Now is the prime time to make the most out of your experience in Tuscaloosa! With the leaves beginning to transition into their Autumn attire, we are so excited to showcase just how beautiful this city is, especially this time of year. We have all kinds of different activities to enjoy this special season in T-Town, from monster celebrations at the Children’s Hands-On Museum to local pumpkin patch explorations. Need a little guidance? We’ve got you covered. The only job left to do is bask in the autumn feels as you get inspired by this week’s T-Town Weekend Itinerary!
Start off your gameday Saturday with a traditional T-Town breakfast at The Waysider, Tuscaloosa’s oldest restaurant in town! Once a regular stop for the great Bear Bryant, this classic local joint is located on Greensboro Avenue. Experience a bit of T-Town’s southern-style cooking with homemade biscuits, complimentary beignets (per request), or ham cooked to perfection. Not much of a breakfast person? No worries, The Waysider has delicious lunch items on the menu as well! Keep in mind that seating is limited, so be sure to budget for time as you may have to wait for a table!
Alright, let’s address the elephant in the room. You more than likely have a good idea of how you’ll be spending your Saturday afternoon. No matter where you are or who you’re with, celebrate your Bama pride by rolling with the tide as they face the Tennessee Vols at 2:30 p.m. If showing off your SAFE Saturday setup is your style, feel free to tag us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!
It is no secret how we hope to be spending our Saturday evenings, so make sure you and your Crimson Tide Crew are stocked up on cigars! Tuscaloosa is home to several stellar cigar stores that are fully stocked and more than ready to celebrate with their patrons. Vitola Fine Cigars and R&R Cigars are some premier local spots to pick up exactly what you’ll need for this weekend: cigars galore for beginners and seasoned professionals alike! As always, be mindful of health considerations and implications to enjoy smoking tobacco safely.
Celebrate Record Store Day this weekend by visiting one of our local favorites: Oz Music. This gem is home to all kinds of vinyl, CDs, and accessories to enjoy your music, your way! Whether you are a beginner looking to buy your first record or an experienced disc jockey looking for the next album to add to your collection, Oz can help you out. With an incredible, throwback atmosphere this place is a phenomenal way to find your new favorite record and celebrate this timeless holiday!
Do YOU have what it takes to be a monster? This Saturday, the Children’s Hands-On Museum is hosting their very own Monster Mischief event for all admissions to the museum! Prepare for the Halloween holiday fun by discovering your inner monster and exploring the exciting exhibits of the Children’s Hands-On Museum. For more information about the museum itself and all the exciting events coming in the future, visit the museum’s website. Additionally, be sure to secure admission prior to arrival, and don’t forget your masks before you safely enjoy all the exhibits within the museum!
With gameday behind you and Halloween less than a week away, it is imperative to secure a pumpkin for proper spooky festivities. There are a few wonderful pumpkin patches around Tuscaloosa County where you can enjoy the crisp fall air while picking out your new pumpkin pal! Griffin Farms and Tuscaloosa Barnyard are both home to dozens of perfectly prepared pumpkins! Whether this fall activity is for you, your friends, or your kids, everyone is bound to enjoy celebrating this year’s spooky season the local way. Before arriving, check each pumpkin patch’s listed hours of operation to make sure you arrive in time – and don’t forget to pack your mask to safely browse through the pumpkin patches!
The City of Tuscaloosa has a history deeply-intertwined with the Civil Rights movement, and that presence remains all around Downtown Tuscaloosa. Traveling through history along the Civil Rights Trail is a great way to enjoy the great outdoors and discover the history and importance of the Civil Rights Movement to our community. Visit (website) to locate the markers located around Downtown Tuscaloosa and learn more about the lasting impact that the Civil Rights Movement has made on the history and people of the City of Tuscaloosa. Visit here to learn more about the Civil Rights Trail of Tuscaloosa and how you can find more and more resources regarding the Civil Rights Movement in Tuscaloosa.
#InternationalArtistDay is on Sunday AND Kentuck Virtual Market Place is open. You do the math. Shopping local artisans’ creations and learning more about their art are both great ways to show your support and celebrate this holiday! If you feel comfortable, check out The Kentuck Center, the home of the local art in Tuscaloosa. Visit their website and/or safely in person to not miss a beat on a one-of-a-kind Christmas shopping experience. Now is the time to show your support for all the incredible local artists that give such vibrant color to this beloved and unique community!
