’s property crime rate ranks third among U.S. cities with populations of 100,000 or more. It’s a shame too, as Little Rock does have some decent attractions and boasts great walks down by the Arkansas River.

Little Rock, Arkansas
Source: Shutterstock

7. Cleveland, Ohio

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,449
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,411

Crime is a serious issue in all major Ohio cities with the exception of Columbus, which does not rank on the FBI’s list of the 50 most dangerous U.S. cities. Out of all of them, Cleveland has the unfortunate distinction of being the most dangerous city in Ohio.

Despite thriving healthcare and tech sectors, Cleveland has alarming poverty and unemployment figures. 6.5% of the labor force is out of work, while a staggering 35.2% of the population live below the poverty line. These factors have helped drive a violent crime rate four times the national average.

Cleveland, Ohio
Source: Shutterstock

6. Kansas City, Missouri

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,590
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,306

The biggest question most people have about Kansas City is, “Why isn’t it in Kansas?” But the question we really should be asking is, “Why is the city so violent?” After all, poverty isn’t a major problem in Kansas City and its unemployment rate is actually lower than the national average.

And yet, violent crime is out of control in Kansas City, with the city on course to see a record number of homicides in 2019. A 4-year wave of firearm violence has left Kansas City grasping for solutions. However, firearm violence is a problem across Missouri as a whole, meaning KC will likely have to wait for a solution to be found at the state level.

Kansas City, Missouri
Source: Shutterstock

5. St. Louis, Missouri

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,800
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,911

Believe it or not, Kansas City is not the most dangerous place in Missouri. That title goes to St. Louis, a major economic hub and home to ten Fortune 500 companies. Unfortunately, low unemployment has done little to curb violence in St. Louis, which saw 187 homicides in 2018.

When adjusted for population, St. Louis’s homicide rate of 61 incidents per 100,000 people make it the homicide capital of the U.S. In recent years, fed up residents have been putting pressure on Missouri lawmakers to change the state’s firearm laws. But with no solutions in sight, it may be some time before St. Louis residents see any relief.

St. Louis, Missouri
Source: Shutterstock

4. Baltimore, Maryland

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,833
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,495

Baltimore, Maryland is a city obsessed with preservation. Nearly one-third of the city’s buildings are designated as historic, more than any other U.S. city. Unfortunately, recent history is something the city’s residents likely want to forget, as Baltimore continues to rank as one of the country’s most dangerous places.

With 309 recorded homicides in 2018, Baltimore is easily one of the most violent and dangerous major cities in America. The city’s homicide rate of 51 per 100,000 only trails St. Louis while the robbery rate of 837 incidents per 100,000 people is the highest in the country. According to the New York Times, violent crime has spiked since the infamous passing of Freddie Gray in 2015 and it’s showing no signs of getting better anytime soon.

Baltimore, Maryland
Source: Shutterstock

3. Birmingham, Alabama

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,911
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,313

Once known as “The Magic City”, today Birmingham is the most populous city in Alabama and one of the largest banking centers in the U.S. Yet for all its economic successes, Birmingham has an alarming crime rate that sits 112% higher than the national average. Aggravated assaults are the primary concern, as they accounted for nearly 70% of all violent crimes reported in 2018.

The homicide rate is also shockingly high. Although the 88 homicides the city saw in 2018 is much lower than other cities on this list, the homicide rate is actually third highest in the country once the population is taken into account.

Birmingham, Alabama
Source: Shutterstock

2. Memphis, Tennessee

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,943
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,405

With a violent crime rate of 1,943 incidents per 100,000 people, Memphis, Tennessee ranks as the most dangerous city in America’s south. One could argue that violence is just as much a part of Memphis’s identity as blues music and barbeque. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis in 1968 and since the Civil Rights Movement, the city has become ground zero for some of the worst firearm violence in the country.

In fact, the majority of the city’s 186 homicides last year were firearm-related. Recently, U.S. Attorney General William Barr unveiled a new plan to reduce firearm violence in Memphis, Project Guardian, so hopefully, Memphis will start to see some relief in the coming years.

Memphis, Tennessee
Source: f11photo / Shutterstock.com

1. Detroit, Michigan

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 2,007
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,304

The Motor City just can’t seem to catch a break. While most major U.S. cities continue to grow, Detroit has seen one of the steepest population declines over the last half-century. At its peak, the city was home to 1.8 million people in the 1950s. But the decline in manufacturing jobs has driven the population down to less than 700,000 today. The city’s massive unemployment and poverty rates (9% and 37.9%, respectively) amount to a city with the highest violent crime rate in the country.

Today, large swaths of Detroit lie abandoned; a living reminder of the city’s decline. Unfortunately, until Detroit’s public administration gets its act together and starts attracting business and economic growth, its status as America’s most dangerous city will only continue.

Detroit, Michigan
Source: Shutterstock

25 Most Dangerous Cities In The US In 2019

When it comes to travel, one of the most important things to consider is safety. Most people would assume safety is something they have to worry about when traveling to other countries where they don’t speak the same language or are unfamiliar with the culture, and while that is true, there is also a risk of danger even closer to home. You might be surprised to learn there are many cities within the United States that aren’t exactly all peaches and cream. You wouldn’t want to walk around alone at night or wander aimlessly as a tourist in any of the following cities on this list because they’re considered to be the most dangerous in America.

This list was created based off information from the FBI’s crime statistics which were gathered from US cities with a population over 100,000 between January 2017 and June 2017. The data looks specifically at the amount of violent crimes in a city which includes rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. It’s important to note that the data used to create this Uniform Crime Report is collected voluntarily by police forces in cities across the country and not every city or state chooses to participate, so this list doesn’t necessarily give the full picture. However, it does give a big picture look at some of the more dangerous cities which can be helpful for people who are planning their next big city vacation in 2019.

Here’s a look at some of the most dangerous cities in the the US in 2019…

25. Lansing, Michigan

First up on this list is the capital of Michigan, Lansing. Business Insider reported that this city experienced 52.2 violent crimes per 10,000 residents which converts to about 14 homicides in the year 2017. Unfortunately, unlike most cities where crime rates are going down, this was the highest it had been in the previous five years.

In 2017 the poverty rate was 29.5-percent and the unemployment rate sat at about 6.3-percent. Police Chief Mike Yankowski told the Lansing State Journal that their high crime rates were due to domestic violence and mental illness.

24. Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minneapolis is best known for being a very diverse and artsy city, but now it’s also known as one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S. When considering a trip to this city in 2019, just remember that it didn’t fare so well in 2017. Only two years ago the violent crime rates were pretty high in Minneapolis with a rate of about 53.7 per 10,000 residents, according to Business Insider.

USA Today translates this violent crime rate to 1,101 per 100,000 residents with a grand total of 42 homicides in 2017. The poverty rate was 21.3-percent and the unemployment rate was 3.1-percent.

23. New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans is actually a pretty popular tourist hotspot, mainly because if its vibrant music scene, rich history, and round the clock party atmosphere. However what many people don’t often talk about is the fact that it’s actually quite dangerous, statistically. Business Insider writes that this city had 56.1 violent crimes per 10,000 residents in 2017 and 24/7 Wall St. notes that the city has some of the highest murder rates.

USA Today writes that in 2017 this touristy city had a violent crime rate of 1,121 per 100,000 residents and 157 homicides. The poverty rate here was 26.2-percent with an unemployment rate of 5.1-percent. Luckily mayor LaToya Cantrell has vowed to do something about it with a new program called Cure Violence.

Photo by: Bill Staney via Flickr

22. Newark, New Jersey

You’d think we’d see New York City on here ahead of one in New Jersey, but surprisingly, Newark is more prone to violence than the big apple (at least when population is factored in). In fact New York City is actually one of the safest big cities in the country. Not too far away is the city of Newark, New Jersey, one of the most dangerous cities in America. Business Insider writes that Newark had 42.8 violent crimes per 10,000 residents in 2017.

