The weekend is just around the corner and we cannot wait to dive into some of the events that will be happening this week. Your weekend in Tuscaloosa can be jam-packed with fun festivities for all, leaving anyone who participates bound to have a blast. Let’s ditch the week-day blues and put on our optimistic shades for the weekend. Below are some exciting events that will create incredible memories that are sure to last a lifetime.
Laughs at Loosa
This Friday Stand Up Tuscaloosa invites you to Loosa Brews for some comedy on the patio with our Headliner Dan Alten from Louisville, KY, and featuring comics Paige McBride from Birmingham, Zach Bragg from Columbus, MS, and New Yorker Bobby Lockwood. This show is packed with goodness. So come grab a drink, find a seat, and get ready for a fun time with the coolest tribe around. The seating is available starting at 7:30 p.m. and the showtime is at 8 p.m.
Live Music on the Rooftop
We love live music at the Lookout Rooftop Bar and this week’s performer is going to slay! Enjoy a beautiful view of downtown Tuscaloosa as you treat yourself to their great variety of food and beverages. Friday Night on the Rooftop with Brian Rhea will begin at 7 p.m. Let the music take you away as you kick off your weekend with a tremendous start!
The Tuscaloosa Half Marathon is this Saturday at Government Plaza and Downtown Tuscaloosa! The start time for the race is 7 a.m. Ideally located, runners get a sampling of the rolling hills along the Black Warrior River, the jaw-dropping Tuscaloosa River Walk, portions of the University of Alabama campus, and some quaint downtown neighborhoods. The participants will have plenty of room to spread out and fully enjoy the event!
From 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday Children’s Hands-on Museum will be hosting an Easter extravaganza like no other! Get egg-cited and hop on down to CHOM for extraordinary egg science experiments and other cool crafts!
While the beginning of the week was dreary and wet, this weekend calls for dry grounds and a surprise appearance from the sun! This week in events is all about the spring season, art, and live music! See what’s going on in T-Town:
We can’t forget about Kentuck Art Center’s newest exhibition! Kentuck’s premiere 2021 exhibition, aptly titled “Good Trouble”, spans the Museum, Teer, and SoNo Galleries and features the work of at least seven Alabama Black artists. It is the hope of Kentuck Art Center that “Good Trouble” achieves several goals: to highlight Black voices, to provide a space for these artists’ works to continue the conversation about the Civil Rights Movement past and present, and to inspire empathy and the desire for change through the visual storytelling of these Black artists. “Good Trouble” will be available on March 16-26th. Go and check it out for yourself, you won’t be disappointed! Visit Kentuck’s website for hours and details.
We love Live Music Thursday’s at the Lookout Rooftop Bar and this week’s performer plays all of your favorite hits! Check out Chase Evan kick it off this Thursday, March 18th, and get a head start on your weekend happy hour! Just remember, the Lookout Rooftop is smoke-free and pet friendly, and practicing all social distancing protocols to offer you a night of great food and good fun! For more information, visit the Lookout’s website!
Mason Horne and Druid City Social
Did you catch that groove bug and can’t get enough live music? Keep the party going this Friday, March 19th, at Druid City Social! Straight out of the Carolina pines, the singer-songwriter from Jefferson, SC, Mason Horne brings a youthful, but timeless voice to country music. Grab your friends and head to Druid City Social to catch the performance! Don’t forget to check out some of their fresh starters, salads, or bowls when you need to reenergize.
Spring at CHOM
Spring has sprung and this Children’s Hands-on Museum is kicking into full gear with its festivities! March into Spring at CHOM this Saturday, March 20th, from 9:30 – 4 pm. Learn about the Water Cycle, help a butterfly fly using static electricity, and make a flower! All activities are included in admission. Wear your best spring outfit and mask!
Worth It: Tuscaloosa Edition
Have you ever heard the saying “we go together like burgers and fries”? The two are a match made in heaven, but a dilemma remains; which burger is the absolute best in town? Welcome to a new little segment we like to call “Worth It: Tuscaloosa Edition”! Today, we will be diving into different price points and qualities of local hamburgers to determine the best bang for your buck. Life is too short to eat a salad, treat yourself to an incredible burger!
Hooligans Burger – $5.23
First up to bat is a cult favorite from the renowned Hooligans. This classic hamburger comes dressed with all of the necessary basics- mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomato, and pickle all perfectly placed inside a sesame seed bun. Weighing in at only a whopping $5.23, this is a great deal for a pretty dang good mouthwatering burger. I can’t forget to mention that the $5.23 includes a drink AND fries! If you’re looking for an unbelievable price and an iconic flavor, Hooligans is right up your alley. You can never go wrong with a juicy, classic burger!
