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!

 

1. The River Walk

Disguised behind all of the commotions of Tuscaloosa lies the scenic River Walk. The 4.5 miles of path that runs directly next to the Black Warrior River serves as an ideal spot for picnics, dog walks, or leisurely strolls. Get out of the house, grab a friend, and go enjoy the view!

 

2. Dreamland BBQ

If you are from Tuscaloosa, or just Alabama itself, you know about this famous spot. Founded in 1958 by “Big Daddy” John Bishop, Dreamland has been a staple in Tuscaloosa’s food scene, serving communities across the state and even the country. You can still visit the original Dreamland location at 5525 15th Avenue East in Tuscaloosa. Pro Tip: Get the banana pudding.

 

3. Civil Rights Trail

To understand the rich history of Tuscaloosa’s civil rights history, it is crucial to examine the Civil Rights Trail. Many Alabamians are aware of the civil rights history that surrounds our state, but many might not be aware of the important events that took place in Tuscaloosa. The trail has 18 stops that tell of the extraordinary action that shaped this town forever. Visit https://civilrightstuscaloosa.org/trail/ to print your trail brochure. 

 

4. Downtown

Downtown Tuscaloosa has maintained its southern charm over the many years of change. Find a stylish outfit at The Pants Store, indulge in a nice dinner at Depalma’s, or sip on a craft cocktail at Sessions Bar. With dozens of businesses, new and old, its streets offer exciting experiences for everyone!

 

5.  Lake Tuscaloosa

Right smack in the middle of Tuscaloosa you can fish, boat, or lie out with your friends at gorgeous Lake Tuscaloosa. This is the perfect spot for a quick, relaxing day trip with your friends or family. With 117 miles of shoreline, you sure won’t run out of room to play!

 

6. Crimson Tide Football

Alabama football fans have the honor of being some of the loudest, rowdiest fans in all of college football. To be honest, it’s hard to bite your tongue when your team has won 18 National Championships AND you have a larger stadium than Auburn. 

 

7. The Strip

The Strip. Home to Quick Grill, the Yellow Hammer, and of course, Rounders. College kids love it, locals- well, probably don’t hate it too much. This is truly the place to go if you want that thrilling nightlife experience with a hint of college kid energy. Experience the electric energy on the strip that adds such an exciting element to Tuscaloosa!

 

8. Nicks in the Sticks

Nothing beats family-owned cooking- especially family-owned SOUTHERN cooking. Nicks in the Sticks has been serving the Tuscaloosa community since 1953 and has gone down in history ever since. Even though the venue is quite small, they dish up big flavors. If you have the chance to go, don’t forget to put a dollar bill on the ceiling! 

 

9. Breweries

What’s a good ole southern town without a good taproom? Tuscaloosa is home to 3 craft breweries: Loosa Brews, Druid City Brewing Company, and Black Warrior Brewing Company. New to the Tuscaloosa beer scene is The Grocery Brewpub that is set to open in the next few months! 

 

10. The Immense History

While this one post could be a novel, T-Town has been a historical hotspot for centuries! Once the state capital in 1825, Tuscaloosa has been the home to the Creek Indian tribe and the site of a Civil War standoff. Grab a friend and discover the antiquity of Tuscaloosa throughout the many museums and tours offered throughout the town.

 

11.  Kentuck Art Festival

Nothing screams fall in Tuscaloosa like changing leaves, football, and seasonal festivals. For 49 years, the Kentuck Art Center has been the epicenter of creativity for this community. The Kentuck Festival is filled with great music and art pieces from over 270 inspired creatives. While 2020 put a damper on the previous year’s fun, we are hopeful for the new year and the continuation of the spirit of Kentuck! 

 

12.  Tuscaloosa Farmers Market

Shop local, eat local, enjoy local. Supporting the Tuscaloosa community has never been easier thanks to the farmers market’s weekly Saturday appearance! Get your weekend fix of artisan bread, farm-fresh vegetables, and fabulous finds from your local small business owners at the Tuscaloosa Farmers Market- but remember to wear your mask!