Let’s be honest, the first word that comes to mind when you hear “Tuscaloosa” is most likely football. While the Crimson Tide dynasty is undeniably an incredible aspect of T-Town, it is impossible to experience the entirety of our city without the missing pieces. Your answer, most likely, was not history, but what if I told you it deserves a spot in the top five, at least? Below we have compiled just a few of the different ways to immerse yourself in the diverse and captivating history of the one and only Tuscaloosa!
The most extensive historical attraction in Tuscaloosa is the Tuscaloosa Civil Rights Trail, with 18 stops spread throughout Downtown Tuscaloosa. This trail is a compilation of historical Civil Rights sites throughout town, where prominent events occurred, whether it was the location of a riot, a safe house for those escaping racial persecution, or exhibitions of art from Black artists and creators. The Tuscaloosa Civil Rights Trail is a wonderful activity for families and friends to walk around historical Tuscaloosa and learn about the rich and difficult history of the city. Each location along the trail offers a different glimpse into a not-so-distant past and can be an important lesson for all of us in modern times!
Built in 1835 and surviving nearly two centuries, the Battle-Friedman House is one of the oldest standing buildings in the City of Tuscaloosa. The history of this house lies in its journey of ownership from family to family over the last two centuries. The house was originally built by the Battle Family, a plantation-owning couple from North Carolina who had recently moved to Tuscaloosa. Then, towards the end of the Reconstruction Era in 1875, the Battles foreclosed on the house, and its ownership was transferred over to the Friedmans, a Hungarian family who had moved to Tuscaloosa to open up a store and eventually became a respected member of the Tuscaloosa community. Ultimately, the Friedman family willed the house to the City of Tuscaloosa in 1965, and has since been preserved as a location of historical significance located just outside the heart of Downtown Tuscaloosa!
For fans of historic architecture and intricate design, the Jemison-Van de Graaff Mansion is a beautiful destination throughout Tuscaloosa’s history. This mansion was built in the late 1800s, with its construction being halted for the Civil War, causing a number of incompletions in the initial construction of the mansion itself. The mansion was designed by architect Samuel Sloan – also known for designing Bryce Hospital – but was unfortunately built by slaves, given the timeframe in which it was constructed. Before becoming an official historical site to the City of Tuscaloosa and in addition to being used as a residence, the Van de Graaff Mansion has also been used at the city library. Admission to the mansion for viewing is free, plus the space is available for rent for events and celebrations! For more information about the mansion, visit its dedicated website.
As the host of a number of exhibits and featured speakers over the years, the Alabama Museum of Natural History is one of the most impressive buildings on the University of Alabama campus. This museum is home to many different exhibits, collections, and programs dedicated to educating its visitors about the natural wonders of Alabama and the Earth itself. It dives into the ancient and modern history of all the nature that is all around us, even here in the City of Tuscaloosa! The museum is housed inside Smith Hall on campus, just off the quad, and is open to all who wish to learn more about the science that lives around us in our everyday lives. For more information about admission and hours of operation, visit the Alabama Museum of Natural History website on the University of Alabama website.
For those avid fans of both Crimson Tide athletics and the history of Tuscaloosa, there is no better place to visit than the Paul W. Bryant Museum. This museum is an exploration into the history of not only the best coach in the history of collegiate football but also the history of one of the most decorated athletic programs in the history of all collegiate athletics! Extensively archived over the course of the university’s history, the exhibits and videos featured in the museum show an in-depth look into the growth and evolution of Alabama athletics navigating through segregation, World War 2, and of course, the beginnings of the Iron Bowl rivalry! The museum is open Thursday to Sunday with varying admission prices – including free for visitors aged 6 years or younger – so be sure to visit the museum website for more information, as well the opportunity to buy admission ahead of time.
Lake Lurleen is a site of natural beauty located close to the City of Tuscaloosa and is ripe with natural wonders for all to discover! Lake Lurleen is a 250-acre Lake Lurleen home to many varieties of fish, and measures nearly one and a half miles in length, one-half mile wide, and goes as deep as 48 feet! Visiting Lake Lurleen State Park in Fall is one of the best times to visit as leaves are changing colors and the temperatures are moderate enough to enjoy a relaxing hike or a walk around the area. The park facilities include campgrounds, picnic areas, play areas for kids, pavilions for gatherings, beaches, piers for fishing, RV storage, and boat rentals. Admission is required for day use, so be sure to visit the Lake Lurleen State Park website to learn more about admission prices and the rules and regulations of using the park’s facilities on a daily basis.
