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.

The City of Tuscaloosa and the Tuscaloosa County Park and Recreation Authority will host a Fourth of July Celebration on the River on Sunday, July 4, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater. This free, family-friendly event is open to the public and will include live music, kids’ activities, fireworks, and more.

The PARA kids’ zone, which will be located inside the Amphitheater, will open at 6 p.m. with games and activities for all ages. The Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra will perform around 7:45 p.m. Fireworks will begin at 9 p.m. after brief remarks from Mayor Walt Maddox.

“We are thrilled to bring back our City’s celebration of the birth of our nation this Fourth of July, after having a scaled-down event last year,” Mayor Maddox says. “Now that we can safely gather outdoors, the City of Tuscaloosa can celebrate this important day in a way that would make the founding fathers proud.”

Limited parking will be available in the grass lot by the Amphitheater. Attendees may also park in the free Downtown Intermodal Facility and take a shuttle or walk to the Amphitheater. Because of construction in the area, Tuscaloosa Police will be on-site directing traffic.

The Amphitheater’s clear bag policy will be in effect for this event. To receive text alerts for weather and event information the day of the event, guests can text “TUSC4TH” to 888-777. To learn more, please visit Tuscaloosa.com/COTR.

Foodie
 
[foo-dee] noun
 
A person who lives and breathes the art of eating food. “Phone eats first” most definitely applies here. 
It’s a big world out there, with big flavors and big portion sizes! We know that Tuscaloosa fully embodies all things fun and football so it should come as no surprise that the food scene here is highly appreciated and curated for everyone’s taste buds. There is no better way to embrace the Tuscaloosa food scene than listening to the advice of local fans/ foodies! After all, word of mouth is the best form of advertising, so here is what we have heard about the tastes of T-Town! 
 
Heat Pizza Bar
Anyone who says money can’t buy you happiness clearly has not spent enough money on pizza! Heat Pizza, located in Government Plaza, serves up artisan pizzas and salads from the freshest ingredients in the area. Not only are the pizzas perfect, but Heat also makes some mean cocktails as well. Let’s take a dive into one particular foodie favorite pizza- the Meat Lovers. Made with house red sauce, pepperoni, Italian sausage, bacon, ham, and fresh mozzarella, this pizza hits almost all of the points on the Food Pyramid. Thin crust, thick crust, or crispy, Heat isn’t picky! Foodie secret, they put the pepperoni under the cheese to ensure the pizza is fully baked and the cheese is melted for you to eat properly. Highly acclaimed and famed- just check the Yelp reviews- Heat Pizza is a foodie’s pizza paradise! 
 
Ingram Farms Crawfish
Our friends at Ingram Farms link with its Cajun connections every Spring to ship the best live crawfish, straight from the bayou, right here to Tuscaloosa. While you might be thinking, how much does a foodie love crawfish? The answer is a lot, especially if we have a southern foodie on our hands. A crawfish tastes like a mix between crab and lobster, but with an extra kick! Most orders come covered in garlic powder, paprika, and Old Bay (plus other spices) so be ready to defeat the heat! Tuscaloosa loves its crawfish so much that Ingram Farms hurries every year to keep its inventory stocked! A real foodie knows you get your order boiled and ready to eat for maximum enjoyment. Pro tip: Do NOT touch your eyes while or after eating crawfish and make sure to wash your hands thoroughly! Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
 
The Avenue Pub
You might be saying to yourself, “TTS, yall talk a lot about Avenue Pub, what’s the deal?” Avenue Pub is a foodie favorite here in Tuscaloosa and, as always, for some great reasons! Locals typically flock to Avenue Pub to get their burger and beer fix, but a true foodie knows there are big flavors beyond the burger. Foodie favorites include the Bacon Burger- no shock there- Thai Nachos, and its Fried Green Tomato BLT. The Thai Nachos are a twist on your normal version, with a spicy switch-up covered in peanut sauce and shredded chicken. Now if you’re from Alabama, you’re no stranger to fried green tomatoes and you’ve probably also seen the movie a handful of times. Avenue Pub’s Fried Green Tomato BLT comes prepared extra crispy in between all of the fixings and rye bread. With delicious food to treat everyone’s cravings and a fun atmosphere, it’s no wonder why foodies flock to Avenue Pub!
 
