What many may not realize is that Tuscaloosa and surrounding communities, like Northport, offer several uniquely local spots to shop. Whether you’re looking for back-to-school clothes, home decor, a night-out-on-the-town or gameday attire, or just simply want to visit some charming local boutiques, we think you’ll find this information worthwhile!
Throughout the community, you can find a plethora of shopping options. However, for our purpose today, we highlight some specific areas and a few of the locations you will find!
Have a favorite spot that we missed? Come join the conversation on our social media!
Lavish is a female clothing and accessories store that has it all, and is just in time for rush and game days! This gold mine is full of unique tops, dresses, bottoms, and shoes. With this local gem, you don’t have to worry about boring pieces, because at Lavish they strive to be ahead of the fashion curve with beautiful lush clothing. This is a must-see in Tuscaloosa, especially if you need a new wardrobe to spice up the new school year.
Alumni Hall has everything you need to cheer on the Crimson Tide. They have it all: great brands, selections, and deals on The University of Alabama apparel, merchandise, and gifts. Official sideline clothing from Nike, fashion and accessories for the ladies and a great kids’ selection. It’s the ultimate place for UA students, alumni, and fans to shop. They also offer 10 percent off for students and military with valid ID.
Bama Fever is your one-stop shop for all things Bama, with options for men, ladies, and kids. They even have Crimson tide options for your car, home, and tailgate. This uniquely local gem will have you walking out of there with some serious school spirit! They can bring the Crimson Tide straight to your kitchen, bedroom, or both. Let your love for the Tide shine with keychains, buttons, wallets, and purses.
High Tide Sports, LLC offers gifts, accessories, and apparel for any and all of the sports fans in your life. This local gem is a popular shop for both Alabama and Auburn fans alike. They specialize in spirit jerseys, tees, and tanks and carry a huge variety of brands, designs, and colors. As a family-owned business, all of its items are competitively priced.
Pause Boutique is a local legend in Tuscaloosa. From girls to plus size this place has a little something for everyone. The unique jewelry, clothing, shoes, bags and hats, cosmetics, and miscellaneous items make Pause such a wonderful addition to this community. They are open Tuesday through Friday 11-7, Saturday 10-6, and closed on Sunday and Monday.
For those men looking for dapper clothing and accessories, The Locker Room is the place to be! From Bama gear to the finest footwear, this local treasure is truly one-of-a-kind. They also carry the highest quality clothing such as Peter Millar, which is the perfect combination of comfort with high-end style. They’ve got a whole new wardrobe just waiting on you, with hats, cups, a Bama-themed bow tie, and so much more!
Lou & Co. is a place that the ladies of T-Town cannot get enough of. For those rushing, they even sell bid day gifts that looked like they dropped down from heaven. They also sell wall art, pillows, plush throws, a pajama set in addition to the clothing. Lou & Co. is filled with unique and specialty items, often locally or artisanally sourced, and always thoughtfully chosen by the owner herself.
Bradley’s Market is a unique shop that has earned the love and appreciation of all of its customers. Their vast variety of items for sale is extremely unique, including seasonal goodies, home decor, florals, baby shower necessities, wellness products, wedding registries, and so much more. This unique local shop is the definition of class. Some of the fun items they have include Bees and Honey Puzzle, La Hammam Beach Towel, and a decorative Tuscaloosa Street Map!
Another incredibly unique shop in Northport is called Everlasting. From humble beginnings as a family-owned business, they bring their small-town charm for a fun shopping experience that feels as quality-driven as the products. With decorative accessories for your home, inspirational goods, original works from local artisans, handmade jewelry, and distinct gifts Everlasting has just a little bit of everything.
We’ve got big plans this weekend here in Tuscaloosa! With our city’s winning basketball streak being over for this year, we have to look forward to something new and exciting to keep our spirits up! There’s something for everyone to enjoy this weekend, so stay tuned to hear all about this weekend’s events!
Laine Hardy at Druid City
We cannot explain how thankful we are that concerts are back in town! You and your friends can head to Druid City Music Hall this Friday, April 9th, to watch Laine Hardy put on an energizing show. You can buy your tickets online at Druid City’s website for the 9 pm show. Masks are still required when entering the venue and must be worn when drinks are not in hand! Remember to be responsible and have a great time!