Located about 13 miles south of the City of Tuscaloosa is the Moundville Archaeological Park, one of the most prominent Native American heritage sites in modern-day North America. This park was once the location of the largest city north of modern-day Mexico and was home to the Mississippian tribe of Native Americans. On this 326-acre preservation, 800 years ago, the Mississippian tribe celebrated with festivals and ceremonies, sites of which are visible today for visitors! As an extension of the modern-day City of Tuscaloosa, this is a destination of great historical significance to the original peoples that inhabited our country centuries ago. This site is currently hosting the Virtual Moundville Native American Festival, a celebration of the original peoples who inhabited this land and their rich culture that survives to this day. Joining in on the festival is a beautiful opportunity to learn more about an ancient civilization that thrived and prospered only a short distance away from Tuscaloosa!
Written by: Will Baggett
Edited by: Jamie Hoven
Summer is winding down and so are the temperatures, which means the outdoors are calling our names! Getting outdoors is important as we navigate our increasingly-virtual lifestyles thanks to COVID-19, so we figured we would compile a list of outdoor adventures for you to discover around Tuscaloosa. This city is a beautiful landscape that only gets better as Autumn starts to sweep across the country, elevating already beautiful outdoor destinations into breathtaking views! Whether you are looking to wind down with an outdoor picnic or take an adventure hiking through the fall foliage, check out this list of outdoor adventures around Tuscaloosa!
- Lake Harris
Lake Harris is one of the many nearby lakes that offers an incredible setting for a number of different outdoor activities. There are plenty of picnic areas and a beach, where one might spread out a blanket to enjoy their lunch or simply take in the scene. In addition to these spots, there are a number of trees gathered close by the bank, perfect for setting up a cozy hammock! For those who are looking to stay active, there is a 1.76-mile hike around the lake through the trees. As the weather cools down, this area will become a peaceful gathering place for all who wish to experience some of Tuscaloosa’s many hidden gems.
2. Bower’s Park
Bower’s Park is a nearby public park that offers quite a few activity opportunities, like a disc golf course or several fields for rent. Not much different from regular golf, disc golf is an active way to stay busy on a delightful weekend outside! Those looking to get into this sport need to be sure and purchase discs ahead of time, however. As far as a field for rent, Bower’s Park has a number of different fields, baseball/softball or multipurpose, that can be rented out for a small gathering of friends to safely play a pickup game of baseball, softball, and more! Before visiting Bower’s Park, be sure to bring along a mask in case of other visitors.
Offering a serene view of the Black Warrior River, the Riverwalk is also the place to hammock, picnic, or relax! There are numerous picnic tables, benches, and gazebos to provide a comfortable environment, allowing you to get the most out of your experience with the great outdoors of T-Town. Let your mind take a rest from all the hustle and bustle of everyday life. If you are looking to work up a sweat and take advantage of the cooler temperatures, there is also a running path along the Riverwalk to enjoy in the morning or throughout the day. In addition to these activities, the Riverwalk is located close to a number of restaurants to enjoy either at the start or at the end of a delightful Autumn day, like Market House Boutique, Another Broken Egg, and River. Be sure to carry a mask with you for safety if you intend to visit any of the restaurants or businesses on the Riverwalk!
4. Civil Rights Trail
As Summer draws to a close and temperatures start to drop, it is prime time to spend the day outside walking around and exploring new places. Among the many adventures that await in Tuscaloosa is the Civil Rights Trail, where anyone has the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of history and learn about how the Civil Rights Movement shaped the City of Tuscaloosa. Located primarily in Downtown Tuscaloosa, this trail is perfect for staying active and demonstrates a profound learning opportunity for those who are not aware of the history of Tuscaloosa. Thanks to its proximity to Downtown Tuscaloosa, the Civil Rights Trail is also a good opportunity to discover local dining options, such as Reggae Flava and Brummi’s Yummies. For more T-Town treasures along the trail check out the official guide here.