Local Roots Burger – $9
Next up, we have the Local Roots Burger from a hidden gem in town, Local Roots. You might have seen the food truck driving around Tuscaloosa, but a brick-and-mortar restaurant has also opened on McFarland! Local Roots means business when it comes to their southern-inspired creations and their burger is no exception. For $9 you can enjoy a tender ground brisket and chuck burger dressed in cheese, bacon jam, pickles, lettuce, and “special sauce”. Fear not, the special sauce will never disappoint. The brioche bun on this burger brilliantly enhances the flavor of that special sauce. For a full-flavored burger that won’t break the bank, Local Roots is a hot contender!
Avenue Pub Burger – $14
Avenue Pub has made quite the impression on the locals here, thanks to its Bacon Burger. Let’s be real, if you add bacon to just about anything, it’s bound to be a crowd-pleaser! For $14 you get a hand-pattied fresh ground beef topped with provolone, mayo, and bacon and a choice of greens, onion, and pickles on the side. Now, this burger can get pretty large and you will need both hands on deck for this one! Avenue Pub’s burger is a juicy, flavor-packed take on the traditional hamburger that puts both Mcdonalds and Burger King to shame. One bite of this bad boy and you’ll understand the hype!
All of these hamburgers earn strong remarks in the flavor, value, and satisfaction categories. Let’s review, shall we? Local Roots serves up a super-flavorful take on the hamburger with its deliciously unique sauce. Hooligans is a local staple with their bacon cheeseburgers as the claim to fame. Avenue Pub is the master of the perfect meat to toppings ratio. Now we want to hear from your point of view. What is your favorite burger in Tuscaloosa? Share with us your favorite hamburger hideaways here in Tuscaloosa! And remember, the only bad burger is the one you didn’t eat!
|Thanksgiving||Christmas Eve||Christmas Day|
|Another Broken Egg||Closed||Open||Closed|
|Archibald & Woodrow’s||Closed||Closed||Closed|
|Babe’s Doughnut||Check back later||Check back later||Check back later|
|Baumhowers Restaurant||Closed||11 – 4||Closed|
|Brick & Spoon||Check back later||Check back later||Check back later|
|Broadway Pizzeria||Check back later||Check back later||Check back later|
|Buffalo Phil’s Wings||Closed||TBA||TBA|
|Chuck’s Fish||Carry Out Only||Closed||Closed|
|Depalma’s Italian Cafe||Closed||Closed||Closed|
|Dreamland BBQ – Northport||Closed||Closed||Closed|
|Dreamland BBQ – Tuscaloosa||Closed||til 3 pm||Closed|
|Druid City Social||Closed||Closed||Closed|
|Evangeline’s||Check back later||Check back later||Check back later|
|Flavaz Seafood & Soulfood||Closed||Closes at 5 pm||Closed|
|Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers||Closed||Close at 4 pm||Closed|
|Full Moon BBQ||Closed||10 – 3||Closed|
|Half Shell Oyster House||Closed||11 – 8||Closed|
|Heat Pizza Bar||Closed||Closed||Closed|
|Heritage House||Closed||Check Social Media||Closed|
|Hokkaido||Check back later||Check back later||Check back later|
|Hoo’s Q and Brew||Closed||Check Social Media||Closed|
|Hoo’s Q||Closed||Check Social Media||Closed|
|Jalapeno’s Mexican Grill||Closed||Open Lunch||Closed|
|Jim ‘N Nicks BBQ||Closed||till 3 pm||Closed|
|Just Love Coffee||Closed||Shortened Hours||Closed|
|Legends Bistro||Open||Check back later||Check back later|
|Lookout Rooftop Bar||Check back later||Check back later||Check back later|
|Metro Diner||9 – 2||9 – 2||Closed|
|Moe’s Original BBQ||Closed||Closed||Closed|
|Monarch Espresso||Check back later||Check back later||Check back later|
|Mugshots Grill and Bar||Closed||Closed||Closed|
|Peach Pit Bar & Grill||Closed||Check Social Media||Closed|
|Pyro’s Fire Fresh Pizza||Closed||til 2 pm||Closed|
|R Davidson Chophouse||11 – 8||Closed||Closed|
|Raised on Country||Closed||til 4 pm||Closed|
|Rama Jama’s||Check back later||Check back later||Check back later|
|Rock N Roll Sushi||Check Website||Check Website||Check Website|
|Ruan Thai Exotic Thai Cuisine Rest.||Check back later||Check back later||Check back later|
|Sage Juice Bar||Closed||Open||Closed|
|Sharks Fish and Chicken||Check back later||Check back later||Check back later|
|Shoals Bar and Kitchen||Check back later||Check back later||Check back later|
|Side-by-Side||Check Website||Check Website||Check Website|
|Southern Ale House||Check back later||Check back later||Check back later|
|Surin of Thailand||Closed||Check back later||Closed|
|Sweet Home Food Bar||Closed||Check back later||Check back later|
|Swen Chinese Restaurant||Closed||Closed||Closed|
|Taco Mama||Closed||til 4 pm||Closed|
|The Juicy Crab||11 am – 4 pm||Open||11 am – 4 pm|
|The Waysider||Check back later||Check back later||Check back later|
|Turbo Coffee||Check back later||Check back later||Check back later|
|Twelve25||Check back later||Check back later||Check back later|
|Urban Cookhouse||Closed||Check back later||Closed|
|Veracruz Mexican Grill||Closed||Check back later||Closed|
|VooDoo Wing Company||Closed||Closed||Closed|
|Wing Stop||5 pm – 12 am||Closed||Closed|
|World Of Beer||Closed||Check back later||Check back later|
|Zoe’s Kitchen (all locations)||Check Website||Check Website||Check Website|
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.
