As Tuscaloosa gears up to host commencement ceremonies and welcomes families for Bama Bound Orientation, there’s a buzz of anticipation in the air. While campus may provide the primary draw, there’s a whole world of new experiences waiting to be discovered in our vibrant city. Here are six fresh additions to your Tuscaloosa itinerary:

Rama Jama’s at The Venue: The iconic Rama Jama’s, long cherished as part of the campus experience, is expanding its reach with a second location at The Venue. Known for its classic American fare and welcoming atmosphere, Rama Jama’s new location will bring all of the same Crimson Tide spirit. Keep an eye out for their signature dishes and that familiar warmth you’ve come to love. Find them on Instagram at @rama_jamas.

Avenue Pub Northbank: Escape the downtown hustle and bustle at Avenue Pub Northbank, the newest addition to Tuscaloosa’s culinary scene. Nestled off Rice Mine Road, this second location promises the same beloved menu and laid-back ambiance as its downtown counterpart. Whether you’re craving a hearty meal or a refreshing drink, Avenue Pub Northbank offers a relaxed dining experience away from the downtown crowds. Find them on Instagram at @avepub.

Anchor Drops Tiki Bar & Kitchen: Prepare to embark on a culinary adventure at Anchor Drops Tiki Bar & Kitchen, where traditional tiki culture meets modern flair. With a focus on creative cocktails and globally inspired cuisine, Anchor Drops invites you to savor every sip and bite in a one-of-a-kind setting. The menu, both food and drinks, are genuinely unique in Tuscaloosa. Find them on Instagram at @anchorsdropstiki.

Digital Experience Passes: Explore Tuscaloosa like never before with our curated selection of digital experience passes. Whether you’re a barbecue aficionado, an art enthusiast, or a sports fanatic, there’s a pass tailored to your interests. From sampling the city’s best barbecue joints to discovering hidden gems on the TCL Public Arts Passport, these passes offer a convenient way to dive into Tuscaloosa’s diverse offerings. Learn more at

Paul W. Bryant Museum: Step into the rich tapestry of Alabama sports history at the Bryant Museum, where new exhibits celebrate the achievements of the Crimson Tide beyond the gridiron. From the storied legacy of Alabama’s softball program, to the rise of men’s basketball to the Final Four under Coach Nate Oats, there’s no shortage of inspiring stories to discover. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a casual observer, the Bryant Museum offers a captivating journey through the heart of Alabama athletics. Learn more at

Sugo Italian Restaurant: A brand-new experience is coming to the heart of Tuscaloosa! Sugo Italian Restaurant is slated to open its doors at the end of April. Sugo promises an authentic Italian dining experience with a contemporary twist. From handmade pasta to sumptuous seafood dishes, each plate is crafted with care and passion. If the Crimson Tiramisu they debuted at the recent West Alabama Food and Wine Festival was any indication, it’s fair to have high expectations!

As you plan your visit to Tuscaloosa, whether it’s for for Spring Commencement, Bama Bound Orientation, or for a fun weekend getaway, we invite you to explore these new and exciting destinations. From mouthwatering meals to immersive cultural experiences, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in our dynamic city.

In case you missed our recent post, Five New Things To Do In Tuscaloosa This A-Day Weekend, check it out for five MORE great things to experience!

Follow Visit Tuscaloosa on social media for the latest updates and insider tips. We can’t wait to welcome you to Tuscaloosa – where every visit is an adventure!

Thank you to our partners at Wilson Hospitality for sponsoring this content.

Hey there, adventure seekers! Get ready to unlock the best of Tuscaloosa with the launch of exciting digital experience passes! Visit Tuscaloosa is pumped to roll out these digital keys to the city, giving you a hassle-free way to dive into the heart and soul of our vibrant town. And the best part? It’s all at your fingertips!

Gone are the days of wandering aimlessly to find the hidden gems of Tuscaloosa. With these mobile passes hosted on the Bandwango platform, you can now embark on a journey tailored to your tastes and interests. From mouthwatering culinary delights to cultural landmarks and outdoor adventures, there’s something for everyone in this digital treasure trove.

Picture this: you’re a BBQ aficionado eager to savor the flavors of Tuscaloosa’s famous ribs or smoked turkey with Alabama white sauce. Well, our “Wings & White Sauce – A Bar-B-Que Trail” pass has got you covered, rewarding you for every finger-licking bite along the way.

More of an Artsy type? Strap on a good pair of shoes and grab our “TCL Public Art Passport” to find eclectic works of art along the Tuscaloosa Riverwalk, the University of Alabama Campus, scenic downtown and more.

Sports fans, listen up! With our “Cities of the SEC” pass, you can earn rewards for exploring your favorite college towns and soaking in the game day atmosphere at top-notch restaurants, shops, and attractions.