Bird Fest at Moundville
Spring is in the air and so are Alabama’s beautiful native bird species! Nestled along the banks of the Black Warrior River, UA’s Moundville Archaeological Park (MAP) hosts its annual Birdfest Friday and Saturday, April 9-10, 2021. Birdfest guests can take a bird walk with local experts, including Dwight Lammon (Tuscaloosa, AL). Information on wildlife conservation, bird watching checklists, birdhouse plans and much more will be available and free of charge to everyone. To register for your attendance click here!
Over the Edge
Ready for a thrill-seeking experience? The only urban rappelling experience is here in Tuscaloosa this Friday, April 10th! Over The Edge is a benefit event for the great work of Youth For Christ. All participants will rappel 140 feet from the top of The Tower in downtown Tuscaloosa. Bring a go-getter attitude and leave all your fears at home! For more information visit Over the Edge’s website.
Tuscaloosa Story Walk
This Sunday, April 11th at 11 a.m., PARA, and the Tuscaloosa Public Library present the grand opening of the Tuscaloosa StoryWalk®! Enjoy a beautiful Saturday morning on the Riverwalk while strolling down the trail and reading a fun story! StoryWalk® is an innovative and interactive way for readers of all ages to enjoy a story and the outdoors at the same time. Laminated pages from a children’s picture book will be displayed along the RiverWalk trail. As you stroll down the trail, you are directed to the next page in the story. A StoryWalk® engages young readers and is a great way to practice Active Reading skills!
1. The River Walk
Disguised behind all of the commotions of Tuscaloosa lies the scenic River Walk. The 4.5 miles of path that runs directly next to the Black Warrior River serves as an ideal spot for picnics, dog walks, or leisurely strolls. Get out of the house, grab a friend, and go enjoy the view!
2. Dreamland BBQ
If you are from Tuscaloosa, or just Alabama itself, you know about this famous spot. Founded in 1958 by “Big Daddy” John Bishop, Dreamland has been a staple in Tuscaloosa’s food scene, serving communities across the state and even the country. You can still visit the original Dreamland location at 5525 15th Avenue East in Tuscaloosa. Pro Tip: Get the banana pudding.
3. Civil Rights Trail
To understand the rich history of Tuscaloosa’s civil rights history, it is crucial to examine the Civil Rights Trail. Many Alabamians are aware of the civil rights history that surrounds our state, but many might not be aware of the important events that took place in Tuscaloosa. The trail has 18 stops that tell of the extraordinary action that shaped this town forever. Visit https://civilrightstuscaloosa.org/trail/ to print your trail brochure.
Downtown Tuscaloosa has maintained its southern charm over the many years of change. Find a stylish outfit at The Pants Store, indulge in a nice dinner at Depalma’s, or sip on a craft cocktail at Sessions Bar. With dozens of businesses, new and old, its streets offer exciting experiences for everyone!
5. Lake Tuscaloosa
Right smack in the middle of Tuscaloosa you can fish, boat, or lie out with your friends at gorgeous Lake Tuscaloosa. This is the perfect spot for a quick, relaxing day trip with your friends or family. With 117 miles of shoreline, you sure won’t run out of room to play!
6. Crimson Tide Football
Alabama football fans have the honor of being some of the loudest, rowdiest fans in all of college football. To be honest, it’s hard to bite your tongue when your team has won 18 National Championships AND you have a larger stadium than Auburn.
7. The Strip
The Strip. Home to Quick Grill, the Yellow Hammer, and of course, Rounders. College kids love it, locals- well, probably don’t hate it too much. This is truly the place to go if you want that thrilling nightlife experience with a hint of college kid energy. Experience the electric energy on the strip that adds such an exciting element to Tuscaloosa!
8. Nicks in the Sticks
Nothing beats family-owned cooking- especially family-owned SOUTHERN cooking. Nicks in the Sticks has been serving the Tuscaloosa community since 1953 and has gone down in history ever since. Even though the venue is quite small, they dish up big flavors. If you have the chance to go, don’t forget to put a dollar bill on the ceiling!
What’s a good ole southern town without a good taproom? Tuscaloosa is home to 3 craft breweries: Loosa Brews, Druid City Brewing Company, and Black Warrior Brewing Company. New to the Tuscaloosa beer scene is The Grocery Brewpub that is set to open in the next few months!
10. The Immense History
While this one post could be a novel, T-Town has been a historical hotspot for centuries! Once the state capital in 1825, Tuscaloosa has been the home to the Creek Indian tribe and the site of a Civil War standoff. Grab a friend and discover the antiquity of Tuscaloosa throughout the many museums and tours offered throughout the town.
