Tourism leaders, hospitality partners and elected officials from across the state of Alabama will converge in Tuscaloosa for the highly anticipated 2024 Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism, scheduled to take place at the Bryant Conference Center and Hotel Capstone from July 27-30, 2024.

The event, hosted by Visit Tuscaloosa and Alabama Travel Council, in partnership with the Alabama Tourism Department, is expected to draw approximately 250 attendees, including representatives from statewide attractions, hotels, convention and visitors bureaus, marketing firms, and other hospitality professionals. Programming will provide informational and educational sessions along with a platform for networking and collaboration on strategies to elevate tourism in the state.

Kelsey Rush, President and CEO of Visit Tuscaloosa, emphasized the significance of the conference, stating, “Tourism is not only vital to our economy but also serves as a vehicle for showcasing the unique culture, heritage and hospitality of Tuscaloosa. The Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism presents an exceptional opportunity for us to highlight our city’s attractions and amenities while fostering collaboration within the industry.”

The full agenda for the programming will be announced in coming weeks.

“We are thrilled to welcome our tourism peers from across the state to experience firsthand the warmth and hospitality for which Tuscaloosa is renowned,” added Rush.

In addition to the conference sessions, attendees will have the opportunity to partake in a special welcome reception at The Zone, experience the Bryant Museum, and will have the opportunity to discover the charm and allure of Tuscaloosa outside of conference hours. The conference also serves as an opportunity for the Alabama Association of DMO’s to raise money for in-state college scholarships, which will be awarded during the conference.

In 2023, the travel and tourism industry, which includes leisure and group visitors, was responsible for more than 10,400 jobs in Tuscaloosa County. The 2.8 million visitors also pumped a record-breaking $999.5 million into the local economy.

Written By: Elisa Johnson

It’s tee time in Tuscaloosa. The greens are at peak emerald, the trees have leafed out into the perfect pools of shade along the fairways, and it’s warm enough to appreciate a crisp sip of a cold beverage while someone else takes a swing. 

Grab your three best friends for three or four days of laid back fun in Tee-Town. The variety of courses (for golf and meals) and the easy flow of summer, set the right atmosphere for your golf getaway. Book your stay in one of our many hotels that lets you make the most of your evenings too.

Arrival Day

4:00 P.M. 

After you’ve checked into your lodgings in the afternoon, there’s still time to make it to The Dells Golf Club ($$) for a twilight round. This semi-private course is a great one to break in your stride and kick off the fun you and your friends are ready for. 

7:30 P.M. 

On your way back into town, stop at Jalapeño’s Mexican Grill for a local treat and let the loser buy a pitcher of margaritas for the party. Not too many though – you need to tuck in early for tomorrow morning’s tee time. 

Day 2

6:30 A.M.

Up and at ‘em! You’ll want to grab an old-fashioned breakfast at The Historic Waysider Restaurant before your 7:30 a.m. tee time at Tall Pines Golf Club ($). Tucked away in Tuscaloosa’s older Woodland Forrest neighborhood, the semi-private club offers recently resurfaced greens that are perfect for the morning.

Noon

While you’re in this area of town, swing by the OG Dreamland Bar-B-Que location for lunch. Built in 1958 by founder John “Big Daddy” Bishop himself, the original location has the experience as it was meant to be. 

Now that you’re fueled up on sweet tea and banana pudding, let’s go!

2:00 P.M.

Indian Hills Country Club ($$$) is a member-only course in the heart of Tuscaloosa. Recently redesigned with the thinking golfer in mind, it may be worth your while to tour this one for membership. 

If that’s not your speed, let’s proceed on to Ol’ Colony Golf Complex ($$) operated by Tuscaloosa County Park & Recreation Authority. This champion of a course is rated in Alabama’s top ten by GolfWeek and includes a driving range to work on that swing. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon. 

7:00 P.M.