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
1. If savory Lamb Chops topped with Blackberry Reduction and a side of Garlic Mashed Potatoes and sautéed Kale sounds like your dream dinner, then you should definitely include Evangeline’s in your T-Town itinerary. As one of the area’s premier restaurants, this divine treasure provides exceptional service for private intimate dinners, social events, and corporate parties. From a small rehearsal dinner to a lavish party for friends and family, Evangeline’s has the atmosphere to create the ideal experience.
2. Do you consider seafood, steak, & sushi three of your main food groups? If so, then Chuck’s is most definitely calling you. Offering a diverse menu in trendy surrounds with a loft & full bar, this local favorite has a well-earned reputation as a T-Town staple. It is also perfect for special occasions like birthdays or anniversaries. Crowd favorites include the crab cakes, sushi, scallops, and pizza. With attentive service and an unforgettable dining experience, you’ll always leave this happy and stuffed – and ready to come back again.
3. It would be a disservice to Tuscaloosa cuisine to discuss our incredible local dining without including Central Mesa. Established in 2017 by owner Craig Williams, this local treasure offers a Southern twist on traditional Latin-American dishes. The story of the restaurant is built upon a passion for providing fresh, great-tasting food and cocktails. Every dish is prepared in-house from scratch to ensure quality taste. The heart of the restaurant beats to provide a relaxed atmosphere and sense of community, where people can come and enjoy exceptional food and drink.
4. Ignite the creative in you and experience the Dinah Cultural Arts Center’s current exhibit, Stephanie Kirkland: “Windswept: Abstract Landscapes”. This moving collection of acrylic paintings was inspired during a road trip out West, which included hiking through Glacier, Zion, and Grand Canyon national parks. This week’s gallery hours of 1:00 p.m.to 3:00 p.m. offers the last chance to witness this captivating creation firsthand. Trust us, you don’t want to miss it!
5. Kentuck Art Center offers a unique view into the minds of the endlessly talented local artists all around Tuscaloosa. From handmade, one-of-a-kind jewelry to kitchen pitchers, this gold mine is ideal for a one-stop-shop for holiday gifts. The Kentuck Gallery Shop offers an incredible shopping experience either online or in-person!
6. Fall foliage peak is on the horizon and one of the best places to take in the changing season is the Riverwalk. This first-rate paved trail sits along the southern bank of the Black Warrior River near downtown Tuscaloosa and is suited for both walkers and bikers. Along the 4.5-mile trail, there are a variety of (dog-friendly) park areas, benches, gazebos, and trees for hammocks and picnics. The pathway also provides a playground near the Public Library and a splash pad at the Bama Bell dock for the kids. For nighttime walkers, it is well-lit with street lamps along the way.
7. Get a taste of the (tamer) Tide. Take in the jaw-dropping beauty of UA’s campus in its most unique form: somewhat still and tranquil. Casually absorb the captivating architecture and elaborate landscaping that is so easy to take for granted during the football fan frenzy that accompanies one of the greatest dynasties in college football history. It offers another great place to enjoy the fall colors while viewing landmarks such as the President’s Mansion, Denny Chimes, Bryant-Denny Stadium, and historic Foster Auditorium – where Malone-Hood Plaza and the Autherine Lucy Clock Tower celebrate the spot where the University of Alabama was first integrated.
T-Town’s Local favorite JCG Apparel and B-Unlimited, a custom apparel and graphic design studio, are now operating as one! The quality staff that cares for each other and the work they do makes its endless rave reviews no surprise. In fact, it’s even been said that they are a people company that just so happens to make t-shirts. With crazy unique Bama gear like the 2020 Bama Schedule Band Tee or the 90’s throwback Crimson Tide Crop, you’re bound to find something to suit your style.
