With summer at its peak, you might be looking for a quick family getaway with the kiddos before school starts again, and we think Tuscaloosa is the perfect spot!  That’s why we have pulled together some family-friendly activities that will leave everyone smiling, and make the planning much easier.  Tuscaloosa has so much to offer for any age and it’s our goal to share those stories! While some of the items listed are taking place this weekend, our email is packed with things to do at any time! Be sure to tag @VisitTuscaloosa in any photos you take when you’re having fun at these local gems.

 

Paul W. Bryant Museum

The Paul W. Bryant Museum opened its doors to the public on October 8, 1988. The museum exhibits artifacts and memorabilia that trace the long history of University of Alabama football. State-of-the-art displays enhanced by videos highlighting great players, plays, and games are produced from the museum’s archives. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Members and children under 5 are free, Adults: $5, Children (K-12): $3. Free admission to UA faculty, staff, and students! The Bryant Museum has moved to an online ticketing system.  To make a reservation please click below.

This shelter has a program called Happy Hour where you can take a dog out for a day. This benefits the dog by getting some fresh air and exercise, but it is also guaranteed to brighten up your day. Check an approved dog out between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday or Tuesday or Thursday through Saturday. There are only a couple rules you must follow while participating in this program.  You must be over 18 to participate, do not allow the animal off-leash, stay with the dog at all times, only one dog per car, and return the furry friend by 5:00 p.m.

 

Metro Animal Shelter

This shelter has a program called Happy Hour where you can take a dog out for a day. This benefits the dog by getting some fresh air and exercise, but it is also guaranteed to brighten up your day. Check an approved dog out between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday or Tuesday or Thursday through Saturday. There are only a couple rules you must follow while participating in this program.  You must be over 18 to participate, do not allow the animal off-leash, stay with the dog at all times, only one dog per car, and return the furry friend by 5:00 p.m.

 

Explore the Galapagos at CHOM

Explore the Galapagos at Children’s Hands-on Museum! Sail down to The Galapagos Islands and learn about this amazing ecosystem through crafts, activities, and games! All guests over two (2+) years must wear museum-approved masks from entry to exit. This event is a safe distancing event. Visitors are limited. Before you embark on this journey, learn more information below.

 

Taco Casa

It is difficult to capture all of the incredible foods available in Tuscaloosa, but there is one, in particular, that is a staple of our community: Taco Casa! Young and old adore this local treasure not only because of its delicious food but also for the laid-back environment and exceptional customer service. Whether you are craving a taco salad, a burrito, or the delicious taco burger, Taco Casa guarantees a positive experience for all.

 

Ladyelines Art Garage

This garage is just what this community needed, new and really exciting. The need for a place for children, babies, and adults alike to explore art through unstructured opportunities in an inspiring environment. Whether you want to go to a Parents Night Out event or bring your child to one of their painting classes, this place is perfect for encouraging learning and experiencing safe, new things. They even host birthday parties and have an Open Play to make sure every child is exhausted by the end of the day. Parents? You’re welcome.

 

Bowlero Tuscaloosa

Bowlero has reinvented bowling with inventive dining, sports, entertainment, and recreational games. Grab your family and join the party! They have great food, a fun atmosphere, arcade, lounge seating, epic eats, and stellar design. No matter how old your kiddos are fun can be found around every corner.

      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 models, the Alabama Museum of Natural History is a perfect place to visit with its ancient fossils and many other exciting things to discover!

      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 that is now featuring Good Trouble: Civil Rights Past and Present. In the heart of downtown Tuscaloosa lies another local gem: Paul R. Jones Gallery. Currently, the exhibition Mario Andres Robinson- A Brush with Time is on display. The Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center is another great place to explore on a rainy day. Their gallery hours are 1-3 pm Monday – Friday and this week, they show the Tuscaloosa County Schools Art Exhibit!

      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. For example, the local chain Turbo Coffee,  Monarch Espresso Bar downtown, or the new kid on the block  Just Love Coffee. Choose any of these and you won’t be disappointed!

      4. Brewery

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. These local treasures have the coolest merchandise to brighten up your wardrobe today!

      5. Shindig

Shindig Family Entertainment Center is another excellent option for rainy days like today. This is your one-stop entertainment center with bowling, laser tag, arcade games, mini-golf, and a restaurant with a lounge! Forget about your worries and completely immerse yourself in all of the family fun that this awesome place has to offer!

 

As April comes to a close, events here in Tuscaloosa are slowly starting to pick back up. This weekend is going to be one for the books because we have a boatload of fun for all ages in-store. Whether you are relaxing on a rooftop bar or enjoying music at Shindig, you’re bound to have an unforgettable weekend in the one and only Tuscaloosa.

 

Thursday concerts on The Rooftop

Christian Hayes will be performing this Thursday at Hotel Indigo’s The Rooftop. Enjoy the free concert and happy hour from 5-7 with $2 domestics, $4 wells, and $5 house wines. They are smoke-free & remember – pet-friendly! Now you don’t have to leave your furry friend at home on your night out! Live music is making a comeback and you don’t want to miss this!

 

Graduation

Congrats to all of the Spring 2021 graduates of The University of Alabama! This is no easy accomplishment, so enjoy every moment as you walk across that stage to receive your diploma this weekend. Don’t forget to stop by the Supe Store afterward for alumni gear so you can continue to represent the Crimson Tide! Return to the capstone every now and then, because it will always be your home. 