In 2016 there were 36 murders per 100,000 Newark residents which was about three times higher than any other city in New Jersey and the fifth highest in the country, at the time. One of the biggest factors in this city is unemployment. Cities with high unemployment rates tend to have more crime and Newark had an unemployment rate of about 8-percent which is about 5-percent higher than the national average. The poverty rate in 2016 was 29.7-percent which is also 15.5-percent higher than the national average. Not surprisingly, most of the crime takes place in the cities poorest areas, writes 24/7 Wall St. A report by the Safer Newark Council found that most of the violent crime occurred in only about 20-percent of the city streets, primarily in the West and South Wards. The report also said most of the homicide in the city is drug and gang related.

21. San Bernardino, California

In addition to being known as the site for the world’s first McDonald’s and the largest outdoor amphitheater in the United States, San Bernardino also has a reputation for being one of the most dangerous cities in the country (according to 2017 statistics) and the largest city to file for protection under Chapter 9 of the U.S. Bankruptcy code. This bankruptcy plays a huge role in the crime rate of this city because there have been major cutbacks to the police force.

In 2017 there were 1,291 violent crimes reported which includes murder, rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults. This is the 15th highest in the entire country. USA Today reports that in 2017 San Bernardino had a violent crime rate of 1,291 per 100,000 residents, there were 34 homicides, and the city experienced a poverty rate of 32.3-percent with an unemployment rate of 6.3-percent.

20. Indianapolis, Indiana

When planning a trip in 2019, keep in mind that Indianapolis had a violent crime rate of 1,334 per 100,000 residents in 2017 which was one of the worst years this city has ever seen. As Indiana’s capital city, Indianapolis, sometimes referred to as ‘Indy’ is densely populated with an estimated population of about 863,002. On Dec. 28, 2017 Fox 59 reported there were 156 homicides in this city. This goes alongside a poverty rate of 20.9-percent and an unemployment rate of 3.6-percent. According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, the violent crime rate in Indianapolis in 2017 was about 1,334 crimes per 100,000 residents.

19. Stockton, California

California is an extremely popular vacation spot, but it’s also an extremely big state with lots of cities, some nicer than others. We’re sure Stockton would be a lovely place to visit in 2019, but we think tourists should be wary about the unusually high crime rate here, especially in 2019 considering it wasn’t that long ago that the country claimed bankruptcy and landed on many lists as one of the U.S. cities with the highest crime rates. According to 2017 reports, this city had 68.8 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

The city claimed bankruptcy back in 2012 making it one of the most populous cities to do so. The lack of funding could possibly affecting their ability to fight crime by limiting the amount of resources available. The violent crime rate in 2017 was 1,415 per 100,000 residents with a total of 55 homicides. The unemployment rate was 8-percent, which is among the highest in the country, and the poverty rate was 23.7-percent.

18. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee is the largest city in Wisconsin. It’s a beautiful city that has a stunning waterfront along Lake Michigan. To a lot of tourists, this city is known for its cultural events and festivals and for those who live here, it’s a great city that has tons of stuff to do and a booming economy with several universities and Fortune 500 companies, but there is one major thing to be wary about when traveling to this city. It’s has high crime rates. In fact, according to crime reports presented by the FBI for the year 2017,  Milwaukee had a violent crime rate of 1,597 per 100,000. This ranks as the seventh highest in the entire country and means that for every 10,000 residents in Milwaukee there were 75.6 violent crimes in 2017.

USA Today takes a deeper look and reports that there were 118 homicides in this city in 2017, along with a poverty rate of 28.4-percent and an unemployment rate of 4.6-percent. Luckily, the amount of homicides is actually going down. In 2016 it was 141 which is slightly higher than 2017. It seems the Milwaukee Police Department are working hard to lower these numbers by focusing their attention on a two-mile section, where most of these crimes occur.

17. Kansas City, Missouri

We’re not in Kansas anymore Toto! Okay, so it’s not the same Kansas as Wizard of Oz, but close enough. Turns out the state of Missouri is much more dangerous than the state of Kansas, specifically Kansas City (and St. Louis, but more on that later on). You might be wondering what this city is doing on this list considering it was just praised for doing such a good job bringing their homicide rate down. Unfortunately, it was short lived and it’s once again on the rise again. Be wary of this when planning a trip in 2019.

USA Today crunched the numbers from 2017 and found that Kansas City had a violent crime rate of 1,724 per 100,000 residents. There were 150 homicides which is up from the 129 in 2016. In addition to that, the unemployment rate was 4.3-percent and the poverty rate sat at about 18.3-percent.

Sharon Day / Shutterstock.com

16. Rockford, Illinois

You might not have ever heard of Rockford Illinois, but it’s actually the third largest city in Illinois and surprisingly, one of the most violent. While it’s not nearly as bad as Chicago and the number of homicides was actually quite low in 2017. There were only 18 murders reported that year. Rockford is still no walk in the park in terms of safety because homicide is not their biggest problem. According to data collected from 2017, Rockford had 78 violent crimes per 10,000 residents. There were 1,773 aggravated assault cases reported in 2017 which is a lot more than many other cities with the same population. For example, Naperville, Illinois has an even bigger population than Rockford and it’s reported cases of aggravated assault were only 80.

USA Today reports there was a violent crime rate of 1,588 per 100,000 residents and lists an unemployment rate of 7.5-percent and a poverty rate of 22.7-percent. Luckily, this city isn’t exactly a hot tourist spot, especially considering it’s in the same state of Chicago which is one of the most visited cities in the country, so Rockford often gets overlooked.

15. Birmingham, Alabama

Located in the South, Birmingham is the most populous city in Alabama and is often associated as being part of the “deep south.” Sadly, in addition to its southern roots, this city lands in the top 5 on Business Insider’s list of the most violent cities in the U.S., as well as Forbes top 5. Business Insider writes that Birmingham, Alabama had 86.1 violent crimes per 10,000 residents in 2017 and Forbes writes that there were 1,483 violent crimes per 100,000 residents.

If we wanted to look on the bright side of all this, Birmingham is actually making progress despite the fact that it’s still quite dangerous. The crime here is down 40-percent from what it was in the mid-1990s. Forbes writes that according to the U.S. Census Department, much of the crime in this city is due to the high drug trade and the high poverty rate. The poverty rate in Birmingham is 26-percent. This is quite a lot considering the state average is 17-percent.

14. Nashville, Tennessee

There’s no denying that Nashville is having a bit of a moment in terms of tourism. In the past few years this city has been crawling with tourists between the months of May and September. What most people probably don’t realize is that this city is actually statistically one of the more dangerous cities in the country.

In the year 2017 there were 110 homicides in the Nashville metropolitan area. Also, the crime rate was 1,138 per 100,000 residents and the poverty rate sat at about 18-percent. The murder rate in this city is so bad that the Oasis Center of Nashville which works to help at risk youth in the area called it an epidemic, according to 24/7 Wall St. Outsiders traveling in probably didn’t hear about the high homicide rate in this city because Metro Police spokeswoman Kristin Mumford told Nashville News4 that most of these homicides were between people who knew each other and were engaged in “risky behavior.”

13. Cleveland, Ohio

For the past several years, Cleveland has been considered one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S. based on national crime rankings. Cleveland is the second largest city in Ohio which means it also has a large population. Unfortunately, a good chunk of this population lives in poverty and is unemployed. The city has some of the highest rates of unemployment in the country. In 2017 the unemployment rate sat at 7.4-percent and the poverty rate was 36-percent.

Not surprisingly, these numbers contribute to the higher violent crime rates. In 2017, Cleveland experienced 107 homicides and nearly 6,000 violent crimes were reported. The violent crime rate was calculated to be 69.2 violent crimes per 10,000 residents or 1,557 per 100,000 residents. While it’s still considered to be a great city to visit (I mean, it is the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), but travellers should just be wary of the high crime rate in this city when traveling here in 2019, and practice common sense.

12. Detroit, Michigan

It might not be too surprising to see this city on the list. Detroit has a reputation for being a bit of an urban graveyard with thousands of empty buildings, a massive population decline, and a high poverty rate. In 2017 the city’s poverty rate sat at a whopping 39-percent with an unemployment rate of 9.3-percent. Not surprisingly, these traits all contribute to a high crime rate.

A closer look at Detroit’s violent crime rate in 2017 showed that there were 2,057 per 100,000 residents and 267 homicides.