 

13.  The People

A deadly virus and a couple of tornados. It will take more than that to rock this town to its core! This community has endured so many hardships throughout the years. Yet still, we emerge stronger than ever and proud of the community we have built together! I could think of 1,000,000 reasons why I love Tuscaloosa, but 15 will have to do justice for now!

The weather is a bit dreary in Tuscaloosa, but that doesn’t mean your week has to be! While this city does have plenty of outdoor fun for you and your family, let’s not forget the great indoors! Here are a couple of great ways to dodge the rain and have a great time doing it.

 

  1. Axe Throwing
Looking to awake the sleeping lumberjack within? Civil Axe Throwing can help you do just that! This thrilling activity is super simple to learn, and everything has been designed with your fun and safety in mind. Axe throwing is a perfect way to blow off some steam and have fun with some friendly competition with friends and family! Not sure if this is for you? Think of this activity as throwing a dart, except you might need two hands! Walk-ins are always welcome but you can save your spot ahead of time by visiting Civil Axe’s website.
  1. Catch a Movie
Have we forgotten about movie theaters in 2021? The Golden Globe Awards were last month and there were some hot movies nominated! We have been inside for much of the last year, most likely binging every Netflix movie known to man. CMX Cinemas Hollywood 16 Theater (formerly Cobb Theater) is open and showing new movies daily! Sanitation precautions are in place and masks are required upon entry until you seat yourself. We all have a movie junkie personality, and get real- we missed that movie theater popcorn! 
  1. Educate Yourself!

The museum scene in Tuscaloosa is evergrowing. While it’s rainy outside, you can visit exhibits from art to natural history! The Alabama Museum of Natural History has shown its beauty through exhibitions, collections, and quality programs of teaching, research, and service for over 150 years. The Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center has served as a hub for the arts in Tuscaloosa. You can currently observe the newest exhibition, “Eye Music” by Elizabeth Rand Photography. New exhibitions are opening every month so there is no absence of great talent to enjoy!

  1. Coffee Shops
Something about rainy weather makes us want to curl up somewhere cozy with a warm drink. Thankfully, Tuscaloosa is home to many homey coffee shops! Grab yourself a cup of your favorite coffee or tea and listen to a podcast or even catch up on some overdue work! Five Java, Heritage House, and Just Love Coffee Cafe all offer free wifi and tons of indoor and outdoor seating so you can bring a friend along! Have a cup, or two, and let this weather pass by! (There are many other coffee shops in our area, so tag us on one of your favorites!)
  1. Breweries
Maybe rainy weather makes you want to get your buzz on. The beer scene in Tuscaloosa is definitely on full blast 24/7! Black Warrior Brewing Company, Loosa Brews, and Druid City Brewing Company allow you to get an early start on your happy hour while sheltering from the rain. The best beer we drink is the ones with friends, so get your crew and get on! Loosa also has an arcade in the backroom so don’t be shy with your quarters!



If you partake in any of these activities this week, tag us on Instagram, @visittuscaloosa! 

Now that it is wintertime and the blistering Alabama heat is on vacation, it can be tough to find ways to stay warm! Finding a way to stay active and social while staying warm and staying safely distanced is a monumental task, so we decided to help out! Below, we have compiled a list of activities for staying warm around Tuscaloosa while still being safe. While visiting the following locations and businesses, be sure to wear a mask and practice safe social distancing while you keep warm!

No Snow, Just a Cup of Joe

A classic way to get warm throughout wintertime is a nice, warm cup of delicious coffee! A coffee shop is versatile in what you are able to order, from black house coffee for the seasoned veteran to hot chocolate for the kids! A new coffee spot in town that has just recently opened up is Just Love Coffee.

