Naysayers were concerned that downtown Birmingham—a chic enclave of expensive shops and galleries—would shrivel and die when the even more chic Somerset North Shopping Complex (mall is too pedestrian a term) opened on nearby Big Beaver Road late in 1996.
Birmingham has proven remarkably resilient, however, and remains a tony ’burb with one of the few thriving downtowns in surrounding Oakland County. Shoppers from all over the metro area come here to see and be seen, to linger in cafés and restaurants, and to exercise their credit cards in the unusual boutiques.
Even if you’re not a shopper, Birmingham is worth a trip for its art galleries, one of the most impressive concentrations in the Midwest. Here, you’ll even find cutting-edge contemporary art at places like the Robert Kidd Gallery (107 Townsend, 248/642-3909, www.robertkiddgallery.com, 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Tues.–Sat.). More than a dozen influential art outlets are grouped along a section of Woodward north of downtown known as “Gallery Row.”
by Laura Martone from Moon Michigan, 3rd Edition, © Avalon Travel