 

Tuscaloosa Farmers Market

Get your weekend fix of artisan bread, farm-fresh vegetables, and fabulous finds from your local small business owners at this weekend’s farmers market. The Tuscaloosa Farmers Market takes place this Saturday, May 1, from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. Don’t feel like leaving the comfort of your vehicle but want to still indulge in uniquely local goods? Curbside delivery is also an option! Remember, you can’t buy happiness but you can buy local!

 

CHOM

Join the Children Hands-on Museum for a Superhero Meet and Greet! Hurry down to CHOM to get autographs, pose for pictures and receive a superhero goody bag! Costumes are welcome! Pre-Registration is required. $15 per person. This is a safe socially distant event with visitor limits to ensure everyone’s safety.

 

Live Concert Series

Don’t miss the Alabama Blues Project’s 2021 Live Concert Series at Shindig Family Entertainment Center on May 1st, September 4th, and December 11th at 7 pm! General admission is FREE! *Please wear masks and adhere to social distancing guidelines. In addition to live music, you also have bowling, axe throwing,mini-golfing, and an arcade all within reach! This activity would be great for the kiddos as well!

Sometimes you want to take a dip outside of your normal community pool that is, oftentimes than not, swarmed with others who have the same “beat the heat” ideas like you! Tuscaloosa and the surrounding area are home to many secret and not-so-secret swimming spots that will make you feel like you’ve escaped the kiddie pool area and entered an oasis in your own backyard! Here are 8 of the best swimming spots in the Tuscaloosa area:

 

  1. Hurricane Creek 
Hurricane Creek Park located on Highway 216 is a local favorite for cooling down in Tuscaloosa’s scorching sun. Hurricane Creek Park is open to the public from dawn to dusk. This spot is a wonderful place to explore native plants and aquatic wildlife, or spend time enjoying nature and soaking up the sun with friends and family! Visitors are encouraged to wear rubber-soled shoes so that they will not slip on the shale which exists along part of the stream. The water is usually deep enough to do some serious swimming if you’re up for it! If not, there is a shallow, flat end to sit, relax, and unwind!

 

  1. The Cliffs at Lake Nicol
Beyond the Lake Nicol Spillway near North River lies The Cliffs at Lake Nicol. This lake is relatively small, but packs a big punch when it comes to fun in the sun and aquatic activities! While its swimming holes are a crowd-pleaser, Lake Nicol is also known as a great beginner’s spot for those who want to canoe. Beware, this location is called “The Cliffs” for a reason, but do not get too caught up in the lure of thrilling excitement. There is a $500 fine for those who take their chances and jump off of Lake Nicol’s cliffs. Plus, this is extremely unsafe, so you’re better off wading in the waters with the rest of the smarty-pants!

 

  1. Payne Lake
Payne Lake is one of the lesser-known isolated gems of Tuscaloosa. Located off County Road 71, Payne Lake offers a perfect shallow swimming spot that is perfect for water activities and picnicking. While this location is one of the few that is a little bit of a drive from the heart of Tuscaloosa, escaping the city can come with its perks! Tucked conveniently within the Talledega National Forest, Payne Lake is the picture-perfect campground scene with its tranquil waters, boating, and fishing activities. We promise this swimming spot is worth the drive! Wake up early to pack a lunch and head on out to make a full day out of Payne Lake!

 

  1. Lake Lurleen State Park
Lake Lurleen is a Tuscaloosa icon for its hiking trails and fishing spots, but it also is home to a perfect sandy lakefront beach! Beat the heat when you head over to its waterfront to have a relaxing day on the “beach”! Lake Lurleen’s swimming spots are open from 7 am to 9 pm every day so you can be ready for the heatwave all day! Admission to the state park is $3 per adult/$1 for children and seniors (children under age 6 admitted free)

 

  1. Lake Harris
Lake Harris has been a famous swimming spot for University of Alabama students for decades, and for a great reason! Hosting high cliffs, two dams, hiking trails, a beach, and lots of water to swim, you’ll never get bored of this Tuscaloosa hotspot! Lake Harris is a tranquil place to relax, swim with friends, and enjoy a sunset picnic. The swimming area is open one hour prior to sunrise and an hour after sunset. Make the most out of your sweltering day with a little swimming with friends!

 

  1. Lake Tuscaloosa
By now, we all know that Lake Tuscaloosa is a hotbed for fun outdoor activities! Surrounded by hills and southern pines, Lake Tuscaloosa is a scenic spot to lay out and sunbathe or relax on a boat with friends and family. While this lake is popular with boats and watercraft, that doesn’t mean you still can’t enjoy the water on your own! Or if you are feeling adventurous, and have your boating license, you can rent a pontoon boat of your own to take on the open waters! Pier 43 on Lake Tuscaloosa has various boats to choose from to make sure you have the best fit for your sun-filled day!

 

  1. The Harrison Taylor Splash Pad
While the Harrison Taylor Splash Pad is not a nature-filled natural swimming hole, it is still an outdoor aquatic adventure for your little ones! The splash pad offers many water devices to keep your kids cool and entertained while the heat is high! Staying out of the sun is also a convenience thanks to the many shaded pavilions surrounding the Harrison Taylor Splash Pad. The park is open from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m six days a week and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Grab a cooler and head on over!

