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!

A Nick Saban-Inspired Itinerary Filled with Things to do in Tuscaloosa

You know what they say… “All good things must come to an end.” And while we’re excited about this new era of welcoming Coach Kalen DeBoer to Tuscaloosa and to the Crimson Tide family, we can’t help but be a little in our feels about Coach Nick Sabans retirement. So, what better way to pay a Tuscaloosa tribute to the GOAT than a Saban-themed trip to the town he and Ms. Terry have called home for 17 years?

Whether you’re local or coming in from out of town, this lineup is built for champions!

Since we’re celebrating the Saban’s, it’s only right we remind you of the option to stay at the hotel they have ownership in. Built in 2022, The Alamite is filled with elevated Crimson Tide touches.

Once you check in and settle into one of the 112 boutique guest rooms, you don’t even have to leave the property for dinner. The Alamite boasts two incredible restaurants guaranteed to please any palette.

If you’re feeling more of a casual, laid-back atmosphere we recommend hopping on the elevator to the rooftop bar Roll Call. You’ll find a thoughtfully curated menu of seasonal shareables and entrees. They often have live music you can enjoy while looking out over the Downtown Tuscaloosa skyline or towards the lights of Bryant Denny Stadium.

If you’re leaning toward a formal dining experience, you’ll love the Alamite’s house restaurant Forte Cuts and Cocktails. Forte seamlessly marries the charm of classic old-world European cuisine with the sophistication of a modern setting. Step into a world where timeless flavors meet contemporary elegance.

For music lovers, the newly renamed Mercedes – Benz Amphitheater doesn’t have a bad seat in the house. Shows are still being announced for the 2024 season. The music venue seats 7,470 along the Black Warrior River right next to the future location of The Saban Center, a first of its kind STEAM hub for education training, arts participation and academic support for teachers and families, opening in 2026.

If you’re an early riser like coach and want to start your process in the morning, we’ve got a breakfast spot that has never lost.

Opened in 1951, The Waysider is one of the oldest continuously operating restaurants in all of west Alabama. You’ll need to bring your appetite and your patience to this local favorite. Crowds are known to gather early for the generous portions of hearty breakfast classics. If these walls could talk, they’d have quite some tales of Tuscaloosa. Another legendary Alabama football coach, Paul “Bear” Bryant, was known to dine on his favorite menu item, country ham, regularly at a particular table tucked away by the door.

Once your bellies are full, you might want to walk off some of that delicious breakfast with a stroll along the Walk of Champions outside Bryant-Denny Stadium. There are several social media worthy photo opportunities here. You’ll definitely want your picture made with the 2,000-pound bronze statue of Nick Saban along the Coaches Walk. This is the site where students and fans brought tokens of their appreciation in the days following his retirement announcement.

The University of Alabama hosts student-guided stadium tours most days at 11:00 a.m. For $25.00 per person, you can get a first-hand look at the game day experience from the perspectives of coaches and players.

To truly understand Alabama Football, you’ll need to go back in time to long before Nick Saban stepped on campus. Paul “Bear” Bryant coached at The Capstone from 1958-1982. He is considered by many, including Coach Saban, to be one of the greatest football coaches of all time. To celebrate his legacy, The University of Alabama houses the Paul W. Bryant Museum, complete with six exhibits that highlight the university’s sports successes. Bryant won a record 323 career games and six national championships. 

By this point, you’ll probably have worked your appetite back up. Don’t worry, we’re not sending you far. Located in the shadows of Bryant- Denny Stadium, sits one of the most iconic restaurants in Title Town. If a Crimson Tide football museum and a classic diner had a baby, it would be Rama Jama’s. Alabama sports memorabilia hangs, sits and stands on every wall, ceiling and surface in sight. You’ll walk away from this place with not only a fantastic meal, but also more knowledge of one of the most storied sports programs in the country. You might have to play a little defense depending on the crowd, but the food and experience is well worth the wait. We recommend having the National Championship BLT. It has 18 strips of bacon on it, one for each Crimson Tide national title.

While you’re close by, you might as well hit up another UA staple if you’re up for a boozy beverage. Just down a stretch of campus known as “The Strip,” sits a bar famous on its own. Gallettes is home of The Yellowhammer—and we’re not talking about the state bird. This drink is a blend of rum, vodka, amaretto, orange juice and pineapple juice. While it is delicious, we don’t recommend having too many. They’ll sneak up on you… and we’ve got a lot more Saban celebrating to do!

