Safety is the top priority for returning to campus, but that does not mean sacrificing the ability to enjoy yourself and to enjoy new experiences, especially in the City of Tuscaloosa. There are plenty of ways to maintain a safe, physical distance while also enjoying what Tuscaloosa has to offer, whether it be the scenic views, rich history, or the one-of-a-kind businesses and restaurant culture of this city. Below, we have compiled a list of ways to stay socially active while also being socially distanced!
The different lakes located around Tuscaloosa have been a regular relaxation spot for students over the years. In order to have a fun and peaceful time, visiting one of the nearby lakes is a modern time twist on a classic activity for UA students. These lakes are not only wonderful places to swim and rent kayaks for, but they are also a peaceful spot to read a book and enjoy the nature of the Tuscaloosa area. What better way to substitute a library table or a lakeside picnic table? These lakes offer services that allow you to either rent paddleboards for the day, paddle your own kayak around to the different scenic spots along the lakefront, or layout at the beach to continue working on your summer tan! The most popular lakes around the City of Tuscaloosa to check out are Lake Lurleen, Lake Nicol, and Lake Tuscaloosa.
Civil Rights Walk
The City of Tuscaloosa has a history intertwined with the Civil Rights movement, and there is a presence of that history all around Downtown Tuscaloosa. Traveling through history along the Civil Rights Walk is a way to stay active outdoors and be proactive about the history and importance of the Civil Rights Movement to our city. Visit (website) to locate the markers located around Downtown Tuscaloosa and learn more about the lasting impact that the Civil Rights Movement has made on the history and people of the City of Tuscaloosa. Visit here to learn more about the Civil Rights Trail of Tuscaloosa and how you can find more and more resources regarding the Civil Rights Movement in Tuscaloosa.
Historic Downtown Tuscaloosa
Downtown Tuscaloosa is a relaxing area of town where anyone is free to walk around and wander from door to door to find something they feel drawn to. There are numerous boutique stores and businesses where eclectic finds are inevitable. If you’re looking for a new wardrobe, or maybe just some refreshing new pieces, check out Pause Boutique, Effie’s Inc., or Pants Store! Walking around Downtown Tuscaloosa is a peaceful yet adventurous activity for all to find unique local while staying active after months of quarantine. However, Downtown Tuscaloosa does feature a lot of locations that would require entering a building, so be sure to pack a mask and be safe when visiting indoor storefronts and shops.
Self-Guided UA Tour
The University of Alabama has a rich history that every student and resident of Tuscaloosa ought to learn and become familiar with. At the heart of it all is The Quad, which is filled to the brim with its own history but also offers one of the most picturesque areas of campus. A refreshing way to stay connected to the culture of the university while maintaining physical distancing outdoors is to take a stroll around the University of Alabama campus and soaking in the history of the many buildings and locations. Many locations, including the ones located on the Quad, include historical markers that indicate the historic significance of their existence (or previous existence) and offer a glimpse into what truly defines this university.
Enjoy the scenic nature of the Black Warrior River from the comfort of a relaxing hammock or a light jog along the riverfront. The Riverwalk is 4.2 miles of a paved trail that offers visitors a place to enjoy the outdoors in a way that is safe and distanced from others, and versatile enough that anyone can find themselves enjoying an afternoon out and about. The Riverwalk is a great place to go on a quick run, exercise on a bike, and walk your dog, plus offers serene and scenic spots for reading a nice book or enjoying a delicious picnic. Whether you are wanting to stay physically active through exercise and movement or if you are wanting to simply sit outdoors and soak in the sunlight and fresh air, the Riverwalk is a must-do.
Golf and Disc Golf
In order to stay distanced while remaining active, certain sports offer more distanced situations than others, like golf or disc golf. There are several public golf course options located near Tuscaloosa including Ol’ Colony, North River Yacht Club, The Links at Tuscaloosa, Indian Hills Country Club, Tall Pines, and Hidden Meadows. Each of these courses is available on weekends and offers a variety of offerings to satisfy the most serious players and to welcome the more introductory players. If you are more of a disc golfer than a traditional golfer, Bower’s Park is the place to be, thanks to a full 18-hole course primarily located on wooded terrain and featuring beginner and professional tees for players of all skill ranges! Whether you are driving a golf ball or a disc, these activities are a safe way to get back into the swing of things!