Just Love Coffee’s grand opening is this weekend! After a very successful soft opening, Just Love is ready to open its doors for all of Tuscaloosa to enjoy and is ready to brew up some hot (and cold) coffee. In addition to coffee, Just Love also offers a number of different food items ranging from avocado toast, to sandwiches, to delectable waffle creations! Stop by the coffee shop in Downtown Tuscaloosa to warm up with a delicious cup of coffee!

Get Comfy Between the Book Covers

A perfect activity for sitting around and enjoying the heat of the indoors is curling up and enjoying a good book. In addition to staying warm, a book is a great way to travel to new worlds and exciting places while staying safely within your own home! To find your new favorite book or to rediscover an old favorite, stop by Ernest & Hadley’s near Downtown Tuscaloosa!

Ernest & Hadley’s is Tuscaloosa’s premier local bookstore that is based on sharing the wonderful activity of reading with all its visitors! In addition to providing new and old favorites, this bookstore does Tuscaloosa and West Alabama proud by featuring books written by local and statewide authors and books centered around Alabama culture! Stop by the bookstore this weekend to pick up a set of books to enjoy by the fire or under a cozy blanket!

No Brrrrr’s, Just Brews

An activity that applies well to summertime and wintertime is visiting the incredible breweries around town. The breweries of Tuscaloosa are a great way to enjoy company with friends indoors while staying distanced and safe. Two of the best locations in Tuscaloosa to visit for beer and other drinks are Black Warrior Brewing Company and Druid City Brewing Company!

Black Warrior Brewing Company is a local Tuscaloosa brewery with a wide variety of evergreen and seasonal beers for all to enjoy. There is plenty of space indoors to enjoy a brew with friends and stay out of the harsh winter cold! Druid City Brewing Company is Tuscaloosa’s first brewery and serves up one of the greatest porters in the Southeast. If you’re hoping to stay downtown, Cravings is home to a massive variety of beers, wine, and other beverages (including hot beverages) where almost anyone can find something they will love!

The best time of year is steadily approaching and it seems that the gift list is growing longer by the second. That’s where we come in to save the day. Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing some stellar local shops that will make this year’s Christmas shopping a breeze. Not only will this guide save you loads of time, but it’s also a way to show your love and support for the many phenomenal local businesses in Tuscaloosa! Want your favorite shop featured? Send us a direct message and let us know!

For your Brewery Buds…

There is always one kind of gift that gets put to good use with just about every recipient: alcohol. Whether you’re searching for your favorite IPA or a unique kind of wine, we have what you’re looking for in Tuscaloosa! Loosa is a spectacular local bar that offers 63-Taps that you can drink on-premise, or fill up in a growler and take home. They always keep 30 of the freshest draft beers from Alabama breweries plus rare beers from all over on tap. If alcohol isn’t the direction you were thinking, check out their T-shirts, hats, and glassware! Whether you’re a local or a first-time visitor a souvenir is always a great little reminder of your experience here in T-Town. 

For the Evermoving Explorers…

Although the temperatures are getting lower and lower, it is still important to stay active outside whether it is to exercise or for other sporting purposes! Staying outside and distanced is a safe and healthy way to enjoy activities with friends and family, so for all those outdoorsy companions, check out Woods and Water or Wagner’s. Woods and Water is a store that fills every outdoorsy person’s fantasies, whether for hunting, fishing, or other assorted outdoor activities! A local shoe store, Wagner’s, has another seasonal gift guide for everyone to put a holiday spring in their loved ones’ step this season! Browse through the wide selection of shoes and active outerwear divided into for him, for her, for girls, or for boys sections. 

For your Foodie Friends…

Wheww… Where do we even start? To gift a delightful dining experience and incredible Italian cuisine check out the local favorite Depalmas! If a brunch date is more your style, gift your friend with mimosas and a view at River, or with a Southern-styled breakfast at The Waysider. For that unpredictable foodie friend, a Cravings gift card can go a long way. The city’s one-stop-shop for specialty candy, craft beer, wine, dessert, and so much more is located downtown for your convenience.