For afternoon activities, we have a few different plays in our playbook.

Coach Saban has been known to spend time with his players off the field and on the water. That’s right…. the GOAT on a boat! Several videos have gone viral of coach captaining his pontoon while relaxing with several of his players on board. Lake Tuscaloosa is the perfect place to tube, waterski, wake board and sight see. No boat? No problem. You can rent vessels from Pier 43 or one of Tuscaloosa’s newest attractions Captain’s Club.

If the water isn’t for you, and perhaps you have little ones with you on your trip, the Sabans thought of that too. During their time in Tuscaloosa, they’ve donated funds through their nonprofit Nick’s Kids Foundation to create two new playgrounds for children of various ages. One is located on the Tuscaloosa Riverwalk, and you can find Mason’s Place, an all-inclusive playground for children of all abilities, at Sokol Park.

If you’re looking to volunteer while you’re in Title Town, here’s a unique way to say you helped the Saban’s build their dynasty, literally. Coach and Ms. Terry have sponsored 20 Habitat for Humanity homes in this community since an EF-4 tornado destroyed much of Tuscaloosa in 2011. Hours after Coach Saban’s retirement announcement, Habitat confirmed the Sabans would sponsor one last home to commemorate the Tide’s latest SEC championship win against the Georgia Bulldogs. This home is known as the LANK House (Let All Naysayers Know). If you’d like to volunteer your time to help with this historic build, you can visit habitattuscaloosa.org/volunteer.

Regardless of how you spend your afternoon in Tuscaloosa, we think you’ll love ending your day on a sweet note. River is a restaurant favorite here locally. Living true to its name, this urban dining experience is located on the beautiful banks of the Black Warrior River. If you really want to tip your hat to Coach Saban, order his all-time favorite treat, the Oatmeal Crème Pie. This delicious dessert is a made from scratch buttercream filling sandwiched between two warm oatmeal cookies. Is your mouth watering yet?

As you can tell, the Saban’s have done a whole lot more for our city than just win a lot of football games. They’ve helped weave the fabric of this community by giving, serving and building a legendary legacy here. Although Coach Saban is stepping off the field, he and his family are continuing to leave their mark on Tuscaloosa.

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

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 it comes to Tuscaloosa it’s easy to find things to do no matter the time of year.  Whether it’s attending collegiate athletic events, experiencing a theatrical performance at the Bama Theatre, dancing the night away at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater, or spending hours exploring our great outdoors at one of our many parks, lakes, or rivers, our visitors are always welcome with open arms and warm hellos. 

Below you’ll find information (and some discount codes!) for eight events in Tuscaloosa, taking place in 2023.

FIDDLE FEST – THE SOUTHEAST FIDDLE CHAMPIONSHIP

About the Fiddle Fest:  Held annually on the campus of Shelton State Community College, this family-friendly atmosphere celebrates the rich sounds of bluegrass and its talented musicians.  Old-time music and fiddle music have rich histories in West Alabama with many fiddlers such as Dix Hollis, Y.Z. Hamilton, A.K. Callahan, and more connected to the area.  Open to the public to enjoy, contestants will compete for over $7,500 in prize money.  The Fiddle Fest will feature music from Iron Horse and will also offer arts, crafts, and other activities.

Date:  Saturday, February 25, 2023
Website:  https://thefiddlefest.com

VISIT TUSCALOOSA HALF MARATHON & 5K

About the Tuscaloosa Half:  Now in its 11th year, the Visit Tuscaloosa Half Marathon and 5k will offer runners an exciting 13.1- and 3.1-mile course that traverses the streets of T-Town.  Runners will enjoy a sampling of the rolling hills along the Black Warrior River, the Tuscaloosa Riverwalk, portions of The University of Alabama campus (including a great view of Bryant Denny Stadium), and some of the City’s quaint historic downtown neighborhoods.  Sign up today for the largest road race in West Alabama, taking place on Saturday, March 25.