 

  1. UA Arboretum
We can’t forget our furry friends when the heat starts to rise! Puppies deserve to cool off too and the University of Alabama Arboretum is the perfect spot for you and your pup to take a walk and cool off! Before Tuscaloosa’s official dog park opened, UA’s Arboretum served the area’s residents looking to burn off some extra energy. The pond, located a short walk from the entrance, still serves as an unofficial dog park of sorts, and you can often find several dogs and their owners staying cool in the water and playing fetch by the pond’s side!

Growing up, we all ordered chicken fingers off the kid’s menu- this is probably where our adult obsession with the meal still resides. Fear not, there’s nothing to be ashamed of! Fried chicken fingers are more than a childhood staple, they are a pick-me-up food, a “remind me of home” food, and of course a good option for some after drinks food with your buddies! Have you ever wondered about which chicken fingers in Tuscaloosa hold the ultra-exclusive title of being the best? Well look no further my friends, we have three options here that will make you wonder: Which is worth it?

 

Guthrie’s – $5.76

Alabama loves Guthrie’s. Like, I mean LOVES Guthrie’s to an unhealthy obsession. Fast-food chicken fingers can be iffy, but Guthrie’s does it right every single time and for only around $5. The golden fried chicken fingers are incredibly tender and have the perfect amount of fried crispiness on the outside. Plus, they have their “secret sauce” which sounds mysterious as always but is sheer perfection. It is not too sweet or too salty and tastes like a mixture of mayo, ketchup, and garlic- which initially doesn’t sound prize-winning, but obviously, they are doing something right if people rant and rave about it! Being around for over 50 years has gained Guthrie’s a notable presence in the whole state of Alabama. Pro tip: The workers in the back make sure you are getting the fried tenders straight out of the fryer, so be extremely careful before biting into one of these, or else you might accidentally hurt yourself. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

 

Hoos Q – $7

Yes, Hoos Q is known for its barbeque but they also have some seriously delicious chicken fingers! The Chicken Finger Plate is served with five hand-breaded tenders and served with their version of a “special sauce”. With 5 large chicken tenders, you will probably have enough to take home! The breaded tenders are juicy and perfectly cooked with a soft, easily tearable inside. Not too greasy, not too dry and the sauce is the perfect additive. This option is slightly more than Guthries, but you do get five big and flakey tenders. Any place with a “special sauce” seems to be a breadwinner so it’s no question why Hoos Q is a contender!

 

Southern Ale House – $8

Weighing in only slightly more than the other two is Southern Ale House’s chicken tenders. Of course, we are keeping up the theme with hand-breaded yumminess in our blog but there is a twist on these. Southern Ale House buttermilk brines their tenders before frying to add that extra punch of tenderness to the average chicken tender. Can you guess what else these are served with? If you thought of a special sauce, you’re a winner! The “Slap ‘Yo Mamma” sauce is a light tangy take on the average condiment choices. These tenders are perfectly fried, but definitely not dry. If you’re looking for a good crunch to chicken ratio, Southern Ale House might be in your cards!

 

Quite honestly, we all love chicken and would probably eat chicken fingers on Thanksgiving if it were socially acceptable! All of these restaurants are well known for their takes on classic chicken tenders. Guthrie’s is a long-time classic in the state of Alabama and has a history of serving up good meals and deals. Hoos Q shows us that it’s not all about barbeque and that they can serve up a mean chicken tender basket. Southern Ale House serves up a marinated, crunchy chicken tender that seems to be a fan favorite as well. We know there cannot simply be one “best” of anything in this town, but we are thankful to have so many options within our community!

 

Agree with any of our three? Let us know! Have a rebuttal? Share with us your top chicken tender spot in Tuscaloosa!

Arts and Entertainment

Thursday Concerts on the Rooftop is featuring One Horrible Family this week! Originally a larger band formed two years ago, this group preferred a more intimate trio. All music students at the University of Alabama (one a former student), the group is capable of really any genre but performs mostly R&B, 80s music, and jazz. With most of their experience being in larger bars in Tuscaloosa, they are excited to relax at the Lookout for a night of rhythm and soul. The fun starts at 6 pm, and you do not want to miss this! 

 

Jump into the holiday spirit with the arts at the exclusive Christmas Open House at Kentuck’s Gallery Shop! Enjoy 10% OFF IN-STORE AND ONLINE! Join the holiday fun at Kentuck’s Christmas Kickoff Open House from 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday, November 7, and from 12 to 4 pm on Sunday, November 8. Support local artists this holiday season and find unique gifts for all of your loved ones! Use code CHRISTMASOPEN2020 for 10% off our online shop!

 

Fun for the Youngsters

On Friday Para will be hosting Kids Night Out at 5:30 pm at the McDonald Hughes Community Center! The Kids Night Out event will keep the kiddos busy for 3 hours of educational and recreational fun! Pizza, juice, and dessert will be available for all participants to enjoy throughout the event. There will be swimming so make sure to pack swimwear, dry clothes, and a towel. Life jackets will be provided when needed. Registration for this fall fling is available here.

 

The Children’s Hands-On Museum of Tuscaloosa is hosting Sweater Weather on Saturday from 9:30 am- 4 pm. CHOM is a beloved local gem where children explore, create, and discover every time they visit. When they say “hands-on” they really mean it! Learning through play is what our exhibits are all about. This special seasonal extravaganza will include autumn weather science, leaf color experiments, and fantastic fall wreaths! All of these engaging activities are included in admission.