Waysider Restaurant
Every foodie must get started with the most important meal of the day- breakfast! The Waysider has been serving Tuscaloosa for 70 years and is the oldest continuously serving restaurant in West Alabama. The atmosphere of this little old red house will make you feel at home or even like you’re sitting at your grandma’s table as you wait for your hot stack of pancakes to be served. Foodie to foodie, let’s talk biscuits and gravy. The Waysider is known for its red-eye gravy- a true southern classic! The sweet and salty flavors pair perfectly with its buttery, flakey biscuits. While a keen foodie does love the eats, they also are looking for a great atmosphere! Here, guests feel at ease and taken care of. I mean, with 70 years in the business, The Waysider knows how to keep its audience happy!
 
We know there are so many foodie-approved hot spots here in Tuscaloosa, but we can’t write the novel for you! Go out and explore the tastes of Tuscaloosa on your own! Chat with us @visittuscaloosa on Instagram and Facebook to share your foodie stories!

1. The River Walk

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

 

2. Dreamland BBQ

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

 

3. Civil Rights Trail

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

 

4. Downtown

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

 

5.  Lake Tuscaloosa

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

 

6. Crimson Tide Football

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

 

7. The Strip

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

 

8. Nicks in the Sticks

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

 

9. Breweries

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

 

10. The Immense History

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

 

11.  Kentuck Art Festival

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

 

12.  Tuscaloosa Farmers Market

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

 

13.  The People

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

Growing up, we all ordered chicken fingers off the kid’s menu- this is probably where our adult obsession with the meal still resides. Fear not, there’s nothing to be ashamed of! Fried chicken fingers are more than a childhood staple, they are a pick-me-up food, a “remind me of home” food, and of course a good option for some after drinks food with your buddies! Have you ever wondered about which chicken fingers in Tuscaloosa hold the ultra-exclusive title of being the best? Well look no further my friends, we have three options here that will make you wonder: Which is worth it?

 

Guthrie’s – $5.76

Alabama loves Guthrie’s. Like, I mean LOVES Guthrie’s to an unhealthy obsession. Fast-food chicken fingers can be iffy, but Guthrie’s does it right every single time and for only around $5. The golden fried chicken fingers are incredibly tender and have the perfect amount of fried crispiness on the outside. Plus, they have their “secret sauce” which sounds mysterious as always but is sheer perfection. It is not too sweet or too salty and tastes like a mixture of mayo, ketchup, and garlic- which initially doesn’t sound prize-winning, but obviously, they are doing something right if people rant and rave about it! Being around for over 50 years has gained Guthrie’s a notable presence in the whole state of Alabama. Pro tip: The workers in the back make sure you are getting the fried tenders straight out of the fryer, so be extremely careful before biting into one of these, or else you might accidentally hurt yourself. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

 

Hoos Q – $7

Yes, Hoos Q is known for its barbeque but they also have some seriously delicious chicken fingers! The Chicken Finger Plate is served with five hand-breaded tenders and served with their version of a “special sauce”. With 5 large chicken tenders, you will probably have enough to take home! The breaded tenders are juicy and perfectly cooked with a soft, easily tearable inside. Not too greasy, not too dry and the sauce is the perfect additive. This option is slightly more than Guthries, but you do get five big and flakey tenders. Any place with a “special sauce” seems to be a breadwinner so it’s no question why Hoos Q is a contender!

 

Southern Ale House – $8

Weighing in only slightly more than the other two is Southern Ale House’s chicken tenders. Of course, we are keeping up the theme with hand-breaded yumminess in our blog but there is a twist on these. Southern Ale House buttermilk brines their tenders before frying to add that extra punch of tenderness to the average chicken tender. Can you guess what else these are served with? If you thought of a special sauce, you’re a winner! The “Slap ‘Yo Mamma” sauce is a light tangy take on the average condiment choices. These tenders are perfectly fried, but definitely not dry. If you’re looking for a good crunch to chicken ratio, Southern Ale House might be in your cards!

 

Quite honestly, we all love chicken and would probably eat chicken fingers on Thanksgiving if it were socially acceptable! All of these restaurants are well known for their takes on classic chicken tenders. Guthrie’s is a long-time classic in the state of Alabama and has a history of serving up good meals and deals. Hoos Q shows us that it’s not all about barbeque and that they can serve up a mean chicken tender basket. Southern Ale House serves up a marinated, crunchy chicken tender that seems to be a fan favorite as well. We know there cannot simply be one “best” of anything in this town, but we are thankful to have so many options within our community!