Since 1964 this traditional men’s clothier has consistently found innovative ways to enhance the Bama’s Game Day Drip. The Locker Room’s 50+ years success story proves the quality clothing and legendary service at this local gem. Among the hundreds of styles to choose from, check out those with the “ Vault A”. The university’s previous logo has come back into style with a vengeance, giving your fit a vintage twist this football season.
Located on the corner of Fifth Street and Main Avenue in Historic Downtown Northport, the Kentuck Gallery Shop is a delightful souvenir shop that hosts up to 180 artists from around the world. As an extension of the Kentuck organization, this gallery supports many artists and creators from the local area or all around the world, so any purchase made goes straight to these artists. Ahead of visiting the shop, check out the Kentuck Gallery Shop website to browse their online store and discover the selection of art and creations being offered. The shop is open Monday – Friday from 9:30 AM-5:30 PM and Saturday/Sunday from 12:00 PM-4:00 PM, so it is a perfect spot for browsing before the games on Saturday or Sunday.
Located on The Strip and serving up mouth-watering flavors from all of Asia, Surin of Thailand is a must-visit restaurant for lunch or dinner during the weekend. In addition to incredible Asian dishes, Surin also features a full bar and a number of specialty cocktails perfect for celebrating a weekend full of SEC Football! Surin features indoor dining, so be sure to bring a mask along with you to safely walk to and from your table. Check out Surin’s website to learn about lunch and dinner specials they are offering this weekend.
For those looking to enjoy a juicy steak dinner to cap off a Saturday full of college football, check out Nick’s in the Sticks. Also known as Nick’s Filet House, this quaint steakhouse on the outskirts of Tuscaloosa is known primarily for its insane steaks and burgers. Don’t let their tasty food fool you, because they also have the famed Nicodemus cocktail. The great offers here are no secret so it is important to arrive early in the evening, as seating is limited to only a few tables and seats fill up fast!
Sunday morning after the Crimson Tide takes care of business, there is no better way to celebrate than with a southern-cooked brunch. One of the town’s favorite joints is T-Town Cafe! This home-style cafe is a delightful stop to enjoy comfort food galore from catfish to mashed potatoes to country-fried steak, with other burger and sandwich options as well. Before leaving town, visit T-Town Cafe to enjoy a family brunch or lunch and fill up before hitting the road!
One of the many incredible ways to enjoy T-Town is to step into the past and explore our Civil Rights Trail. Showcasing the diverse history of Tuscaloosa, this trail takes participants all through downtown and the surrounding area. The Civil Rights Trail winds its way in and around Downtown Tuscaloosa, where there are a number of restaurants and shops to discover while learning about the Civil Rights history of the town! Thanks to its close proximity to campus, this is a fantastic activity to do before the chaos of gameday begins. For more information on where the trail leads and to learn more about each of the stops along the trail, check out the Tuscaloosa Civil Rights Trail website!
Lake Harris in Tuscaloosa is one of the smaller lakes but offers a more private space for much more than just water activities. In addition to swimming and canoeing on the lake, there are several hiking trails around the lake including one that leads to the nearby dam that services much of the water systems in Tuscaloosa. Additionally, Lake Harris is a sought-after location for avid birdwatchers. If you are looking to pick up a new hobby this game day weekend, maybe give birding a try!
If you’re looking for kid-friendly things to do around town, you’ve come to the right place! From 9:30 AM – 4:00 PM this Saturday, the Children’s Hands-On Museum will be hosting their Spooky Scavenger Hunt! Bring along your children and help the museum find goblins, ghosts, zombies, and other spooky creatures that have been set loose in the museum! All related activities for this scavenger hunt are included in the price of admission, but be sure to purchase admission ahead of time just in case. To learn more about the Children’s Hands-On Museum and safety procedures in response to the COVID-19 situation, visit here.
If Not Now…When?
It is rare to be able to come to Tuscaloosa on a gameday Saturday without having to plan several months in advance. This year, as I’m sure you’re aware, is different than any other because of the open availability at some of our incredible hotels. Now is the time to take a road trip down and see what T-Town is all about. For information on the diverse selection of our city’s hotels, many within walking distance of Tuscaloosa’s unique restaurants, shopping, and entertainment, click here.
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!
The City of Tuscaloosa has a plethora of activities to do and places to enjoy, but there are a few incredible local gems that are just waiting to be discovered! So, what hidden treasures are the locals not telling you about? We pulled together a list of spots around Tuscaloosa that you may not have heard of and could potentially become a regular part of your rotation! These suggestions range from delicious food and drink destinations to quiet spaces to relax and unwind for a bit.