11. Chicago, Illinois

Chicago has a notorious reputation when it comes to crime, but it’s actually not as bad as some smaller cities on this list like New Orleans, Newark, and Detroit. Chicago is the third largest city in the country and while it does have a higher murder rate than the two larger cities, Los Angeles and New York City, it’s still not the most dangerous city in the country. The latest data from 2017 shows that the murder rate in Chicago was 24 per 100,000 residents. That same year 650 people were murdered in this city, down from 771 in 2016, which isn’t hard considering it was the deadliest year the city had seen in decades.

Despite the higher risk of danger in this city, it doesn’t seem to deter tourists at all. In 2017 it was the second most visited city in the United States with 55 million visitors, right behind New York City which had 65 million visitors.

10. Anchorage, Alaska

Tourism is actually a big part of Alaska’s economy, so it does get a lot of visitors throughout the year, but it also has a pretty high crime rate. This is mainly due to the fact that it is such a large state. It is the largest state, the 3rd least populous and the most sparsely populated state in America. This probably plays a big role in why Alaska has higher crime rates because the police are unable to get to a crime scene as quickly as they would in a more densely populated city. This also affects their ability to solve a lot of crimes. In 2017, Anchorage had 57.1 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

Road Snacks writes that Anchorage ranked as the 16th most dangerous city in terms of violent crimes in 2017 with 1,203 per 100,000 residents and the 25th most dangerous for property crimes with a rate of 5,415 per 100,000 residents. 24/7 Wall St. writes that many experts blame drug and gang violence for these high crime rates and that more drug addiction and mental health treatment centers are needed in the city.

9. Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore is no joke when it comes to violent crime. In fact, there’s a reason HBO chose Baltimore, Maryland as the set for the American crime drama series The Wire. This show was supposed to depict a fictionalized version of the real crime issues in this city. So what are the real crime issues in Baltimore? Well for starters, this city has the third highest rate of violent crimes per 100,000 people. In 2017 there were 8,879 robberies reported which means the rate per 100,000 is 959 or 2,027 to 100,000 residents. To give a little perspective, this is nearly 10 times higher than the national robbery rate and the highest in any other major U.S. city. There were also 342 homicides in 2017 and a poverty rate of 23.1-percent. On a smaller scale, Business Insider found that Baltimore had 98.6 violent crimes per 10,000 residents in 2017.

USA Today reiterates this with a look at the violent crime rate per 100,000 residents which is 2,027. It also lists 2017 as having 342 homicides – that is pretty darn close to one every single day. This city also held a poverty rate of 23.1-percent and an unemployment rate of 6.1-percent.

Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com

8. Pueblo, Colorado

When we think of Colorado we usually think of Rocky Mountains and a ski vacation getaway, but that’s not what Pueblo is known for. This city saw 48.9 violent crimes per 10,000 residents in 2017. What’s impressive is that this city is actually the smallest city on this list, but yet it still ranks pretty high up. It only just clocks over 100,000 people. While it may be smaller than some of the other cities on this list, it ranks in the eight spot for worst property crime rate with the majority of them being burglaries. Road Snacks reports there being 1,052 violent crimes per 100,000 people and 6,167 property crimes per 100,000 people.

mese.berg / Shutterstock.com

7. Chattanooga, Tennessee

Tennessee is a popular tourist destination because of Nashville, also known as ‘Music City,’ which also landed on this list. In addition to Nashville, the lesser known city of Chattanooga is another dangerous city to visit. It has the same kind of feel as Memphis and Nashville, but just not as touristy, and for good reason. It is one of the worst cities in America for property crime. It lands in the number 10 spot for property crime with 5,985 per 100,000 residents and is the 23rd most dangerous for violent crimes with 1,065 per 100,000 residents.

In 2017, there were 31 homicides. In most American cities the number of crime goes down each year, but for Chattanooga, the number of homicides in 2017 was at a record high. Local police said the major thing that did go down in 2017 was gang violence, writes 24/7 Wall St. In 2016 there were 132 shooting incidents, most of which were a result of a bloody gang war. While gang violence in this city is on the decline, the violent crime rate is on the rise. It was 1,023 per 100,000 in 2016, and in 2017 it rose to 1,066 per 100,000.

6. Oakland, California

Despite the high crime rates in this city, it’s actually become a desirable place to live and that’s because it’s so much cheaper than San Fransisco. Even though Oakland’s property prices are cheaper, there may be a price for safety. San Francisco ranks over 30 spots higher on the list of safe cities over Oakland. Now it’s not all doom and gloom for this city. To be fair their crime rates have actually been improving the past few years. It wasn’t that long ago that Oakland was known for having high rates of homicides, rapes, and aggravated assaults. According to 24.7 Wall St., the crime in this area skyrocketed after the recession, then went down, only to go back up again in 2012. Luckily it’s now on the decline again, but it’s still higher than most would like.

According to Road Snacks, “Oakland has the 10th highest violent crime rank in the country and the fifteenth highest property crime rate.” Yikes! In 2017 the violent crime rate was 1,299 per 100,000 residents and 69 homicides. The city had an unemployment rate of 4.2-percent and a poverty rate of 20-percent.

5. Albuquerque, New Mexico

For those who are surprised to see Albuquerque on this list, it’s more due to property crimes than violent crimes, but don’t be fooled by that. This is still one of the most dangerous cities in America. In 2016, Albuquerque had one of the worst crime rates in the country with 1,112 reported incidents of rape, assault, homicide, and robbery per 100,000 residents. Unfortuantely, 2017 didn’t fair much better for this city. In fact, the rates rose by a whopping 23-percent. In 2017 it became the 11th most dangerous city in America with 1,369 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, 70 of these incidents were homicides.

The poverty rate in Albuquerque is 18.9-percent with an unemployment rate of 5.5-percent. What’s even worse than being ranked as the 11th most violent city in the country? It’s ranked as the third most dangerous city for property crimes with 7, 365 per 100,000 residents in 2017. Many of these property crimes are a result of robberies. In 2016 the city reported 2,000 robberies which then rose to 2,930 in 2017.


4. Springfield, Missouri

As the first Springfield in America, this city made history. It’s making history once again, but this time as one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S. Business Insider looked at FBI data from 2017 and found that Springfield had 40.3 violent crimes per 10,000 residents. According to 24/7 Wall St., this number is on the rise. The homicide rate nearly doubled between 2016 and 2017 going from 4.8 to 8.3 per 100,000. The same source writes, “Murder and non-negligent manslaughter represent a relatively small share of overall violent crime, and Springfield’s violent crime rate remained effectively unchanged between 2016 and 2017.”

Road Snacks lists it as the number one most dangerous city in terms of property crimes with 8,853 per 100,000 people and the 12th most dangerous for violent crimes with 1,338 per 100,000 residents. There were 14 homicides in 2017, a poverty rate of 25.9-percent and an unemployment rate of 3.2-percent. Yet another reason to be wary of traveling to this city in 2019, this city sadly has the highest rate of reported incidents of rape in the country with an average of 209 per 100,000 residents. To give some perspective on this, the national average is 42 per 100,000.

3. Little Rock, Arkansas

Little Rock’s crime rate ain’t so little! This city is the capital of Arkansas and the largest city in the state. Not only did it have the highest crime rate in the state, but is also one of the highest in the country! Little Rock had 87.4 violent crimes per 10,000 residents, says Business Insider and according to Road Snacks, it ranks in the top 10 in the country for both property and violent crimes per capita. The same source lists it as the sixth most dangerous in terms of violent crimes with 1,633 per 100,000 people and the fifth most dangerous in terms of property crimes with 6,932 per 100,000 people.

There were 55 homicides in this city in 2017, a poverty rate of 18.5-percent, and an employment rate of 3.3-percent, according to USA Today. The rate of criminal offenses in 2017 rose 1.1-percent from 2016, and 24/7 Wall St. says the police blame it on rival gang activity.

2. Memphis, Tennessee

Violence and crime probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Memphis, Tennessee. It’s more commonly known for it’s blues on Beale Street, being the home of Elvis, and of course, the site of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. But according to crime data from 2017, it’s currently one of the most dangerous cities in America with one of the highest violent crime rates in the country. In fact, Road Snacks lists it as being the third highest in America.

According to 24/7 Wall St., there were 653,000 violent crimes and 181 homicides committed in this city in 2017 which gives residents about a one in 50 chance at being a victim. We’re guessing the high rate of poverty has something to do with these statistics because Memphis has a poverty rate of about 27.6-percent which is much higher than the national 15.1-percent.