But wait, there’s more! The “Tuscaloosa All-In-One Ticket” grants you three days of unlimited access to five top-notch museums and all the excitement of Lake Lurleen State Park. Talk about a jam-packed itinerary!

And let’s not forget about the mural enthusiasts. Hit the road with our “AL Mural Trail” pass, showcasing stunning murals both in Tuscaloosa and across the state. Get ready to snap Insta-worthy pics at every stop!

Curious about how to get started? It’s as easy as pie! Simply visit on your mobile phone to access detailed info and directions for each pass. Planning your Tuscaloosa escapade has never been simpler.

So, whether you’re a seasoned local or a first-time visitor, these mobile passes are your ticket to discovering the magic of Tuscaloosa. Join us as we unlock endless adventures and create unforgettable memories in our charming Southern town.

Ready to dive in? Head over to to grab your passes and let the exploration begin! 🌟🔑

Every year, spring arrives in Tuscaloosa already in full swing, calling everyone outside to shake off our winter somber and awaken the spirit of the Druid City. Filled with festivals and races, good times and good food, spring kicks off the high energy bonanza Tuscaloosa is known for. 

There’s always plenty to enjoy with a lively downtown and lake activities galore, but if you’re looking for something extra to take part in, here’s some of what’s on our calendar for Spring 2024. 

March 23

Lace up your shoes, or boots, and take on the challenge of two of the area’s best known races. If you’re really a glutton for punishment, test your mettle at both. There’s still time to register for each of the races!

The Visit Tuscaloosa Half Marathon starts at 7:00 a.m. and takes a beautiful jaunt from downtown, along the river and around The University of Alabama campus before finishing at the starting point.

If obstacles and challenges are more your speed, get ready for the mud at Tuscaloosa Gauntlet! On your own or with a team, and with divisions for all ages, this is a race that will have you yelling for more… or your mom. 

April 5 & 6

The Druid City Arts Festival is back for its fifteenth year, and it just keeps growing better. Stroll the artists’ booths to the rhythm of live music performances, take in demonstrations, sample the food trucks or maybe make some of your own art. This is a free family affair with a kid zone to introduce your budding artist to different mediums in a fun, easygoing weekend. DCAF is also a great way to whet your appetite for the Kentuck Festival of the Arts coming this fall. Don’t miss it!

April 7

Join the West Alabama Multicultural Alliance at the River Market for WAMA Fest, the Tuscaloosa Heritage Festival, on Sunday, April 7. This fun event celebrates the many different cultures that make West Alabama home, drawing our roots together to share and enjoy what makes each culture unique. Entertainment, food and fun are promised for this afternoon as well as door prizes and scavenger hunts!

April 13

For the first time since 2007, Crimson Tide fans will descend on the A-Day Spring Football Game to watch someone other than Nick Saban lead the team. With plenty of interest and intrigue surrounding the spring debut of new head coach Kalen DeBoer, expect fan energy to be high around campus and throughout the city for this free, non-ticketed exhibition and surrounding activities.

April 18

West Alabama’s premiere chocolate-tasting event invites you to an evening of decadence, all in the name of service! Death by Chocolate attendees will have the chance to sample and judge unique chocolate creations, all while supporting Family Counseling Service Tuscaloosa.

April 21

The 2024 West Alabama Food and Wine Festival is a guaranteed crowd pleaser, with more than 30 local restaurants and beverage vendors available to sample their wares. Held in downtown Northport, it’s sure to be a beautiful Southern evening of enchanting company, tantalizing amuse-bouches and free-flowing spirits, bottled or otherwise. Be sure to place your bet on a bottle at the Wine Wall, and join us for our favorite way to raise funds for local nonprofits. 

April 27

If you were born to run, Tuscaloosa is the city for you! The Tuscaloosa Mayor’s Cup 5K for Pre-K is open for registration to runners and walkers. This highly attended race raises awareness and funds for local at-risk preschoolers through the Tuscaloosa Pre-K Initiative. It’s a great way to support a local need while adding to your medal wall and try your best to beat Mayor Walt Maddox to the finish line.

As always, make the most of your visit by booking your stay now with one of our many local hotels and enjoy all that Tuscaloosa has to offer in the bloom of spring. 

Thank you to our partners at Townsend Nissan and Townsend Honda for sponsoring this content!

The Tuscaloosa Gauntlet is the hardest thing I’ve ever physically done.” Those are words we heard from a returning runner prepping for this year’s race. The Tuscaloosa Gauntlet is a 5-mile challenge through rigorous terrain complete with a Military-style obstacle course. The third annual event will be held in Tuscaloosa, Ala. on March 23, 2024 at Buddy Powell Pavilion. Individuals and teams of four are eligible to compete. There’s even a modified kid’s version of the race for the future soldiers!