1. Kentuck Art Center
For those who are looking to explore the fine arts side of Tuscaloosa, the Kentuck Arts Center is a local spot that more people ought to be aware of! Located off-campus in Northport, the Kentuck Art Center is a collection of many different artists and creators exhibiting their work for anyone to see and learn about. Kentuck’s mission is “to perpetuate the arts, engage the community, and empower the artist” and is open all year long for anyone!
2. Catfish Heaven
Named for their delectable catfish offerings, Catfish Heaven is a fish lover’s dream! Fried and prepared fresh daily, Catfish Heaven is a local restaurant that has been serving up savory catfish and irresistible hot wings since 1993. For over 25 years, the brothers that opened Catfish Heaven have been making this delightful and delicious destination in the Historic West End of Tuscaloosa a local favorite! Catfish Heaven’s dining room is currently closed for safety due to COVID-19, but they are still offering take-out orders for anyone looking to expand their list of go-to restaurants in Tuscaloosa!
As a spot filled to the brim with a diverse collection of drinks, beers, wines, and more, Cravings is a must for anyone looking to expand their drink repertoire. In addition to drinks, Cravings is also a good place for a bite to eat! There is an offering of snack foods, deli favorites, and an incredible breakfast offering for everyone to enjoy. Not to mention they serve unbelievable Detroit and Sicilian style pizza that will turn you into a regular customer in no time. Visit Cravings to discover new drink favorites and see if it becomes one of your new go-to spots in Tuscaloosa!
4. Ernest & Hadley’s
Ernest & Hadley’s is a charming local bookstore located a few blocks away from Downtown Tuscaloosa just waiting to be discovered. This bookstore is filled with popular picks, classical favorites, and even highlighted works from local Alabama writers! In addition to being a store, Ernest & Hadley’s regularly hosts events that are open to any and all visitors, so be sure to check online ahead of time for more information. Currently, Ernest & Hadley’s is operating with safety in mind and is allowing only five (5) patrons at a time and even has a curbside pick-up option available for anyone who would prefer not to enter the store!
5. Ruan Thai
Since 1991, Ruan Thai has been serving up fresh and savory authentic Thai food to students and locals alike with their extensive menu of delectable offerings. Ruan Thai offers both a lunch and dinner menu and even has dedicated portions of its menu for its sushi dishes and curry specials. Due to COVID-19, Ruan Thai is currently available through curbside pickup and through the delivery service, Crimson 2 Go. This locally-owned, authentic Thai restaurant is located on the Western end of the Strip and is the perfect local option for authentic Thai food in Tuscaloosa!
6. Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center
The Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center is a place for fans of fine arts and culture to explore and for everyday adventurers to discover! It is home to a rotating lineup of galleries that exhibit the thought-provoking and insightful power of the mediums of the fine arts. Not only is the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center a delightful spot to immerse yourself in fine arts and culture, but it is also a stop on the Civil Rights Trail of Tuscaloosa! In addition to visiting the resident exhibit, this center is an important site to learn the history behind it as it pertains to the City of Tuscaloosa as a whole.
7. Catch 22
If you are looking for a bar to hang out and enjoy outstanding cocktails at the end of a long day, Catch 22 is the place for you. As the home of house drink specialties galore, including pickle-, cucumber-, and even pepperoncini-infused vodka, this bar is known for creating a unique flavor in each creation. Located in Downtown Tuscaloosa on 6th Street, this is a great place for anyone looking to unwind with some boutique cocktails and refreshing favorites! Additionally, Catch 22 has recently extended their outdoor patio to accommodate social distancing requirements and create a safe environment for customers!
8. The Oasis
Located in Cottondale is a restaurant named The Oasis, offering a welcoming and Southern environment with the delicious food to back it up! The Oasis is famously known for its savory burgers and their incredible appetizers, including jalapeńo poppers, fried pickle spears, and fried mushrooms. The Oasis is truly a hidden gem for eating and may soon become one of your regular food spots in town! In order to accommodate the COVID-19 situation, The Oasis is currently only able to offer pick-up orders that can be placed at the restaurant.
9. Innisfree’s Lucky Lunch
I know what you’re thinking. “Everyone knows about Innisfree…”. Although that may be true, many regulars and first-time visitors alike don’t know about the spectacular meat and three meals available from 11 a.m.- 3 p.m. With classic options like chicken parmesan, chicken tenders, or country fried steak you can experience irreplaceable southern cooking right in Downtown Tuscaloosa! The meat + three meal also falls under $10, so Innisfree is easy on your bank account, too.