Natalia Bratslavsky / Shutterstock.com

1. St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis is typically known for it’s range of barbecue restaurants and blues music, but it’s also got another trick up it’s sleeve…one that probably isn’t advertised as much to tourists. It lands in the number one spot on several different lists as being the most dangerous city in America. Since this city ranks as the most dangerous city in America, at least based on crime data from 2017, we also consider it to be the most dangerous U.S. city to travel to in 2019.

Business Insider writes that St. Louis, Missouri had 91.5 violent crimes per 10,000 people in 2017. There were 205 homicides reported in St. Louis that same year which isn’t actually the highest number for a U.S. city in 2017, but once it’s adjusted to it’s population, it ends up being the highest murder rate in the country. According to 24/7 Wall St., St. Louis has a murder rate of 67 per 100,000 people which is extremely high, especially when it’s compared to the national average of 5 per 100,000. On top of all the violent crimes, the murder count for St. Louis in 2017 was 6,461 or 2,082 per 100,000 residents. This is the highest violent crime rate of any major U.S. city.

Wondering what has changed in 2020? Check out our updated list of the most dangerous cities in the US for 2020.

12 Must See Places for Lovers of Classic British Literature

The world-wide cultural impact of British writers is undeniable, from the literature curricula in schools and universities, to Hollywood films and international stage adaptations. The beloved minds behind our favorite stories remain immortalized in our societies and lucky for us, many of their original inspirations stand preserved (or reconstructed) as attractions and commemorative sites all over England. From Tolkien’s two towers, the Bronte’s moors, and Christie’s crime-filled Riviera, visitors can discover the landscapes and buildings that spurred some of the most acclaimed literature the world has ever known. Here are the top 12 English cities, towns and villages worth visiting to experience the lives and inspirations of your favorite British authors.

12. Canterbury, Kent

Located about 100 km south-east of London, the city of Canterbury is a must see for fans of Geoffrey Chaucer and Charles Dickens. It is here that you will find the famed Canterbury Cathedral, containing the shrine of St. Thomas Becket, the final destination of the pilgrims in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. The official “The Canterbury Tales” attraction is also a mandatory experience, offering visitors a chance to dress up in medieval garb (for kids only, sorry parents!) and join Chaucer and his characters on an interactive tour of 14th Century England. Canterbury also offers a number of sites associated with Dickens’ David Copperfield, since much of the novel is set in the city. It is speculated that Dr. Strong’s Academy is based on King’s School (denied by Dickens), Mr. Wickfield’s home on the House of Agnes, and the market frequented by David and his aunt on Buttermarket.

Photo by: Robert Cutts via Flickr
Photo by: Robert Cutts via Flickr

11. Broadstairs, Kent

For more concrete Dickens’ sights, head 30 km east of Canterbury to the quintessential English town of Broadstairs and check out Dickens House Museum, located in the cottage that inspired Betsey’s home in David Copperfield. As an added bonus, if you happen to be travelling in the 3rd week of June, you’ll get to experience seven days of Dickens-related events at Broadstairs’ annual Charles Dickens Festival. Another worthwhile stop on route back to London is Restoration House in Rochester, the inspiration for Satis House in Great Expectations, as well as Gad’s Hill Place, the Dickens family home from 1857-1870.

CBCK / Shutterstock.com
CBCK / Shutterstock.com

10. Nuneaton, Warwickshire

Much of this town near Birmingham is dedicated to their famous “daughter” George Eliot, who was born in a house on the Arbury Estate as Mary Ann Evans. You can visit her birthplace, known as South Farm (official guided tours only) and then head to nearby Griff House, the Evans family home for 21 years (now a hotel and restaurant). It is said that Dorlcote Mill in The Mill on the Floss was inspired by this house, and Eliot’s favourite retreat, the attic, is very similar to the one described by Maggie in the novel. Also to be seen in the area are Chilvers Coton Church, the location of Eliot’s baptism, the Evans’ family grave, and Arbury Hall, the inspiration for Cheverel Manor in Scenes of a Clerical Life. A walk through the town center reveals a statue, obelisk and garden in the author’s honor, and the nearby Nuneaton Library holds one of the most extensive collections of Eliot works in the UK.

Photo by: kevin roe via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by: kevin roe via Wikimedia Commons

9. The Lake District, Cumbria

The Lake District is a National Park in northwestern England that is popular in itself as a family getaway destination. However, among literature lovers, it is also famous as the place where Wordsworth first saw his “host of golden daffodils”, the inspiration behind his most famous poetic work. Visitors can explore the historic Rydal House, the Wordsworth family home from 1813-1850, which now displays portraits, personal items and first edition poems. The estate also boasts exceptional grounds (Wordsworth was quite the gardener) with the gardens remaining largely as he designed them. This district is also home to Beatrix Potter’s 17th Century farmhouse, Hill Top, which she bought after the success of The Tale of Peter Rabbit. The house is now maintained by the National Trust and gives visitors a unique perspective into the world that produced some of the most beloved children’s classics.

Rydal House, England

8. Dorchester, Dorset

In the heart of Thomas Hardy’s England, the villages and landscapes of Dorset provide the setting and inspiration for the author’s most acclaimed works. Visitors can explore Hardy’s Cottage, the cob and thatch cottage just outside of Dorchester where the author was born and completed some of his earlier work, as well as take a walking tour of the surrounding landscape, taking in the atmosphere that inspired the 19th Century writer. In Dorchester itself, you will find Max Gate, designed by Hardy in 1885, and where he wrote Tess of the dUrbervilles and Jude the Obscure. Max Gate remained his home until his death in 1928, at which time his heart was interred in his first wife’s grave (St. Michael’s Church, Stinsford) and his ashes in Poet’s Corner in Westminster Abbey.

Thomas Hardy Cottage, England

7. Chawton, Hampshire

Aside from a few years in Bath, this area of southern England is where Jane Austen spent the majority of her life. Take a stroll through the Jane Austen House Museum, the building in which she spent the last eight years of her life, completing older works including Emma and Persuasion and revising earlier drafts such as Pride and Prejudice. The house now showcases various family memorabilia and portraits, as well as original manuscripts and first editions of her work. Also worth visiting nearby are the Winchester Cathedral, where Jane is buried, the village of Steventon where she was born and drafted Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice, Ashe House where she attended dances at the Lefroy’s, and The Wheatsheaf on the Old London Road (now a restaurant), the old coaching inn where she went to send and receive letters.

Jane Austen, England

6. Bath, Somerset

Another significant Austen destination, Bath provides remarkable insight into the two Austen novels set here—Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. The city, which has long been known as a spa destination, and in Austen’s time, a hub of fashionable society, is now also home to The Jane Austen Centre, an exhibition of how the time spent living here (1801-1806) influenced the author’s writing. If possible, time your arrival in the city in mid-September and take part in the annual Jane Austen Festival—10 days of costumed events, walking tours and themed talks and performances, as well as various organised out-of-city excursions. The city also offers a heap of non-literary history to explore, as well as spectacular restaurants and shopping.

Bath, England

5. Haworth, Yorkshire

This small village on the moors of West Yorkshire, England (known alternatively as “Bronte Country”) is the premier destination for fans of the Bronte sisters. Journey 350 km north of London and discover Haworth Parsonage, the family home from 1820 until their deaths, and the place where the sisters wrote their most notable works, including Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. Visitors should also take the five km stroll to see Top Withens, an abandoned farm partially in ruins that is said to be the inspiration of the farmhouse in Wuthering Heights. Driving options are available but the footpath also brings you past Bronte Waterfall, a popular walking destination of the Bronte family. If time permits, drive the approximate 10 km to Wycoller, and check out the ruins of Wycoller Hall, said to be the inspiration for Ferndean Manor in Jane Eyre.