Date:  Saturday, March 25, 2023
Website: https://www.tuscaloosahalf.com
DISCOUNT CODE:  Receive $10 off with the registration code VisitTCL
Code expires Saturday, January 14, 2023

TUSCALOOSA GAUNTLET

About the Tuscaloosa Gauntlet:  Join the Alabama Marines Foundation for their 2nd Annual Tuscaloosa Gauntlet obstacle course race.  The racecourse is just a bit over the 5k distance (3.1 miles) and will feature 20+ obstacles, include a Marine regulation O-Course.  This one-of-a-kind obstacle course race provides every participant a challenge worth celebrating and directly benefits the Alabama Marines Foundation.  Check out this video promotion to learn more and register today!

Date:  Saturday, April 1, 2023
Website:  https://www.tuscaloosagauntlet.com
DISCOUNT CODE:  Receive $10 off with the registration code VisitTCL

DRUID CITY ARTS FESTIVAL (DCAF) PRESENTED BY CADENCE BANK

About DCAF:  What started as a one-day arts festival put together by a group of Alabama students has become a staple in the Tuscaloosa community over the past decade.  DCAF’s goal is to provide a quality arts and music festival, while also educating, engaging, and inspiring both youth and adults about the arts and humanities within the community.  Many undiscovered artists who are now in textbooks, galleries, and museums have exhibited at DCAF over the years.  Guests can expect a free two-day festival with live music, 70+ artists, and delicious local food.

Date:  Friday, March 31 – Saturday, April 1, 2023
Website:  https://www.druidcityartsfestival.com

TUSCALOOSA MAYOR’S CUP 5K FOR PRE-K

About the Mayor’s Cup:  Since 2007, over 1,000 runners, joggers and walkers have joined together each year to support Pre-K in Tuscaloosa through this annual race.  Having raised almost $325,000 to provide resources for preschoolers throughout the Tuscaloosa area, the Mayor’s Cup is a simple and fun way for the entire community to get together and get involved in supporting education.  This 5k course highlights Downtown Tuscaloosa, parts of The University of Alabama including the Walk of Champions, and historic neighborhoods.  

Date:  Saturday, April 29, 2023
Website: http://www.tuscaloosamayorscup.com

WEST ALABAMA FOOD AND WINE FESTIVAL

About the West Alabama Food and Wine Festival: Benefiting the West Alabama Food Bank, the West Alabama Food and Wine Festival showcases the community’s best local restaurants with tasting tables that highlight signature dishes. Wine tastings are also provided by local distributors to introduce trendy and season varietals. After such significant growth in attendance over the years, the 2023 festival will now be held in Historic Downtown Northport. This community festival is great for both residents and visitors and is put together by a wonderful group of community volunteers. Tickets can be purchased online.

Date: Sunday, April 30, 2023
Website: https://westalabamafoodandwine.org

KENTUCK FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS

About Kentuck Festival:  Kentuck has a rich 52-year history as a nationally known crossroads of creativity and community.  The two-day festival has its roots in folk art and features 270+ artists, live music, spoken word, activities for children, folk and contemporary craft demonstrations, food trucks, and local craft brews.  This festival has been claimed as one of the “Best of Bama 2022” events by Alabama Magazine and has been featured in publications such as the Smithsonian Magazine, Southern Living, and more!  Located in Downtown Northport, this is a festival that you just don’t want to miss.

Date: Saturday, October 14 – Sunday, October 15, 2023
Website:  https://www.kentuck.org/the-festival

AHSAA SUPER 7 STATE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS

About Super 7:  Bringing the best Alabama high school football athletes to Tuscaloosa!  The Alabama High School Athletic Association Super 7 State Football Championships are one of the most exciting and highly anticipated sporting events in the state.  Over the course of three days, the final two teams from each of Alabama’s seven classifications will compete to be crowned as the new state champions, and in 2023 it’s taking place in Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Date:  Wednesday, November 29 – Friday, December 1, 2023

Below are additional resources to help you keep up with all of the fun events happening in T-Town.

COMMUNITY ART NIGHTS:

Tuscaloosa and Northport’s art scene continues to grow.  While there are many galleries and events throughout the year, each community is home to a monthly art night featuring artists, live music, local food, and more.

While this is just a highlight of events taking place in 2023, there really is no such thing as a timeout in Tuscaloosa County.  Seated in the heart of West Alabama, the area offers something for sports enthusiasts, outdoor adventurers, history buffs, foodies, and for the artists at heart.  Ready to plan your next trip to Tuscaloosa? Request a visitor guide today!