You’ve spent all day on the turf; it’s time to enjoy some surf. Head to River or Chuck’s Fish for an enticing fish entrée and delightful selection of drinks. Or if you’re hankering for something else, downtown’s assortment of restaurants offers something for everyone. 

Day 3

8:00-10:00 A.M.

After playing all day yesterday, you deserve a morning of leisure. Enjoy your comfortable hotel room before joining the gang for breakfast. Babes Donut Co. and Just Love Coffee are delicious options within an easy stroll downtown. It’s a great morning to visit a museum, walk around The University of Alabama campus, or enjoy the Riverwalk

10:30 A.M.

The Links at Tuscaloosa ($) lies in the southeast corner of the city. Belonging to the Lindsey Golf Network, this serene course offers rolling greens along Mimosa Lake, a driving range, and a pro shop. 

2:00 P.M.

Time for a late lunch or grab a snack and drop off your equipment. You might even want to take this time for a little nap, because for our last night, we’re really going to have fun…

6:00-11:00 P.M.

It’s a good time for all! You and the gang better be ready for some friendly wagers and a night of laughs as you take on Tuscaloosa’s newest golf venture, PopStroke ($-$$). With two miniature golf courses, a full-service menu, and green delivery, this is all you need for a last hurrah before leaving town tomorrow. 

Day 4

8:00 A.M.

After a late night out and a drive home ahead of you today, start the day at Big Bad Breakfast for a bounty of Southern favorites and coffee. 

9:30 A.M.

If you’re a Troon Privé member and have one more game of golf left in you, then we saved the best for last. Check out early and head to the private NorthRiver Yacht Club ($$$). This premiere location is the only course on Lake Tuscaloosa, offering manicured greens, professional services and an elite experience.

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

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 passes.visittuscaloosa.com.

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 bryantmuseum.com.

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.

Tuscaloosa is rolling into a season of change as new Alabama Football Coach Kalen DeBoer prepares to make his Crimson Tide coaching debut in the annual spring A-Day game on April 13, 2024. DeBoer has big shoes to fill after legendary Alabama coach Nick Saban announced his retirement following a dominant 16 season career at the Capstone. Tide fans from across the country are expected to flock to the Druid City for the most highly anticipated A-Day game since Saban’s first in 2007.

So, if you’re one of those people coming into town, we have a lot more “new” for you to experience while you’re here! Here are five new things to do in Title Town since last year’s spring game:

Cocktail Collection: If you roll into town Friday evening before the game on Saturday, chances are you might need a drink after your travel day… and do we have a treat for you! Cocktail Collection is a new speakeasy that opened along University Boulevard in late 2023. The upbeat lounge hides behind a vintage Pepsi door! This is where guests put in a code provided via social media to gain entrance into the speakeasy. Cocktail Collection offers a casual outdoor atmosphere as well as swanky, leather couch indoor seating. Appetizers are also offered alongside the craft cocktails! Find them on Instagram at @cocktail_collection_tcl .

Ben’s Bread: There’s no doubt you’ll need a hearty breakfast to get you ready for the big game! We’re sending you to Ben’s Bread! While his delectable breads and treats are not new to our area, Ben Rosairo recently opened a brick-and-mortar location at 3510 Loop Rd in Tuscaloosa. He and his family moved to Tuscaloosa in 2016 from England. West Alabamians have been picking up their favorite baked goods from Rosairo at the weekly Tuscaloosa Farmers Market for years, but now he’s excited to have a storefront where customers can come to enjoy his creations! Ben’s naturally leavened sourdough breads, bagels, croissants and donuts have never tasted better than they do from the patio of his new location. Follow him at @bensbreadtuscaloosa .

Zaria: If you’re looking for just the right A-Day ensemble, check out Tuscaloosa’s newest boutique, Zaria. Tucked away just across from Government Plaza in the heart of Downtown Tuscaloosa, Zaria offers clothing, accessories, and footwear. They just opened in March of 2024! Owner Mira Milburn says she created her boutique with inspiration from Zaria, the Slavic goddess of beauty usually represented as a triad of goddesses: dawn, mid-day and dusk. The Zaria team will help you create transitional looks, so you feel confident from morning to night. Follow them on Instagram at @shopxzaria .