“It was hatched within the Alabama Marines Foundation, which is a charitable 501C3 that helps veterans,” said race director Lee Busby, a U.S. Marine and Tuscaloosa City Councilman. “As Marines, we all go through an extreme training exercise called, ‘The Endurance Course,’ which is several miles of intense obstacles and running through rough terrain. There is a love hate relationship with it. It tests you mentally and physically, but when you finish there is a great sense of accomplishment,” he added. In a recent interview, Busby said he and some fellow Marines were reminiscing about that proud feeling back in 2020 when the idea to bring a similar race to Tuscaloosa was born.

Since the course would have strong military roots, Busby said it was essential the name paid proper homage. Although he doesn’t recall who exactly came up with “Tuscaloosa Gauntlet,” he remembers unanimous support from the founding event team. The word gauntlet has two meanings. The first is a glove worn with medieval armor to protect the hands during battle. The second is, “a double file of men facing each other armed with clubs to strike at an individual who is made to run between them.” While the latter of course IS NOT one of the obstacles of the event, Busby told us both meanings brought the “tough element,” the team was looking for.

The course was built by Warr Construction in the fall of 2021. The inaugural Tuscaloosa Gauntlet was held in the spring of 2022 with around 270 contestants. The goal was to grow the course in size and participants each year. The second year, the team did just that by gaining more than 150 additional entries. This year, Col. Busby has his target set on hitting over 500 competitors. While anyone can compete, an extra emphasis is being put on gaining more military representation this year.

“I hope this will become a known event for military units around the south who want to come do it,” Busby said.

See the trailer from the Inaugural Tuscaloosa Gauntlet in 2022!

Various military branches are represented in the challenge. Just some of the obstacles that will stand between runners and the finish line are an Air Force Batman Rappel Wall, a 100-meter Marine Obstacle Course, a 25-feet Navy Seal Cargo Net Climb, and an Army Airborne Weaver Drill.

See the trailer from the 2023 Tuscaloosa Gauntlet!

Participants will finish the race with a 50-yard mud crawl followed by an ice plunge. Runners who complete the challenge will receive medals in the form of dog tags. Top winners in the men’s, women’s and team’s heats will be awarded exclusive Tuscaloosa Gauntlet trophies. There is still time to register at Use the code VisitTCL at checkout to receive $10.00 off. We can’t wait to see if you have what it takes to conquer the Tuscaloosa Gauntlet!

Be sure to check out the latest trailer for The Tuscaloosa Gauntlet 2024!

Register Today at

Tuscaloosa, AL – Visit Tuscaloosa (Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports) has named Josiah “Robins” Bonner III the new senior sports sales and event development manager, effective February 26, 2024.

Bonner interned with the agency in 2019 while a student at The University of Alabama and made significant contributions to the Druid City Music Festival. After receiving a B.S. degree in 2020, he spent four years working in sports and events management. He was part of the Bruno Event Team that helped put on the World Games 2022 in Birmingham.

During the past two years, Bonner has traveled the United States and throughout Canada working alongside, and overseeing, the management of a variety of sporting events. He also has taken the initiative to familiarize himself with the sports tourism industry and has consulted with organizations such as the Huntsville Sports Commission, where he assisted with the development of bid proposals.

“We are excited to welcome Robins to the Visit Tuscaloosa team,” said Kelsey Rush, Visit Tuscaloosa president and CEO. “Sports and events play a vital role in our organization’s mission and in keeping the Tuscaloosa area vibrant. Robins is well suited to help continue the tradition of welcoming a robust sports tourism landscape to our community.”

As senior sports sales and event development manager for Visit Tuscaloosa, the community’s destination marketing organization, Bonner will lead the organization’s efforts to attract and host sporting events across Tuscaloosa County. He also will assist with the creation and planning of new events and the marketing of emerging sports-related attractions.

“I am thrilled to be joining the Visit Tuscaloosa team,” Bonner said. “Tuscaloosa holds a special place in my heart and I could not be happier to be in a position to give back to a community and county that has played such a major part in my life.”

Born in Mobile, Ala., Bonner later moved to Tuscaloosa and graduated from Tuscaloosa Academy before attending UA.

Thank you to our partners at Bryant Conference Center for sponsoring this content!

The historic homes in Tuscaloosa are beautiful all year round, but there’s something very special about touring them when they’re draped with holiday splendor this time of year.

Five properties in the Druid City are maintained by the local preservation society Historic Tuscaloosa: The Old Tavern, Battle – Friedman House, Jemison- Van de Graaff Mansion, McGuire- Strickland House and Murphy African American Museum.