11. Kentuck Art Festival
Nothing screams fall in Tuscaloosa like changing leaves, football, and seasonal festivals. For 49 years, the Kentuck Art Center has been the epicenter of creativity for this community. The Kentuck Festival is filled with great music and art pieces from over 270 inspired creatives. While 2020 put a damper on the previous year’s fun, we are hopeful for the new year and the continuation of the spirit of Kentuck!
12. Tuscaloosa Farmers Market
Shop local, eat local, enjoy local. Supporting the Tuscaloosa community has never been easier thanks to the farmers market’s weekly Saturday appearance! Get your weekend fix of artisan bread, farm-fresh vegetables, and fabulous finds from your local small business owners at the Tuscaloosa Farmers Market- but remember to wear your mask!
13. The People
A deadly virus and a couple of tornados. It will take more than that to rock this town to its core! This community has endured so many hardships throughout the years. Yet still, we emerge stronger than ever and proud of the community we have built together! I could think of 1,000,000 reasons why I love Tuscaloosa, but 15 will have to do justice for now!
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!
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
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!
Oh, 2020… There’s not much to say about this hot mess express of a year. During the past dreadfully long several months, COVID-19 has managed to do one thing right: prioritize health as a nation. I’m not talking about physical health alone, I’m referring to mental health as well. Despite the obvious physical health risks brought on by COVID, social isolation and quarantine can also deeply affect one’s mood and mentality. Although we wished farewell to Self-Care Month when Spooky Season arrived, this upcoming Saturday marks World Mental Health Day! That’s why we have taken the time to dive into some of the many ways to nourish your mental health in T-Town!
It is so important to take care of your physical health while working on your mental health as they are deeply intertwined. Contrary to popular belief, taking good care of your body doesn’t have to feel like a chore! There are endless ways to get moving and enjoy yourself in T-Town. Don’t believe us? Check out some of our suggestions below to get the inside scoop on local products and services to improve one’s mental health!
For beginners and pros alike yoga can help manage mental health by keeping your mind at ease and body engaged. There are a few awesome different yoga studios available with enjoyment! Yoga Bliss is a yoga studio just down the street from The Strip that offers a great variety of classes. The selection ranges from entry-level Beginner Fundamentals, specialized classes like Yoga Nidra, and classes like EveryBODY, which is designed to be useful for all who attend. Visit the Yoga Bliss website above for more information on pricing and registration! There are many other nice studios around the city as well including Painted Lotus Yoga and Wellness! For a slightly more intense workout, check out The Barre Code, Pure Barre, and HotWorx.
Regular exercise and fresh air have the dual benefit of improving your physical health and encouraging growth in your mental state as well. By staying active and keeping your blood flowing, you’re allowing the brain to relax a bit while it is fully engaged in the actions. This kind of mindfulness has been proven to improve focus, mood, and overall mentality throughout the day! Although attending a local gym or taking specialized exercise classes are incredible ways to boost your mental health, there are a plethora of other places around the city to stay active as well.
The Riverwalk along the Black Warrior River is not only a delightful spot to relax, but it is also a prime location for a light jog, intense running session, or quick outdoor workout! Lake Tuscaloosa and Lake Nicol are a great outdoor choice, too, offering a number of activities like hiking, swimming, or even paddleboarding! All of these spots not only offer somewhere to get your blood flowing but also make the perfect setting to relax and meditate by the water. A little fresh air and peace and quiet can help calm the senses.
Another helpful way to manage and monitor your mental health is to treat yourself to a local spa or salon on occasion. By prioritizing self-care in your routine your self-worth and psyche can improve significantly. It is important to know what specific activities help you feel as relaxed as possible, so don’t hesitate to explore all the many local options available! Treat yourself to a day of pampering to commemorate World Mental Health Day at one of the following locations around Tuscaloosa!
For those that enjoy relaxation in a traditional sense, there is nothing better than a classic spa day to show yourself a little TLC. Not only would a massage ease the nerves, but a manicure and a pedicure couldn’t hurt either! In Tuscaloosa, Spa Belle La Vie and Nancy Taylor Day Spa are just a few of the many serene locations where visitors can enjoy massage therapy, beauty treatments, and even salon services. For the guys out there who respect the power of proper pampering, visit Greasy Hands Barbershop for hot shaves, clean cuts, and a relaxing atmosphere!