For the Auspicious Artists…

Bring the artistic wonder of Kentuck Arts Center to family and friends with the power of the Kentuck Festival of the Arts 2020 Virtual Marketplace. This virtual dream come true is available now until December 31st to safely celebrate local artists. With a wide variety of pieces and creations, the Virtual Marketplace is a fabulous way to browse and discover new tastes and trends within the art community all from the safety of your home. Not only is this a safe way to shop, but it also an incredible way to support local artists from around Tuscaloosa and all of West Alabama.

All Fired Up Ceramic Studio offers gift cards for visitors to purchase for their friends and family this upcoming holiday season or year-round for other celebrations! Gifts can come in the shape of gift cards for use at the All Fired Up studio or even take-home kits to move the ceramic fun to enjoy in the safety of your own home! All Fired Up is a delightful spot where you, along with friends or family, can stop by to create and paint your very own pottery creations together. This activity is a relaxing way to both blow off steam and express creativity through shape, color, and design! Visit All Fired Up’s website to learn more about the store and their different gift offerings.

For the Reserved Relaxers…

In the chaos that has been 2020, many people are looking for ways to healthily unwind and enjoy time to themselves or just time in peace and quiet. Tuscaloosa is home to several spots where you can find the gift of “solace” to give to one of your closest companions. Ernest and Hadley offers gift cards, branded gifts, and even store memberships as part of their gift gallery and is sure to provide a thoughtful and easy gift to give a book lover or someone looking to read more heading into the new year. Monarch Espresso Bar is another way to give the gift of peace and quiet by offering gift cards to give to friends and family this holiday season.

Let’s face it: because of the coronavirus pandemic, vacationing likely looks a bit different for everyone. Thankfully, there are other options. A staycation means you can still spend a weekend away from home without ever having to leave the city, and planning one is easy in Tuscaloosa! With so many local restaurants, shops, and unique locations to enjoy, there’s no shortage of things to do. We’ve compiled a schedule below to help you plan your next Tuscaloosa staycation!

Check-in Time

Located in the heart of downtown and only a short walk from lots of bars and restaurants downtown, Home2 Suites is a beautiful hotel with a modern atmosphere. With a spectacular view of the downtown Tuscaloosa nightlife, there are several amenities that make this hotel a top choice. Enjoy free, hot breakfast, free wi-fi, free parking, and the indoor pool!

Candlewood Suites is another fine hotel for your weekend staycation. With a convenient location near Interstates 20 and 59, you can check out one of Tuscaloosa’s many attractions including The University of Alabama campus, a plethora of museums, nature trails, and plenty of unique shops! Experience top-notch customer service, spotless rooms, luxurious beds, and a great pool! Enjoy all that this special hotel has to offer by making a reservation online today!

Along the banks of the Black Warrior River and just minutes away from campus and downtown, enjoy a breathtaking view at Residence Inn on Rice Mine Loop.  This hotel is devoted to giving guests an amazing experience from start to finish, including great amenities like complimentary Wi-Fi, a free breakfast buffet, complimentary grocery delivery service, a grilling patio with fire pits, 24-hour fitness center, and an indoor pool. This hotel is also pet-friendly, so bring along the whole family for this staycation!

Out and About

If you’re looking to spend some time in the great outdoors this weekend, look no further than Lake Lurleen. The park is located only 20 minutes outside of town, and visitors can enjoy activities such as hiking, swimming, fishing, kayaking, just to name a few. Lake Lurleen is also known for its birding trails, and don’t forget to stop by the park’s Nature Center to learn more about the region’s plants and wildlife!

Sokol Park is another outdoor spot that’s perfect for a weekend afternoon. The park is located a short drive from Tuscaloosa in Northport. Sokol Park offers a wide variety of facilities, including multipurpose fields, bike trails, and a track. There’s also a dog park if you want to bring your favorite furry friend!

