Are you looking for things to do when it’s raining in Tuscaloosa? You’ve come to the right spot!
1. Tuscaloosa’s Museums
Mildred Westervelt Warner Transportation Museum is one of the great museum options that we have in T-Town. Located at Tuscaloosa’s historic Queen City Park along the Black Warrior River, this museum is filled with knowledge and appreciation of our local and regional history and natural resources through exhibits, museum educational programs, and educational outreach efforts. For those interested in extinct animals, the Alabama Museum of Natural History is a perfect place to visit with its ancient fossils and many other exciting things to discover!
Did You Know: The University of Alabama actually oversees five museums in total, including the two mentioned above as well as the Moundville Archeological Park, the Gorgas House Museum, and the Paul W. Bryant Museum.
2. Art Galleries
We have some incredible and diverse art galleries in town that are definitely worth a visit. The Kentuck Art Center in Northport is an all-in-one museum, gallery, and event location. In the heart of downtown Tuscaloosa lies the Paul R. Jones Gallery, the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center, Harrison Galleries, and the Tuscaloosa Art Garage (great for the kiddos) – all great spots to explore on a rainy day. If you happen to be in town the first Friday of the month, be sure the check out the First Friday Art Walk, featuring these galleries and more!
3. Coffee Shops
What cozier place could there be to hide from a rainy day than a traditional coffee shop? The smell of coffee and pastries in the air, people reading the newspaper, studying or chatting steadily alongside a laid-back playlist…. sounds perfect to us! Tuscaloosa offers many such magical places. There’s so many to select from, you can’t go wrong. Just to get you started, check Turbo Coffee, Monarch Espresso Bar, Just Love Coffee, Heritage House Coffee & Tea, or Strange Brew Coffeehouse.
Local breweries in Tuscaloosa are the perfect place to spend a gray afternoon among friends and one of America’s favorite drinks: Beer. Druid City Brewing Company, Black Warrior Brewing Company, and Loosa offer great brews and relaxed space to lean back and enjoy an ice-cold one on this dreary day. Looking for a glass of wine? Check out The Wine Market. How about a cocktail? Visit Session Cocktails.
5. Putt Putt Golf, Bowling, Arcade and more
Shindig Family Entertainment Center, Bowlero, and Crux Climbing are all excellent options for rainy days. This venues offer activities such as bowling, laser tag, arcade games, mini-golf, climbing, and a restaurant with a lounge! Forget about your worries and completely immerse yourself in all of the fun that these awesome places have to offer! Coming late 2023 – PopStroke! Soon you’ll be able to eat, drink, and putt next door to The University of Alabama Campus.
6. Tour Historic Homes
Historic Tuscaloosa works hard to preserve several historic homes located around Downtown Tuscaloosa. Tuesday through Saturday, guests can enjoy free tours of The Old Tavern, the Battle-Friedman House, and the Jemison-Van de Graaff Mansion. Additionally, people can tour the Murphy-Collins House and the McGuire-Strickland House by appointment and for special occasions.
There is hardly any southern town without some spectacular artifacts of the antebellum era that saw a rise in highbrow architecture. Tuscaloosa is home to several great examples of these palatial townhomes to showcase the beauty of the historic homes in Alabama. The Battle-Friedman house along Greensboro Avenue started as a townhouse for the wealthy plantation family, the Battles. After a devastating loss of finances from the civil war, the family sold the house and it became the family estate for the Friedman’s. The Hungarian family brought a great deal of success and growth to the city. In the 60s, the patriarch Hugo Friedman exchanged his home for the Jemison to be donated to the city’s library, while the Battle-Friedman would be gifted to the city. The land behind the mansion would be given to the YMCA to construct their new campus, and the house became a museum with Historic Tuscaloosa. Tours are given Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to noon, and from 1 to 4 pm. Admission is $5 per person while children under 12 are free.
Five Interesting Facts about The Battle-Friedman House
1. According to legend, the house was saved from being burned by union soldiers when Mrs. Battle stayed behind at the house during the war and with her slaves used her southern hospitality to welcome both union and confederate soldiers. The union men were so pleased they spared the home in return for some R&R.
2. The gardens along the grounds can trace their roots back to England. A British landscape architect who had drawn up plans for several manors in the countryside was brought to Tuscaloosa to plan the gardens of the Battle House. The gardens over time were lost but in the 90s they rediscovered the original layout a rebuilt them.
3. Currently, when you drive past you’ll notice the bright pastel pinkish orange façade. While from a distance it resembles pink marble, its actually an old technique is done to paint the front so it has the appearance of marble but is simply just an illusion done to cut costs of using more expensive materials.
4. Like many historic homes, the mansion went through a massive renovation from its more simplistic Federal style, to its current Greek revival. The temple front and a major addition to the back of the house expanded its size and style to reflect the growth of wealth, and you can see the change when you look at the sides where there’s a clear line from the construction.
5. Inside, you will notice the ornate and heavily detailed ceiling molds; they were handcrafted by one of the slaves. The work was so impressive that legend has it he was brought down to Montgomery to work on molds for the Capitol building.
If you want to learn more about The Battle-Friedman House or set up a tour of the beautiful house and gardens, you can contact Historic Tuscaloosa by clicking HERE!