5. Government Plaza
If you are looking for a versatile area that offers safe ways to enjoy this city then the Government Plaza is the spot for you. Located in the heart of downtown, this 5-acre park makes social distancing a breeze. Enjoy the crisp Autumn air while diving into a good book from Ernest and Hadley, grubbing on delicious Heat pizza, sipping on some Monarch coffee, or maybe even unwinding with your favorite yoga flow. After months on end of being trapped inside now is the time to relax and appreciate nature in all its wonder. If you want your furry friend to tag along, the sidewalks surrounding the park makes for the perfect path for dog-walking.
6. Lake Tuscaloosa
This local hangout has everything you need for an unforgettable lake day with friends and family. Lake Tuscaloosa has earned its reputation as the perfect fishing spot with bass, sunfish, crappie, and more. If fishing isn’t for you, stand on the shore, hike the lake’s cliffs, take in the captivating views, or dip into the refreshing water! You are bound to have a blast in this comfortable weather. Only a short drive from the city, this lake makes pairing a morning out in nature and Rama Jama’s iconic Southern breakfast unbelievably easy.
Written By: Will Baggett
Edited By: Jamie Hoven
Do you feel like mixing it up this weekend? Well, then you’re in luck! Take a journey back in time and discover the City of Tuscaloosa’s critical role in the Civil Rights Movement. Enjoy the great outdoors and the energetic vibe of Downtown Tuscaloosa while uncovering this city’s diverse history on Tuscaloosa’s Civil Rights Trail!
This trail is a collection of 18 sites scattered throughout Downtown Tuscaloosa, exhibiting key locations where the Civil Rights Movement and pivotal moments in the struggle of Black Americans took place in Tuscaloosa. From historical political sites to memorial sites named for famous Black Americans, the Civil Rights Trail celebrates the heroes of the movement and makes for an incredible outdoor walk through time.
Below, we have put together a rough timeline of a walk along our local Civil Rights Trail, including pro tips along the way. In addition to the trail itself, we have included several nearby Black-owned businesses to visit for decadent meals and delicious treats! Follow along with this brochure guide for more information about each of the incredible stops throughout the journey.
Start your day at Capitol Park (1) amongst the rubble of a building where the Alabama State government met from 1826 to 1846. This building was where many of the slave codes were legislated and enacted to protect and promote white supremacy throughout the State of Alabama. The remains of the old legislative building are a somber reminder of what happened in Tuscaloosa and all that came afterward in the following century during the Civil Rights Movement.
Close by Capitol Park is the second stop on the Civil Rights trail: The Lynching and Old Jail (2) stop. Designated by a historical marker, this old jailhouse building served as the county jail from 1856 to 1890 and held both white and black prisoners. However, through its years of operation, lynchings of Black prisoners occurred – eight of which are chronicled by the historical marker found at this site.
A short walk away is a newly opened food truck-turned-restaurant, Reggae Flava. This fresh addition to Timmerson Square is a popular Black-owned restaurant that serves up delicious Caribbean flavor for all its patrons. Whether you’re craving tender Oxtail or Pineapple BBQ Jerk Salmon, you’ll have no trouble finding your new favorite dish.
After indulging a hearty meal of Caribbean cuisine, head to the corner of University Boulevard and Lurleen Wallace Boulevard to find the next stop on the Civil Rights Trail: The Druid Theatre and Hollywood (3) stop. The then newly-integrated theatre was the site of two angry white mobs in response to the Civil Rights Act in 1964. These incidents brought Tuscaloosa into the national spotlight, sparking outrage among many.
Nearby is another stop along the trail: The Mob at the Flagpole (4). This designated meeting location during the Civil Rights movement was the hub for students and local citizens to gather and express their discontent as the status quo was being challenged in the City of Tuscaloosa. Most notably, this flagpole was where a mob met to respond to the integration of the University of Alabama in 1955 when Autherine Lucy was admitted to the college.
Another few stops along the Civil Rights Trail to consider at this point are Woolworth and Sit-Ins, (5) First Black Legislator: Shandy Jones (6), and the Kress Building and Bus Boycott (7).