Haworth, England

4. Birmingham, West Midlands

For Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit fans, Birmingham is the place to visit to explore Tolkien history and the inspiration behind many of his settings and characters. The family moved to the village of Sarehole in 1896, and Tolkien and his brother frequently played at Sarehole Mill where their days were spent being chased by the miller’s son, whom as a result, they nicknamed “the white ogre”. Visitors can now see the Mill Museum, which Tolkien has confirmed as the inspiration for Ted Sandyman’s Mill in Hobbiton, take a walk in nearby Country Shire Park and grab some food at The Hungry Hobbit. Also near the mill is Moseley Bog, another frequent play place of the Tolkien brothers, and eventual inspiration for the “Old Forest”. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, rising above the area are two towers, Perrot’s Folly and Edgbason Waterworks Tower, which are said to have been recreated by Tolkien’s imagination as the two towers of Gondor. For added fun, time your visit for early May and experience Middle-Earth Weekend, the annual festival in honor of the author and his childhood haunts.

Photo by: Floris Looijesteijn via Flickr
Photo by: Floris Looijesteijn via Flickr

3. Torquay, Devon

The English Riviera is home to the Queen of Crime, Dame Agatha Christie, who is one of the most successful and widely published novelists of all time. Born in the seaside city of Torquay in 1890, the area now boasts an astounding number of Christie sites. Of particular interest to visitors is the seafront walk known as “The Agatha Christie Mile”, which starts at the Grand Hotel, the location of Agatha’s honeymoon on Christmas Eve 1914  and ends at the Imperial Hotel, the site of many social functions attended by Christie, as well as the setting for the final scenes of Sleeping Murder. Sights along the mile include the Torquay Railway Station, Princess Pier, the commemorative Agatha Christie Bust, Beacon Cove bathing area and the Torquay Museum, home to the Agatha Christie Gallery. Also in the area is Kents Cavern, on which Christie based Hemsley Cavern in The Man in the Brown Suit and Churchston Station and Elberry Cove, both featured as themselves in The ABC Murders.

Barry Singleton / Shutterstock.com
Barry Singleton / Shutterstock.com

2. Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire

Located 160 km north-west of London, the place that produced the bard himself is understandably not lacking in Shakespeare sights. It seems everywhere you look in this town, you see something of cultural or historical significance to the poet and playwright. While visitors can be kept occupied for days on end, there are a few sights that can’t be missed, starting with Shakespeare’s birthplace. The Tudor-style cottage has been restored as an exhibition of his life, showcasing the furnishings of his time. Next up is the romantic locale of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage (Shakespeare’s wife) located just over a kilometer outside of town. It is also a Tudor-style farmhouse and still contains furniture and memorabilia that belonged to the family. The final must see is the Church of the Holy Trinity, both the place of Shakespeare’s baptism and burial. The coolest thing to see here, is the inscription on the writer’s tomb, rumored to have been written by his own hand: “Good friend for Jesus sake forbeare, To dig the dust enclosed here. Blessed be the man that spares these stones, And cursed be he that moves my bones”.

Anne Hathaway Cottage, England

1. City of London

This city undeniably holds that largest selection of literary sights in the UK, all cluttered into one, convenient location. To list all of them would be impossible, since nearly all of the previously mentioned writers either lived in or visited London at one point or another. Most interesting sights include the Poet’s Corner in Westminster Abbey, which holds the remains and memorials of a vast number of literary figures including Chaucer and Dickens; the bankside Globe Theatre, which offers unique performances of Shakespeare’s works; and, the very many extravagant haunts of Irish-born Oscar Wilde, including Kettner’s Champagne Bar, the Savoy Grill, the Royal Arcade and the Cadogan Hotel, which still retains the Oscar Wilde Suite 118, the site of the writer’s 1895 arrest.

IR Stone / Shutterstock.com
IR Stone / Shutterstock.com

10 Things to See and Do in Birmingham, AL

The largest city in Alabama, the metropolis of Birmingham accounts for approximately one quarter of the entire state’s populous. It’s location at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and the crossroads of two railroads, made it a major industrial center of the southern United States. It’s considered one of the country’s most livable cities because of its contributions to medical research, service-based economy and lively downtown. It also features 99 historic neighborhoods often referred to as the cradle of the American Civil Rights Movement. With its vibrant history, beautiful scenery and temperate weather, there’s plenty to see and do while visiting Birmingham.

10. Alabama Splash Adventure

Located just west of Birmingham, Alabama Splash Adventure is a water park and amusement park. One of the attractions at the park includes a wooden roller coaster called the Rampage. Upsurge! is a five storey water ride while Splashdown! is a 50 foot plunge that sends you spinning into an enclosed tube before dropping you into a splash pool. Neptune’s Plunge consists of four enclosed dark tubes with twists and turns sending you to a splash landing. The wave pool, Kahuna Waves, is an 800,000 gallon pool with four foot waves. For the younger children, Salamander Bay offers an interactive water activity area with waterfalls kids can slide down. There are many other rides in the park as well, like The Vault: Laser Maze Challenge for an adrenaline pumping great time while trying to navigate through and around laser beams. Whether you’re old or young, this park offers fun and adventure.

Photo by: Alabama Splash Adventure
Photo by: Alabama Splash Adventure

9. Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve

Located in Jefferson County near Birmingham, the Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve is a 1038-acre (4 km2) urban nature preserve and is the third largest in the United States. It features over 12 miles of trails, native animal exhibits and is free for the use of the public. It serves as a sanctuary to native species of animals and plants and facilitates an appreciation of the natural world to all who visit. The park maintained trails are perfect for running, hiking, education and nature watching. Because of the fragility of the environment and trail use by others, there are no wheeled vehicles allowed making it a safe and enjoyable place to trek through. It is a lovely way to spend a day…just getting back to nature, taking some photographs and getting some exercise with family and friends while teaching children to respect nature and keep it clean.

Photo by: Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve
Photo by: Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve

8. Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame

Founded in 1978, the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame is an art-deco museum honoring jazz artists with ties to Alabama. It not only offers education on the history of jazz, state artists and its impact on the community, but it also offers some incredible entertainment. You will take a journey through the infancy of the genre to its growth and change with the times and the artists. Featured, are artists such as Nat King Cole, Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton and Erskine Hawkins and the music that made their names a household word. You can journey through the era of the boogie woogie with Clarence “Pinetop” Smith to jazz space journeys of Sun Ra and the Intergalactic Space Arkestra. For anyone who loves music and especially jazz, the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame offers it all in an incredible package.

Photo by: Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame
Photo by: Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame

7. Alabama Theater

Built in 1927 by Paramount Publix Theater chain, the Alabama Theater is its flagship movie palace for the southeastern United States. Though the district in which it is located used to host a number of large theaters featuring vaudeville, performing arts, Nickelodeons and first-run movies, the Alabama Theater is the only one operating today and one of only two still standing in the district. Since it was designed to show silent films, the theater still houses its original Wurlitzer theater organ and both the theater and organ have been added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage. It is an amazing bit of history and a breathtaking theater hosting incredible entertainment…a great place to take in a little culture and nostalgia.

Christian Carollo / Shutterstock.com
Christian Carollo / Shutterstock.com

6. Railroad Park

Located on 1st Avenue in Birmingham, Railroad Park is a 19-acre park celebrating industrial and artistic heritage of the downtown area. The name comes from its location immediately south of Norfolk Southern and CSX rail lines through downtown Birmingham reaching from 14th Street to 18th Street along First Avenue South. The park provides a wonderful venue for local recreation, family outdoor activities, concerts and cultural events. It’s a great place to sit and have a picnic, take a jog or throw around a frisbee with its nine acres of open lush green lawn and mixture of over 600 hardwood, evergreen and flowering trees. This little rural escape also features beautiful fragrant annual and perennial flowers and a picturesque lake, rain curtain, wetlands, ponds and streams. It’s a virtual paradise where you can get lost in the lustre of nature all around you right in the middle of the city.

Railroad Park Alabama

5. Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

Located on 16th Street, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is an interpretive museum and research center intended to educate and facilitate discussions on civil and human rights issues. The exhibits depict the struggles of the American Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s. The permanent exhibitions include a walking journey through the “living institution” and take you on a self-directed tour through the contributions made by Birmingham to the Civil Rights Movement and human rights struggles. The multi-media exhibits focus on the African-American challenges for civil rights. The archives of the institute serve as a resource for educators and researchers as well. They hold special events and host traveling exhibits making it the premier location in the United States to learn about the African-American fight to survive and thrive in their North American home.

