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!
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!
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
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
T-Town’s Local favorite JCG Apparel and B-Unlimited, a custom apparel and graphic design studio, are now operating as one! The quality staff that cares for each other and the work they do makes its endless rave reviews no surprise. In fact, it’s even been said that they are a people company that just so happens to make t-shirts. With crazy unique Bama gear like the 2020 Bama Schedule Band Tee or the 90’s throwback Crimson Tide Crop, you’re bound to find something to suit your style.
Since 1964 this traditional men’s clothier has consistently found innovative ways to enhance the Bama’s Game Day Drip. The Locker Room’s 50+ years success story proves the quality clothing and legendary service at this local gem. Among the hundreds of styles to choose from, check out those with the “ Vault A”. The university’s previous logo has come back into style with a vengeance, giving your fit a vintage twist this football season.
Located on the corner of Fifth Street and Main Avenue in Historic Downtown Northport, the Kentuck Gallery Shop is a delightful souvenir shop that hosts up to 180 artists from around the world. As an extension of the Kentuck organization, this gallery supports many artists and creators from the local area or all around the world, so any purchase made goes straight to these artists. Ahead of visiting the shop, check out the Kentuck Gallery Shop website to browse their online store and discover the selection of art and creations being offered. The shop is open Monday – Friday from 9:30 AM-5:30 PM and Saturday/Sunday from 12:00 PM-4:00 PM, so it is a perfect spot for browsing before the games on Saturday or Sunday.
Located on The Strip and serving up mouth-watering flavors from all of Asia, Surin of Thailand is a must-visit restaurant for lunch or dinner during the weekend. In addition to incredible Asian dishes, Surin also features a full bar and a number of specialty cocktails perfect for celebrating a weekend full of SEC Football! Surin features indoor dining, so be sure to bring a mask along with you to safely walk to and from your table. Check out Surin’s website to learn about lunch and dinner specials they are offering this weekend.
For those looking to enjoy a juicy steak dinner to cap off a Saturday full of college football, check out Nick’s in the Sticks. Also known as Nick’s Filet House, this quaint steakhouse on the outskirts of Tuscaloosa is known primarily for its insane steaks and burgers. Don’t let their tasty food fool you, because they also have the famed Nicodemus cocktail. The great offers here are no secret so it is important to arrive early in the evening, as seating is limited to only a few tables and seats fill up fast!
Sunday morning after the Crimson Tide takes care of business, there is no better way to celebrate than with a southern-cooked brunch. One of the town’s favorite joints is T-Town Cafe! This home-style cafe is a delightful stop to enjoy comfort food galore from catfish to mashed potatoes to country-fried steak, with other burger and sandwich options as well. Before leaving town, visit T-Town Cafe to enjoy a family brunch or lunch and fill up before hitting the road!
One of the many incredible ways to enjoy T-Town is to step into the past and explore our Civil Rights Trail. Showcasing the diverse history of Tuscaloosa, this trail takes participants all through downtown and the surrounding area. The Civil Rights Trail winds its way in and around Downtown Tuscaloosa, where there are a number of restaurants and shops to discover while learning about the Civil Rights history of the town! Thanks to its close proximity to campus, this is a fantastic activity to do before the chaos of gameday begins. For more information on where the trail leads and to learn more about each of the stops along the trail, check out the Tuscaloosa Civil Rights Trail website!
Lake Harris in Tuscaloosa is one of the smaller lakes but offers a more private space for much more than just water activities. In addition to swimming and canoeing on the lake, there are several hiking trails around the lake including one that leads to the nearby dam that services much of the water systems in Tuscaloosa. Additionally, Lake Harris is a sought-after location for avid birdwatchers. If you are looking to pick up a new hobby this game day weekend, maybe give birding a try!
If you’re looking for kid-friendly things to do around town, you’ve come to the right place! From 9:30 AM – 4:00 PM this Saturday, the Children’s Hands-On Museum will be hosting their Spooky Scavenger Hunt! Bring along your children and help the museum find goblins, ghosts, zombies, and other spooky creatures that have been set loose in the museum! All related activities for this scavenger hunt are included in the price of admission, but be sure to purchase admission ahead of time just in case. To learn more about the Children’s Hands-On Museum and safety procedures in response to the COVID-19 situation, visit here.
If Not Now…When?
It is rare to be able to come to Tuscaloosa on a gameday Saturday without having to plan several months in advance. This year, as I’m sure you’re aware, is different than any other because of the open availability at some of our incredible hotels. Now is the time to take a road trip down and see what T-Town is all about. For information on the diverse selection of our city’s hotels, many within walking distance of Tuscaloosa’s unique restaurants, shopping, and entertainment, click here.