The next stop of the Civil Rights Trail is the Paul R. Jones Museum (8), a museum created by a powerful figurehead in the history of Civil Rights in Tuscaloosa. Paul R. Jones was once denied admission to the University of Alabama Law School in 1949 based on his race but then went on to fight for the Civil Rights Movement in the South. The museum is a collection of African-American art pieces donated by Jones to the University of Alabama in 2008 at a value of $5 million. The Paul R. Jones Museum is a beautiful expression of the journey he endured facing racism head-on. This magnificent exhibition of modern African-American art rotates different pieces in and out, with new shows regularly.
The Alston Building (9) is famous for two things, Governors George and Lurleen Wallace were married here, and Robert K. Shelton ran the United Klans of America from a three-room suite on the fourth floor.
At the midpoint of your walk along the Civil Rights Trail, you can stop by Brummies
Yummies for a quick sweet treat! Brummi’s Yummies is another Black-owned business in town located along the Civil Rights Trail. This delightful bakery has several sweet treats to satisfy your cravings, whether it is Cookie Dough Brownies, Orange Dreamsicle Cupcakes, or other unforgettable treats. It is a great place to stop by and take a rest before enjoying the remainder of Tuscaloosa’s Civil Rights Trail.
The next stop on the trail is the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center (10).
In the Southeast portion of Downtown Tuscaloosa, there are other additional stops to be made along the Civil Rights Trail: The County Courthouse and Marchers (11), Greensboro Avenue Churches (12), Bluefront District (13), Bailey Tabernacle CME Church (14), and Hunter Chapel AME Zion Church (15), the oldest African American church organized in Tuscaloosa. It was also the first church to host Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who spoke here in 1955.
First African Baptist Church (16) is one of the last stops along the Civil Rights Trail and is one of the more important ones. First African Baptist Church was the site of “Bloody Tuesday”, which was a violent attack on peaceful protesters by Tuscaloosa Police and white extremists who had been deputized. Built as a haven for Black worshippers upset with the discriminatory practices of the First Baptist Church, this church has stood at the corner of 4th Street and 24th Avenue since 1900 and is an important milestone along the Civil Rights Trail of Tuscaloosa.
Another stop to visit after First African Baptist Church is the Murphy-Collins House (17). Originally the private home of Tuscaloosa’s first black mortician, it is now a museum focusing on the life of African-Americans in the 1900s. Read more about this stop in the brochure guide linked above.
The Howard-Linton Barbershop (18) is the final stop and is one of the more unique spots along the trail. The owner of the barbershop, the late Reverend Thomas Linton, was a powerful figure in the fight for Civil Rights in Tuscaloosa, working closely with Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy throughout the Civil Rights Movement. Additionally, this barbershop was the hiding place for Autherine Lucy when she was escaping the mob of white citizens after she attempted to integrate the University of Alabama. Reverend Linton’s shop is filled with mementos and artifacts that showcase the struggle of Black Americans living in Tuscaloosa and the South throughout the Civil Rights Movement.
After you have finished your day along the Civil Rights Trail of Tuscaloosa, be sure to head to one of the many Black-owned restaurants in Tuscaloosa to show your support! There are many different restaurants around Tuscaloosa with delicious dinner meal offerings, including Archibald & Woodrow’s BBQ, Catfish Heaven, KSV, and King’s Kitchen.
Written By: Will Baggett
Edited By: Jamie Hoven
Safety is the top priority for returning to campus, but that does not mean sacrificing the ability to enjoy yourself and to enjoy new experiences, especially in the City of Tuscaloosa. There are plenty of ways to maintain a safe, physical distance while also enjoying what Tuscaloosa has to offer, whether it be the scenic views, rich history, or the one-of-a-kind businesses and restaurant culture of this city. Below, we have compiled a list of ways to stay socially active while also being socially distanced!
The different lakes located around Tuscaloosa have been a regular relaxation spot for students over the years. In order to have a fun and peaceful time, visiting one of the nearby lakes is a modern time twist on a classic activity for UA students. These lakes are not only wonderful places to swim and rent kayaks for, but they are also a peaceful spot to read a book and enjoy the nature of the Tuscaloosa area. What better way to substitute a library table or a lakeside picnic table? These lakes offer services that allow you to either rent paddleboards for the day, paddle your own kayak around to the different scenic spots along the lakefront, or layout at the beach to continue working on your summer tan! The most popular lakes around the City of Tuscaloosa to check out are Lake Lurleen, Lake Nicol, and Lake Tuscaloosa.