 

Uniquely Local

At 7 am this Saturday the farmers market will be open and ready to safely serve you! Handmade treasures galore awaits at the Rivermarket until 12 pm. From scented bath bombs to handmade woodwork you are bound to find something that piques your interest at the farmers market. Face coverings are required for all who wish to go inside and shop and social distancing will be in effect. 

 

Also available on Saturday is an Intro to Vinyasa Workshop at the Yoga Bliss Studio. Vinyasa is a form of active yoga that involves different postures in consecutive succession to offer a more balanced bodily effect. Yoga is an activity that is diverse in its styles and Vinyasa yoga is considered to be one of the most dynamic styles you can enjoy! Yoga Bliss is located on Queen City Avenue and hosts several classes a week, including many similar introduction classes for all yoga beginners! For more information about the Vinyasa Workshop, visit the Yoga Bliss Facebook event page.

 

The House Plant Collective bus will be making a special appearance at Druid City Brewing on Sunday from 2- 5 pm. At House Plant Collective the mission is to create Birmingham’s first mobile plant store while providing the community education needed for the plants to thrive. Shop plants, grab a beer, and enjoy your serene Sunday supporting local!

 

Written By:

Will Baggett & Jamie Hoven

PETrifying Places

Lake Tuscaloosa has everything you need for an unforgettable lake day with friends, family, and fluffy companions. This local hangout has certainly earned its reputation as a fantastic fishing spot with bass, sunfish, crappie, and more! If fishing isn’t for you, stand on the shore, hike the lake’s cliffs, or simply take in the captivating views with your pet by your side! Everyone is bound to have a blast in this comfortable cozy weather. Only a short drive from the city, this lake makes pairing a morning out in nature with Rama Jama’s iconic Southern breakfast unbelievably easy. This sport-centric bar & grill serves a variety of American eats, including all-day breakfast, sandwiches & shakes!

 

Across the river and north of downtown Northport, you’ll find one of PARA’s many phenomenal developments: The Van De Graff Arboretum. This 33-acre beauty has it all, from freshwater ponds and protected swamplands to porch-style swings and a historic bridge over a peaceful creek. This park splendidly showcases the natural southern beauty Tuscaloosians (and their furry friends) admire and cherish. The hidden gem within the park is the reused 1882 King Bowstring Bridge mentioned previously. Once used to cross the Black Warrior, it closed in 1896, slowly becoming forgotten until the park reclaimed it. With surreal views and unforgettable places to explore Van de Graff makes for a picturesque place for your next fall picnic!

 

Spooky Shopping Spaces

Immerse yourself into your character this weekend by stepping into the past and finding your one-of-a-kind halloweekend costume at some of our incredible, local antique stores! Druid City Vintage opened at the end of last year and already has the potential for an instant T-Town “must-do”. Whether it’s a Jimi Hendrix tee or a Vintage Handheld (and still working) Basketball Game that will put the perfect finishing touch on your Halloween costume, you’re bound to leave this gold mine smiling.

 

Twice as Nice is another local thrift/consignment shop that blesses this community. This gem has been in business for 20 years in its current location with over 16,000 clients. Specializing in high-end designer clothing, furniture, and antiques this spot is another go-to for finding a creative and unique last-minute costume!

 

Formidable Football and more Frightening Fall Functions

Para is hosting BOO! in the park this Friday, which is a two-part spooky extravaganza including Trick or Treat Trails and a Halloween Double Feature! Bring your blankets and lawn chairs and round up the whole family for this night of fun! Hotel Transylvania will begin at 6:30 pm and Hocus Pocus will begin at 8:30 pm. Social distancing will be enforced, please wear your mask. Enter through the Sokol Park entrance off of Ol’ Colony Road. Gates open at 5:30. Food trucks and concessions available.

 

BeWEAR of the $100 Surprise Giveaway we’ve been cooking up. Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports has teamed up with FIVE bar to raise Mask Awearness AND make your Friday even better! Our red SUV (with our logo on it, you can’t miss it) will be parked in front of this local favorite at 5:30 pm tomorrow wearing, you guessed it, a face mask! Follow the instructions displayed on the windshield for a chance to win a $100 Gift Card to FIVE! You can go ahead and solidify the plans you made to kick off the weekend early with drinks and grub right after work. Enjoy fine dining and shoot your shot for a chance to win a $100 Gift Card to an iconic Tuscaloosa restaurant!

 

Don’t stop the fun after FIVE because Twelve25 will be hosting a Fright Night Halloween Costume Competition this Friday! Wear your iconic costume for a chance to win $50, $100, or $200 AND VIP access for 8! This is an adult Halloween celebration you definitely don’t want to miss, starting at 8 pm. World of Beer is also having several specials starting TONIGHT exclusively for this Halloweekend.

 

Here it is, the moment you’ve all been waiting for…Get your Terrifying Tide Pride on for Saturday night at 6 pm as the Crimson Tide faces the Bulldogs! Hoop, holler and have a full-out hoot cheering on the Bama Family this weekend. For everyone’s safety, many updates have been made for the 2020 season. Head to The University of Alabama’s 2020 Gameday Information Page for all the details. If you are looking for more updates regarding the Alabama Crimson Tide Game Day Experience read the article here!

This Halloweekend be smart, wear a mask, and enjoy Rolling with the Tide!