Built in 1827 by local inn keeper William Dunton, The Old Tavern has been home to a tavern, a stagecoach inn, and a residence. After being moved from its original location in 1966, today it’s located at 500 Nicks Kids Avenue in Tuscaloosa.

The Battle-Friedman House was built in 1835 by plantation owner and railroad investor Alfred Battle. During that time, Tuscaloosa was the state capitol. The house’s grounds include the only remaining documented antebellum greenhouse in the state of Alabama. The house is located at 1010 Greensboro Avenue in Tuscaloosa.

The Jemison- Van de Graaff Mansion is located at 1305 Greensboro Avenue in Tuscaloosa.

The first-of-its-kind in the area mansion was designed and built by Alabama senator Robert Jemison, Jr. between 1859-1862. This home was built with luxuries that were unimaginable to most during this time. It had the first built-in bathtub in the state and was also the first house equipped with an indoor toilet.

Tuscaloosa became an incorporated town in 1819, the same year Alabama became a state. The McGuire-Strickland House was constructed the following year for the county’s first probate judge, Moses McGuire. It still stands as the oldest wooden framed home in Tuscaloosa. It was originally located at the corner of Greensboro Avenue and 15th Street.

Around 1970, the home was moved from that location to Capitol Park where it is used today as part of the Capitol School.

The Murphy-Collins House is the home of the Murphy African American Museum.

​Will J. Murphy was Tuscaloosa’s first licensed black mortician. The two-story bungalow located on Paul W. Bryant Drive was built in the early 1920s as Murphy’s private residence. The home was built with parts and pieces of Tuscaloosa history. The old state capitol building had burned in 1923 just a few blocks away. Bricks and even windowsills were salvaged from the former capitol and used in the house’s construction.

Today, the landmark is a museum that highlights the lifestyles of affluent blacks during the early 1900s.

If you’d like to learn more about these historic homes in Tuscaloosa, there are free tours offered at three of the five locations every Tuesday-Saturday.​

​Visitors will first tour The Old Tavern at 1:30 p.m. on each of those days. That tour is followed by the Battle-Friedman House at 2:30 p.m. and then the Jemison-Van De Graaff Mansion at 3:30 p.m.

The Murphy-Collins House is open for tours by appointment only. Those interested in touring the museum may call (205) 758-2861.

Since the McGuire-Strickland House operates as The Capitol School, it is only open for tours during special occasions.

This is a list you’ll definitely want to check twice! Tis’ the season for all holiday happenings throughout Tuscaloosa County. Whether you want to deck the halls at Dickens Downtown or love the lights at Lake Lurleen’s Santa in the Park, your presents is requested at the following:

Tinsel Trail Grand Opening
Come see Santa, listen to holiday tunes, and enjoy refreshments while you get a first look at the beautifully decorated trees of Tuscaloosa’s Tinsel Trail.
When: Monday, Nov. 27 from 5:30-7:30 PM
Where: Government Plaza
Cost: This event is free to the public.

Holidays on the Plaza
Get ready to twirl on ice at the City of Tuscaloosa’s ice-skating rink. Holidays on the Plaza is back in downtown Tuscaloosa! Join us for a winter wonderland of fun featuring outdoor ice skating and the dazzling Tinsel Trail benefitting Tuscaloosa’s One Place.
When: Nov. 24 to Jan. 15
Where: Government Plaza
Cost: Admission is free, Skating passes are $15

All is Bright
Spend time with Santa, enjoy a live holiday performance, and welcome the “snow!” Midtown Village is also the headquarters for Santa’s Mailbox. Kids can drop off letters to Santa throughout the season.
When: November 30 from 6:00-8:00 PM
Where: Midtown Village
Cost: This event is free to the public.

Halaritas is longstanding holiday concert tradition at the University of Alabama’s school of music.
Students showcase their talents in pieces from various music genres and time periods.
When: Friday, Dec. 1 at 7:30 PM
Sunday, Dec. 3 at 2:30 PM
Where: Moody Music Concert Hall
Cost: $5.00 -$15.00

Elf Jr.
Tuscaloosa Children’s Theatre presents Elf The Musical JR. Buddy, a young orphan, mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported to the North Pole. The would-be elf is raised, unaware that he is actually a human, until his enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth.
When: 12/01/2023 | 07:00 pm – 09:00 pm
12/02/2023 | 02:00 pm – 04:00 pm
12/02/2023 | 07:00 pm – 09:00 pm
12/03/2023 | 02:00 pm – 04:00 pm
Where: Bama Theatre
Cost: $20 -Premium seats (first 10 rows center aisle), $15 – Adults, $10 – Students and seniors

Santa in the Park
There is plenty of room for Santa to park his sleigh at Lake Lurleen State Park! You’ll drive into a decorated winter wonderland as you enter the park grounds for the second annual Santa in the Park. Park your car and walk up to Santa’s workshop for a visit with the jolly ol’ man himself.
When: Friday, Dec. 1 at 6:00 PM
Saturday, Dec 2 at 6:00 PM
Friday, Dec. 8 at 6:00 PM
Saturday, Dec 9 at 6:00 PM
Where: Lake Lurleen State Park
Cost: This event is free to the public.