If you’re traveling to Tuscaloosa for the Alabama / Chattanooga football game on Saturday, November 18, check out the details in the images below for Alabama Gameday info. For more information, you may also visit uagameday.com.

We hope that you enjoy your stay in Tuscaloosa and encourage you to come back and visit us again!

The ultimate gameday experience in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, home to The University of Alabama and the Crimson Tide, offers one of the most electric atmospheres that college football has to offer. Sometimes called “The City of Champions,” Tuscaloosa is a vibrant community filled with local restaurants to satisfy every palate, a walkable downtown complete with live music, outdoor spaces to explore, and a destination that’s easily accessible – no matter what direction you’re coming from.

For a true taste of the game day experience, kick off the weekend with a trip to the Bryant Museum, where you’ll find exhibits, artifacts, and memorabilia that traces the long history of The University of Alabama football. Once you’re done taking in the knowledge of Alabama Football’s legendary past, it’s time to enjoy the beautiful campus. From the museum, walk over to the Quad for what will become a tailgating experience you won’t soon forget. Hundreds of tents are filled with friends and family as they join in fellowship, indulge in great food and drinks, and cheer on other football teams across the nation as they await Alabama’s kickoff.

Bryant Museum

Another stop you won’t want to miss is the Walk of Champions and the Coaches Walk, located at the north end of Bryant Denny Stadium. The Walk of Champions includes granite tablets commemorating the school’s title seasons. But what makes it so special on game days takes place two hours and 15 minutes prior to kickoff. The Alabama team buses drop the players and coaches off at the walkway where thousands of fans greet them with smiles and roaring cheers to watch some of college football’s most elite walk to the locker room.

After cheering on the Tide, it’s time to experience the energetic nightlife in T-Town. While there are many options to select from, be sure to check out options located along The Strip, Downtown, or in Temerson Square, as well as a variety of other locations throughout the city. Many restaurants and bars feature live music, especially throughout game day weekends.

Downtown Tuscaloosa

Whether you arrived to town early or have time before returning home, consider exploring the Tuscaloosa Civil Rights Trail. This self-guided, 18-stop trail includes many stories to help you understand Tuscaloosa’s place in civil rights history, but most importantly, highlights the history of how Tuscaloosa’s color barrier was broken by the courageous efforts of many black and a few white foot soldiers.

When planning your trip, search visittuscaloosa.com for all things Tuscaloosa. We welcome you with open arms and know you’ll make legendary memories to last a lifetime while here. Roll Tide!

A Game Day Must: Don’t miss out on a Denny Dog (aka Stadium Dog). Quite possibly the next best thing outside of the game itself and sold in Bryant Denny!

Photo Credit: Alabama Athletics

The crisp autumn air has arrived and the pumpkins have started to proudly show up on Tuscaloosa’s front porches. Which means that we have good news for those of you looking for things to do in Tuscaloosa in October!  

While we may only be a few days into the new month, the festivities of Fall and Halloween are certainly upon us!  Tuscaloosa and West Alabama boast many events this time of the year that are fantastic for both residents and visitors.  Whether you tack on an extra day or two while visiting for an Alabama football game, or simply want to jump in the car for a quick weekend trip, we hope you’ll support some of these local events when visiting Tuscaloosa.

As always, if the Visit Tuscaloosa team can assist you as you plan an upcoming trip to our community, please feel free to call us at 205-391-9200 or request a visitor guide by submitting this form.

OCTOBER 2022

Tuscaloosa Barnyard Pumpkin Patch
Friday: 1 – 6 pm  |  Sat & Sun: 10 am – 6 pm
Admission: $12 per person
11453 Turner Bridge Road, Tuscaloosa, AL 35406

The Tuscaloosa Barnyard Pumpkin Patch is something that locals look forward to each year!  Admission to the pumpkin patch offers access to many fun activities such as feeding animals, playgrounds, a corncrib, hay play, wagon ride, the Charlotte’s web and much more!  Pumpkins are $7 per pumpkin, no matter the size.  Kiddos want to ride a horse or pony, or drive a tractor?  Those options exist too!

