There is a nice, upscale suburn, I think it was called Mountain Brook, outside of the city. I can't remember the name exactly, but you had a nice little shopping center with a Saks and some restaurants, all on top of a big hill. You also get into the hills/country areas which can be quite nice.
Someone might know what I'm talking about. I wasn't that big of a fan of downtown Birmingham, but the outskirts were nice.