Popstroke: We hope you’re not “sportsed” out after the A-Day game, because our next new stop is definitely above par. The Tiger Woods-backed concept merges miniature golf, technology and casual dining into a fun-filled experience for the entire family. You’ll find an expansive variety of craft beer, wine, ice cream, and food to enjoy on or off the courses. PopStroke infuses technology within the golf experience to create an interactive and competitive atmosphere for all participants. Unique to PopStroke is the PopStroke App and jumbotron leaderboard. Each guest keeps a PopStroke TaylorMade commemorative ball with their round of golf. Follow them on Instagram at @popstroke .
           

Big Bad Breakfast:  To fuel up for your trip home, you’re gonna’ need to start your day off strong with a good breakfast! Here’s where one of our newest restaurants enters the chat. Big Bad Breakfast lives up to its name. Located at 520 19TH Ave in downtown Tuscaloosa, their meals are BIG and bad—in the best way. BBB, which opened its doors in February of this year, serves up breakfast and lunch classics with their own southern flare! Follow them on Instagram at @tuscaloosa_bigbadbreakfast .

                  While on your way out of town, we hope you’ll reflect on a weekend of good food, new shopping, fun experiences, and football that meets the Alabama standard! Remember, this is just a short list of the many new and wonderful things happening around our community! To keep up with the latest buzz in Tuscaloosa County, follow Visit Tuscaloosa on social media!  Facebook: Visit Tuscaloosa Instagram: @visittuscaloosa TikTok: @visittuscaloosa

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 passes.visittuscaloosa.com 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 passes.visittuscaloosa.com 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 tuscaloosagauntlet.com. 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 www.tuscaloosagauntlet.com.

Celebrating Black History Month can look different for everyone, but one of our favorite ways to recognize and honor this special time is to prioritize supporting Black business owners. We’ve created a weekend itinerary highlighting just some of the amazing Black-owned businesses right here in Tuscaloosa County.

Let’s just say you come into town on a Friday and get settled in to where you’re staying between mid and late afternoon. If you want to check out a few downtown spots before dinner, we know just where to send you.

Walking around Tuscaloosa’s Downtown area is a wonderful experience on any day, but if you can make your stroll while drinking a fresh-made smoothie from The Veganish Market, that’s a real treat. The Veganish menu caters not only to the vegan community but also to vegetarians, pescatarians, flexitarians, and those transitioning into a plant-based lifestyle.

On your walk downtown, it’s worth your while to pop in the Paul R. Jones Museum. Paul Raymond Jones (1928-2010) was considered by many to be one of the top 100 art collectors in the country. Jones donated thousands of pieces to the College of Arts and Sciences at The University of Alabama to preserve the legacy of African American artists. The Paul R. Jones Museum is also a classroom for the arts, where students from kindergarten to college experience learning in a new and exciting environment. 

From there, you’re only blocks away from one of Tuscaloosa’s newest Black-owned businesses. Only Ones is retail store backed by Chicago White Sox star and Tuscaloosa native Tim Anderson. The shop is a great place to find unique and stylish casual wear.

Now it’s dinner time, and boy do we have a treat for you. One of Tuscaloosa’s most popular restaurants is Urban Bar and Kitchen. USA Today named UBK one of the 47 best restaurants in the entire country for 2024! Their motto is, “This must be the place,” and it is! This is one of those places where everything is good: seafood, pasta, salads, handhelds…all of it! We recommend you start with the Bacon Bombs for an appetizer, the UBK Pasta and / or the salmon for entrees, and end your meal on a sweet note with their White Chocolate Bread Pudding.

If you’re not ready for bed just yet, Cutter’s Cigars in Northport offers an upscale lounge experience. Enjoy a delicious cocktail along a fine cigar from the extensive Cutter’s collection.

