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

 

Paul W. Bryant Museum

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

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

 

Metro Animal Shelter

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

 

Explore the Galapagos at CHOM

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

 

Taco Casa

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

 

Ladyelines Art Garage

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

 

Bowlero Tuscaloosa

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

PETrifying Places

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

 

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

 

Spooky Shopping Spaces

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

 

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

 

Formidable Football and more Frightening Fall Functions

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

**Masks and social distancing required for ALL events.

 

Written by: Jamie Hoven

Great Grub

 

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.

 

Awesome Arts

 

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!

 

Scenic Views 

 

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.

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

 

  1. Lake Harris

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

 

     2. Bower’s Park

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

 

    3. Riverwalk

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

 

    4. Civil Rights Trail

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

 

     5. Government Plaza

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

 

    6. Lake Tuscaloosa

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

 

Written By: Will Baggett

Edited By: Jamie Hoven

Tuscaloosa is one of those cities where going with the flow is just as fun as strategically planning out your day. From local restaurants and small shops to beautiful outdoor spaces, there’s so much to explore. No matter where you decide to stop along the way, you’ll love where the journey takes you! See what this city has to offer on your exciting and eventful experience through Tuscaloosa!

Shop ‘till you drop

Effie’s Inc.

Effie’s Inc. is a women’s contemporary clothing boutique located in downtown Tuscaloosa. Effie’s carries the latest trends for every style and age, including jumpsuits, tops, shoes, jewelry, and so much more. They pride themselves on their one-on-one customer service, and for good reason! Customers constantly rave about the boutique’s spectacular selection of clothing and incredibly friendly staff members. Stop by Effie’s on Queen City Avenue today and pick up something that’s sure to be stylish!

Kentuck Gallery Shop

If you’re looking to spruce up any space this summer to find that “it” factor, look no further than Kentuck Gallery Shop! The Kentuck Art Center is a local treasure that has added such value to our community for over 45 years, and they don’t plan on slowing down any time soon. You can find one of a kind mugs, jewelry, platters, paintings, and so much more on their user-friendly site. To experience the full magic of Kentuck check out their virtual exhibition to showcase how artists are bringing joy in the midst of uncertainty. To support the future of Kentuck culture, despite the recent cancellation of this year’s festival, you can go here to donate to the Festival Forever Fund.

Cravings

Imagine a quaint café mixed with a pizzeria, bar, and an ice-cream shop. Well, this place exists and it’s called Cravings. Whether it be chocolate peanut butter cheesecake, a mix and match six-pack of your favorite craft beer, or a Mexican Coca Cola, something is bound to be calling your name while browsing this local gem. No matter what age you are, Cravings has the perfect little treat for kids and adults alike. For example, kids absolutely love the unique sodas and vintage candies while the parents tend to lean toward the vast selection of beer and wine.

Eat

Flavaz Seafood & Soul Food Restaurant

Tuscaloosa is perhaps one of the best cities to experience the southern, satisfying soul food. Flavaz Seafood and Soul Food Restaurant is a prime example of our city representing southern hospitality in its truest sense. Customers can’t decide which is better here: the phenomenal food or the unbelievable customer service. When you come by to see what all the fuss is about, expect to be greeted with a smiling face as soon as you come in the door. The welcoming atmosphere combined with the enormous and authentic flavor in every bite makes this establishment a local staple no doubt.

 

Depalma’s

Depalma’s is one of the best places in Tuscaloosa for authentic Italian favorites. Located in downtown Tuscaloosa, the restaurant is known for its cozy atmosphere and incredible dishes like pasta Pomodoro, veal marsala, and hand-crafted pizzas and calzones. Depalma’s also offers a wide selection of wines by the glass or bottle as well as beers and cocktails. Depalma’s is a favorite of locals, so stop by on University Boulevard and see what all the talk is about!

Dreamland BBQ

Dreamland BBQ has been a staple of the Tuscaloosa restaurant scene since 1958. Since then, Dreamland has established itself as one of the best barbecue restaurants in the state of Alabama, not to mention the city of Tuscaloosa. Along with their popular barbecue favorites, they offer smoked items including half chickens and sausage. Pick up an order of their famous ribs, white bread, and BBQ sauce from their 15th Street location in Tuscaloosa today and try what’s been the talk of the state for over 60 years!

Play

Sokol Park

Enjoy the great outdoors this summer at a local hidden treasure in town, Sokol Park! They have plenty of amenities for visitors to enjoy, including multipurpose playing fields, a playground, and a dog park. With over 11 miles of trails, there’s also plenty of space to hike or jog. Picnic in the grass, follow the trails, or play some soccer on the fields. If you’re interested in enjoying the great outdoors, Sokol Park might just be the perfect getaway for you!

Loosa Brews

Established in 2014, Loosa Brews is a bar and specialty retailer for quality craft beer and wine. Loosa always keeps 30 of the freshest draft beers from Alabama breweries plus rare beers from all over on tap. Their cozy atmosphere makes enjoying a pint and shopping their extensive selection an enjoyable experience. While at Loosa Brews, be sure you check out their wide assortment of vintage arcade and pinball machines including Ghostbusters, Aerosmith, and Guardians of the Galaxy!

Shindig

Looking for an all-encompassing entertainment experience for families, friends, or those just looking to have a little fun? Shindig, located on McFarland Blvd E, is one of Tuscaloosa’s newest additions! The possibilities are endless at this place, with 28 bowling lanes, putt-putt golf, laser tag, axe throwing, arcade machines, and a stage for live music. There is also a restaurant with a lounge to sit back, relax, and recharge.

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.