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 8TH:

Ghost Hunt at Tuscaloosa’s Historic Drish House
7:00 – 11:00 pm
Admission: $50

Just in time for the Halloween Season! This is an Exclusive Paranormal Investigation that Psychic Lesley Ann Hyde and the professional Paranormal Investigation Team, Psychics and TV Personalities The Southern Ghost Girls Have Investigated The Historic Drish House in Tuscaloosa, Al. You will get to Investigate with them for this amazing event. You will get to use Real Paranormal Investigation Equipment just like you see on tv.  This is an interactive paranormal investigation and Everyone is Invited to join in the ghost hunt to see what paranormal evidence is discovered. Join the Southern Ghost Girls Team and you will have a hauntingly amazing experience.  Click here to purchase a ticket.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 16TH:

T-Town Witches Ride
3:00 pm registration, 5:00 pm ride begins
Registration: $25

Benefiting the Arc of Tuscaloosa, this annual bike ride is a whimsical Halloween tradition with participants dressing up as witches and “flying” through the streets of Downtown Tuscaloosa.  This two-mile bike ride offers great fun for those over the age of 18.  Have children?  Bring them for the fun in the kids play area as the adults enjoy the witches ride. New for 2022, the event will also offer a one-mile walk.  Prizes will be awarded for the Best Dressed Witch, Best Broomcycle, and the Best Group Theme!  Participation is $25 per person.  Purchase a ticket by clicking here.

OCTOBER 24 – 28:

Haunting at the Museum (Gorgas House Museum)
9:00 am – 12:00 pm  |  1:00 – 4:30 pm
810 Capstone Drive, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487

Hosted at The Gorgas House Museum, located on campus, this year’s event will run from October 24-28 and will provide FREE haunted tours sharing the spooky stories associated with this home, which is one of the oldest structures on The University of Alabama campus.  Former UA President and Confederate General Josiah Gorgas passed away in this home… but his spirit is apparently alive and well.

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 25TH:

Tech or Treat
6:00 – 8:00 pm
Tuscaloosa Gateway Innovation and Discovery Center | 2614 University Blvd. East Tuscaloosa, AL 35401

Do you have a little princess, superhero, goblin or ghoul who loves science and technology? Gather up your trick-or-treat enthusiasts and join the City of Tuscaloosa for Tech or Treat at the Gateway on Tuesday, October 25 from 6 to 8 p.m. Similar to “trunk-or-treat,” at the City’s Tech or Treat, families go from table to table collecting candy. At each table, children are introduced to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) opportunities by interacting with City departments and community organizations. Tech or Treat is free and open to all ages. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 27TH:

Northport Police Department Fall Festival
5:00 – 8:00 pm
Kentuck Park | 3401 5th Street, Northport, AL 35476

Put on your best costume and join us for Northport Police Department’s Fall Festival October 27th from 5:00pm – 8:00pm at Kentuck Park. We’ll have trick-or-treating, bounce houses, a hay ride, a costume contest, food trucks, and a whole lot of fun!

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 28TH:

Haunting at the Museum (Alabama Museum of Natural History)
4:30 – 7:00 pm
Alabama Museum of Natural History | Smith Hall on Campus

The Alabama Museum of Natural History visitors are encouraged to attend this fun after-hours event to celebrate Halloween with spooky children’s stories, crafts, mad scientist experiences, and much more! Free and fun for all to attend.

Tuscaloosa Public Library Boook-tacular
6:00 – 8:00 pm
1801 Jack Warner Parkway, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401

All ghouls and ghosties are invited to a Boooook-tacular evening at the Main Branch of the Tuscaloosa Public Library.  They will have food and activities for the entire family to enjoy, including face painting, balloon animals, games, a petting zoo provided by Tuscaloosa Barnyard, and summer reading favorite, Roger Day! They will also be joined by frightfully fantastic community organizations and local food trucks with wicked good refreshments.  Don’t miss this ghoulish celebration at the most booo-tiful library of the river!

Harvest Jam in Midtown Village
5:30 – 8:30 pm
Midtown Village
Beer Tasting Ticket: $5

Come JAM with Midtown Village!  Harvest Jam will be held on Friday, October 28th from 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM on the green! 