 

Agree with any of our three? Let us know! Have a rebuttal? Share with us your top chicken tender spot in Tuscaloosa!

Business
2020
Thanksgiving Christmas Eve Christmas Day
Ajian Sushi Closed Closed Closed
Another Broken Egg Closed Open Closed
Archibald & Woodrow’s Closed Closed Closed
Avenue Pub Closed Closed Closed
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Baumhowers Restaurant Closed 11 – 4 Closed
Blaze Pizza Closed Open??? Closed
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Catfish Heaven Closed Closed Closed
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Chuck’s Fish Carry Out Only Closed Closed
Cravings Closed Closed Closed
Depalma’s Italian Cafe Closed Closed Closed
Don Tono’s Closed Closed Closed
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Dreamland BBQ – Tuscaloosa Closed til 3 pm Closed
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Flavaz Seafood & Soulfood Closed Closes at 5 pm Closed
Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers Closed Close at 4 pm Closed
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Full Moon BBQ Closed 10 – 3 Closed
Glory Bound Closed Closed Closed
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Innisfree Open Closed Closed
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The best time of year is steadily approaching and it seems that the gift list is growing longer by the second. That’s where we come in to save the day. Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing some stellar local shops that will make this year’s Christmas shopping a breeze. Not only will this guide save you loads of time, but it’s also a way to show your love and support for the many phenomenal local businesses in Tuscaloosa! Want your favorite shop featured? Send us a direct message and let us know!

For your Brewery Buds…

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

For the Evermoving Explorers…

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

For your Foodie Friends…

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

For the Auspicious Artists…

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

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

For the Reserved Relaxers…

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

Fall has arrived, and with it came that familiar crisp autumn air, which means the outdoors are calling our names! See for yourself  Tuscaloosa’s breathtaking back yard…and it doesn’t stop there, either. This city’s stunning landscape paired with phenomenal local businesses elevates an already beautiful destination into a MUST-DO Road Trip. Whether you are looking to wind down with an outdoor picnic, take an adventure hiking through the fall foliage, or shop like there’s no tomorrow, let these 10 reasons why Tuscaloosa should be your next weekend getaway guide your planning process. After all, you don’t want the legendary Tuscaloosa Experience to pass you by!

1.jDowntown Tuscaloosa:

A recent addition to the city’s outstanding coffee shop scene is about to open and we couldn’t be more excited! Just Love Coffee prioritizes that sense of community as a business. The laid-back & relaxed atmosphere that makes Just Love Coffee Cafe so special was created to be different than the stuffy reputation of most specialty coffee shops. Downtown Tuscaloosa is a prime place to shop until you drop. Whether you are looking for your next gameday attire at The Pants Store, or searching for an antique accessory at Twice as Nice, this area is ideal for shopping at a vast variety of places that are all conveniently located!

2. 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!

3. 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.

4. Farmer’s Market

The Tuscaloosa Farmers Market is a spectacular shopping spot where you can find anything from a hand-cut Maple & Walnut Cutting Board to a hand-poured Yellowhammer candle scented Alabama Shores, all within walking distance. Each Saturday from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. local vendors of all specialties gather at the Tuscaloosa River Market to show off their wares to the community. If you plan on discovering the market’s incredible vendors this Saturday, wear a mask and be prepared to follow all social distancing guidelines!

5. Children’s Hands-on Museum

CHOM is a wonderful place in town where children explore, create, and discover something new every time they visit.  When we say “hands-on” we really mean it!  Learning through play is what CHOM’S exhibits are all about, where kids are encouraged to touch, feel, and play in fantastic exhibits.  Three floors of fun await with 24 exhibits, offering newborns and 13 year-olds alike an opportunity to completely immerse yourself in fun learning processes.

6. Kentuck Art Center

This local favorite 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 all of your holiday gifts. The Kentuck Gallery Shop offers an incredible shopping experience unlike any other online and/or in-person! Also, the 49th Kentuck Festival of the Arts is open NOW until December 31, 2020. With over 180 artist shops specializing in categories like clay, glass, jewelry, mixed media, sculpture, and wood you are bound to find the perfect Christmas present for everyone on your list!

7. 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.

8. Civil Rights Trail

As temperatures slowly start to drop, it is prime time to spend the day walking around outside and exploring new places. Among the many adventures that await you in town 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.

9. Government Plaza

If you are looking for a versatile area that offers wide-open spaces to safely 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. Soak in all of the cozy fall vibes 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 walking with your furry friend.