Photo by: US Department of Education via Flickr
Photo by: US Department of Education via Flickr

4. 16th Street Baptist Church

The 16th Street Baptist Church is an operating Baptist Church in Birmingham and central landmark in the Birmingham Civil Rights District. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2006 and has a fascinating and challenging history. Organized in 1873, the church was originally the First Colored Baptist Church of Birmingham, Alabama which later grew and relocated to its current location in 1884. In September 1963, the church was the victim of a racially motivated bombing that killed four girls in the midst of the American Civil Rights Movement. There is no doubt that the church plays a major role not only in Alabama’s history, but in the history of the United States. Tours are held Tuesday to Friday or by appointment on Saturdays and are well worth your time and effort. Explore the beautiful architecture while you learn and become immersed in the baptist spirit all around you.

Photo by: Steven Depolo via Flickr
Photo by: Steven Depolo via Flickr

3. Birmingham Museum of Art

Home to one of the finest art exhibits in the Southeast United States, the Birmingham Museum of Art shows more than 26,000 paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings and decorative arts. The collection represents many cultures including Asian, European, American, African, Pre-Columbian and Native American spanning four thousand years from ancient to modern times. Admission to the museum and exhibits is free and visitors are encouraged to engage with both art objects and the time periods and traditions in which they were created. Current exhibits include Rising Up: Hale Woodruff’s Murals at Talladega College, Black Like Who?, David Puxley: Wedgwood’s First Studio Potter, Inherited Scars: A Meditation on the Southern Gothic, Between Fantasy and Reality: Frank Fleming, So Close to Heaven and the African Gallery Reinstallation. There are also traveling exhibits and other special events happening during the year, so be sure to check their schedule before your visit.

Photo by: Wally Argus via Flickr
Photo by: Wally Argus via Flickr

2. McWane Science Center

McWane Science Center is a science museum and research archive located on 19th Street in Birmingham. This unique museum offers hands on exhibits, an IMAX Theater and other educational events and programs. Exhibits include a Shark and Ray Touch Tank and World of Water Aquariums in the lower level. On the first level, you’ll find Science Quest, Bubble Room and Rushton Theater. The second level includes Itty Bitty Magic City, NatureScope, Sea Monsters and other child-in-mind exhibits. The third level has the Art and Tech exhibit and whatever featured traveling exhibit is there. The IMAX dome is a chance to experience a giant five storey domed screen which fills your entire field of vision. They even offer an overnight adventure where kids will come face to face with a real dinosaur and get to sleep right next to their favorite exhibit. It’s great fun for everyone from age one and above.

Photo by: Ralph Daily via Flickr
Photo by: Ralph Daily via Flickr

1. Birmingham Zoo

Opened in 1955, the Birmingham Zoo is a 122-acre (49 ha) zoological park that serves as home to approximately 950 animals representing over 230 species. The list of animals includes such species as sea lions, rhinos and endangered species from six different continents. The zoo also has hosted traveling exhibits of bats, koalas, black-footed penguins and aquariums. Birmingham Zoo promises to offer new exhibits all the time. As part of the permanent exhibits, the zoo has the Hugh Kaul Children’s Zoo dedicated to kids and to urban, rural and wild animals of the Birmingham area. Some of the other animals you can see include African elephants, lions, flamingos, black-footed cats, de brazza’s monkeys, green anacondas and many, many more. Check out one of their events while you are there like Zoo Fun Days!, Roger Day Concert, World Lizard Day or Bowling for Rhinos. You won’t be disappointed.

Photo by: Wally Argus via Flickr
Photo by: Wally Argus via Flickr

11 of the World’s Smallest Hotel Rooms

Hotel rooms come in all shapes and sizes and depending on how much you’re willing to spend, they can range from teeny tiny spaces all the way up to massive luxury suites. Many hotels in major cities are looking to space-saving alternatives to the traditional full size hotel room and more and more travelers are looking for the cheapest night’s stay they can get. If you’re budget is geared towards deals or if you just appreciate unique hotel experiences, get ready because today we’re taking a look at some of the smallest hotel rooms around the world.

1. CityHub -Amsterdam

CityHub is a totally new kind of travel accommodation experience, created by 2 University buddies from Amsterdam who love travel and meeting people. CityHub offers affordable sleeping accommodations for travelers who enjoy joining in and learning about local city life. With Rates starting at €59 (about $64 USD) you can stay in your own sleeping ‘Hub’, equipped with a roomy 2 person bed, Ipod docking station and color-changing mood lighting. Toilets and showers are shared with other travelers but you’ll have a tiny space to call your own.

Photo by: Cityhub
Photo by: Cityhub

2. Das Park Hotel -Germany

At first the thought of staying in a cement pipe might not tickle your fancy, but hear us out because it’s definitely a unique ‘hotel’ experience! Das Park Hotel opened their original location in Rodlpark in Ottensheim but recently expanded to a second location in Bernepark, Bottrop. Both locations offer travelers the chance to stay in their very own re-purposed drainage pipe equipped with comfy double bed, storage, light, power outlet, blanket and linens. The surrounding public spaces offer the other essentials like toilets, showers, café and minibar. One of the coolest things about Das Park Hotel is that they operate on a ‘pay what you can system’ making it affordable and accessible for everyone.

Photo by: Das park hotel
Photo by: Das park hotel

3. The Pod Hotel -New York City

If you’ve ever tried to book a hotel in New York City you what kinds of high prices and sketchy accommodations are out there. The Pod Hotel was created for the savvy traveler who wants to stay in the heart of the city, see it all but not spend it all. With 2 locations in Midtown and Midtown East (Pod 39 and Pod 51) there are plenty of rooms to meet your needs. The original single pod includes a twin bed, Ipod dock, WiFi, flat screen tv, shared bathroom, closet and your own tiny workstation. If you’re traveling with a buddy there’s also slightly bigger options to suit your needs like a bunk pod, queen pod and even a studio pod.

Photo by: The Pod Hotel
Photo by: The Pod Hotel

4. Yotel -Heathrow Airport, London

The Yotel brand was inspired by first class air travel and was created as a small but luxurious ‘cabin’ space. Yotel is aiming their offerings at busy international travelers by setting up shop at a few major European airports. The Yotel at London’s Heathrow airport is located in the public side of terminal 4 and provides travelers with luxury ‘cabins’ to rest their weary heads without even leaving the airport. The standard cabin measures 3.47m by 2.55m (11 ft x 8 ft) and has 2 bunk beds, small work space, flat screen tv, monsoon shower, sink and toilet. Yotel certainly packs a lot into these small, ‘smart’ spaces.

Photo by: Yotel
Photo by: Yotel

5. Green Plaza Shinjuku -Tokyo

Japan is famous for developing the micro-sized ‘capsule hotel’ for those that literally just need a place to sleep (and that’s all you’ll be able to do in it). The city of Tokyo has many of these accommodations but the Green Plaza Shinjuku Hotel is perhaps the most famous. It offers sleep capsules and massage services for those who may be too intoxicated to get home safely or need a cheap place to stay for work during the week. For rates usually around $20-40 USD per night you’ll be assigned a comfy little capsule with television, bedding, wireless internet and power outlet. This type of hotel is probably not for those travelers who tend to get claustrophobic!

Photo by: Green Plaza Shinjuku
Photo by: Green Plaza Shinjuku

6. Capsule Inn -Osaka, Japan

The Capsule Inn located in Osaka Japan is actually the world’s first capsule style hotel, having opened in 1979. As a leader in the capsule hotel industry, their aim is to provide a first class experience at a great value. Once you’re checked in, you’re assigned a wristband key with your changing room and capsule number and a robe. You then head to the change room and leave your clothes and belongings in your assigned locker, don your robe and make yourself comfortable. The Capsule Inn also features free access to their sauna and spa facilities with your standard stay.

capsule Inn
Photo by: Capsule Inn/Flickr

7. EasyHotel –London, England

“Simple comfort and great value” that’s the backbone of the easyHotel brand who currently operates 20 easyHotels throughout the UK, Switzerland, Netherlands, Germany, Hungary, UAE and Bulgaria. One of the brands most popular destinations is London, with 9 locations throughout the city, including one at Heathrow airport. The easyHotel London Luton offers 3 types of rooms; small, standard and twin and range in size from 7-11.5 square meters (75-123 sq ft). Each room is equipped with bed, television, climate control, WiFi and en-suite bathroom.