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!
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!
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
As the school year starts back up in Tuscaloosa, we are excited to be welcoming students back to town! A few things have changed around town since school last left off, so we wanted to share a list of must-visit food stops and businesses around town. There are dozens of local businesses and restaurants around Tuscaloosa just waiting to be discovered and enjoyed, and there’s no better time like the present to be adventurous and experience new offerings! The following list of experiences ranges from familiar favorites in new locations, new spots to check out, and a variety of places that are perfect to enjoy on a daily basis!
The ever-popular Local Roots food truck has transitioned into its own brick and mortar restaurant location on North McFarland Boulevard and is prepared to deliver the same mouth-watering dishes that students have come to expect from the food truck window, plus more! If you have not yet eaten at Local Roots, be sure to swing by to discover the many decadent menu items offered, featuring a variety of burgers, sandwiches, wraps, and salads.
Sage Bar is the perfect spot to relax or share a meal and drinks with some friends while taking time off from your daily routine! This bar doubles as both a juice bar and a speakeasy to keep you calm, focused, and relaxed all the way through your day. Whether it is early-morning brain food, brunch and lunch bites, or an evening cocktail, Sage Bar has the answer. Sage Bar is located on 4th Street in Downtown Tuscaloosa.
Another popular food truck has also found its way into its own restaurant: Reggae Flava! Reggae Flava is a veteran-owned business that offers traditional Jamaican dishes that are sure to make your taste buds dance with delight. The Reggae Flava menu is filled with Caribbean dishes that are both delicious and can satisfy anyone’s comfort food needs. Now that Reggae Flava has moved into its own location in Timmerson Square, this spot is a great place for people to be adventurous with their food choices and experience the many flavors of Jamaican cuisine!
For fans of farmer’s markets and those who do their best to use locally-grown produce, Ingram Farms is a delightful place to visit and look around. Doubling as an ice cream shop selling Blue Bell Ice Cream and locally-flavored ice cream, Ingram Farms is a wonderful place for students to support a local business of the Tuscaloosa area! Ingram Farms is a family-owned and operated business in Northport and has been selling produce and ice cream to the local residents of Tuscaloosa and Northport for years.
Jackie of All Trades is a Furniture and Design Store located in a new spot on Rice Mine Road, where a person can come to find the experts at furnishing a new apartment, a new home, or a reimagining of either! The owner, Jackie, and her team of designers love to work with clients to bring to life new ideas and designs for home customization. If you are in need of a big redesign or looking to shake things up, visit the Jackie of All Trades showroom to dive into the full design experience!
Foosackly’s a new fast food addition to the City of Tuscaloosa, located on 15th Street. This chicken-centric restaurant is a staple throughout the state of Alabama and has caused quite a craze since opening its new location in Tuscaloosa over the summer. Fans of fresh chicken tenders, house-made sauces, and freshly brewed sweet tea must swing by Foosackly’s to get to know one of the newest fast-food spots in town!
Shindig is the go-to all-in-one party spot, with its offering of bowling, arcade games, laser tag, blacklight mini-golf, and a restaurant/lounge. If you are in need of blowing off steam with your friends, Shindig is the place to be for any and all the above reasons! Weekly and Seasonal specials are offered as well, including Night Owl Bowling (late night bowling), multi-game offerings of laser tag, and even 3-D mini golf. Be sure to check the Shindig website for hours of operation and enjoy an exciting evening of fun!
Looking for a homemade ice cream shop with an exciting and surprising twist? Las Piñas is a family-owned ice cream shop located off McFarland Boulevard, specializing in a unique twist of traditional American and Mexican flavors in its ice cream. Everything made in this shop from the ice cream to the special frozen treats is 100% homemade and 100% delicious! Las Piñas offers a refreshing change of taste with the care of a homemade treat for everyone to enjoy!
Mi Casita Bakery is a local bakery that bakes delicious treats that will be sure to satisfy any sweet tooth’s sugar craving! Whether it is mouth-watering cheesecake, fresh bread, or even authentic Italian tiramisu, Mi Casita Bakery is a great way to celebrate all different occasions or to simply provide a much-needed cheat day for anyone looking for sweet comfort food. Mi Casita bakery is located off McFarland Road on Hargrove Road.
The Biscuit Shop Co. isn’t just your everyday breakfast spot. This breakfast spot is a locally-owned and operated spot that offers a delectable variety of both sweet and savory biscuits and treats to start the day off right! At The Biscuit Shop Co., you can expect coffee and other drinks, a daily menu full of all your favorites, specialty biscuits that change twice a month, breakfast sandwiches to eat on the go! The Biscuit Shop Co. is located in Northport and is a must-visit spot for anyone looking to mix up their breakfast routine or looking for a spot to relax and start off the day with a calm bite to eat.