Tinsel Trail Pet Night:
Here’s your chance to include your furry family members in the holiday cheer!
Bring your four-legged friends to Tinsel Trail for festive pics and to meet local pet partners.
When: Sunday, Dec. 3 from 3:00-5:00 PM
Where: Government Plaza
Cost: This event is free to the public.

47th Annual West Alabama Christmas Parade
There’s something magical about bundling up and lining the streets of Tuscaloosa to watch the tree lighting at the Tuscaloosa County Courthouse followed by the West Alabama Christmas Parade. This year’s theme of, “A Hometown Christmas” suits our community well.
When: Monday, Dec. 4, Tree Lighting: 5:15, Parade: 6:30
Where: Downtown Tuscaloosa
Cost: This event is free to the public.

Dickens Downtown
Take a step back in time with this local favorite holiday event. Dickens Downtown takes place in the cobblestone streets of historic downtown Northport. Event goers are even encouraged to dress in Dickens-era clothing. You won’t find Santa at this event, but Father Christmas will be there to see all the boys and girls.
When: Tuesday, Dec. 5, 6:00 PM
Where: Downtown Northport
Cost: This event is free to the public.

Tuscaloosa Retail Trail
Get a jump start on your holiday shopping along the Tuscaloosa Retail Trail. Join downtown merchants for specials during their holiday open houses. Grab a bingo card to be entered into giveaways!
When: Thursday, December 7, 5:00-8:00 PM
Where: Downtown Tuscaloosa
Cost: This event is free to the public.

The Nutcracker
The Tuscaloosa Community Dancers continue their tradition of annual performances of The Nutcracker. Watch local dancers of all ages take the stage to perform this Christmas classic.
When: Thursday, Dec. 7 at 7:00 PM
Friday, Dec. 8 at 7:00 PM
Saturday, Dec. 9 at 10:00 AM and 5:00 PM
Sunday, Dec. 10 at 2:00 PM
Where: Bama Theatre
Cost: $16.00-$30.00

Tinsel Trail Ugly Sweater Night
You better not pout about this fun theme! Break out those ugly sweaters and head on over to Tinsel Trail for holiday games, contests and more!
When: Friday, Dec. 8 from 5:00-8:00 PM
Where: Government Plaza
Cost: This event is free to the public.

Christmas Afloat
Get ready to roll on the Black Warrior River with Tuscaloosa’s Christmas Afloat Lighted River Parade! There won’t be a tree lighting but fireworks will brighten up the sky!
When: Saturday, Dec. 9
Where: Black Warrior River
Cost: This event is free to the public.

Amahl & the Night Visitors – UA Opera Theatre
This beloved annual offering tells the tale of the young boy Amahl who sees a special star and is curious about its meaning. He is met by three kings on their way to worship a new-born child, and belief leads to healing and love for him and his devoted mother. This warm and winning holiday presentation is perfect for all audiences, and special arrangements are made for children to meet Amahl and his sheep, and the three glorious kings.
When: Sunday, Dec. 10 from 3:00-5:00
Where: Bryant- Jordan Hall

Home for the Holidays
The Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra will play their annual holiday concert featuring The Alabama Choir School, The Prentice Concert Chorale and The Shelton Singers.
When: Sunday, Dec. 12 at 7:00 PM
Where: Moody Concert Hall

Tinsel Trail Family Night
Fa-la-la-la family! Load up your crew for a fun-filled evening at Tinsel Trail complete with Santa, activities, and refreshments.
When: Friday, Dec. 15 from 4:00-6:00 PM
Where: Government Plaza
Cost: This event is free to the public

Don’t forget to check back with our events calendar for even more going on in Tuscaloosa!

Thank you to our partners at Buffalo Rock Pepsi for sponsoring this content!

When thinking of trick or treating, many of us go back to walking from house to house in our Halloween costumes grabbing a handful of candy at each residence.

And there’s nothing wrong with that…. BUT if you’re looking for something different and a little less traditional this year, carve some time out to take your family to one of these out-of-the box Halloween experiences right here in Tuscaloosa County.