Photo by: easyHotel
Photo by: easyHotel

8. NiteNite –Birmingham, England

The nitenite hotel in Birmingham England offers budget accommodations in a boutique hotel with free WiFi and 24 hour check in desk. Dubbed as ‘city rooms’ nitnite’s range of sleep cabins have no windows to look upon the outside world but instead feature a 42-inch plasma screen television which shows a live view of the city. That’s just as good as a real window right? The range of double, single and standard rooms offer travelers an affordable and comfortable hotel option all packed within 6.8 or 13 square meters depending on room type.

Photo by: Nitenite Hotel
Photo by: Nitenite Hotel

9. Hongkong Kaiteki Hotel –Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

The Kaiteki Hotel in Vietnam has taken the capsule concept from Japan and brought it to the backpacker paradise of Ho Chi Minh City. Each 1-person capsule comes with ear plugs to block outside noise, a curtain to cut off outside light, climate control, television and USB, wifi and earphone connections for all your entertainment needs. Shared bathroom and shower facilities are located outside your capsule. Save space and save money; at 2.5 square meters (27 sq ft), the rooms at Hongkong Kaiteki Hotel may very well be the smallest on this list.

Photo by: Hongkong Kaiteki Hotel
Photo by: Hongkong Kaiteki Hotel

10. Tubohotel -Tepoztlan, Mexico

The Tubohotel in Tepoztlan, Morelos, Mexico was designed for good times and meeting new friends. Not unlike the Das Park Hotel in Germany, Tubohotel offers rooms made from cement tubes, with some even stacked on top of each other in a fun tube-room pyramid. Each tube room has a queen size bed, desk, light, fan, storage, towels and bedding. Showers and toilets are available and shared by guests (but don’t worry, showers are private) and there’s even an infinity pool right outside the tubes. Rates start at 600 MXN (about $40 USD) per night, so if you want a great deal and don’t mind small cylindrical spaces the Tubohotel might be for you!

Tubohotel junio 2012 5
Photo by: Tubohotel

11. Sleepbox Hotel -Moscow, Russia

Another example of the sleep pod concept, the Sleepbox Hotel in Moscow is Russia’s first compact hotel. These capsules offer a little more space than the lay-down only rooms seen in Japan but they’re definitely still considered small. The hotel features 50 windowless sleep pods, some of which can sleep up to 3 people. Each one has a bed, shelf, desk, lamp and small wardrobe. Bathrooms and showers are located outside the sleep pods and are shared by guests. Rates are reported to start around $50 USD per night so one thing you’re guaranteed at the Sleepbox Hotel is a great deal.

Photo by: Sleepbox Hotel
Photo by: Sleepbox Hotel

12 Things to See and Do in Birmingham, U.K.

I say U.K., you say London. Although Birmingham is the UK’s 2nd-largest city in terms of population, it gets relatively little love in travel magazines and tourists often seem to skip right over the city, despite the rich history and sheer number of activities to enjoy in Birmingham.

Whether you want to shop or go for a hike, study geology or dance the night away, Birmingham’s size and history has given it the chance to evolve plenty of culture. Even catching the latest Hunger Games flick in this city can be an activity that’s rife with cultural and historical significance. Perhaps best of all, most of Birmingham’s cultural and educational experiences are not only free, they’re fun. Skip the London smog and the pickpockets, as well as the high prices in the U.K.’s capital city, and try Birmingham on for size. Here are 12 things to see and do to get your vacation planning started.

12. Explore the Lickey Hills

The Lickey Hills, or “the Lickeys” as they’re known locally, are a range of hills located 11 miles south-west of Birmingham. Until 1888, the hills were part of a large royal hunting ground. After 1888, various groups began purchasing and donating the individual hills to the city of Birmingham. Public access began shortly thereafter, and the hills remain a popular picnicking and country park area even today.

The Lickeys are composed of 2 hill ranges, with a variety of geological rock formations of different ages. The Lickey Hills Country Park covers 525 acres of land and includes a golf course. The Lickey Ridge is the lower range and has 3 quartzite hilltops: Rednal Hill, Bilberry Hill and Cofton Hill. The higher range also has 3 peaks: Rose Hill, Stock Hill and Beacon Hill, which rises 298 feet. All of the hilltops offer panoramic views of the surrounding area, making the location ideal for photographers. Beacon Hill was once part of a country-wide system of beacons used before modern communications. Today, a toposcope stands atop Beacon Hill.

Lickey Hills Birmingham

11. Tour the Jaguar Assembly Factory

What’s more quintessentially British than a slick sports car? Jaguar has been operating in the U.K. for almost 90 years, since its inception, and it takes pride in its British heritage and operations. The assembly plant at Castle Bromwich in Birmingham is one of the largest employers in the area. Three models are made at this plant: the F-type, the Jaguar XF and the Jaguar XJ. The plant employs 2,000 people and also supports businesses in the area.

Tours of the facility are available, although you must book in advance and the number of places in a tour is extremely limited. Nonetheless, if you’re a car buff, this is an opportunity you can’t pass up! The Alive Tour, as the company calls it, offers visitors the chance to see the entire assembly of a Jaguar vehicle—and to experience the first “roar” of the engine when the new vehicle is powered on and fires all cylinders for the first time.

Art Konovalov / Shutterstock.com
Art Konovalov / Shutterstock.com

10. Experience the Lord of the Rings

In 1896, a young boy moved to Birmingham. His father had died in South Africa and his mother had no income, so she was forced to live with her parents. In the intervening years, the family moved and, in 1904, the mother died, sending her children into the care of a devout Catholic, Father Francis. The boy would go on to write some of the most beloved fantasy novels of all time—The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The boy was, of course, J.R.R. Tolkien.

Since Tolkien spent much of his childhood in Birmingham, there are many areas in and around the city that are supposed to have inspired scenes in Tolkien’s works. Sarehole Mill, Moseley Bog and Perrott’s Folly are a few of the places that young Tolkien could be found playing. Pay a visit and see if you can envision one of the epic battles between the creatures and peoples of Middle Earth!

Madrugada Verde / Shutterstock.com
Madrugada Verde / Shutterstock.com

9. Tour Cadbury World

Who likes chocolate?! If you answered with a resounding “me!” then there’s an exciting adventure waiting for you in Birmingham. Global chocolate giant Cadbury was founded in the city in 1824 and is still one of the city’s major employers and a driving force in its economy. In 1990, the Cadbury World museum opened to the public, illustrating the history of chocolate and the Cadbury Company.

The tour is one-way and self-guided. It isn’t a factory tour, but instead, it offers a respected education program, in line with the educational interests of the company’s founders. During the tour, visitors have an opportunity to learn about the history of chocolate and chocolate production. They are also provided with information on the history of the Cadbury Company, one of the largest confectionary companies in the world, and the development of their product line. As an added treat, visitors are given the opportunity to create their own confectionary concoction in a tub of chocolate! No wonder the attraction sees 500,000 visitors annually, making it one of the most popular in Birmingham.

bagwold / Shutterstock.com
bagwold / Shutterstock.com

8. Take Part in the Nightlife

Nightlife is mostly associated with London, but Birmingham has a lively scene with a few different districts offering up different nighttime experiences. In the Irish Quarter of the city, you can expect to find late-night pubs, while the Chinese Quarter, Hurst Street Gay Village, St Paul’s Square and the Jewellery Quarter all boast vibrant party scenes. Digbeth has several large clubs and bars, including the Medicine Bar and Rainbow Pub.

In the past, nightlife was concentrated on Broad Street into Brindleyplace. Although scenes are no longer clustered solely on Broad Street, due to the popularity of other clubs and the closure of several bars on Broad Street, this remains the center of Birmingham’s nightlife. One of the most interesting clubs is Flares, which is located in a converted Presbyterian church. Outside of Broad Street, the Acadian is one of the most popular clubs in Birmingham. On Bristol Street, O2 Academy provides a venue for those who are looking for live shows and indie bands.

