The 10 Best Neighborhoods to Live in Birmingham: Your Useful Must-Read Guide
Searching for the best places to live in Birmingham? Coming up, we’ve brought you the top 10, covering details on prices, perks, atmospheres, schools, suburbs, things to do, and plenty more. We’re Homelike, and we’re here to help you find a brand-new life in a brand-new place.
Often overlooked in favor of Manchester, London and Liverpool, England’s second-biggest city has long since shaken off its reputation as an undesirable place to live.
Once considered nothing but a mundane industrial bore-fest, the place is now rapidly emerging as one of England’s cultural heartlands—and as one of the best places to live in the UK.
The 2022 Commonwealth Games host city, Birmingham is home to pretty canals, leafy suburbs, endless events, 5 Michelin-starred restaurants, interesting bars and breweries, and a growing bohemian scene. And that’s just the beginning.
Many years ago, this sprawling city wasn’t considered to be cool. But now, it absolutely is.
And it’s an especially good place for expats—the welcoming city is even more ethnically diverse than London, and there are people here from all over the planet. So no matter who you are or where you’re from, you’ll always find your crowd in Birmingham.
But like any big city, Birmingham is home to many different neighborhoods and districts, with a huge variety of atmospheres and vibes. And some are better than others. So in this guide, we’ve done all the hard work for you… and we’ve served up a list of the best neighborhoods in Birmingham and the best places to live in Birmingham.
It was a difficult task, but we’ve brought you only the ten best.
In our list of the best places to live in Birmingham, we’ve brought you a mixed-bag combo of various types of neighborhoods. Expect city-center districts, residential outskirts, hip areas, quiet regions, and even a nearby town. Whether you’re looking for excellent schools, non-stop nightclubs, trendy eateries, or whatever else, you’ll find them on this list.
We’ve covered the following ten districts:
- City Center
- Jewellery Quarter
- Sutton Coldfield
Want to know all about the best neighborhoods in Birmingham? Bring your Peaky Blinders cap, slurp that cup of tea, and come along with Homelike. Welcome to the Bullring baby!
1. City Center
Best for: Living in the middle of the city, lots of bustle and action, and behaving like a tourist for a while
Birmingham’s imaginatively-titled City Center neighborhood is (as you’ve probably worked out for yourself) the most central part of the city—and this circular little district is surrounded by all the other neighborhoods we’ll cover soon.
It’s home to lots of the city’s most famous places, including Saint Philip’s Cathedral, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (featuring both international art and hyper-local stuff), and the super-interesting Birmingham Back to Backs (a peoples’-style museum housed inside four retro homes).
It’s also home to The Bullring, a massive iconic shopping mall. It’s one of the biggest and busiest shopping centers in the UK—aside from a big grocery store, the place offers everything you could ever need (including a big bunch of chain and non-chain restaurants).
The City Center district is also where you’ll find the city’s biggest railway station (which is one of the most well-connected in the UK). For traveling within Birmingham and beyond, living in this neighborhood is perfect.
You also get countless venues for chomping, slurping, socializing and dancing—here, you’ll always find somewhere to eat, drink, or spend time. Popular Snobs nightclub is in this area, while other well-known venues include Michelin-starred Adam’s Restaurant, coffee-packed Java Roastery, and the traditional-style pub of Bacchus Bar.
If you’re only staying for a short while, or if you want to be surrounded by lots of busy bustle, the City Center district is one of the best neighborhoods in Birmingham.
That said, there aren’t a huge number of properties available here… and the good ones go fast. So if you’re looking to live in this area, it’s often best and easiest to get yourself a serviced apartment or a serviced flat.
Best for: Hanging with hipsters, finding kooky creative venues, and joining a young population
Bordering the city center to the southeast, once-gritty Digbeth is now the bohemian heart of Birmingham… so all the clichés you expect from a hipster hangout, you can expect from here.
In and around the district, you’ll find brunch spots, quirky hangouts, endless cool events, converted warehouses, impressive street art, and a whole bunch of happening hipsters.