Lake Lurleen State Park

Let’s get this party startled and head to Lake Lurleen State Park, which is a 20-minute drive from Downtown Tuscaloosa. Every year, the park staff boo-tifully decorates the campgrounds and welcomes families from around the area to take part in their spook-tacular Camp Fear. Campers pull all their skeletons out of their closets and stick them in front of their rigs to decorate for trick or treaters. Games and hayrides will be on site for additional fall fun!

This year, goons and goblins under 12 gain admission to the park for just $2.00. Ghouls and ghosts 12 and over, pay $4.00 each.

Trick or Treat at Lake Lurleen is taking place on October 28, 2023, from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.

Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park

If you just can’t wait until Halloween for your fall fix, Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park has been offering haunted hay rides every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in October beginning at 6:00 each evening. Hayrides are $5.00 per rider. First come, first serve by the train station.

If you you’re looking for an all-afternoon Halloween happening, Tannehill has you covered with their 32nd annual Halloween traditions.

The Fairyland portion of the day is from 1:00 p.m. until 4:00. It’ll be love at first fright while you enjoy live music, carnival rides, face painting, petting zoos and more.

When it comes to trick or treating at Tannehill, their campers do it BIG! In fact, there are bragging rights at stake each year for the best campsite decorations. Many families return to the state park each year, paying months of campsite fees to create their extravagant themes.

Trick or treating begins at Tannehill at 5:00 p.m. on October 28th. Adults may enter the park for $5.00 each, children 6-11 are $4.00, and those 5 and under get in free.

The Tannehill campsite decorations will remain open for viewing all month.

Payments can be made for both October 28 events at the parks’ respective gates.

Here’s to some happy campers and trick or treaters!

Photo Credits:
Trailer display at Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park from The Western Star News

Campsite decorations at Lake Lurleen State Park from Alabama State Parks

Thank you to our partners at Westgate Luxury Condominiums for sponsoring this content!

Fleet Feet

Fleet Feet is a locally owned business located in downtown Tuscaloosa. It offers exceptional deals on merchandise while encouraging customers with quality service and education on how to get the most out of their shoes. The staff at Fleet Feet are veteran runners who are truly passionate about the community and want to help as many people as they can pursue the sport. Each staff member is trained in lower leg and foot biomechanics, specializing in proper shoe fit and gait analysis.

To put it simply, the staff are experts and will ensure that the shoe fits your foot perfectly. Besides shoes, the store also offers apparel and accessories from multiple brands.  Fleet Feet Tuscaloosa currently has more than 100 five-star reviews on Google, and with it being in the middle of town, there’s no better place to take your first step into running!

Shop here:

Wagner’s RunWalk

Wagner’s has been serving Tuscaloosa for 70 years, making it a trusted and reliable source for your running needs since 1953! Because of this, Wagner’s RunWalk prides themselves on their expertise in the latest trends while providing old-fashioned customer service. 

One of the greatest parts of Wagner’s is their 3D scanner that will give a full model of your feet so they can get the absolute best choice for you. They also offer appointments to further analyze, but no appointment is required. Whether you’re just getting into running, a pro, or just looking for a pair of comfortable shoes, Wagner’s RunWalk is the reliable choice for your needs! 

Shop here:

Dick’s Sporting Goods

A very popular sporting goods chain, Dick’s offers many options for footwear and running outerwear at a great price. The store is brimming with styles of shoes and clothing across multiple brands, and with so much gear to choose from, you’re sure to find just the right style for you!

Dick’s also offers trained staff who are available to help you find the right-fitting shoe and the best discounts on running goods. They also offer other essential products for running, such as water bottles, energy chews, and more!

Visit them here:

Academy Sports + Outdoors

Academy is mainly known for their outdoor goods, but don’t let that fool you, they offer great selections in both running shoes and apparel! Especially with how much is on sale, Academy offers plenty of affordable options, making it a great gateway into running. Academy also offers a wide variation of brands with trained staff willing to help you differentiate which brand meets your needs and fits your style. On top of this, they also offer many clothing options boasting The University of Alabama’s iconic crimson red and iconic script A, so you can run in real style! 

Check it out here:

Thank you to our partners at Bryant Conference Center for sponsoring this content!

Welcome to Starkville: Mississippi’s College Town!

We’re excited for a fun SEC matchup, and we’re glad you’re making the trip from Tuscaloosa. An evening kickoff means you have all day to experience everything Starkville has to offer – from the Cotton District to the Community Market.

Kickstart your morning at one of our popular breakfast spots. NutriGroove is a local favorite for delicious smoothies, teas, bagels, wraps and toasts. The, you can head to The Coffee Depot for one of their signature lattes or espressos. They also serve smoothies, cookies, and other sweet treats.