10. 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, or simply take in the captivating views! 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 as well. You are bound to have a blast at this local treasure, especially in this beautiful fall weather.

 

When you’re ready to plan your next road trip to T-Town check out all of the exceptional hotels this city has to offer!

 

Written by: Jamie Hoven

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

Ahhhhh, October! The time for pumpkin-spiced lattes, hammocking, and celebrating the spooky season. But don’t stop there. Now is also the prime time to immerse yourself in different cultures to recognize their significant influence in our local community. With Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, steadily approaching, we wanted to highlight the Hispanic heritage that makes Tuscaloosa such an eclectic and unique town. This beautiful culture contributes significantly to various aspects of our lives, whether it be the music we listen to, the food we eat, or the art we cherish. Here in the City of Tuscaloosa, we want to honor and showcase the incredible Hispanic businesses and the overall importance of Hispanic culture to our community and its people.

 

Food: 

Many are familiar with Hispanic food options and may regularly visit them from time to time, but how authentic is the experience? Explore Hispanic heritage with your tastebuds by visiting the incredible Hispanic-owned restaurants all around T-Town! We have pooled together a list of Hispanic restaurants for patrons to enjoy delicious, authentic dishes around the clock, including Antojitos Izcalli, La Bomba, and Tienda La Michoacana. These restaurants feature a diverse offering of homemade Hispanic and Mexican dishes along with plenty more for you to discover and enjoy!

La Bamba, located on McFarland Boulevard, is a classic Mexican restaurant in town that features Hispanic dishes, a fantastic selection of margarita flavors, and family packs that make last-minute meals a breeze. Another local favorite is Antijitos Izcalli on the corner of McFarland Boulevard and Hargrove Road. This Hispanic-owned restaurant is guaranteed to blow your mind with exquisite and mouth-watering homemade dishes. Looking for a quick stop for some authentic Hispanic food? Carniceria Y Tienda La Mexican is the Mexican restaurant for you, featuring its own roaming food truck! This restaurant/food truck offers a menu of homemade Mexican dishes, from classic dishes like quesadillas and nachos to more adventurous tastes like authentic Mexican tamales.

 

Ice Cream:

Summer may be over, but there is never a wrong time to treat yourself to a frozen sweet! The two following locations are just a few of the many wonderful local Hispanic-owned businesses that offer a unique fusion of bold Hispanic tastes and classic ice cream flavors. Discover your new favorite treats to satisfy that sweet tooth at La Real Michoacana and Las Piñas! These ice cream shops are incredible places to experience authentic Hispanic frozen treats and to support Hispanic businesses in and around the one and only Tuscaloosa.

La Real Michoacana is an inventive ice cream and sweet treat stop that loves to explore and experiment with new flavors daily. They are even open to requests for new flavors they do not have on hand! Visit their Facebook page for more information about the delicious offerings and decadent new flavors featured at La Real Michoacana. Las Piñas is a family-owned business located near Bowlero that combines Mexican and American flavors into their 100% homemade frozen treats. With the incredible addition of Mexican flavors and spices, you can discover a new flavor profile that will blow you away!

 

Grocery Store/Multipurpose:

In addition to treats and sweets, be sure to stop by these local stops to pick up Hispanic foods and flavors to add the perfect touch to your home-cooked meals! These are stores that offer specially-collected Hispanic foods, spices, and seasonings to add that indescribable Hispanic flair to everyday dishes or new recipes you’d like to try out! Before heading to these stores, be sure to plan ahead and read up on what foods you would like to whip up. Don’t forget to bring along a mask to wear while you shop!

There are several stores in the Tuscaloosa area that offer Hispanic-oriented foods and groceries, including: la Tienda Latina El Puerto, la Esperanza Tienda y Panaderia, and la Tienda Sabor Latino. These stores offer a wide variety of cooking ingredients and also freshly-made desserts for the instant gratification we all need every now and then! Each of these stores is Hispanic-owned by Tuscaloosa residents, so they are the one-stop shops to learn more about Hispanic culture and support the local community!

When visiting these restaurants, shops, and stores, it is important to call ahead to verify hours and up-to-date COVID-19 protocols. Additionally, although masks are not needed while seated and eating, don’t forget to bring it along for walking through the restaurants and shops! While you’re supporting Hispanic Heritage within our local community, feel free to tag @visittuscaloosa to any photos or posts about your experience! We can’t wait to see all of your adventures exploring this culture while showing your support for the Tuscaloosa community.