10. Van de Graaff Park
Whether you’re looking for your next nature adventure, picnic spot, or photoshoot set this local treasure has it all. Fish, hike, or camp on the gorgeous acres of Van de Graff with its breathtaking parks and large ponds stocked with freshwater fish! Along the way, you can also find a section of Alabama’s oldest iron bridge crossing over Mill Creek. This local’s secret is nestled in Northport. Revel in nature’s beauty and enjoy some fresh air at Van de Graaff Park.
Written By: Will Baggett
Edited By: Jamie Hoven
As the school year starts back up in Tuscaloosa, we are excited to be welcoming students back to town! A few things have changed around town since school last left off, so we wanted to share a list of must-visit food stops and businesses around town. There are dozens of local businesses and restaurants around Tuscaloosa just waiting to be discovered and enjoyed, and there’s no better time like the present to be adventurous and experience new offerings! The following list of experiences ranges from familiar favorites in new locations, new spots to check out, and a variety of places that are perfect to enjoy on a daily basis!
The ever-popular Local Roots food truck has transitioned into its own brick and mortar restaurant location on North McFarland Boulevard and is prepared to deliver the same mouth-watering dishes that students have come to expect from the food truck window, plus more! If you have not yet eaten at Local Roots, be sure to swing by to discover the many decadent menu items offered, featuring a variety of burgers, sandwiches, wraps, and salads.
Sage Bar is the perfect spot to relax or share a meal and drinks with some friends while taking time off from your daily routine! This bar doubles as both a juice bar and a speakeasy to keep you calm, focused, and relaxed all the way through your day. Whether it is early-morning brain food, brunch and lunch bites, or an evening cocktail, Sage Bar has the answer. Sage Bar is located on 4th Street in Downtown Tuscaloosa.
Another popular food truck has also found its way into its own restaurant: Reggae Flava! Reggae Flava is a veteran-owned business that offers traditional Jamaican dishes that are sure to make your taste buds dance with delight. The Reggae Flava menu is filled with Caribbean dishes that are both delicious and can satisfy anyone’s comfort food needs. Now that Reggae Flava has moved into its own location in Timmerson Square, this spot is a great place for people to be adventurous with their food choices and experience the many flavors of Jamaican cuisine!
For fans of farmer’s markets and those who do their best to use locally-grown produce, Ingram Farms is a delightful place to visit and look around. Doubling as an ice cream shop selling Blue Bell Ice Cream and locally-flavored ice cream, Ingram Farms is a wonderful place for students to support a local business of the Tuscaloosa area! Ingram Farms is a family-owned and operated business in Northport and has been selling produce and ice cream to the local residents of Tuscaloosa and Northport for years.
Jackie of All Trades is a Furniture and Design Store located in a new spot on Rice Mine Road, where a person can come to find the experts at furnishing a new apartment, a new home, or a reimagining of either! The owner, Jackie, and her team of designers love to work with clients to bring to life new ideas and designs for home customization. If you are in need of a big redesign or looking to shake things up, visit the Jackie of All Trades showroom to dive into the full design experience!
Foosackly’s a new fast food addition to the City of Tuscaloosa, located on 15th Street. This chicken-centric restaurant is a staple throughout the state of Alabama and has caused quite a craze since opening its new location in Tuscaloosa over the summer. Fans of fresh chicken tenders, house-made sauces, and freshly brewed sweet tea must swing by Foosackly’s to get to know one of the newest fast-food spots in town!
Shindig is the go-to all-in-one party spot, with its offering of bowling, arcade games, laser tag, blacklight mini-golf, and a restaurant/lounge. If you are in need of blowing off steam with your friends, Shindig is the place to be for any and all the above reasons! Weekly and Seasonal specials are offered as well, including Night Owl Bowling (late night bowling), multi-game offerings of laser tag, and even 3-D mini golf. Be sure to check the Shindig website for hours of operation and enjoy an exciting evening of fun!
Looking for a homemade ice cream shop with an exciting and surprising twist? Las Piñas is a family-owned ice cream shop located off McFarland Boulevard, specializing in a unique twist of traditional American and Mexican flavors in its ice cream. Everything made in this shop from the ice cream to the special frozen treats is 100% homemade and 100% delicious! Las Piñas offers a refreshing change of taste with the care of a homemade treat for everyone to enjoy!
Mi Casita Bakery is a local bakery that bakes delicious treats that will be sure to satisfy any sweet tooth’s sugar craving! Whether it is mouth-watering cheesecake, fresh bread, or even authentic Italian tiramisu, Mi Casita Bakery is a great way to celebrate all different occasions or to simply provide a much-needed cheat day for anyone looking for sweet comfort food. Mi Casita bakery is located off McFarland Road on Hargrove Road.