First stop on your trendy venue itinerary should be the city’s iconic and ever-busy Custard Factory. While the place used to be responsible for concocting big yellow batches of the sweet syrupy sauce, it’s now one of the city’s top cultural venues. It hosts digital startups, independent hangouts, interesting events, eateries, bars, and lots of friendly faces.
Other well-known venues in Digbeth include the flamboyant and fervently-fun Mama Roux’s, the welcoming Night Owl (where you’ll always find excellent low-key live music), and ultra-famous Old Crown (one of the oldest pubs in Britain).
Just to the west of Digbeth, you’ll also find two more exciting neighborhoods…
One is the Chinese Quarter (offering an eclectic combo of Asian restaurants and Chinese-style supermarkets), while the other is the Gay Village (with performances, party venues, and an alluringly-inclusive atmosphere). Both are great places to hang out, and great places to experience the diversity and variety of Birmingham and its people.
Birmingham has one of the youngest populations of any city in Europe. And in and around Digbeth, you’ll feel it—for young people, the neighborhood is one of the best places to live in Birmingham. But if you’re a little older, and don’t want to be perpetually surrounded by whipper-snapping go-getters, this maybe isn’t the district for you.
Best for: Live performances, excellent kid-friendly attractions, and a busy-but-appealing family-friendly life
Just west of the city center, it’s the tiny district of Theatreland.
But although the place is small, you’ll find a huge number of events and attractions inexplicably crammed into its pokey proportions.
Some of those venues (as you probably could have guessed) are theaters. Three of the best include the Symphony Hall (with its excellent acoustics), the unique and trendy small-scale IET Birmingham, and the hulking behemoth of the city’s Utilita Arena (featuring performances from some of the planet’s biggest names).
In these venues and others, you’ll find local music, international artists, stand-up shows, panto-style performances, and plenty more.
But there’s lots more fun in this area, and it’s particularly good for families with kids. Some of the most famous family-fun venues here include the city’s National SEA LIFE Center (a full-to-the-brim aquarium with lots of interactive experiences), LEGOLAND Discovery Center (with a bunch of themed rides and attractions), and the picnic spots of the City Center Gardens.
Other kid-friendly perks in and around Theatreland include pretty canalside stretches, excellent proximity to the city center’s fun, some lively green spaces, and even some of the city’s best schools. The top educational establishments here include Nelson Primary School, St John’s and St Peter’s C of E Academy, and the City Academy.
All in all, if you’re moving with kids, this is one of the best places to live in Birmingham—and it’s especially perfect if you want your little ones to be surrounded by lots of engaging excitement.
Best for: A relatively quiet life close to the city center, some pleasant green spaces, and finding an affordable home
Bordering Theatreland to the north, you’ll find the mini district of Ladywood.
It’s one the best neighborhoods in Birmingham for reasonable centrality without being surrounded by too much action. Although it’s very easy to reach the center from here, Ladywood is a surprisingly quiet district, and it’s made up of green spaces, family homes, and some welcome pockets of peace.
Some of its highlights include Summerfield Park (especially popular with dog-walkers and families with kids), the pretty sailing haven of Edgbaston Reservoir (which has a popular running trail around its perimeter), a number of popular canalside stretches, and the close-by flora and fun of Birmingham’s Botanical Gardens.
Meanwhile, all the excitement of Theatreland is only a short stroll away—while you can be right in the heart of the city just by hopping on a bus.
And as a nice bonus, house prices here are enticingly low—if you want to live relatively centrally in Birmingham, this is your best pick for a bargain-basement home.
5. Jewellery Quarter
Best for: History and heritage, great bars and restaurants, and bartering for bracelets and bangles
Just north of Ladywood, the Jewellery Quarter is one of the most interesting, unique, and sought-after districts in the city.
Birmingham is known for its industrial heritage—and one of the city’s biggest industries (both past and present!) is jewellery. So in this part of town, you’ll find lots of gem-fronted stores, ring-bedecked cabinets, and ancient workhouses churning out all sorts of spangly stuff.