 

**Masks and social distancing required for ALL events.

 

Written by: Jamie Hoven

Now is the prime time to make the most out of your experience in Tuscaloosa! With the leaves beginning to transition into their Autumn attire, we are so excited to showcase just how beautiful this city is, especially this time of year. We have all kinds of different activities to enjoy this special season in T-Town, from monster celebrations at the Children’s Hands-On Museum to local pumpkin patch explorations. Need a little guidance? We’ve got you covered. The only job left to do is bask in the autumn feels as you get inspired by this week’s T-Town Weekend Itinerary!

 

SATURDAY:

Start off your gameday Saturday with a traditional T-Town breakfast at The Waysider, Tuscaloosa’s oldest restaurant in town! Once a regular stop for the great Bear Bryant, this classic local joint is located on Greensboro Avenue. Experience a bit of T-Town’s southern-style cooking with homemade biscuits, complimentary beignets (per request), or ham cooked to perfection. Not much of a breakfast person? No worries, The Waysider has delicious lunch items on the menu as well! Keep in mind that seating is limited, so be sure to budget for time as you may have to wait for a table! 

 

Alright, let’s address the elephant in the room. You more than likely have a good idea of how you’ll be spending your Saturday afternoon. No matter where you are or who you’re with, celebrate your Bama pride by rolling with the tide as they face the Tennessee Vols at 2:30 p.m. If showing off your SAFE Saturday setup is your style, feel free to tag us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!

 

It is no secret how we hope to be spending our Saturday evenings, so make sure you and your Crimson Tide Crew are stocked up on cigars! Tuscaloosa is home to several stellar cigar stores that are fully stocked and more than ready to celebrate with their patrons. Vitola Fine Cigars and R&R Cigars are some premier local spots to pick up exactly what you’ll need for this weekend: cigars galore for beginners and seasoned professionals alike! As always, be mindful of health considerations and implications to enjoy smoking tobacco safely.

 

Celebrate Record Store Day this weekend by visiting one of our local favorites: Oz Music. This gem is home to all kinds of vinyl, CDs, and accessories to enjoy your music, your way! Whether you are a beginner looking to buy your first record or an experienced disc jockey looking for the next album to add to your collection, Oz can help you out. With an incredible, throwback atmosphere this place is a phenomenal way to find your new favorite record and celebrate this timeless holiday!

 

Do YOU have what it takes to be a monster? This Saturday, the Children’s Hands-On Museum is hosting their very own Monster Mischief event for all admissions to the museum! Prepare for the Halloween holiday fun by discovering your inner monster and exploring the exciting exhibits of the Children’s Hands-On Museum. For more information about the museum itself and all the exciting events coming in the future, visit the museum’s website. Additionally, be sure to secure admission prior to arrival, and don’t forget your masks before you safely enjoy all the exhibits within the museum!

 

SUNDAY:

With gameday behind you and Halloween less than a week away, it is imperative to secure a pumpkin for proper spooky festivities. There are a few wonderful pumpkin patches around Tuscaloosa County where you can enjoy the crisp fall air while picking out your new pumpkin pal! Griffin Farms and Tuscaloosa Barnyard are both home to dozens of perfectly prepared pumpkins! Whether this fall activity is for you, your friends, or your kids, everyone is bound to enjoy celebrating this year’s spooky season the local way. Before arriving, check each pumpkin patch’s listed hours of operation to make sure you arrive in time – and don’t forget to pack your mask to safely browse through the pumpkin patches!

 

The City of Tuscaloosa has a history deeply-intertwined with the Civil Rights movement, and that presence remains all around Downtown Tuscaloosa. Traveling through history along the Civil Rights Trail is a great way to enjoy the great outdoors and discover the history and importance of the Civil Rights Movement to our community. Visit (website) to locate the markers located around Downtown Tuscaloosa and learn more about the lasting impact that the Civil Rights Movement has made on the history and people of the City of Tuscaloosa. Visit here to learn more about the Civil Rights Trail of Tuscaloosa and how you can find more and more resources regarding the Civil Rights Movement in Tuscaloosa.

 

#InternationalArtistDay is on Sunday AND Kentuck Virtual Market Place is open. You do the math. Shopping local artisans’ creations and learning more about their art are both great ways to show your support and celebrate this holiday! If you feel comfortable, check out The Kentuck Center, the home of the local art in Tuscaloosa. Visit their website and/or safely in person to not miss a beat on a one-of-a-kind Christmas shopping experience. Now is the time to show your support for all the incredible local artists that give such vibrant color to this beloved and unique community!

 

Written by:

Will Baggett

Jamie Hoven

Ahhhhh, October! The time for pumpkin-spiced lattes, hammocking, and celebrating the spooky season. But don’t stop there. Now is also the prime time to immerse yourself in different cultures to recognize their significant influence in our local community. With Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, steadily approaching, we wanted to highlight the Hispanic heritage that makes Tuscaloosa such an eclectic and unique town. This beautiful culture contributes significantly to various aspects of our lives, whether it be the music we listen to, the food we eat, or the art we cherish. Here in the City of Tuscaloosa, we want to honor and showcase the incredible Hispanic businesses and the overall importance of Hispanic culture to our community and its people.

 

Food: 

Many are familiar with Hispanic food options and may regularly visit them from time to time, but how authentic is the experience? Explore Hispanic heritage with your tastebuds by visiting the incredible Hispanic-owned restaurants all around T-Town! We have pooled together a list of Hispanic restaurants for patrons to enjoy delicious, authentic dishes around the clock, including Antojitos Izcalli, La Bomba, and Tienda La Michoacana. These restaurants feature a diverse offering of homemade Hispanic and Mexican dishes along with plenty more for you to discover and enjoy!