The Biscuit Shop Co. isn’t just your everyday breakfast spot. This breakfast spot is a locally-owned and operated spot that offers a delectable variety of both sweet and savory biscuits and treats to start the day off right! At The Biscuit Shop Co., you can expect coffee and other drinks, a daily menu full of all your favorites, specialty biscuits that change twice a month, breakfast sandwiches to eat on the go! The Biscuit Shop Co. is located in Northport and is a must-visit spot for anyone looking to mix up their breakfast routine or looking for a spot to relax and start off the day with a calm bite to eat.
As the semester keeps rolling, more and more businesses will begin to either reopen or open their doors for the first time ever. We have pulled together a list of a few spots to look out for around town so you can be one of the first back or the first to try them out! This list includes a relaxing spot to enjoy a cup of coffee, a hearty barbeque joint, and exciting new places to unwind and enjoy a drink with friends.
- Druid City Music Hall Grand Reopening
- Golden Rule Barbeque – previously Mooyah
- Just Love Coffee – previously O’Henry’s
- Central Wine Market – previously Carpé Vino
- Druid City Social – previously 301 Bistro
Written by: Will Baggett
Although Tuscaloosa is a predominately southern town with southern food, you have to stop by and try the toasted pork roll and ham New York-style bagels from Cravings! If you have more a sweet tooth, Cravings also has a variety of specialty candies and chocolates! Stock up on some traditional licorice chews or try something unique like the Turkish Taffy or Kinder Bueno Bar.
Pick up some of Tuscaloosa’s best comfort food from King’s Kitchen for a picnic that feels like homemade cooking. Located on Hargrove Rd, King’s Kitchen has it all; from burgers and sandwiches to fried chicken plates with every side dish you could imagine!
Catch A Taste
For a quirky and unique picnic, stop by the Catch A Taste food truck for all things wings and hot dogs. Many customers recommend the polish dog or one of the many wing flavor combinations ranging from sweet and spicy to bring the heat temperatures!
Wilson 5 Café
Visit the Wilson 5 Café food truck to enjoy some loaded appetizers for the whole family! If you’re in the mood for some festival food, try the funnel cake smothered in strawberries, powdered sugar, and whipped cream. Regulars also insist you try the covered nachos with meat options consisting of pulled pork, sausage, or ground beef. The café’s food truck locations and hours can be found here with other menu items and prices.
Flavaz Soul Food & Seafood Restaurant
Flavaz Soul Food & Seafood Restaurant brings the sea to you with fresh homemade shrimp, lobster, and an array of fish with multiple plate combinations! With multiple takeout options available, this restaurant is the perfect way to picnic by the water with high-quality food for a low price.
Sit and stay awhile at one of the picnic tables at Monnish Park one summer evening to enjoy both your food and company! No need to worry, the park also has electricity, restrooms, and even a grill if you want to do your own cooking for a homemade picnic. The park includes rentable facilities, covered sitting areas, and a playground for the kids to create the perfect picnic ambiance.
Annette M. Shelby Park Trail
Break out that picnic blanket and settle down along the Annette M. Shelby Park Trail for a serene and unpopulated picnic. Located on 15th street, the trail stretches for a mile with paved roads and lush grass throughout the area. The park also houses a giant water fountain adored by children and animals alike.
Black Warrior River
Park and enjoy the scenery of the Black Warrior River that stretches along Jack Warner Parkway near the University of Alabama campus. With many views available, one can enjoy their food on a park bench at Manderson Landing or on the lawn bordering the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater. Enjoying a delicious meal and viewing the sunset on the Black Warrior is what Tuscaloosa is all about, and there’s no better place to appreciate the breathtaking views of a southern summer sunset.
Van de Graaf Park
Located only a short drive from Tuscaloosa in Northport, Van de Graaf Park is the perfect place to have a picnic and enjoy the great outdoors! The park has a covered area to enjoy your meal, or feel free to walk along the park’s trails to discover your own perfect spot! Van de Graaf Park also offers a variety of other amenities to make the most of your day, including overnight camping, fishing, boating, and hiking. No matter the activity, make sure you take in the park’s natural beauty and its famous King Bowstring Bridge!
Lake Lurleen is one of Tuscaloosa’s best destinations to combine recreation with relaxation. If you’re looking to have a picnic, the park offers designated picnic areas and pavilions for you to enjoy your food! If you’re in the mood to be adventurous, try fishing, camping, hiking, or boating with one of the park’s on-site boat rentals. Whether you’re looking to be leisurely or get active, Lake Lurleen has it all!
Besides these restaurants and locations, Tuscaloosa has so much more to offer when finding your perfect picnic adventure. No matter what you’re looking for, you’ll always find a relaxing and enjoyable summer evening when shopping and exploring around local Tuscaloosa!