If pampering is the way to go for you, what better way than discovering a responsible and fun way to clean yourself: soap! The Left Hand Soap Company is a local soap workshop in Downtown Tuscaloosa that produces specialized soaps, shampoos, and other natural cleaning products since 1999. Due to COVID-19, visitors are not allowed to inside the workshop, but products are available for purchase online for pick-up! Visit the Left-Hand Soap Company website to view the various products and swag available.
Staying focused on a calming and/or mentally-stimulating activity can be an exceptional tool to properly manage your mental health. This includes listening to music, reading a new book, or learning something new! Whether or not you are already passionate about music or books, these activities are widely available for anyone to pick up and enjoy on the daily. Music and books come in a number of different genres and subjects, so there are endless ways to enjoy both activities! Additionally, learning something new stimulates the mind and creates a sense of accomplishment, like learning to ride a bike or finishing a good book!
Stop by the Tuscaloosa Public Library or Ernest & Hadley’s to get lost between the pages of a new book! Both of these spots are home to a wide collection of titles, familiar or new, and are available for all to enjoy. In addition to books, both the library and the bookstore host events/virtual events where patrons can learn more about authors and other literary greats related to the titles they have checked out or would like to explore. Sit back, relax, and keep your mind sharp with a great book!
For those that enjoy turning their records on and sitting idle on their couch for a blissful afternoon, Oz Music is a must-visit shop in Tuscaloosa. Oz Music has all anyone could need to become a major album collector and listener, from record players and cleaning supplies to throwback vinyl and brand new records! CDs are still available for those who prefer that method of jamming their favorite tunes.
Learning is a great way to exercise and stimulate the mind if you are needing a break from your everyday troubles. Learning about something new opens up your mind to new experiences and emotions, which has the dual benefit of improving your mental health and expanding your knowledge base! Three special destinations in town, the Paul R. Jones Gallery, Harrison Galleries, and the Paul W. Bryant Museum, provide a safe haven to learn about new perspectives and stories you’ve have yet to discover. All of these museums are exciting places to dive deeper into the diverse history and art of this area.
Mental health remains a significant topic in our nation as the unexpected isolation that came with COVID-19 continues to affect mental health. This meaningful topic affects millions and deserves extensive evaluation. Before this can happen, we must not be afraid to seek or offer help. If you or anyone you know is suffering from mental health distress, contact your medical provider for more information on services to help treat these challenges, or learn more at MentalHealth.gov.
Written by: Jamie Hoven & Will Baggett
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
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.
There’s nothing like the satisfaction of learning a new skill or picking up a new hobby. Doing something not to be the best, but to broaden your horizons and enjoy learning something new, is one of the best feelings in the world! It also has incredible health benefits. Hobbies keep your mind active and creative, and they have been shown to reduce stress and boost cognitive function. From physical activities to new crafts, Tuscaloosa has a variety of classes and resources to help you sharpen your skills. Follow along as we show you the best places in Tuscaloosa to learn something new!
The University of Alabama’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) offers member-centered, member-led courses to mature adults in the Tuscaloosa community. Courses are offered all year and cover topics including history, fitness, music, and movies. Best of all, there are no grades, no homework, and no required degrees! Courses are currently being offered via Zoom, and registration is open on their website.
If you’re interested in learning how to make pottery, look no further than the Beginner’s Wheel Throwing Class at All Fired Up. Learn how to throw clay, use a wheel, and more! Each class costs $60 and includes an hour and a half of instruction and one piece of pottery per person. Check out their website to RSVP! Masks are required at all pottery lessons.
Pure Barre is a fitness studio that focuses on low-impact, high-intensity movements that are designed to strengthen and tone your body in ways that no other technique can. There are four different kinds of classes, although beginners are encouraged to start with the Foundations course. Pure Barre is currently offering both in-person and online classes, and the weekly schedule can be found on their website!
Civil Axe Throwing is Tuscaloosa’s one and only destination for axe throwing. While this unique sport could become a new competitive hobby, it’s also just a fun activity to do with friends! Sessions cost $20 for one hour, and professional instructors are present at all times to ensure that you stay safe and have fun. Reservations can be made online anytime, and walk-ins are welcome Wednesdays through Saturdays.