If you’re an early riser, we suggest hitting the Tuscaloosa Farmers Market first thing Saturday morning. Visit locally Black-owned businesses such as Poppin’ Sisters, Araya Sunshine Candle Company, Blessed Bites, and more. You can even grab some breakfast while you’re there!

Now it’s time to explore! The state of Alabama has a rich Civil Rights history, with some of those chapters coming from here in the Druid City. The downtown portion of the Tuscaloosa Civil Rights History Trail is walkable. It focuses on events surrounding “Bloody Tuesday” and much more. On Tuesday, June 9, 1964, one year after Gov. George C. Wallace, Jr.’s “Stand in the Schoolhouse Door” at the University of Alabama failed to block the arrival of two Black students, a group of peaceful citizens gathered at the First African Baptist Church to march to the new courthouse in protest of its segregated features. Ignoring warnings not to march by local law enforcement, hundreds followed the leader of the movement in Tuscaloosa and pastor of First African, Rev. T. Y Rogers, Jr., and hit the streets. They didn’t get very far. Police and members of the Ku Klux Klan attacked the marchers as they spilled out of the church, swinging night clubs and cattle prods and firing tear gas into the church itself. Many of the wounded were treated at the nearby Howard-Linton Barbershop. Thirty-three were sent to Druid City Hospital; ninety-four were arrested and jailed. All charges were subsequently dismissed, but no formal apologies were ever issued. You can find out more information about the trail by visiting their website here.

After taking in the history Downtown Tuscaloosa has, you’ve probably worked up an appetite.

Here’s where you have the hard choice between Archibald’s and Catfish Heaven.

The staff at Archibald’s serves their primary fare with bread and a choice of two sides—fried green tomatoes offer a tangy counterpoint to fried catfish, and slaw adds a creamy balance to the spicy flavors of half-chickens and hot wings.

Located in Tuscaloosa’s historic West End only a few minutes from the University of Alabama, sits Catfish Heaven. You can’t miss their bright yellow building! Staying true to its name, the restaurant is famous for its catfish, but also their wings!

A pro-tip from us would be to choose one of these staples for lunch and the other for dinner! Keep in mind, Catfish Heaven closes at 7:00 pm central.

Ladies, if you’re looking to a little more shopping, step inside Thrifty Charm Boutique. With a love for unique fashion, this boutique offers a range of beautiful and quality pieces at affordable prices. Whether you’re looking for a stylish outfit for a night, out or a comfortable yet chic look for everyday wear, Thrifty Charm Boutique has you covered!

Tuscaloosa is home to two Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Stillman College and Shelton State Community College. You can schedule tours on their campuses through their linked websites.

After all this walking and touring, you are likely ready to sink into some relaxation.  A Gray”ceful Touch Massage & Yoga offers a variety of therapeutic massages and yoga classes that will have you thanking yourself for booking them!

On your way out of town, we highly recommend taking a little piece of Tuscaloosa with you. Whether it’s savory or sweet, you’ll find just that at Bobbie’s Bakery. They’re are a family-owned bakery and catering service. The motto there is, “Nothing fancy, just good Southern cooking!” 

Supporting Black-owned businesses like these all year promotes diversity, uplifts representation, increases visibility, and stimulates economic development.

More Black-Owned Businesses in our area can be found here.

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

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
Website: ttowntinsel.com
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
Website: https://holidaysontheplaza.com/

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.
Website: https://midtownvillagetuscaloosa.com

Halaritas
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
Website: https://ua.universitytickets.com/w/event.aspx?id=5613

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
Website: https://tuscaloosachildrenstheatre.net/tickets

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
Website: ttowntinsel.com
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
Website: https://www.tcpara.org/west-alabama-christmas-parade
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
Website: https://www.etix.com/ticket/o/9232/tuscaloosacommunitydancers

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
Website: ttowntinsel.com
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
Website: https://opera.music.ua.edu/2023-2024-season/

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
Website: https://www.tsoonline.org/20222023-season

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
Website: ttowntinsel.com
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!