Black Belt Adventures recently created a weekend tour of Alabama’s Black Belt, showcasing the region’s best eateries, pit stops, and local goods. The Flavors of the Black Belt Adventure of course passes through Tuscaloosa, stopping by some of the city’s best restaurants and unique locations along the way. To see what made the cut and to take your own adventure through Tuscaloosa, follow along with us!
Archibald and Woodrow’s BBQ
Archibald and Woodrow’s BBQ began serving the Tuscaloosa community from a small cinderblock building in 1962. Three generations later, the restaurant is known across the country for serving some of the best barbecue and ribs that the South has to offer. Archibald and Woodrow’s barbecued ribs, pork, and chicken are known for their trademark hickory-smoked flavor, and their house-made sides and sauces complement each item perfectly. If you’re looking for authentic Southern barbecue in Tuscaloosa, give Archibald and Woodrow’s a try!
Avenue Pub has been serving refined pub classics and a variety of craft beers to the Tuscaloosa community since 2014. Dishes like fish and chips and fried green tomato BLTs are made in-house with locally sourced ingredients, creating simple but memorable dishes. Make sure you try one of their local beer options while you’re there! The restaurant’s laid-back atmosphere creates a sense of community with every guest, making Avenue Pub the perfect place to visit for a casual and welcoming dining experience.
In 2017, Central Mesa began serving authentic Latin American food with a Southern twist in downtown Tuscaloosa. From hot chicken tacos inspired by the classic Nashville dish to beer-battered cod tacos that are straight from the Atlantic Ocean, Central Mesa offers one of the city’s most unique menus. The restaurant prides itself on serving fresh and delicious dishes alongside clean cocktails in a laid back atmosphere. If you’re looking for a unique fusion dining experience, Central Mesa is the place to be!
Chuck’s Fish opened in downtown Tuscaloosa in 2006 with the intention of showing off the best seafood that the Gulf of Mexico has to offer. The restaurant is named in honor of UA graduate Chuck Morgan, a civil rights attorney who fought against racial inequality during the peak of the Civil Rights Movement. Along with freshly harvested seafood, Chuck’s Fish also offers naturally-raised beef and an award-winning sushi bar. If you’re looking for a high-quality dining experience with a great atmosphere, look no further than Chuck’s Fish!
Depalma’s is Tuscaloosa’s premier destination for Italian cuisine that is both authentic and delicious. Since 1995, Depalma’s has been serving pastas, pizzas, calzones, and other entrees to locals and visitors alike. They also offer a wide drink selection as well as desserts, including Depalma’s famous white chocolate bread pudding. The restaurant’s cozy atmosphere coupled with its prime location in the heart of downtown Tuscaloosa makes it a must-try during your next visit!
Since 1958, Dreamland BBQ has been serving hickory-fired ribs and other barbecued favorites to the Tuscaloosa area. Over the years, Dreamland has become one of the most celebrated barbeque restaurants in the South. While they’re known for their iconic ribs, white bread, and sauce combination, Dreamland also serves barbeque sandwiches, smoked sausages, half chickens, and more! Check their online menu for availability at each location, and keep Dreamland in mind the next time you’re craving barbeque!
Located on the banks of the Black Warrior River, River is Tuscaloosa’s top destination for urban dining with beautiful views. Since 2016, River has been serving tender steaks, savory flatbreads, specialty oysters, and more to the Tuscaloosa community. River prides itself on its great food and personal service, and its spacious dining terrace makes the perfect backdrop for a refined dining experience. If you’re looking for fine dining with beautiful riverfront views, choose River!
Along the Way
Besides some of the best dining in the South, Tuscaloosa also has some great sights and spots to visit! The Alabama Museum of Natural History has been celebrating the state’s natural history through exhibits, teaching programs, and service for over 150 years. While on The University of Alabama’s campus, stop by the Paul W. “Bear” Bryant Museum to learn more about the campus’s famous football history. See some of the program’s most memorable moments displayed through state-of-the-art exhibits. To satisfy your artsy side, visit the Kentuck Art Center to learn more about the creativity of the Tuscaloosa community or enjoy one of their year-round programs. Round off your tour around Tuscaloosa with a drink at Black Warrior Brewing Company, which offers a large variety of craft beers and wines that are made in-house.
Black Belt Adventures’ many trails focus on the food, drinks, stays, and sights you’ll encounter on your trip, and shopping lists tell what local goodies you’ll want to pick up along the way. While on your adventure, make sure to enter Black Belt Adventures’ Feed Your Adventure Photo Contest! Simply snap a photo along one of their trails and upload your photo to their website. More information can be found on their website’s Flavors Photo Contest page. View the full brochure here and happy trails!