La Bamba, located on McFarland Boulevard, is a classic Mexican restaurant in town that features Hispanic dishes, a fantastic selection of margarita flavors, and family packs that make last-minute meals a breeze. Another local favorite is Antijitos Izcalli on the corner of McFarland Boulevard and Hargrove Road. This Hispanic-owned restaurant is guaranteed to blow your mind with exquisite and mouth-watering homemade dishes. Looking for a quick stop for some authentic Hispanic food? Carniceria Y Tienda La Mexican is the Mexican restaurant for you, featuring its own roaming food truck! This restaurant/food truck offers a menu of homemade Mexican dishes, from classic dishes like quesadillas and nachos to more adventurous tastes like authentic Mexican tamales.

 

Ice Cream:

Summer may be over, but there is never a wrong time to treat yourself to a frozen sweet! The two following locations are just a few of the many wonderful local Hispanic-owned businesses that offer a unique fusion of bold Hispanic tastes and classic ice cream flavors. Discover your new favorite treats to satisfy that sweet tooth at La Real Michoacana and Las Piñas! These ice cream shops are incredible places to experience authentic Hispanic frozen treats and to support Hispanic businesses in and around the one and only Tuscaloosa.

La Real Michoacana is an inventive ice cream and sweet treat stop that loves to explore and experiment with new flavors daily. They are even open to requests for new flavors they do not have on hand! Visit their Facebook page for more information about the delicious offerings and decadent new flavors featured at La Real Michoacana. Las Piñas is a family-owned business located near Bowlero that combines Mexican and American flavors into their 100% homemade frozen treats. With the incredible addition of Mexican flavors and spices, you can discover a new flavor profile that will blow you away!

 

Grocery Store/Multipurpose:

In addition to treats and sweets, be sure to stop by these local stops to pick up Hispanic foods and flavors to add the perfect touch to your home-cooked meals! These are stores that offer specially-collected Hispanic foods, spices, and seasonings to add that indescribable Hispanic flair to everyday dishes or new recipes you’d like to try out! Before heading to these stores, be sure to plan ahead and read up on what foods you would like to whip up. Don’t forget to bring along a mask to wear while you shop!

There are several stores in the Tuscaloosa area that offer Hispanic-oriented foods and groceries, including: la Tienda Latina El Puerto, la Esperanza Tienda y Panaderia, and la Tienda Sabor Latino. These stores offer a wide variety of cooking ingredients and also freshly-made desserts for the instant gratification we all need every now and then! Each of these stores is Hispanic-owned by Tuscaloosa residents, so they are the one-stop shops to learn more about Hispanic culture and support the local community!

When visiting these restaurants, shops, and stores, it is important to call ahead to verify hours and up-to-date COVID-19 protocols. Additionally, although masks are not needed while seated and eating, don’t forget to bring it along for walking through the restaurants and shops! While you’re supporting Hispanic Heritage within our local community, feel free to tag @visittuscaloosa to any photos or posts about your experience! We can’t wait to see all of your adventures exploring this culture while showing your support for the Tuscaloosa community.

 

Written By:

Will Baggett & Jamie Hoven

Oh, 2020… There’s not much to say about this hot mess express of a year. During the past dreadfully long several months, COVID-19 has managed to do one thing right: prioritize health as a nation. I’m not talking about physical health alone, I’m referring to mental health as well. Despite the obvious physical health risks brought on by COVID, social isolation and quarantine can also deeply affect one’s mood and mentality. Although we wished farewell to Self-Care Month when Spooky Season arrived, this upcoming Saturday marks World Mental Health Day! That’s why we have taken the time to dive into some of the many ways to nourish your mental health in T-Town!

Body

It is so important to take care of your physical health while working on your mental health as they are deeply intertwined. Contrary to popular belief, taking good care of your body doesn’t have to feel like a chore! There are endless ways to get moving and enjoy yourself in T-Town. Don’t believe us? Check out some of our suggestions below to get the inside scoop on local products and services to improve one’s mental health!

For beginners and pros alike yoga can help manage mental health by keeping your mind at ease and body engaged. There are a few awesome different yoga studios available with enjoyment! Yoga Bliss is a yoga studio just down the street from The Strip that offers a great variety of classes. The selection ranges from entry-level Beginner Fundamentals, specialized classes like Yoga Nidra, and classes like EveryBODY, which is designed to be useful for all who attend. Visit the Yoga Bliss website above for more information on pricing and registration! There are many other nice studios around the city as well including Painted Lotus Yoga and Wellness! For a slightly more intense workout, check out The Barre CodePure Barre, and HotWorx.

Regular exercise and fresh air have the dual benefit of improving your physical health and encouraging growth in your mental state as well. By staying active and keeping your blood flowing, you’re allowing the brain to relax a bit while it is fully engaged in the actions. This kind of mindfulness has been proven to improve focus, mood, and overall mentality throughout the day! Although attending a local gym or taking specialized exercise classes are incredible ways to boost your mental health, there are a plethora of other places around the city to stay active as well.

The Riverwalk along the Black Warrior River is not only a delightful spot to relax, but it is also a prime location for a light jog, intense running session, or quick outdoor workout! Lake Tuscaloosa and Lake Nicol are a great outdoor choice, too, offering a number of activities like hiking, swimming, or even paddleboarding! All of these spots not only offer somewhere to get your blood flowing but also make the perfect setting to relax and meditate by the water. A little fresh air and peace and quiet can help calm the senses.