Civil Rights Walk
The City of Tuscaloosa has a history intertwined with the Civil Rights movement, and there is a presence of that history all around Downtown Tuscaloosa. Traveling through history along the Civil Rights Walk is a way to stay active outdoors and be proactive about the history and importance of the Civil Rights Movement to our city. Visit (website) to locate the markers located around Downtown Tuscaloosa and learn more about the lasting impact that the Civil Rights Movement has made on the history and people of the City of Tuscaloosa. Visit here to learn more about the Civil Rights Trail of Tuscaloosa and how you can find more and more resources regarding the Civil Rights Movement in Tuscaloosa.
Historic Downtown Tuscaloosa
Downtown Tuscaloosa is a relaxing area of town where anyone is free to walk around and wander from door to door to find something they feel drawn to. There are numerous boutique stores and businesses where eclectic finds are inevitable. If you’re looking for a new wardrobe, or maybe just some refreshing new pieces, check out Pause Boutique, Effie’s Inc., or Pants Store! Walking around Downtown Tuscaloosa is a peaceful yet adventurous activity for all to find unique local while staying active after months of quarantine. However, Downtown Tuscaloosa does feature a lot of locations that would require entering a building, so be sure to pack a mask and be safe when visiting indoor storefronts and shops.
Self-Guided UA Tour
The University of Alabama has a rich history that every student and resident of Tuscaloosa ought to learn and become familiar with. At the heart of it all is The Quad, which is filled to the brim with its own history but also offers one of the most picturesque areas of campus. A refreshing way to stay connected to the culture of the university while maintaining physical distancing outdoors is to take a stroll around the University of Alabama campus and soaking in the history of the many buildings and locations. Many locations, including the ones located on the Quad, include historical markers that indicate the historic significance of their existence (or previous existence) and offer a glimpse into what truly defines this university.
Enjoy the scenic nature of the Black Warrior River from the comfort of a relaxing hammock or a light jog along the riverfront. The Riverwalk is 4.2 miles of a paved trail that offers visitors a place to enjoy the outdoors in a way that is safe and distanced from others, and versatile enough that anyone can find themselves enjoying an afternoon out and about. The Riverwalk is a great place to go on a quick run, exercise on a bike, and walk your dog, plus offers serene and scenic spots for reading a nice book or enjoying a delicious picnic. Whether you are wanting to stay physically active through exercise and movement or if you are wanting to simply sit outdoors and soak in the sunlight and fresh air, the Riverwalk is a must-do.
Golf and Disc Golf
In order to stay distanced while remaining active, certain sports offer more distanced situations than others, like golf or disc golf. There are several public golf course options located near Tuscaloosa including Ol’ Colony, North River Yacht Club, The Links at Tuscaloosa, Indian Hills Country Club, Tall Pines, and Hidden Meadows. Each of these courses is available on weekends and offers a variety of offerings to satisfy the most serious players and to welcome the more introductory players. If you are more of a disc golfer than a traditional golfer, Bower’s Park is the place to be, thanks to a full 18-hole course primarily located on wooded terrain and featuring beginner and professional tees for players of all skill ranges! Whether you are driving a golf ball or a disc, these activities are a safe way to get back into the swing of things!
A staple of campus life is enjoying the food trucks that make their way onto campus or throughout Tuscaloosa. These days, food trucks are a great way to stay outdoors and distanced while also supporting local businesses of Tuscaloosa. Not only are you able to be smart about what you are eating, but you may discover a new favorite dish or new favorite dining destination! We offer a phenomenal variety with options like Catch a Taste, Aces Tuscaloosa, Cheese Louise Tuscaloosa, and Urban Cookhouse. Food trucks appear in various locations around the city, so be sure to plan ahead of time to be aware of where certain trucks will be located and what their menu will look like! Remember to wear a mask at all times except when you are eating in order to maximize caution and ensure the safety of yourselves and those around you.
Local Farmers Markets
A health-conscious and locally-oriented outdoor activity that everyone can take advantage of is enjoying a farmers market. In Tuscaloosa, a few wonderful options for outdoor farmers markets are Homegrown Alabama Farmers Market, Ingram Farms, Northport Farmers Market, and the Curbside Farmers Market. Shopping at a farmers market can expose you to new flavors to up your cooking game, and they support the local farmers that stock the markets. Be sure to wear a mask while visiting local farmers markets for the health and safety of yourself and the vendors working the markets!