For learning about it all, head to the Jewellery Quarter Museum, where you can experience hands-on historical insights. For something a bit more macabre and morose, check out the neighborhood’s Coffin Works, where you can learn about death, its lucrative business, and some surprisingly high-profile funerals.
But this neighborhood isn’t all death and adornments—it’s also one of the best neighborhoods in Birmingham for eating and drinking. Some of the best venues include 40 St Pauls (a high-end gin emporium), The Button Factory (a pared-back place with minimalist decor), and Urban Cafe (an archetypal but excellent brunch spot).
And on top of all that, the neighborhood is also home to several independent stores and galleries, many of which promote local trade, artists and items. If you want to support the local economy, it’s a great place to spend some time.
Best for: Living in an emerging area, lots of nice compromises, and sipping on some canalside drinks
One of the best neighborhoods in Birmingham for living a compromise of a life, Westside sits west of Digbeth, and south of Ladywood.
Here, you get a great combination of lots of different things. The neighborhood is exciting without being too busy; it’s modern without being too expensive; and it’s upmarket without being pretentious. And its location offers excellent proximity to the city center without the bustle of some of its nearby neighbors.
Because of those reasons and more, Westside is rapidly emerging as one of the best places to live in Birmingham. Though the prices are beginning to rise, it’s (for now!) not as expensive as some of the city’s more central districts.
Most of the neighborhood is bordered by pretty canals—and many of these canalside stretches have great places to eat and drink. Highlights include meat-heavy Rodizio Rico, the uninspiringly-named Canalside Bar, and nearby 52 Gas Street (which makes you feel like you’ve stumbled into someone’s living room).
Other neighborhood draws include the contemporary kookines of the innovative Ikon Gallery, the multi-faceted output of the ever-popular Crescent Theater, and some DJ-heavy late-night drinking venues.
The population here is pretty young, pretty hip, and pretty pretty. In some ways, Westside can be a relatively superficial place—but it’s still very welcoming and charming, and it’s a great place to call home.
Best for: A slice of suburbia, hanging around with classy characters, and enjoying an upmarket existence
Southwest of the city center, the suburban neighborhood of Edgbaston is our first outskirt area. If you’re on the hunt for a high-end life, it’s one of the best places to live in Birmingham.
Famous for hosting homes of cricket, tennis and archery, this has been a well-known middle-class neighborhood for many years. It’s particularly popular with affluent families, who come here for the quiet atmosphere, the safe life, and the clean streets.
It’s also home to a huge number of excellent green spaces. Some highlights include duck-filled Cannon Hill Park (with its pretty boating lake and a huge variety of activities), Calthorpe Park (cut in two by a cute canal), and the verdant variety of Vale Village Park.
Edgbaston is also home to some of the most well-respected education establishments in the region… and some parents like to live here just for the great schools. Two of the best include Edgbaston High School for Girls, and St George’s Church of England Primary School.
And although the neighborhood sits on Birmingham’s outskirts, it’s well-connected to all other parts of the city… so you’re never far from the action.
All of that said, Edgbaston of course isn’t a good choice if you’re moving on a budget. And some people might find the place a bit pretentious.
Best for: Living in one of Britain’s best neighborhoods, a village-like life in the city, and lots of late-night live music
In some ways, Moseley is a little similar to Digbeth—a hip and happening bohemian hangout, it’s packed with brunch spots, quirky venues, and lots of unique and unusual places.
But while Digbeth is a little rough and ragged, Moseley is more laid-back and leafy. In some ways, it feels like someone took a community-led village, and inflated and updated it. Its relaxed leafy vibe is similar to Edgbaston (its bordering neighbor to the west), but it’s much more bohemian and hip.
Because it offers an alluring combo between an exciting life and an endearing one, Moseley has a hefty reputation… and it’s considered to be one of the UK’s most appealing neighborhoods. In 2015, it was even voted as the best place in the UK for city living.