Spirit 

Another helpful way to manage and monitor your mental health is to treat yourself to a local spa or salon on occasion. By prioritizing self-care in your routine your self-worth and psyche can improve significantly. It is important to know what specific activities help you feel as relaxed as possible, so don’t hesitate to explore all the many local options available! Treat yourself to a day of pampering to commemorate World Mental Health Day at one of the following locations around Tuscaloosa!

For those that enjoy relaxation in a traditional sense, there is nothing better than a classic spa day to show yourself a little TLC. Not only would a massage ease the nerves, but a manicure and a pedicure couldn’t hurt either! In Tuscaloosa, Spa Belle La Vie and Nancy Taylor Day Spa are just a few of the many serene locations where visitors can enjoy massage therapy, beauty treatments, and even salon services. For the guys out there who respect the power of proper pampering, visit Greasy Hands Barbershop for hot shaves, clean cuts, and a relaxing atmosphere!

If pampering is the way to go for you, what better way than discovering a responsible and fun way to clean yourself: soap! The Left Hand Soap Company is a local soap workshop in Downtown Tuscaloosa that produces specialized soaps, shampoos, and other natural cleaning products since 1999. Due to COVID-19, visitors are not allowed to inside the workshop, but products are available for purchase online for pick-up! Visit the Left-Hand Soap Company website to view the various products and swag available.

Mind

Staying focused on a calming and/or mentally-stimulating activity can be an exceptional tool to properly manage your mental health. This includes listening to music, reading a new book, or learning something new! Whether or not you are already passionate about music or books, these activities are widely available for anyone to pick up and enjoy on the daily. Music and books come in a number of different genres and subjects, so there are endless ways to enjoy both activities! Additionally, learning something new stimulates the mind and creates a sense of accomplishment, like learning to ride a bike or finishing a good book!

Stop by the Tuscaloosa Public Library or Ernest & Hadley’s to get lost between the pages of a new book! Both of these spots are home to a wide collection of titles, familiar or new, and are available for all to enjoy. In addition to books, both the library and the bookstore host events/virtual events where patrons can learn more about authors and other literary greats related to the titles they have checked out or would like to explore. Sit back, relax, and keep your mind sharp with a great book!

For those that enjoy turning their records on and sitting idle on their couch for a blissful afternoon, Oz Music is a must-visit shop in Tuscaloosa. Oz Music has all anyone could need to become a major album collector and listener, from record players and cleaning supplies to throwback vinyl and brand new records! CDs are still available for those who prefer that method of jamming their favorite tunes.

Learning is a great way to exercise and stimulate the mind if you are needing a break from your everyday troubles. Learning about something new opens up your mind to new experiences and emotions, which has the dual benefit of improving your mental health and expanding your knowledge base! Three special destinations in town, the Paul R. Jones Gallery, Harrison Galleries, and the Paul W. Bryant Museum,  provide a safe haven to learn about new perspectives and stories you’ve have yet to discover. All of these museums are exciting places to dive deeper into the diverse history and art of this area.

Mental health remains a significant topic in our nation as the unexpected isolation that came with COVID-19 continues to affect mental health. This meaningful topic affects millions and deserves extensive evaluation. Before this can happen, we must not be afraid to seek or offer help. If you or anyone you know is suffering from mental health distress, contact your medical provider for more information on services to help treat these challenges, or learn more at MentalHealth.gov.

Written by: Jamie Hoven & Will Baggett

It is International Coffee Day and there is only one way to celebrate. Treat yourself to the must-needed companion, Coffee, as the work and school year are in full swing. With the temperature slowly dropping like an autumn leaf, what better time than now to discover a new coffee shop where you can enjoy specially-curated coffee brews and specialty coffee drinks? The City of Tuscaloosa is home to a variety of eclectic local cafes and shops to satisfy your coffee, so you’re in luck! Below is a list of locations around town where you can discover your new favorite cup of joe and celebrate International Coffee Day accordingly!

 

Coffee with Breakfast

You simply cannot go wrong with a hot (or iced) cup of coffee paired with a tasty treat to satisfy your sweet tooth.  What are you waiting for? Start your week off with a little pick-me-up! On the corner of Greensboro and University Blvd sits Babe’s Donuts, this local favorite has earned quite a reputation around town with exceptional service and plenty of delicious treats to choose from. Their donuts can be topped with anything from fruity pebbles to Reese’s and Heath Bars, so be sure to scope out the many options before choosing wisely. Start your week off with this little pick-me-up! They are only open for take-out, so finding a good view of Downtown T-town to enjoy your killer combo is a must.

 

Breakfast with Coffee

If you are looking for a spot to grab a bigger meal and still celebrate today’s holiday, check out Another Broken Egg or Five Bar! Both of these restaurants offer a delicious variety for breakfast, brunch, and lunch (as well as dinner for Five). There is indoor seating available for those that want to get out of the house, but don’t forget to bring your mask! Five Bar also has a dedicated coffee shop that is open every day from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm! Visit either of these T-Town stops to pair an incredible meal with a delightful cup of joe.

 

On-the-Go    

Traveling all around the city of Tuscaloosa is the Joyful Java food truck! This one-of-a-kind coffee stop is considered a must-try by hundreds of UA students. Each cup is filled with a full-bodied flavor, from beans that are daily roasted and brewed fresh. If that isn’t quite your style, no problem! Joyful Java has a nice variety to choose from, including nitro brew, Greek frappe, espresso, and even caramel apple cider. There are no wrong choices here. Find Joyful Java in Tuscaloosa, or have ’em out to cater to your next event! 