Next, it’s time to shop for fall weather essentials at some of the South’s finest boutiques. Stop by B-Unlimited for t-shirts and accessories with Starkville flare or find the perfect gameday outfit at LA Green, a lifestyle boutique offering the latest in women’s fashion.


Before you make your way to The Junction for tailgating, stop by the Cotton District to refuel with food and beverage. Little Dooey’s has been a staple in our community for over 25 years. You’ll find some of the best barbeque, burgers and catfish around – as well as an experience you won’t forget.


There are plenty of bars to choose from in Mississippi’s College Town. Tucked in an alley behind Restaurant Tyler, The Guest Room might be Starkville’s best kept secret. They offer an intimate, seated experience, and feature one of the largest bourbon selections in the state. If you’re more of the cold-beer-and-pizza type, look no further than Dave’s Dark Horse Tavern.

(Dark Horse Tavern)

No weekend in Starkville is complete without tailgating and visiting Mississippi State University. Make sure to head to The Junction, directly across from Davis Wade Stadium. Have a sweet treat at the MAFES Sale Store (or get some cheese to-go), less than a five-minute walk from the stadium. We recommend the muscadine ripple ice cream and Edam cheese!

We’re so glad to have you in Starkville for the weekend. Our home is your home – and we hope to see you again! For more information on where to shop, eat, play and stay, visit us online at, and connect with us on our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Be sure to download the Visit the SEC pass to check in and earn points towards prizes while you are in Starkville: Mississippi’s College Town!

Editor’s Note: This blog is part of the SEC Blog Exchange facilitated by the Cities of the SEC partnership. You can enjoy all of the communities SEC schools call home and earn prizes. Check out to find out more.

A Tuscaloosa agency received state-wide accolades for its many contributions to the post pandemic rebound of travel and tourism in Tuscaloosa County.

Visit Tuscaloosa, the destination marketing organization charged with promoting Tuscaloosa, Northport, and Tuscaloosa County, won the Alabama Tourism Department’s Tourism Organization of the Year for 2023. The award was presented on Aug. 28, 2023 at The Grand Hotel in Point Clear during the Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism.

Visitors spent $895 million in Tuscaloosa County during the 2022 calendar year, a 19.5% increase from the previous year. In the 12-month period ending in August, hotel revenue was up 10.5% over the previous year.

Kelsey Rush, president and CEO of Visit Tuscaloosa, attributed the award and recent tourism success to daily efforts by the agency and collaborating partners to enhance Tuscaloosa’s public image as a dynamic place to live, work, play, and visit.

“I am beyond excited for Visit Tuscaloosa to be recognized with this prestigious award.  Our team is passionate about sharing the spirit of Tuscaloosa County and work day-in and day-out to create a harmony of quality of place for our visitors and quality of life for our residents,” said Rush. “I am proud of our team and their efforts that led to this award, as well as the partners that help make Tuscaloosa the community that it is.”

According to the Alabama Tourism website, this is the first time Visit Tuscaloosa has won the Tourism Organization of the Year award, which has been given annually since 1998. In 2007 and 2011, when the agency was known as Tuscaloosa CVB, it was recognized for the Tourism Partnership of the Year. Jasmine Rainey, who currently serves as Director of Tourism, was given the Rising Star award in 2019.

Visit Tuscaloosa’s diverse efforts include bringing association meetings and conferences to the area, facilitating large group tours, providing support to large gatherings such as reunions, recruiting athletic events, and developing new experiences that enhance the experience economy for both residents and visitors.

In 2022, Visit Tuscaloosa hosted or contributed to 94 events, up from 55 the previous year. In 2023 the agency has already hosted the inaugural Tuscaloosa Restaurant Week and will bring Tuscaloosa Oktoberfest back to downtown on October 28.

The agency also dedicates time and resources to raising Tuscaloosa’s visibility, appealing to leisure travelers, meeting and event planners, and potential economic investment, among others. Interested parties can learn more about Tuscaloosa County, its events, things to do and attractions by following Visit Tuscaloosa on social media or signing up for their newsletter at

Traveling is tricky when you have to avoid gluten. 

Sometimes it can take hours of research and pluck the fun of spontaneity right out of the day when exploring a new city. 

I get it, and I want to help solve that for your visit to Tuscaloosa. 

As a resident with Celiac, I want to walk you through the best gluten-free options T-Town has to offer to make your dining experience a wonderful part of — if not the best part of — your visit! 

Also, you probably already do this, but no matter how well I know the restaurant and their staff, I communicate my dietary restrictions with our server every time, just in case there are any menu updates or ingredient substitutions the kitchen is working with for the day. 

Now, let’s get to the good stuff. 