A staple of campus life is enjoying the food trucks that make their way onto campus or throughout Tuscaloosa. These days, food trucks are a great way to stay outdoors and distanced while also supporting local businesses of Tuscaloosa. Not only are you able to be smart about what you are eating, but you may discover a new favorite dish or new favorite dining destination! We offer a phenomenal variety with options like Catch a Taste, Aces Tuscaloosa, Cheese Louise Tuscaloosa, and Urban Cookhouse. Food trucks appear in various locations around the city, so be sure to plan ahead of time to be aware of where certain trucks will be located and what their menu will look like! Remember to wear a mask at all times except when you are eating in order to maximize caution and ensure the safety of yourselves and those around you.
Local Farmers Markets
A health-conscious and locally-oriented outdoor activity that everyone can take advantage of is enjoying a farmers market. In Tuscaloosa, a few wonderful options for outdoor farmers markets are Homegrown Alabama Farmers Market, Ingram Farms, Northport Farmers Market, and the Curbside Farmers Market. Shopping at a farmers market can expose you to new flavors to up your cooking game, and they support the local farmers that stock the markets. Be sure to wear a mask while visiting local farmers markets for the health and safety of yourself and the vendors working the markets!
Written by: Will Baggett
(without being a cliché)
Spring has sprung, and the blooming flowers and blossoming trees make for one of the best times to show your true love you’re ready to commit! Tuscaloosa is totally for lovers with its southern charms and beautiful scenery. There’s far more to this fair city than just the Denny Chimes proposal. Show your one and only that you’re creative, and try out some of these places to have a truly unique engagement.
Inside the Bama Theatre
There is something magical about the old atmospheric style theater that feels so otherworldly. With the twinkling star lights in the ceiling and the grand Spanish courtyard style décor, it’s a perfect place to surprise them. Whether you see a concert or an independent film, wait for the crowd to leave or get their early and ask the big question. Even better, the second-floor balcony has a great view of the whole interior and might be a more secluded spot.
The University of Alabama Arboretum
Farther west in the outskirts of town, you can find the University of Alabama Arboretum which has thousands of selected plant life, a desert greenhouse, and so much more. Take one of the trails through their collection, a wildflower garden, or just wonder around until you find the perfect place. With the trees blossoming and the warm weather, it’ll surely be a memorable time!
Battle-Friedman House and Gardens
Down on Greensboro Ave, the historic Battle House has one fantastic hidden gem on the property. While the mansion its self is beautiful inside and well worth taking a tour, the gardens are a great little escape. The grounds were designed to be a traditional English garden and the recent efforts of the Tuscaloosa Preservation Society, they have fully restored the gardens to their original style. The perfect spot is the small fountain behind the greenhouse with views of both the house, and the blooming garden.
Any of Tuscaloosa’s Beautiful Lakes
It’s hard to pick just one of the fantastic lakes around town, so picking any will have you on the right course. Lake Lurleen has a fantastic little sandy beach with the lake sprawling out around it, while Lake Nicol has incredibly scenic cliffs overlooking the waters. Even Lake Tuscaloosa has the breathtaking spillway that’ll make a beautiful background when you propose!
Any of the Local Breweries
Hear me out, While not the fanciest of places around town, it is also the least suspected while still being a great venue. From Black Warrior’s laid back atmosphere and game rooms, Band of Brothers‘ proximity to the more elegant Drish House, to Druid City’s iconic chalk murals, there’s a beauty in all three. Now be advised to consider who you’re asking, but to the right person, it could the most unexpected surprise they never thought they needed. Plus, it’s the easiest location for a fast transition to a celebration!
Written By: Deven Wilson – Intern