 

Written By:

Will Baggett & Jamie Hoven

After months of anticipation, the first game day of the 2020 Alabama Crimson Tide football season is approaching! Although the weekend will look a bit different this year, there are so many ways to experience the city of Tuscaloosa. Below we have put together the Ultimate 2020 T-Town Tour Guide, full of local dining, enticing entertainment, and spectacular shopping. Be sure to stay safe and wear a mask while you explore the town. Enjoy your weekend adventures and let the good times (and the Crimson Tide) roll!

 

FRIDAY 

9:00 am – 9:45 am:  

The first stop on our itinerary is Babe’s Donuts, located on Greensboro Avenue in the heart of Downtown Tuscaloosa. Known for its sweet treats and delicious coffee, this on-the-go option is currently open for to-go orders, making it convenient to start your day off on a good note! As you embark on your weekend journey stop by Babe’s for a classic donut – or mix it up with a Fruity Pebbles donut – and some cold brew coffee. Before you know it this local gem just might become your new T-Town favorite!

10:00 am – 11:30 am: 

Located just down the street at the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center is the Sarah Garden Armstrong Exhibit: Threads and Layers. Sarah Garden Armstrong is an Alabama native and alumna of the University of Alabama, returning to Tuscaloosa to share her captivating work through different types of media, from paintings and sculptures to handmade artist books! This Friday is your last chance to visit her incredible exhibit, so be sure to visit the Event page for more information.

12:00 pm – 1:30 pm: 

Your next stop along the T-Town Tour is Heat Pizza, located on Government Plaza. Choose wisely their wide selection of pizzas, including vegetarian and gluten-free options! Enjoy your lunch safely outside on the patio, with plenty of space for social distancing. As a matter of fact, Heat’s variety of beer, wine, and cocktails pairs perfectly with this perfect fall weather! With 5 years of experience serving pizzas, salads, drinks, and good times to Tuscaloosa, Heat will make your time here unforgettable. 

2:00 pm – 4:30 pm: 

The Paul R. Jones Museum has reopened its doors just in time for Bama’s season kickoff! Come experience the eclectic art of T-Town and explore their newest exhibit, “When They See Us, What Do They See?: Perspectives on Black Art”, curated by Barbara-Shae Jackson. The purpose of this exhibit is to ask visitors the question: What does the aesthetic experience of a person perceiving a work of art look like when it does not reflect their culture or personal life experience? Jackson, currently a doctoral student in cognitive psychology at The University of Alabama, is curating this collection to identify the responses of different visitors when they view art created by black and white artists. This weekend is your last chance to visit this thought-provoking exhibit, so be sure to visit the event page for more information.  

5:00 pm – 7:00 pm: 

Return to Downtown Tuscaloosa for a nice sit-down dinner at Chuck’s Fish where you can enjoy delicious appetizers and savory seafood dishes. This restaurant is a wonderful way to kick-off the weekend and celebrate the beginning of Alabama Football Season with family or friends! With a menu complete with classic cocktails and incredible entrees, Chuck’s is sure to be a crowd-pleaser no matter who is in your entourage.

7:30 pm – 10:30 pm:

Friday night LIVE MUSIC is returning to T-Town! Live from the Bama will begin at 7:30 pm, with limited in-person seating to ensure social distancing. Tickets are available to purchase for $10 here. If you are unable to attend the concert, join in on the fun virtually via the live stream on our Facebook page! Featuring local bands GrAystone and Casie & the NoJoes, this show will be sure to kick off your weekend the right way. Not to mention, all proceeds go directly to the Bama Theatre during this difficult time. To show your support for the irreplaceable Bama Theatre you can donate at your convenience here.

 

SATURDAY

9:00 am – 10:30 am: 

Start off your 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!

11:00 am – 12:30 pm: 

If you need a place to entertain your kids, look no further than the Children’s Hands-On Museum. This educational oasis is a delightful spot where your kids can learn about exciting subjects, like friction and temperature, all while having a blast! CHOM has set several guidelines in place to ensure the safety of all staff and visitors, like temperature screening at the entrance and controlled capacity inside. Ahead of your visit to the museum, check online for more information about exploring this interactive museum safely! If you aren’t comfortable taking your kids to CHOM, you can take CHOM to your kids with CHOM at home! Encouraging interactive learning is now easier than ever before with this resource up your sleeve. 