Written by: Will Baggett
The Tuscaloosa mural on The Strip is the perfect backdrop for your next photo! Its vibrant colors spell out the city’s name, but there’s more than meets the eye! Jason Tetlak, the mural’s artist, created a technique he calls “red reveal.” When the mural is viewed through a red lens, the word “Tuscaloosa” changes into the phrase “Druid City.” The mural is painted on the side of Egan’s Bar, a Tuscaloosa favorite for over 40 years. If you’re feeling hot after taking your pictures, stop in and cool off with one of their mixed drinks or local craft brews!
The Riverwalk is a paved trail that offers captivating views of the Black Warrior River. With multiple park spots, including benches and outdoor tables, it’s the perfect place for a photo session or a picnic! The Riverwalk is only a short drive from downtown, making it easy to grab a bite from a restaurant like Reggae Flava on the way! Reggae Flava offers a variety of gourmet Jamaican cuisine options, including jerk chicken, curry shrimp, and fish tacos. After filling up on amazing food, make sure you take some beautiful photos!
Hurricane Creek Park
Hurricane Creek Park is a local favorite that makes for a gorgeous setting spending time outdoors and capturing the splendor of nature! The scenery is breathtaking, making this park the ideal place to practice your portrait or nature photography. While you’re there, make sure you enjoy everything the great outdoors has to offer! Take a dip in the creek, walk along one of the park’s hiking and bike trails, or simply sit on the creek bank and take in the tremendous surroundings.
While it may seem out of the ordinary, greenhouses can make for a striking backdrop that brings personality and pop in to all of your photos! In 1984 Tuscaloosa was blessed with Brown’s Greenhouses, a local plant nursery with an expansive selection of indoor plants, shrubs, flowers, and vegetables. Pose with some hanging baskets, stand among the rows of luscious flowers, and explore all 16 of the greenhouses to discover your absolute favorite herb! When it comes to purchasing plants, Brown’s Greenhouses not only has stellar quality but outstanding prices as well.
Black Warrior Railroad Bridge
The railroad bridge that crosses the Black Warrior River would be a fantastic area for your next photoshoot! Located a short drive from downtown behind the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater, the wooden and steel truss bridge dates back to 1898. While you’re near downtown, be sure to stop by Alcove International Tavern and grab a drink to find sweet relief from the sizzling summer heat! Alcove offers a wide variety of local craft beers and mixed drinks at reasonable prices, and visitors have raved about the bar’s laid-back and unique atmosphere!
Capitol Park is a historic park in Tuscaloosa that’s perfect for taking photos while learning about the city’s history! Capitol Park is the first stop on Tuscaloosa’s 18-stop Civil Rights History Trail. When Tuscaloosa was the capital of Alabama, Capitol Park was the home of the city’s leading governmental buildings. Only two columns and a foundation remain, and the location is a favorite of many photographers in the area. If you find yourself drained snapping photo after photo, you’re in luck! Nearby is Babe’s Doughnuts, a coffee shop and bakery that serves homemade doughnuts, breakfast bowls and sandwiches, and specialty coffees. Stop in for a sweet treat and a pick-me-up on your way to or from Capitol Park!
The University of Alabama
The University of Alabama has countless iconic spots throughout campus for breathtaking photographs! The Quad, President’s Mansion, Bryant-Denny Stadium, Denny Chimes, and many more Capstone classics make this an ideal photography destination. While you’re visiting campus, take the short walk down to The Strip and grab a bite to eat from one of the local restaurants. If you’re looking for Thai food and sushi, grab a to-go meal from Surin of Thailand! From California rolls to fried rice, they have something for everyone to enjoy. College students love it for its reasonable prices and expansive menu. If you’re in the mood for a drink, stop by Gallettes! Known for their famous Yellowhammer cocktail, Gallettes offers specials on wells along with mixed drinks and more!
Van de Graaff Arboretum and Historic Bridge Park
Van de Graff Arboretum and Historic Bridge Park is a beautiful outdoor setting for your next photo session! Located a short drive from Tuscaloosa in Northport, the park’s King Bowstring Bridge is the perfect backdrop. The park prides itself on this historic feature, as the bridge is one of the four spans that crossed the Black Warrior River from 1882 to 1896. Van De Graaff park also has a variety of outdoor activities to enjoy! Hiking, fishing, and camping are just a few of the many amenities that are offered.