Start Your Day Right

A hearty breakfast is the best way to kick off your stay in Tuscaloosa. Another Broken Egg Cafe offers many selections, but my hands-down favorite are their lemon blueberry goat cheese pancakes, made gluten free, with hot cups of rich coffee while enjoying a morning on the porch overlooking the Black Warrior River is hard to beat. While their online menu makes you wonder if I’m lying, be sure to ask for the GF menu when you get there. The servers are always happy to go over the selections with me.

A relative new-comer to the Tuscaloosa scene, Just Love Coffee Cafe has some tasty womelettes (omelettes cooked in a waffle iron) to choose from. They have a gluten friendly disclaimer prominently displayed on their overhead menu, but they always double check and use a clean machine when I’ve let them know I’m celiac. 

Looking for a great cup of coffee and something light like granola? Monarch Espresso Bar’s homemade granola is perfect in a bowl with your favorite way to enjoy coffee. These folks understand gluten free. We’ll catch up with their other local business for dessert!

Do Break for Lunch

Antojitos Izcalli consistently ranks at the top of the lists for best Latin food in Alabama for good reason. You absolutely can’t go wrong with their authentic Mexican tacos, sopes and cold horchata. 

When I want a light but filling lunch, I head to Hooligans for their Greek salad with grilled chicken. The Alhaija family has been serving their American-Mediterranean mix to Tuscaloosa for more than 20 years. They’re happy to accommodate but remind them no pita. 

Sometimes nothing hits like sushi, and Ichiban Japanese Grill is THE place to go. Their online menu even includes a box on each item to let them know your dietary needs. Owner Hiu-Tung is likely the first person to greet you at the counter where she rolls the sushi and makes some great suggestions. If you like a little heat, you can’t go wrong with the spicy escolar and the Adam rolls. 

Even chains like Mellow Mushroom and Five Guys are upping their game in the gluten aware department. Both of these restaurants have local management that get it and regularly take the extra precautions to deliver a safe dining experience.

Enjoy Local Taps

As the popularity of craft beer breweries and taprooms grow, Tuscaloosa is not being left behind. Loosa Brews is the best place to find something for everyone’s taste, and they have dedicated gluten free tap lines with a cider and a mead always ready to go.  

Delight in Dinner

A great option for a delicious dinner or a special occasion is DePalma’s Italian Cafe. Don’t be dismayed by their online menu; the servers and management are wonderful about walking you through menu options and accommodations to make your meal gluten free. Pesto stuffed mushrooms and the gorgonzola steak melt with a delicious glass of wine. 

For more casual dining, Mr. Chen’s offers authentic Chinese cuisine with all of its salty spiciness and robust flavors. Check with your server if your favorite dish can be made adjusted and enjoy! We love to split gluten free versions of the cumin lamb and basil chicken.

Dessert Is Back

Moonshot Creamery (same owners as Monarch Espresso Bar) does gluten free so well without needing to ask, that it made me tear up on our first visit. Fresh ice cream scoops with each dip to avoid cross contamination, clearly stated safe flavors on a handout at the counter, and a gluten free cone option to boot — do NOT miss these guys and their amazing flavors!

I confess that I have not made it to Forté yet, but I have it on good authority from Chef Jacob Stull himself that they take care of their gluten free guests. Friends have raved about the Noel soufflé and the chocolate marquise paired with one of the restaurant’s own craft cocktails for a special treat. 

Late Night Bites

There’s no excuse to sleep on the late night scene in Tuscaloosa. SoCal Cantina keeps tasty drinks and tacos flowing until the early hours. And if you’re really craving a pub favorite, grab the carne asada fries. Everything is gluten free except the burrito tortillas, and they don’t go in the fryer. 

What about Groceries? 

My happy place is often in the kitchen, cooking seasonal ingredients plucked from markets and shops local to the regions I visit. If you’re staying in a short-term rental while visiting Tuscaloosa and plan to do some of your own cooking, Manna Grocery & Deli is a great one-stop shop for many gluten free and natural items you might need. They also stock meats and vegetables from local farms if you miss the farmer’s market on Saturday mornings. 

Enjoy your stay in Tuscaloosa, and let us know how we can help!


I moved to Tuscaloosa in 2009 and was diagnosed with Celiac in 2012. I love to travel and try new foods along the way, and I know firsthand how those two things don’t always get along.

I want to welcome you to our city and offer some friendly help on the best gluten-free options T-Town has to offer to make your dining experience a wonderful part of — if not the best part of — your visit!

Also, no matter how well I know the restaurant and their staff, I communicate my dietary restrictions with our server every time, just in case there are any menu updates or ingredient substitutions the kitchen is working with for the day. Be sure to speak up for yourself and welcome to Tuscaloosa! – ELISA JOHNSON

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