The neighborhood is known for hosting lots of low-key live music venues. Birmingham has a pretty rich musical heritage (Ozzy Osbourne, UB40, and The Streets all hail from here, along with many others)… and Moseley is one of the best neighborhoods for delving into its present-day stuff.
Some of the best music venues in the neighborhood include One Trick Pony Club, The Dark Horse, and The Cuban Embassy.
Moseley is also one of the best places to live in Birmingham for foodies—some of the neighborhood’s most popular chow-down spots include Tipu Sultan, Carters of Moseley, and Chakana.
Due to this neighborhood’s lofty reputation, it’s often difficult to find a place to live here… and would-be Moseleyites are often scuppered by their plans because of the district’s unreliable real estate market. So if you’re planning to live in this area, it’s often easier to get a serviced apartment or a serviced flat instead.
Best for: A fulfilling family life, the welcoming warmth of a community neighborhood, and what might just be the tastiest food in the city
If you travel west from Edgbaston, you’ll find yourself in Harborne.
As we’ve covered, Birmingham has lots of top-quality neighborhoods for finding excellent eateries. But of them all, Harborne might just be #1—for foodies, this is one of the best places to live in Birmingham.
Start your eatery odyssey at The Harborne Kitchen, and its next-door neighbor The Giggling Squid. Next up, try the tasty fish and chips of classy-but-relaxed Gabriels.
But the district isn’t all about chewing and chomping. It also offers all the conveniences you need for a safe and secure life, so it’s especially popular with families.
In and around the suburban Victorian district, you’ll find good schools, appealing green spaces, and lots of pretty strolls. One of its best (and most popular!) escapes is stream-filled Woodgate Valley Country Park, with lots of birds, butterflies, and some gentle-but-beautiful walks.
Harborne’s prettiest neighborhood is Moorpool, an old-school small-scale suburb with a thriving community atmosphere. But no matter which part of the neighborhood you live in, you’re only ever around 3 miles (5km) from the city center.
Best of all, prices aren’t quite as high here as some people expect. So if you want a similar-to-Edgbaston life, but without such prohibitive costs (and with a little less pomp), you’ll likely love living in Harborne.
10. Sutton Coldfield
Best for: A huge number of green spaces, an excellent family life, many kid-friendly attractions, and living in a town outside of Birmingham
Alright, all the places we’ve brought you so far have been pretty central. But here’s a leftfield choice: Sutton Coldfield (or ‘The Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield,’ to give the place its proper name), is an outskirt town of its own.
So if you want good proximity to Birmingham while also avoiding the constant bustle of city life, this is one of the best neighborhoods in Birmingham.
It’s an excellent choice for people with kids. Here, you’ll find plenty of family-friendly excitement, including the massive Sutton Park (featuring 2,400 acres of lakes, cycling trails and more), lots more green spaces, many convenient supermarkets, and several good schools. Some of the best educational establishments include New Oscott Primary School and Hollyfield Primary School.
And just a short drive away, there’s much more fun. Highlights include Drayton Manor (with a zoo AND a theme park!), Ash End House Children’s Farm, and the wacky waterpark of Cliff Lakes.
But even if you’re not moving with little ones, there’s plenty here to keep you active and entertained. All the outdoor areas are filled with walking trails and bike rides, while the region also features many golf courses, lots of nearby heritage sites, and some great comfy homes.
Best neighborhoods in Birmingham: final thoughts
There they are—the 10 best neighborhoods in Birmingham, and all the best places to live in Birmingham. Hopefully you’ve found one that suits you, your needs, and whoever you’ll be moving with!
Again, if you’re looking for a convenient and reliable place to live, we have lots of serviced apartments and serviced flats in various parts of the city. They’re all clean, cozy and comfortable, they’re all fully furnished, and they’re all ready to be your home today.
For other British-based relocation options, check out our guides to the 10 best commuter towns near London, and the 10 best neighborhoods in Edinburgh. And for more bureaucracy, logistical help, and some handy top tips, wander on over to our guides on visas for the UK, and everything you need to know about living in the UK.
Thanks for reading, thanks for checking out Homelike, and good luck in your Birmingham-based adventures!