This free fall event is for music fans, farmers market shoppers, craft beer lovers, and families!  Enjoy a craft beer tasting presented by Adam’s Beverages, live music, pop-up vendors, and activities! Donations from the craft beer tasting will benefit Child Abuse Prevention Services in Tuscaloosa, AL.  Grab your beer sample, and then select the perfect pumpkin at our Pumpkin Patch benefiting Child Abuse Prevention Services!

Click here to purchase a BEER TASTING ticket for $5.

Freaky Friday 8k Run
8:00 – 11:00 pm
101 Bridge Avenue, Northport, AL 35476
Registration: $30

The 13th annual Freaky Friday 8K Run takes place on a scenic yet scary course during the darkness on the Friday before Halloween, “Freaky Friday”. There will be a post-race awards ceremony complete with food and drinks at Dreamland Barbecue along with a costume contest prior to the start of the run.  Local radio stations and craft beer will also be on hand for registered runners.  Click here to register!

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 29TH:

Boo! In the Park & Touch-a-Truck
9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Sokol Park | 5901 Watermelon Rd. Northport, AL 35473

Tuscaloosa County Parks and Recreation Authority is hosting two free events: Boo! in the Park and Touch-a-Truck on Saturday, October 29 at Sokol Park from 9:00 a.m. – noon. The Touch-a-Truck event will include sensory friendly “quiet time” (no sirens, etc.) from 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. followed by the exploration of all types of vehicles from 10:00 a.m. – noon. Vehicles will include heavy equipment/machinery, tractors, fire trucks, cars, and trucks. The annual Boo! in the Park will be held concurrently and consist of carnival-like games, candy, and more. The Tuscaloosa Police Department plans to join with their helicopter and a K-9, as well as the Tuscaloosa Metro Animal Shelter and the Tuscaloosa Public Library.

Halloween at the Transportation Museum
1:00 – 4:00 pm
1901 Jack Warner Parkway NE, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401

Visitors are encouraged to come to the Mildred Westervelt Warner Transportation Museum in their costumes on Saturday. October 29 from 1:00 pm until 4:00 pm and see the costumes from the year 1905 on display in the new Threaded Through History exhibit!  The Museum will be decorated with fun Halloween outdoor inflatables and fall cut-outs.  There will be holiday music, candy, and light refreshments.

15th Annual Rocky Horror Picture Show
8:00 – 11:00 pm | Ticket Price: $20 – $27
Bama Theatre | 600 Greensboro Ave. Tuscaloosa, AL 35401

Pink Box Burlesque is back at the Historic Bama Theatre on Saturday, October 29th for their 15th Annual Rocky Horror Picture Show! It’s an artistic composition with a humorous and provocative stage show that you just simply don’t want to miss.  Doors open at 7pm. Costume Contest (with cash prizes) at 8pm. Show starts at 8:30 pm.  Click here to purchase tickets today.

Editor’s Note: Russell Jones of Coker, Alabama, is a USCG Certified Guide on the Black Warrior River in Tuscaloosa County, as part of the Alabama Guide Service. Tailrace fishing below Bankhead and Holt dams can be outstanding during certain times of the year because you can catch a wide variety of fish at night, as well as during the day. The success of tailrace fishing is dependent on how much current is being generated by the hydroelectric plants, the spillways and/or both. The amount of current and the color of the water in the tailraces will dictate how you should fish, and what lures you should use. You can contact Russell Jones at 205-454-7313; www.alabamaguideservices.com; and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AlabamaGuideService/.

During the summer months, some of the best tailrace fishing will be at night on the Black Warrior River. Fish often hold in the underwater structure in the tailraces, especially bass. Due to this, one of my favorite lures is a Bandit 200 crankbait that I’ll paint solid-black. I’ll reel it very slowly, try to get it down to the bottom and bounce it off the rocks because that time is usually when the bass will attack. The Bandit 200 is a small-profile bait, but it can really be effective at the dams at night, when the current’s not running. I’ll also use the Valiant jig – in brown or watermelon colors – and the shakyhead rig at night around the rock piles that I find with my depth finder.