Birmingham Eye at night

7. Visit the Lapworth Museum of Geology

The Lapworth Museum of Geology is located at the University of Birmingham. It was opened in 1880 and named after Charles Lapworth, an English geologist. It is located in the Aston Webb building at the university and retains its original Edwardian architectural features even today. More fascinating, however, is the museum’s 250,000 specimens, which include not only geological maps, equipment and models, but an extensive zoological collection as well. Specimens come from all over the world, including Brazil, Italy, Lebanon and the U.S.

Over 15,000 minerals are documented in the geological collection. Many were taken from old coal mining fields around the U.K. Also on display are the Wenlock Limestone from Dudley and the Solnholfen Limestone from Germany. The Burgess Shale from British Columbia, Canada, is also on display. All the rocks contain fossilized animals and insects. In 2009, the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery’s natural history collection moved to the Lapworth, with plans to expand the displays. The Lapworth also runs a series of lectures during school terms. These take place on Mondays at 5 p.m. and are free and open to the public. Schedules of lectures and speakers are available from the museum.

University of Birmingham

6. Explore an Art Museum

Art buffs don’t need to travel to the Louvre to see great works of art by the masters of bygone ages. Birmingham may not seem like a prime destination for art or art history but the city has a long-standing relationship with art and artists, even having its own movement from the 1760s to the 1850s. Birmingham produced a number of notable landscape artists working in a distinctive style, now known as the “Birmingham School.” In the 20th century, the Birmingham Surrealists emerged as a major force in European surrealism.

Birmingham takes pride in showcasing not only its own art history, but the history of Europe as well. The Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery has won recognition for its impressive collection of pre-Raphaelite artists. Its collection includes major works by Bellini and Rubens. It also features an excellent collection of 17th-century Italian Baroque paintings and English watercolors, in addition to its design holdings, which are a renowned collection of ceramics and metalwork. In nearby Edgbaston, the Barber Institute of Fine Arts houses a collection of Western art dating from the 13th century to the present. It is regarded as one of the best small art galleries in the world.

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

5. Catch Aston Villa FC vs. Birmingham City FC

What other sport could you possibly pick if you want to catch a match during your trip across the pond? Football (or soccer, in North American terms) is incredibly popular in most European countries, the U.K. included. The citizens of Birmingham are no exception to the rule; they love them some football! In fact, football is so popular in Birmingham that the city supports not 1, but 2 professional football clubs: Aston Villa FC and Birmingham City FC. Aston Villa also has the distinction of being one of the first members of the Football League, the world’s first football competition, which was founded by Birmingham resident William McGregor.

Aston Villa was founded in 1874 and Birmingham City was founded a year later, in 1875. The teams compete in separate leagues, with Aston Villa in the British Premier League, but the rivalry between the clubs is fierce nonetheless. If you happen to be in town, try to score tickets to the teams’ showdown, the Second City derby—although the event last happened in 2011! The teams showdown against other rivals though, so you can see a thrilling match almost any time.

360b / Shutterstock.com
360b / Shutterstock.com

4. Enjoy the Forest of Arden

Much of Warwickshire, where Birmingham is located, was once heavily forested. This forest was known as the Forest of Arden. No Roman roads were built through it in Roman times. During the medieval period, after the Norman conquest, the Arden family retained much of their land in the area—although the forest became a protected royal forest. The Knights Templar once had their headquarters in the middle of the forest; the Hospitallers were awarded the stronghold after the Templars were suppressed, until the Reformation of the 17th century.

One prominent member of the Arden family was Mary Arden, the mother of William Shakespeare. The play As You Like It is set in the Forest of Arden, although Shakespeare was influenced by the actual forest as it was in his day, as well as fictional accounts and a highly romanticized version from his youth. In Birmingham, the forest has all but largely disappeared, although many of the districts retain the “-ley” root, indicating they were once woodland clearings. The city has many old oaks, which offer shade, and hark back to the forest’s glory days. Take a stroll through one of Birmingham’s many parks and enjoy.

Shakespears Birthplace Forest of Arden Birhimgham

3. Catch a Movie at Electric Cinema

Cinemas generally aren’t all that exciting; in fact, they’re pretty standard. Sure, going to the movies is fun, but we can all expect to have about the same experience: state-of-the-art screens and sound, comfortable seats and, lately, 3D glasses.

The Electric Cinema in Birmingham, however, has a little bit of character—character it’s gained in its 100-plus years of showing films to the public. The Electric first opened in 1909, showing its first silent film on December 27. In the 1930s, it was remodeled in an Art Deco style and became an amusement arcade, then a news theater. After World War II, the popularity of news theaters declined. The cinema then changed hands several times through the latter 20th-century, finally re-opening in late December 2004. The current theater has been restored to its 1930s look. The Electric is now the oldest working cinema in the U.K., which makes catching a flick there something of a special occasion. The Electric is also used as a sound recording studio.

Photo by: Tony Hisgett
Photo by: Tony Hisgett

2. Visit Blakesley Hall

Birmingham is an old city, having been settled since prehistoric times. A settlement in the area was present during Roman times as well. The city as we know it was established in the Middle Ages and it’s been there ever since. Despite that, there’s very little left of medieval or Tudor Birmingham. The relatively few buildings that are left are considered historic sites.

One of the few remaining Tudor buildings is Blakesley Hall, which was built in 1590 by Richard Yardley. It’s a timber-framed farmhouse that shows the typical architecture of the era, with darkened wood accents and wattle-and-daub infill. The hall became a museum in 1935, but was extensively damaged by bombing during World War II. The museum re-opened in 1957 with the addition of newly discovered paintings from the 1590s and so-called Moorish decoration on the walls and timbers of what is now the “painted chamber,” which were revealed during renovations after the bombing. Many of the original architectural features remain even today, including an original herringbone floor.

Photo by: Tony Hisgett
Photo by: Tony Hisgett

1. Go Shopping at the Bullring Shopping Centre

Most people automatically think of trendy London shops when they think about shopping in England, but Birmingham’s Bullring Shopping Centre is the busiest in the U.K., attracting over 36.5 million visitors a year. Many of them come from all over the world, as the shopping center houses 1 of 4 Selfridges department stores, the 4th-largest Debenhams and Forever 21. Other shops include H&M, Topshop, Zara and Victoria’s Secret. The shopping center also has several restaurants and cafes, including a franchise location of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.

The Bullring is now one of the largest city center shopping centers in Europe. The site has been used as a market square in Birmingham since medieval times, when local landowner Peter de Bermingham asked the reigning monarch to grant a Charter of Marketing Rights. The Bullring has been an important center of commerce for the city ever since. The current center is also home to apartments, which are housed in the Rotunda, and to a number of works of art.

Claudio Divizia / Shutterstock.com
Claudio Divizia / Shutterstock.com

The Most Dangerous Cities in America

Forbes has released it’s annual “Most Dangerous Cities” list and we have all the information on which cities made the list this year. Before we begin, we should note that Forbes used a very strategic formula in choosing the cities for the list. “To compile the list, we start with the FBI’s Crime Statistics database, screening for cities with populations above 200,000,” the sites notes. “That eliminates cities like Flint, Mich., with its record-busting murder rate of 63 per 100,000, but allows us to focus on major American cities that presumably have full-fledged police departments.”

So, which cities topped the The Most Dangerous Cities in America list? Scroll through to find out:

10. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Violent Crime Rate: 1,295 per 100,000

Milwaukee Wisconsin Flag

9. Atlanta, Georgia

Violent Crime Rate: 1,379 per 100,000

Atlanta Georgia

8. Cleveland, Ohio

Violent Crime Rate: 1,384 per 100,000

Cleveland Ohio Flag

7. Baltimore, Maryland

Violent Crime Rate: 1,405 per 100,000

Baltimore Maryland

6. Birmingham, Alabama

Violent Crime Rate: 1,518 per 100,000

Birmingham California

5. Stockton, California

Violent Crime Rate: 1,548 per 100,000


4. Memphis, Tennessee

Violent Crime Rate: 1,750 per 100,000

Memphis Tennessee Flag

3. St. Louis, Missouri

Violent Crime Rate: 1,777 per 100,000

St. Louis Missouri 1

2. Oakland, California

Violent Crime Rate: 1,993 per 100,000

Oakland California Flag

1. Detroit, Michigan

Violent Crime Rate: 2,123 per 100,000


Curious which cities made the list in 2020? Read more about most dangerous cities in the US updated with the most current cities to avoid.