If shopping is more your speed, Earnest & Hadley Booksellers is a hidden Tuscaloosa gem. With a wide selection of used, new, and collectible books for sale, you’re sure to find the perfect one for you! Earnest & Hadley also offers books from local authors, including fiction and nonfiction works. Stop by the store today, or shop online if you’re looking to social distance!

Dining Out

For a laid-back dining experience, GloryBound in downtown Tuscaloosa is a local favorite. With over 15 types of gyros to choose from, including chicken bacon ranch, surf-n-turf, and veggie, this restaurant can satisfy any craving! In 2014 & 2015 Restaurant Hospitality ranked the pepperjack gyro as one of the best sandwiches in America! Enjoy the juicy rotisserie seared beef and lamb wrapped with lettuce and onions topped with pepperjack cheese, crispy bacon, and phenomenal comeback sauce!

If you’re interested in fine dining in a classy atmosphere, stop by R. Davidson Chophouse! This restaurant is located downtown and has a number of sophisticated dishes. From jumbo lump crab cakes to the RD Chophouse burger, their expansive menu ensures that there’s something for everyone! Make your reservation online on their website, or order takeout if you’d prefer to eat at home.

Out on the Town

If you’re looking for a sweet treat, Brummi’s Yummies is open downtown and ready to serve you some of their homemade baked goods! Custom cakes and cupcakes are their specialties, but banana pudding, cheesecakes, and brownies are also available. No matter what you’re in the mood for, Brummi’s Yummies is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth!

If you’re looking for after-dinner drinks this weekend, drop by Nocturnal Tavern! This local gothic-styled club/bar is located in the dark little corner of Tuscaloosa. Enjoy the mysterious atmosphere and Victorian-style as you choose between domestic and imported beverages, as well as a variety of mixed drinks. They open at 5:00 p.m., so don’t hesitate to get the party started a little earlier this weekend.

Summer is officially here, and there’s no better place to spend it than Tuscaloosa! With a variety of local businesses ready to help you make the most of these long, hot days, there’s always something to explore. Check out these options and make the most of your summer in the One and Only Tuscaloosa!

Refreshing Treats

Snow Cones: Snow cones are some of the best summer treats around! To help you battle the heat, stop by Summer Snow. This shaved ice shop on University Boulevard has been serving the Tuscaloosa community since 1988, and their unique assortment of flavors is sure to satisfy any palette! Try the refreshing pink lemonade, or let your taste buds escape to a tropical paradise with coconut. Summer Snow is iconic to the city of Tuscaloosa, so come prepared to enjoy all that this local favorite has to offer.

Ice cream: If ice cream is more your speed, stop by Ingram Farms to grab a scoop or two! The produce stand is located a short drive from Tuscaloosa in Northport. Ingram Farms offers a variety of flavors of Mayfield and Blue Bell ice cream as well as local creations, including specialty blends such as orange pineapple. Don’t forget to pick up some locally grown fruits and veggies while you’re there!

Milkshakes: Rama Jama’s is known for its burgers and hot dogs, but did you know that they also offer milkshakes? Located conveniently near The University of Alabama’s campus, Rama Jama’s has been a part of Tuscaloosa’s restaurant scene for decades. Their milkshake selection includes flavors such as caramel, cherry, strawberry, and Oreo, just to name a few. Stop by today and enjoy a cold treat from this uniquely local spot!

Water you waiting for?

Paddleboarding: Water sports are a great way to catch a break from the summer heat. If you’re interested in getting active, try paddleboarding! Tuscaloosa Paddleboarding offers board rentals at the docks by Riverwalk Condominiums and at Lake Nicol Park. Boards are just $20 an hour, but daily rates and group rates for parties of four and over are also available. Call ahead to make a reservation today!

Fishing: Fishing is a popular activity that the whole family can enjoy this summer. Luckily, Lake Tuscaloosa is only a short drive from the city, meaning the perfect fishing spot isn’t far from home! Bass, sunfish, crappie, and more populate the lake’s waters. Stand on the shore, perch on the lake’s cliffs, or take a boat out on the water and see what you can catch!