I must admit that my favorite tailrace to fish is the one at the bottom of Bankhead Dam – also known as Lock 17 – at the head of Holt Lake. However, there are numbers of rock piles in this tailrace that will eat-up the lower unit of your motor. So, never run very fast when you start getting close to the dam. Normally, when I’m fishing the tailrace, I have my big motor kicked-up, so that if my boat hits a rock pile, it will ride over it. I’m also being very cautious with my trolling motor when I’m moving around in this tailrace, to keep from damaging my propeller or the shaft of my motor. I keep my depth finder on to continuously look for different rock piles and bottom structure that I may not have seen before.

If you’re fishing a tailrace at night, LiveScope sonar can be very effective at showing you the rock piles that you may run into in front of the boat or that are present in the slack water in the daytime. However, when the current’s running, and the water’s very turbulent, your LiveScope won’t be nearly as effective as in the slack water or when night fishing with no current. If you’re in the tailrace in the daytime and there’s hardly any current at all but plenty of slack water, a LiveScope can help you locate those underwater rock piles that the bass hold in and behind when the current’s running and mark them as waypoints so you can fish them in the daytime when the current’s running.

Fishing Black Warrior River Tailraces in Tuscaloosa County when the Spillways are Running

Editor’s Note: Russell Jones of Coker, Alabama, is a USCG Certified Guide on the Black Warrior River in Tuscaloosa County, as part of the Alabama Guide Service. Tailrace fishing below Bankhead and Holt dams can be outstanding during certain times of the year because you can catch a wide variety of fish at night, as well as during the day. The success of tailrace fishing is dependent on how much current is being generated by the hydroelectric plants, the spillways and/or both. The amount of current and the color of the water in the tailraces will dictate how you should fish, and what lures you should use. You can contact Russell Jones at 205-454-7313; www.alabamaguideservices.com; and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AlabamaGuideService/.

When the Warrior River starts to flood upstream of Bankhead Dam, often the spillways will be opened to allow some of that excess water to move downstream. Depending on how many of the spillways are open, this time can be dangerous to fish in the tailrace. However, if you can see slack water and stay there, you’ll catch a good number of fish.

Usually when the spillways are open, the water will be muddy. So, I’ll fish with bright-colored lures. I’ll be using a Rat-L-Trap, a spinner bait, brown – or green-colored Valiant jigs and an Alabama Rig with big white swimbaits on it. Then, I’ll try to cast it out and get it in the current. We’ll still be looking for the same type of fish that hold in the tailrace – spotted and largemouth bass, saltwater striped bass, hybrid striped bass, catfish, white bass, drum, skipjack (hickory shad) and any other fish that have come upriver to feed on the abundance of shad holding and feeding in that swift water.

Another tactic that I may use when there’s a lot of current coming from the spillways and/or the hydroelectric plant is I’ll cast topwater lures in the slack water just off the current. I’ll be using a walking bait like the Zara Spook, a popping bait and a buzzbait. Many times, some of the better-sized fish may be holding on that current seam between the slack water and the current from the dam. When those fish see activity on the surface, they’ll often attack.

Editor’s Note: Russell Jones of Coker, Alabama, is a USCG Certified Guide on the Black Warrior River in Tuscaloosa County, as part of the Alabama Guide Service. Tailrace fishing below Bankhead and Holt dams can be outstanding during certain times of the year because you can catch a wide variety of fish at night, as well as during the day. The success of tailrace fishing is dependent on how-much current is being generated by the hydroelectric plants, the spillways and/or both. The amount of current and the color of the water in the tailraces will dictate how you should fish, and what lures you should use. You can contact Russell Jones at 205-454-7313; www.alabamaguideservices.com; and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AlabamaGuideService/.

I like a big spinner bait when I fish in the tailrace to see what’s biting, and where the fish are holding. The current will decide what size spinner bait I use – either a 3/4- or a 1/8-ounce spinner bait. When I’m fishing a spinner bait in the tailrace, I don’t use a trailer. Some days I may use a trailer hook, but more than likely, I won’t. I like either a solid-white or a shad-colored spinner bait – like gray and white with sparkles in it. If the water’s muddy, I prefer a chartreuse-colored spinner bait and skirt. The blades on my spinner baits will be silver, double willow-leaf blades – one large and one small. The willow leaf seems to get the spinner bait down faster than the Colorado blade on a spinner bait does. I also like a 7’3” rod and usually will fish the spinner baits on fluorocarbon line – generally 17-20 pound test.