Have you ever wanted to try meditating? Give it a try with the Tuscaloosa Zen Meditation Circle! Learn how to practice mediation in the Zen tradition, take part in a shared reading and discussion, and enjoy informal social time afterward! Both seasoned and beginner-level meditators are invited to join. Classes are on Sundays at 9 a.m. and are currently being held via Zoom. Find the link on their Facebook page!
Martial arts classes are a great way to get active while learning a new and valuable skill. Tiger-Rock Martial Arts prides itself on its ability to increase fitness and artistic precision while encouraging self-empowerment. With three locations across Tuscaloosa, it’s easy to find a convenient location to take a class! Courses are available for both children and adults. Get started on the Tiger-Rock website today!
Summer is in full swing and the city of Tuscaloosa has plenty of opportunities waiting for you to enjoy this weekend! Can’t decide what to do? Don’t worry, we’ve already made the search simple for you with exciting options listed below.
The River Market
The Tuscaloosa River Market is back open on Saturdays from 7 AM-12 PM! Visit the open-air market on Jack Warner Parkway to choose from a selection of vendors with farm-fresh produce, dairy products, and so much more. Enjoy a cup of coffee, sample life-changing lotions, and check out the handmade jewelry! Curbside service is also still available during this time, and orders can be placed online.
We are so excited to share that multiple local restaurants have reopened their doors to the public with dine-in options! Central Mesa, DePalma’s, Rama Jama’s, and Evangeline’s are now open for both dine-in and takeout. Whether it’s with a Depalma’s Deluxe Pizza or Evangeline’s Shrimp and Grits, you deserve to treat yourself with a phenomenal meal to end the work week!
Enjoy Live Music
Rhythm and Brews is now open with live performances weekly! The Brick and Hubba Show will be performing on Friday, and Jason Miller takes the stage Saturday night. Visit the Rhythm and Brews Instagram page for more information and updates posted daily.
Relax and Pamper Yourself
The perfect way to ease tension and loosen up this weekend is to attend one of Tuscaloosa’s fantastic spas to let go of this week’s stresses. Shine Facial Bar is offering your first facial free, along with many discounted membership options. Another option, located in the heart of downtown Tuscaloosa, is Chancee’s spa. They offer 10% discounts to all students and teachers with proof of an ID. If you want a hands-free option, Chancee’s has you covered with aqua massages, infrared saunas, and solar therapies!
Try Something Brand New
Founded in 2017 as a food truck, Reggae Flava LLC has taken the Tuscaloosa food scene by storm with its unique flavor, delicious gourmet Jamaican cuisine, and variety of Caribbean dishes. Reggae Flava is now a Veteran-owned and family-owned restaurant located in Downtown Tuscaloosa. The menu has a variety of options from curry chicken and brown stew pork to oxtail and curry shrimp. Vegetarian or Vegan? No problem! There are options available for you as well.
Staying in? Support the Bama Theatre from your living room couch!
If the restaurants, spas, and bars don’t appeal to you quite yet, we’ve got the perfect entertainment for you! The Bama Theatre is teaming up with Magnolia Pictures and the Arts Council to offer streaming opportunities from the comfort of your own home. When purchasing any of the streaming options on their webpage, 50% of the proceeds will go directly to the theatre and you will have a new movie ready to watch at your fingertips.
The City of Tuscaloosa has been very proactive to protect the community against the threat of COVID-19. While traveling may be on hold for some, our residents have the perfect opportunity for a staycation! SEC opening weekend for UA baseball has been canceled, but there are still plenty of other things to do this weekend for a Tuscaloosa staycation!
Don’t let Friday the 13th get in your way of a good night! Rhythm and Brews is hosting cover band, ‘Get Sideways’ Friday night. Come rock out and get a little sideways! If you’re looking for something to do with the entire family, Victory Blessing Christain Center is hosting Family Fun Night at 6:30 p.m. Come out and enjoy food, board games, and fellowship.
It’s Pi Day and you don’t have to be a math wiz to take advantage of sweet deals. All Fired Up is a paint pottery studio that is fun for all ages. Get creative, and a free slice of pie while supplies last when you spend $20 or more.
Drop into All Fired Up anytime from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday to create an Easter clay imprint. Imprints are $18 and for children 3 and under.UA students are officially on spring break, take advantage of the stillness of the city and take back your favorite restaurants. Visit Buffalo Phil’s on Sunday, where you can get a $2 mimosa, $3 bloody mary, $3 champagne, or $5.50 Philibuster.