Swimming: Swimming is one of the first summer activities that come to mind, and Hurricane Creek Park is the perfect place to take a dip! Located off of Old Birmingham Highway, this spot is a Tuscaloosa favorite for outdoor activities of all kinds. Along with swimming, visitors can hike, kayak, or simply sit along the shore and enjoy the park’s unspoiled natural beauty.

Summer Nights

Dinner: Located on the banks of the Black Warrior River, River is perfect for a delicious dinner in a beautiful setting. Located a short drive from downtown along the Riverwalk, River’s menu includes steaks, seafood, salads, and flatbreads. Check their website for their happy hour menu, which offers deals on wine, draft beers, and specialty cocktails. Whether for a nice family dinner or a romantic evening out, River is the perfect spot to spend a summer evening!

Drinks: If you’re in the mood for a laid-back and fun atmosphere, look no further than Loosa Brews! Doubling as both a retail store and a full-service bar, Loosa offers dozens of local craft beers and mainstream favorites on draft. Bring quarters and enjoy some friendly competition with their wide selection of arcade and pinball machines! If you’re looking to stay in, call and order a growler or choose from their wide selection of packaged beers and wines.

June has officially arrived, and with it have also arrived the long, hot summer days that the South is known for. Thankfully, Tuscaloosa has plenty of things to help you make the most of this time! If you haven’t made any plans for this weekend, check out the options below to see how you can get a taste of what the city has to offer.

These aren’t the only ones open

Many local bars and breweries have reopened their doors to the public! Local hotspots like Loosa Brews, Innisfree, and Black Warrior Brewing Company are all open to customers this weekend. If you’re still looking to stay home, curbside pickup service is available from all three locations.

Get a Sweet Treat

Pick up some baked goods to enjoy this weekend! Tuscaloosa has a couple of standout options to satisfy your cravings. Edgar’s Bakery, Whimsy Cookie Co., and Mi Casita Bakery are a few excellent options if you’re looking to indulge in the sweeter side of things.  If ice-cream is more up your alley, check out Las Piñas behind Bowlero.

Experience the Outdoors

If you’re interested in spending some time outdoors, Tuscaloosa has some beautiful parks for you to enjoy. Lake Lurleen and Lake Nicol are two local hotspots that have so much to offer. Enjoy activities such as hiking, fishing, boating, swimming, and picnicking only a short drive from the city!

Take a Class

For our older readers looking to stay in this weekend, The University of Alabama’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, or OLLI, is offering classes on a variety of subjects. With topics including architecture, international relations, and retirement, there’s sure to be something for everyone. Visit their website to learn how to sign up for one this weekend!

Stay Home

Still not comfortable leaving the house just yet? No worries! You can experience some of Tuscaloosa’s most historic locations thanks to virtual tours from the Tuscaloosa County Preservation Society. Check out the Battle-Friedman House, The Old Tavern, and more from the comfort of your own home!

Sometimes the weekend is the perfect time to indulge in some self-care. Treat yourself to some Salt Soaks from Left Hand Soap Company and wind down. Scents like lavender or rosemary mint are guaranteed to help you relax. Salt Soaks are available online for shipping or pick up.

 

The summer season of open roads and clear blue skies is quickly approaching. The time is now to relax, explore, and treat yourself. This year, try something different: a staycation! Now more than ever is the perfect time to experience Tuscaloosa as if you were a tourist in your hometown. We’ve taken it upon ourselves to plan the perfect Tuscaloosa staycation for you. After all, having an excellent staycation in Tuscaloosa is simple with all of the amazing stops just outside your front door!

9 A.M.: Breathe Easy

The greatest way to truly feel out of your mundane routine is to get some much-needed pampering at a spa. Tuscaloosa has several great spots ranging from the pinnacle of luxury, to more cozy and affordable that can give you that all so needed feeling.