 

Uniquely Local

Tuscaloosa is home to several unique coffee houses that all bring something special and different to this town’s cafe scene. Turbo Coffee, for example, offers cold-pressed juices, açai bowls, and superfood smoothies in addition to their coffee selection. If you are looking for to-go options, Monarch Espresso Bar currently offers wonderful window service and outdoor seating so visitors can continue to visit the shop and socialize safely while enjoying a cup of coffee!

 

Coming Soon 

            A classy coffee cafe, Just Love Coffee, is joining Tuscaloosa in a few weeks and we can hardly wait. Run by a mission to spread joy and kindness communities, this new local shop is sure to bring something unique to T-Town. Former alumni of The University of Alabama and two brothers are more than determined to spread the mission of Just Love Coffee to the Tuscaloosa area. In addition to the specially-curated coffee, Just Love also offers a menu of delectable goodies ranging from chicken and waffles to salads! Be sure to join us in giving this local business a warm welcome when they open!

Summer is winding down and so are the temperatures, which means the outdoors are calling our names! Getting outdoors is important as we navigate our increasingly-virtual lifestyles thanks to COVID-19, so we figured we would compile a list of outdoor adventures for you to discover around Tuscaloosa. This city is a beautiful landscape that only gets better as Autumn starts to sweep across the country, elevating already beautiful outdoor destinations into breathtaking views! Whether you are looking to wind down with an outdoor picnic or take an adventure hiking through the fall foliage, check out this list of outdoor adventures around Tuscaloosa!

 

  1. Lake Harris

Lake Harris is one of the many nearby lakes that offers an incredible setting for a number of different outdoor activities. There are plenty of picnic areas and a beach, where one might spread out a blanket to enjoy their lunch or simply take in the scene. In addition to these spots, there are a number of trees gathered close by the bank, perfect for setting up a cozy hammock! For those who are looking to stay active, there is a 1.76-mile hike around the lake through the trees. As the weather cools down, this area will become a peaceful gathering place for all who wish to experience some of Tuscaloosa’s many hidden gems. 

 

     2. Bower’s Park

Bower’s Park is a nearby public park that offers quite a few activity opportunities, like a disc golf course or several fields for rent. Not much different from regular golf, disc golf is an active way to stay busy on a delightful weekend outside! Those looking to get into this sport need to be sure and purchase discs ahead of time, however. As far as a field for rent, Bower’s Park has a number of different fields, baseball/softball or multipurpose, that can be rented out for a small gathering of friends to safely play a pickup game of baseball, softball, and more! Before visiting Bower’s Park, be sure to bring along a mask in case of other visitors. 

 

    3. Riverwalk

Offering a serene view of the Black Warrior River, the Riverwalk is also the place to hammock, picnic, or relax! There are numerous picnic tables, benches, and gazebos to provide a comfortable environment, allowing you to get the most out of your experience with the great outdoors of T-Town. Let your mind take a rest from all the hustle and bustle of everyday life. If you are looking to work up a sweat and take advantage of the cooler temperatures, there is also a running path along the Riverwalk to enjoy in the morning or throughout the day. In addition to these activities, the Riverwalk is located close to a number of restaurants to enjoy either at the start or at the end of a delightful Autumn day, like Market House Boutique, Another Broken Egg, and River. Be sure to carry a mask with you for safety if you intend to visit any of the restaurants or businesses on the Riverwalk!

 

    4. Civil Rights Trail

As Summer draws to a close and temperatures start to drop, it is prime time to spend the day outside walking around and exploring new places. Among the many adventures that await in Tuscaloosa is the Civil Rights Trail, where anyone has the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of history and learn about how the Civil Rights Movement shaped the City of Tuscaloosa. Located primarily in Downtown Tuscaloosa, this trail is perfect for staying active and demonstrates a profound learning opportunity for those who are not aware of the history of Tuscaloosa. Thanks to its proximity to Downtown Tuscaloosa, the Civil Rights Trail is also a good opportunity to discover local dining options, such as Reggae Flava and Brummi’s Yummies. For more T-Town treasures along the trail check out the official guide here.

 

     5. Government Plaza

If you are looking for a versatile area that offers safe ways to enjoy this city then the Government Plaza is the spot for you. Located in the heart of downtown, this 5-acre park makes social distancing a breeze. Enjoy the crisp Autumn air while diving into a good book from Ernest and Hadley, grubbing on delicious Heat pizza, sipping on some Monarch coffee, or maybe even unwinding with your favorite yoga flow. After months on end of being trapped inside now is the time to relax and appreciate nature in all its wonder. If you want your furry friend to tag along, the sidewalks surrounding the park makes for the perfect path for dog-walking. 

 

    6. Lake Tuscaloosa

This local hangout has everything you need for an unforgettable lake day with friends and family. Lake Tuscaloosa has earned its reputation as the perfect fishing spot with bass, sunfish, crappie, and more. If fishing isn’t for you, stand on the shore, hike the lake’s cliffs, take in the captivating views, or dip into the refreshing water! You are bound to have a blast in this comfortable weather. Only a short drive from the city, this lake makes pairing a morning out in nature and Rama Jama’s iconic Southern breakfast unbelievably easy.

 

Written By: Will Baggett

Edited By: Jamie Hoven