1:00 pm – 2:30 pm: 

Now it’s time to walk on over to Avenue Pub for a bit of local flavor to celebrate a football-filled afternoon! This treasure is a wonderful spot for spending quality time with loved ones and indulging in comfort food galore. With tasty sandwiches, fresh salads, and banging burgers, Avenue pub has what it takes to put you in a good mood for the rest of the day. If you just so happen to find yourself needing a spot to watch the Crimson Tide, there is a special offer of local beer for $4/pint during the game.

3:00 pm – 5:00 pm:

Between lunch and the start of the night football games, you can take a stroll around Downtown Tuscaloosa and do some necessary game day shopping. Whether you are looking to spruce up the Tide Pride in your repertoire or hoping to find the perfect crimson outfit, there are plenty of local shops to discover. For men, The Locker Room is a great spot for gameday polos and outerwear for later in the season. For women, whatever your style may be, Vintage Cotton Boutique offers a wide selection of unique pieces to help you put together the ideal football season wardrobe for any occasion!

6:00 pm: Alabama Crimson Tide at Missouri Tigers

ROOOLLLLLL TIDE ROLL into the return of college football! Wear your lucky socks and put your game face on because the highly-anticipated time is officially here. Whether you are at the game or cheering on the tide elsewhere, enjoy Tuscaloosa’s inexplicable, electrifying game-day atmosphere. Bama fans and locals alike know exactly what that feels like. Now is the perfect time to experience T-Town’s Bama fan phenomenon with the rare game-day hotel availability and local businesses eager to share their products/services with you. 

 

SUNDAY

10:00 am – 12:00 pm: 

Start Sunday morning off the right way at Rama Jama’s with a hearty breakfast at this University of Alabama-themed grill on Bryant Drive. Admire Bryant-Denny Stadium in all its glory as you enjoy more incredible local food. With classic options like fresh biscuits, crispy bacon, and unbelievable ham, it’s no surprise this hometown hit has hundreds of rave reviews. After a long, exciting Saturday of exploring Tuscaloosa and cheering on the Crimson Tide, a southern-styled breakfast at the one and only Rama Jama’s is just what the doctor ordered.

12:30 pm – 2:00 pm:

The Paul W. Bryant Museum is back open for this year’s football season! They are so excited to welcome visitors to town and share the gilded history of Bear Bryant and the Alabama Crimson Tide! After enjoying a Saturday full of football, the Bryant Museum is the perfect place to spend your Sunday afternoon, watching and learning about the history of Alabama Athletics. Walk in the footsteps of Alabama greats with the exhaustive collection of items and memorabilia of past sports history at The University of Alabama. Be sure to visit Bryant Museum’s website ahead of time to purchase admission and check hours of operation. 

2:30 pm – 5:00 pm: 

Downtown Tuscaloosa is a great place to shop around and discover local businesses that offer clothes, accessories, furniture, and more. Olive Tree Antiques and Twice as Nice are delightful examples of antique shops in Downtown T-Town. Places like these have something for just about everyone with eclectic inventory that is constantly changing. Whether it be kitchenware, jewelry, an antique, or interior decorations you are bound to discover some T-Town treasures that would make the perfect souvenirs.

The City of Tuscaloosa has a plethora of activities to do and places to enjoy, but there are a few incredible local gems that are just waiting to be discovered! So, what hidden treasures are the locals not telling you about? We pulled together a list of spots around Tuscaloosa that you may not have heard of and could potentially become a regular part of your rotation! These suggestions range from delicious food and drink destinations to quiet spaces to relax and unwind for a bit.

      1. Kentuck Art Center

For those who are looking to explore the fine arts side of Tuscaloosa, the Kentuck Arts Center is a local spot that more people ought to be aware of! Located off-campus in Northport, the Kentuck Art Center is a collection of many different artists and creators exhibiting their work for anyone to see and learn about. Kentuck’s mission is “to perpetuate the arts, engage the community, and empower the artist” and is open all year long for anyone!

      2. Catfish Heaven

Named for their delectable catfish offerings, Catfish Heaven is a fish lover’s dream! Fried and prepared fresh daily, Catfish Heaven is a local restaurant that has been serving up savory catfish and irresistible hot wings since 1993. For over 25 years, the brothers that opened Catfish Heaven have been making this delightful and delicious destination in the Historic West End of Tuscaloosa a local favorite! Catfish Heaven’s dining room is currently closed for safety due to COVID-19, but they are still offering take-out orders for anyone looking to expand their list of go-to restaurants in Tuscaloosa!