Across the river, Spa Belle La Vie is a luxurious oasis for self-indulging in some elaborate pampering. They have facials, massages, and therapies like seaweed wraps and salt scrubs designed to wash away all your stress and give you a renewed, relaxed state of mind.

Chancee’s Spa is a hidden gem on the south side of downtown that is tucked away in a quaint brick home. The wellness spa specializes in massages and facials that are much more affordable for those who want to treat themselves without having to break the bank.

2 P.M.: Check-in

The next step in planning a staycation is finding the perfect getaway. Tuscaloosa has a couple of standout options that can serve as your home away from home.

Located on The University of Alabama’s campus, Hotel Capstone is a historic, full-service hotel within a short drive from downtown. Great dining is just outside your door with a contemporary restaurant and lounge on-site for your convenience. Legends Bistro offers a diverse menu with affordable options for even the most discerning of palates.

The Embassy Suites Hotel is minutes from Capitol Park and Murphy African American Museum. The suite-style lodging and luxurious bar/lounge give the hotel a sense of comfort and hospitality. The indoor pool and Side by Side restaurant all contribute to why this hotel would be the perfect place for a staycation.

4 P.M.: Explore

Our city’s natural beauty offers a wide range of places and hidden gems to enjoy the great outdoors during your staycation.

Just 20 minutes outside of town is the grand dame of lakes –Lake Lurleen. Take a quick drive out and explore the rustic beauty of the woods with the shimmering waters gracing the shorelines and beaches. The park features more than 23 miles of multi-use trails that are open to both hikers and mountain bikers. The park also features a Nature Center, fishing, facilities, and paddle boats.

While a popular hangout for students, there’s no denying the beauty found up along the cliffs of Lake Nicol. The lake is left open to explore with meandering paths along the cliffs and the open waters to canoe or swim around. It can feel like a totally different world far from any civilization without having to go too far from home.

7 P.M.: Dinner

There’s no better way to end a day in Tuscaloosa than at one of the city’s locally-owned restaurants.

Depalma’s is a Tuscaloosa gem with Italian pasta classics as well as pizza and calzones on the menu. For an appetizer, be sure to try their stuffed mushrooms or breadsticks! For now, you are able to take all of these delicacies straight to your hotel room to feast in peace!

If you’re looking for a more laid-back atmosphere, Avenue Pub is just around the corner! Kick back, grab a drink on tap, and be sure to enjoy some phenomenal pub food like the iconic Thai Nachos or the Bacon Burger.

10 P.M.: Drinks 

After dinner, Tuscaloosa has many local breweries and bars where you can grab drinks.

Loosa Brews is a locally-owned bar and retailer that has been specializing in quality craft beer since 2014. They offer 63 taps and have a full-service arcade, including a large number of classic arcade machines and pinball machines.

Black Warrior Brewing Company is another great downtown option for after-dinner drinks. The brewery and tap-room have been a staple in Tuscaloosa since 2012 and serve their own beer and wine creations.

Tuscaloosa is slowly beginning the process of reopening its doors! Throughout the painfully long and rather bizarre weeks of quarantine, the city of Tuscaloosa has continued to show resilience through these trying times. Several retail and service businesses are back open at 50% capacity. Some hours will be altered, and safety precautions will slightly differ from place to place. Our local businesses are ecstatic to welcome you back and to safely begin interacting with you when the time is right.

 

Due to the fluidity of the situation, many businesses have new operating hours for the time being. It’s always a good idea to call ahead and double-check their hours and safety guidelines before driving directly there. You also have access to the business’s social media platforms to stay informed of all sanitary precautions, new business hours, and other adjustments that might need to be made due to the pandemic.

 

There are several restaurants opening back up that have been taking the necessary precautions to protect their employees and customers throughout these past several weeks. For example, Buffalo Phil’s is now open, just in time to kick off your weekend with some amazing wings. The staff has been working diligently to provide a safe space to serve their customers while abiding by social distancing guidelines. If you are looking to steer clear of the college crowd, Buddy’s Rib & Steak in Northport is now open at 50% capacity. Another excellent restaurant that has reopened its doors is Central Mesa! Check them out to try some of their new menu items, like the pan-seared salmon with Spanish rice (pictured).