Editor’s Note: Russell Jones of Coker, Alabama, is a USCG Certified Guide on the Black Warrior River in Tuscaloosa County, as part of the Alabama Guide Service. When fishing on the Black Warrior River, Tailrace fishing below Bankhead and Holt dams can be outstanding during certain times of the year because you can catch a wide variety of fish at night, as well as during the day. The success of tailrace fishing is dependent on how much current is being generated by the hydroelectric plants, the spillways and/or both. The amount of current and the color of the water in the tailraces will dictate how you should fish, and what lures you should use. You can contact Russell Jones at 205-454-7313; www.alabamaguideservices.com; and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AlabamaGuideService/.

The Alabama Rig holds five jig heads with a soft, plastic swimbait attached to each jig head. In Alabama, you can use all five jig heads on your Alabama Rig. However, in other states, you only may be able to use two or three jig heads. I’ll place 1/4-ounce shaky head jigs on each one of the five wires of the Alabama Rig. Some anglers prefer a lighter jig head, but I like the 1/4-ounce to get the rig down quicker to where I think the fish are holding, as well as keeping it off the bottom, by reeling fairly fast. I use either 3.5 NetBait Little Spanky swimbaits on the jig heads or True Bass Hollow Body swimbaits. The True Bass swimbaits are tougher than the Little Spanky ones and somewhat more expensive. When I’m fishing with the Little Spanky ones, I like the bright, pearl-colored bodies. When the river’s water is clear, I like the True Bass colors that resemble a shad better than the Little Spanky ones.

I fish the Alabama Rig on a flipping stick big frog rod that’s either 7’6” or a 7’11” long. I use 50-pound-test braided line. Some people prefer to use a monofilament line, but I’m more comfortable using braided line, like Berkley’s Power Pro braid. The secret to catching fish on the Alabama Rig in the tailrace is to reel it fast enough to keep it from getting hung in the bottom, yet slowly enough to get it down close to the bottom. The first time I start throwing it, I may get hung-up a couple of times, but I usually can pop my line and get the rig off of whatever it’s hung. 

For instance, if I’m fishing a 20-foot bottom, I want the Alabama Rig to be between 15 – 20 feet deep, possibly 18 feet. If I’m fishing in 8-10 feet of water, I try to keep the Alabama Rig in 6-7 feet of water. The Alabama Rig also has blades on it that give the bait a lot of flash. Using this bait, I catch a wide variety of fish. I’ve caught 20-pound catfish, 15–20 pound stripers, hybrid striped bass – often two or three at a time – largemouth bass, spotted bass, drum and skipjacks (hickory shad). However, I’m really targeting spotted bass and have caught three spotted bass on one Alabama Rig before at the same time. The biggest was a 3-pounder, and the other two were 12-14 inches long. I’ve also caught two, 4-pound spotted bass on the same Alabama Rig at the same time.

Fish the Alabama Rig with Swimbaits in the Warrior River Tailraces with Russell Jones

Editor’s Note: Adam Hollingsworth is the president of the University of Alabama Fishing Team and explains, “I went back to college because I spent the first years of my life after high school in the military and as a police officer. I eventually want to be a U.S. Marshal. I currently have a degree in criminology and plan to start my master’s degree at the University of Alabama in the fall of 2022. I love to fish for bass.” 

At night when the power plant at the Lock 17 isn’t running, I can catch bass there with either a buzzbait or a spinner bait. Some of the best tournaments in the hot months are held at night when the spillways aren’t running current. Also, you can dodge the heat of the day then, making bass fishing more fun. Most of the night tournaments begin just before dark and continue until after midnight.

My two favorite lures for fishing below Lock 17 at night are the Crusher Pro Buz buzzbait just before dark, and the Crusher Lures Moon Crusher spinner bait after dark. I prefer this spinner bait because the Moon Crusher increases my hook setting ratio. I also like its big thumper blade that triggers more bites when calling bass from long distances with the vibrations it gives off.

The two colors I like are black/hot pink and crushed tequila. I fish the Crusher Lures Moon Crusher on the edges of grass and over logs and other debris. I’ll fish this lure on a 7’ or a 7’3” iROD Lone Star Special in a medium-heavy action with a Lews Tournament Pro 7.5:1 gear ratio reel and PowerPro 20-pound-test braided line. 

Hollingsworth with caught bass.