      3. Cravings

As a spot filled to the brim with a diverse collection of drinks, beers, wines, and more, Cravings is a must for anyone looking to expand their drink repertoire. In addition to drinks, Cravings is also a good place for a bite to eat! There is an offering of snack foods, deli favorites, and an incredible breakfast offering for everyone to enjoy. Not to mention they serve unbelievable Detroit and Sicilian style pizza that will turn you into a regular customer in no time. Visit Cravings to discover new drink favorites and see if it becomes one of your new go-to spots in Tuscaloosa!

      4. Ernest & Hadley’s

Ernest & Hadley’s is a charming local bookstore located a few blocks away from Downtown Tuscaloosa just waiting to be discovered. This bookstore is filled with popular picks, classical favorites, and even highlighted works from local Alabama writers! In addition to being a store, Ernest & Hadley’s regularly hosts events that are open to any and all visitors, so be sure to check online ahead of time for more information. Currently, Ernest & Hadley’s is operating with safety in mind and is allowing only five (5) patrons at a time and even has a curbside pick-up option available for anyone who would prefer not to enter the store!

      5. Ruan Thai

Since 1991, Ruan Thai has been serving up fresh and savory authentic Thai food to students and locals alike with their extensive menu of delectable offerings. Ruan Thai offers both a lunch and dinner menu and even has dedicated portions of its menu for its sushi dishes and curry specials. Due to COVID-19, Ruan Thai is currently available through curbside pickup and through the delivery service, Crimson 2 Go. This locally-owned, authentic Thai restaurant is located on the Western end of the Strip and is the perfect local option for authentic Thai food in Tuscaloosa!

 

      6. Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center

The Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center is a place for fans of fine arts and culture to explore and for everyday adventurers to discover! It is home to a rotating lineup of galleries that exhibit the thought-provoking and insightful power of the mediums of the fine arts. Not only is the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center a delightful spot to immerse yourself in fine arts and culture, but it is also a stop on the Civil Rights Trail of Tuscaloosa! In addition to visiting the resident exhibit, this center is an important site to learn the history behind it as it pertains to the City of Tuscaloosa as a whole.

 

      7. Catch 22

If you are looking for a bar to hang out and enjoy outstanding cocktails at the end of a long day, Catch 22 is the place for you. As the home of house drink specialties galore, including pickle-, cucumber-, and even pepperoncini-infused vodka, this bar is known for creating a unique flavor in each creation. Located in Downtown Tuscaloosa on 6th Street, this is a great place for anyone looking to unwind with some boutique cocktails and refreshing favorites! Additionally, Catch 22 has recently extended their outdoor patio to accommodate social distancing requirements and create a safe environment for customers!

 

      8. The Oasis

Located in Cottondale is a restaurant named The Oasis, offering a welcoming and Southern environment with the delicious food to back it up! The Oasis is famously known for its savory burgers and their incredible appetizers, including jalapeńo poppers, fried pickle spears, and fried mushrooms. The Oasis is truly a hidden gem for eating and may soon become one of your regular food spots in town! In order to accommodate the COVID-19 situation, The Oasis is currently only able to offer pick-up orders that can be placed at the restaurant.

 

      9. Innisfree’s Lucky Lunch

I know what you’re thinking. “Everyone knows about Innisfree…”. Although that may be true, many regulars and first-time visitors alike don’t know about the spectacular meat and three meals available from 11 a.m.- 3 p.m. With classic options like chicken parmesan, chicken tenders, or country fried steak you can experience irreplaceable southern cooking right in Downtown Tuscaloosa! The meat + three meal also falls under $10, so Innisfree is easy on your bank account, too. 

 

      10. Van de Graaff Park

Whether you’re looking for your next nature adventure, picnic spot, or photoshoot set this local treasure has it all. Fish, hike, or camp on the gorgeous acres of Van de Graff with its breathtaking parks and large ponds stocked with freshwater fish! Along the way, you can also find a section of Alabama’s oldest iron bridge crossing over Mill Creek. This local’s secret is nestled in Northport. Revel in nature’s beauty and enjoy some fresh air at Van de Graaff Park. 

 

Written By: Will Baggett

Edited By: Jamie Hoven