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2827721345_cc9c9a0e71There’s a new approach to retirement that will change our ideas about what your golden years can mean. Seniors are seeking out something different from the usual havens in Florida in Arizona in favor of a throwback to their salad days. As the New York Times explains, “many boomers who do not view retirement as a permanent vacation are turning to nontraditional, and less expensive, retirement spots for their second act. They are especially attracted to college towns that offer opportunities for culture.”

Birmingham is ideal for retirees seeking the college town experience. The Southern Pigskin notes, “Birmingham is great because it appeals to everyone. It has the big city feel with our downtown location but it is also a college town, being home to three different universities.” And your neighbors will be “the nicest people you will ever meet, very polite.”

Indeed, with University of Alabama Birmingham, Samford, and Strayer, along with many colleges, Birmingham offers endless options for taking classes, enjoy a sports game, or attending a gallery opening, theater performance, or concert. The UAB puts on top notch productions of everything from Bat Boy: The Musical to For Colored Girls, to Don’t Trifle with Love. Their music Department has a variety of concerts and performances, from operatic arias to  Indian Slide Guitar to clarinet to big band.

Take in a game of men’s soccer, football, or basketball with the UAB Blazers, or women’s volleyball, track, softball, or soccer. These games will be far more inexpensive that pricy pro tickets in big cities like Denver, Chicago, or New York. By following college sports you’ll have a preview of who will be the next big names on professional teams in years to come!

You can even take classes, whether for credit or by auditing. Do you always wish you’d studied art but felt pressured to go pre-med? Have you picked up an interest in learning Latin or studying sociology over the years? Perhaps you’d like to spend some time exploring creative writing or revisiting some of the great works of literature in a classroom setting. The great thing about living in a college town is having a place to pursue these interests nearby at a more rigorous level than a book club or pottery painting studio.

Seniors of all interests will find Birmingham to be a stimulating town with something to offer. The same qualities that attract students, such as the low cost of living and delicious-yet-inexpensive restaurants are a big draw for retirees, too. Consider making Birmingham the scene for your Act Two!