 

Bars are also taking appropriate steps to slowly adjust to the new normal. Loosa, for instance, is not allowing customers to sit at the bar or move around tables. There is plenty of outdoor and indoor seating to provide a safe place to enjoy one of their 63 taps, packaged beers, and wines. If getting out to have a drink doesn’t appeal to you, that’s alright because Loosa still has fantastic to-go options. Black Warrior Brewery is enforcing similar guidelines as well. The bar service has been replaced by table service. Additionally, they are following all CDC and state guidelines to operate safely! If you are comfortable going out at this time, please wear a mask and respect social distancing guidelines.

 

If the restaurants, bars, and breweries aren’t calling your name just yet, there is plenty more to get into this Memorial Day weekend! We have some phenomenal places here in T-town where you can spend time with friends and family while enjoying the great outdoors. With Lake Tuscaloosa, Lake Nicol, Lake Harris, the Riverwalk, Snow Hinton Park, and Capitol Park, just to name a few, you have no excuse to binge-watch your weekend away.

 

This is the light at the end of the tunnel for the community of Tuscaloosa as we begin to navigate our way through these unprecedented times. It is important to remember that each and every one of us are coping with COVID-19 in a different way. Respect how others are choosing to protect themselves and their loved ones. Ironically enough, social distancing is an opportunity for us to come together, while apart, and unite as a community.

(without being a cliché)

Spring has sprung, and the blooming flowers and blossoming trees make for one of the best times to show your true love you’re ready to commit! Tuscaloosa is totally for lovers with its southern charms and beautiful scenery. There’s far more to this fair city than just the Denny Chimes proposal. Show your one and only that you’re creative, and try out some of these places to have a truly unique engagement.

Inside the Bama Theatre
There is something magical about the old atmospheric style theater that feels so otherworldly. With the twinkling star lights in the ceiling and the grand Spanish courtyard style décor, it’s a perfect place to surprise them. Whether you see a concert or an independent film, wait for the crowd to leave or get their early and ask the big question. Even better, the second-floor balcony has a great view of the whole interior and might be a more secluded spot.

The University of Alabama Arboretum
Farther west in the outskirts of town, you can find the University of Alabama Arboretum which has thousands of selected plant life, a desert greenhouse, and so much more. Take one of the trails through their collection, a wildflower garden, or just wonder around until you find the perfect place. With the trees blossoming and the warm weather, it’ll surely be a memorable time!

Battle-Friedman House and Gardens
Down on Greensboro Ave, the historic Battle House has one fantastic hidden gem on the property. While the mansion its self is beautiful inside and well worth taking a tour, the gardens are a great little escape. The grounds were designed to be a traditional English garden and the recent efforts of the Tuscaloosa Preservation Society, they have fully restored the gardens to their original style. The perfect spot is the small fountain behind the greenhouse with views of both the house, and the blooming garden.

Any of Tuscaloosa’s Beautiful Lakes
It’s hard to pick just one of the fantastic lakes around town, so picking any will have you on the right course. Lake Lurleen has a fantastic little sandy beach with the lake sprawling out around it, while Lake Nicol has incredibly scenic cliffs overlooking the waters. Even Lake Tuscaloosa has the breathtaking spillway that’ll make a beautiful background when you propose!

Any of the Local Breweries
Hear me out, While not the fanciest of places around town, it is also the least suspected while still being a great venue. From Black Warrior’s laid back atmosphere and game rooms, Band of Brothers‘ proximity to the more elegant Drish House, to Druid City’s iconic chalk murals, there’s a beauty in all three. Now be advised to consider who you’re asking, but to the right person, it could the most unexpected surprise they never thought they needed. Plus, it’s the easiest location for a fast transition to a celebration!
Written By: Deven Wilson – Intern