This weekend is blessing us with spectacular sunny skies, so don’t be afraid to explore the captivating city by foot and soak up the rays. Tuscaloosa’s Civil Rights Trail is the perfect way to spend time with your family and immerse yourself in the rich history of Druid City! With over 15 sites scattered all across Downtown Tuscaloosa, you now have the chance to enjoy the outdoors, spend time with friends and family, and learn about this city’s history.
One of the historically significant sites in town is Foster Auditorium, which was the location of the Stand in the Schoolhouse Door. Despite Governor George C. Wallace’s futile efforts, Vivian Malone and James Hood became the first African Americans to register for classes since the university’s inception. Two incredibly famous sites on the local trail represent the march of Bloody Tuesday, a peaceful protest walking from First African Baptist Church to the Tuscaloosa County Courthouse in opposition to the segregation at the county courthouse. Other prominent locations along the way include Capitol Park, Druid Theater, the Alston building, and many more historically rich locations. A complete list of landmarks with their addresses can be found here, along with historical context and details surrounding each event.
Each landmark on this trail marks extremely important moments that happened in Tuscaloosa. The trail does a phenomenal job of bringing so many beautiful stories to life, whether it be the first black legislator or significant protests that occurred throughout the town. All of these stories come together in the end to paint a picture of Tuscaloosa’s role in the civil rights movement. This trail enables many to share their personal experiences regarding the fight for civil rights, and all of their stories deserve to be heard. The American heroes who marched and fought for their freedom deserve to be remembered and honored.
This trail has become such a vital piece of our country’s past, with its influence spanning far beyond the confines of the Tuscaloosa city limits. So, what are you waiting for? Take time this weekend to spend time with loved ones, enjoy the beautiful weather, and travel back in time to discover the rich history of Tuscaloosa!
Today, June 19, marks an incredible milestone for black liberation. Juneteenth, or Freedom Day, is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Recognize today as an opportunity to listen, learn, and act as we fight for progress and equality within our own community. We have compiled a list of 5 ways you can celebrate Juneteenth this year in Tuscaloosa!
- Educate Yourself
One of the very best approaches to fully understand what Juneteenth means is to simply spend time listening and learning. We have the Civil Rights Trail that collects, preserves, and tells the stories of the important struggle for civil rights in Tuscaloosa. The trail, museum, and other resources represent the historical honesty necessary for our community to prosper. Enjoy the summer sun and immerse yourself in the rich civil rights history of this city.
- Support Black-Owned Businesses
Another incredible way to celebrate this holiday is to support all of the amazing black-owned businesses right here in Tuscaloosa. Want to branch out and try something new? Check out Reggae Flava’s delicious, gourmet Jamaican cuisine! They also have fun drinks like the Frozen Pina Colada or the Blue Coconut Rum Runner. If your appetite is far from adventurous, check out the local staple Catfish Heaven. Although their dining rooms are closed, now is the perfect time of year to grab some wings to-go and enjoy the fresh air! For all black-owned businesses in town check out Young Tuscaloosa’s list!
- Juneteenth Jam
Tonight, the Lookout Rooftop Bar will be celebrating Juneteenth with a limited edition “Juneteenth Jam” cocktail created specifically for this holiday! This concoction can be made with your favorite bourbon or vodka & fresh blackberries! Take in the breathtaking view of the city and enjoy the savory flavor of your delicious cocktail. It’s the perfect refreshing way to kick back and enjoy time with your friends and family!
Don’t miss out on Tuscaloosa’s Juneteenth 2020 Celebration this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Snow Hinton Park. Bring your entire family because there will be voter registration, census registration, games, face painting, and so much more!
- Take Action
It is so important to take time to learn about Juneteenth, but the holiday represents much more than simply education. Juneteenth represents the power of change. Educating yourself on our nation’s history can only take you so far, it’s the tactical actions that make the real difference! One way to embody the spirit of Juneteenth is to volunteer online with the United Nations and its “Let’s Fight Racism” initiative. Put your skills to work for a great cause. There are a plethora of ways you can volunteer, whether it be writing an article, developing a communications strategy, or even designing an infographic.