As the semester keeps rolling, more and more businesses will begin to either reopen or open their doors for the first time ever. We have pulled together a list of a few spots to look out for around town so you can be one of the first back or the first to try them out! This list includes a relaxing spot to enjoy a cup of coffee, a hearty barbeque joint, and exciting new places to unwind and enjoy a drink with friends.
- Druid City Music Hall Grand Reopening
- Golden Rule Barbeque – previously Mooyah
- Just Love Coffee – previously O’Henry’s
- Central Wine Market – previously Carpé Vino
- Druid City Social – previously 301 Bistro
Written by: Will Baggett
Black Belt Adventures recently created a weekend tour of Alabama’s Black Belt, showcasing the region’s best eateries, pit stops, and local goods. The Flavors of the Black Belt Adventure of course passes through Tuscaloosa, stopping by some of the city’s best restaurants and unique locations along the way. To see what made the cut and to take your own adventure through Tuscaloosa, follow along with us!
Archibald and Woodrow’s BBQ
Archibald and Woodrow’s BBQ began serving the Tuscaloosa community from a small cinderblock building in 1962. Three generations later, the restaurant is known across the country for serving some of the best barbecue and ribs that the South has to offer. Archibald and Woodrow’s barbecued ribs, pork, and chicken are known for their trademark hickory-smoked flavor, and their house-made sides and sauces complement each item perfectly. If you’re looking for authentic Southern barbecue in Tuscaloosa, give Archibald and Woodrow’s a try!
Avenue Pub has been serving refined pub classics and a variety of craft beers to the Tuscaloosa community since 2014. Dishes like fish and chips and fried green tomato BLTs are made in-house with locally sourced ingredients, creating simple but memorable dishes. Make sure you try one of their local beer options while you’re there! The restaurant’s laid-back atmosphere creates a sense of community with every guest, making Avenue Pub the perfect place to visit for a casual and welcoming dining experience.
In 2017, Central Mesa began serving authentic Latin American food with a Southern twist in downtown Tuscaloosa. From hot chicken tacos inspired by the classic Nashville dish to beer-battered cod tacos that are straight from the Atlantic Ocean, Central Mesa offers one of the city’s most unique menus. The restaurant prides itself on serving fresh and delicious dishes alongside clean cocktails in a laid back atmosphere. If you’re looking for a unique fusion dining experience, Central Mesa is the place to be!
Chuck’s Fish opened in downtown Tuscaloosa in 2006 with the intention of showing off the best seafood that the Gulf of Mexico has to offer. The restaurant is named in honor of UA graduate Chuck Morgan, a civil rights attorney who fought against racial inequality during the peak of the Civil Rights Movement. Along with freshly harvested seafood, Chuck’s Fish also offers naturally-raised beef and an award-winning sushi bar. If you’re looking for a high-quality dining experience with a great atmosphere, look no further than Chuck’s Fish!
Depalma’s is Tuscaloosa’s premier destination for Italian cuisine that is both authentic and delicious. Since 1995, Depalma’s has been serving pastas, pizzas, calzones, and other entrees to locals and visitors alike. They also offer a wide drink selection as well as desserts, including Depalma’s famous white chocolate bread pudding. The restaurant’s cozy atmosphere coupled with its prime location in the heart of downtown Tuscaloosa makes it a must-try during your next visit!
Since 1958, Dreamland BBQ has been serving hickory-fired ribs and other barbecued favorites to the Tuscaloosa area. Over the years, Dreamland has become one of the most celebrated barbeque restaurants in the South. While they’re known for their iconic ribs, white bread, and sauce combination, Dreamland also serves barbeque sandwiches, smoked sausages, half chickens, and more! Check their online menu for availability at each location, and keep Dreamland in mind the next time you’re craving barbeque!
Located on the banks of the Black Warrior River, River is Tuscaloosa’s top destination for urban dining with beautiful views. Since 2016, River has been serving tender steaks, savory flatbreads, specialty oysters, and more to the Tuscaloosa community. River prides itself on its great food and personal service, and its spacious dining terrace makes the perfect backdrop for a refined dining experience. If you’re looking for fine dining with beautiful riverfront views, choose River!
Along the Way
Besides some of the best dining in the South, Tuscaloosa also has some great sights and spots to visit! The Alabama Museum of Natural History has been celebrating the state’s natural history through exhibits, teaching programs, and service for over 150 years. While on The University of Alabama’s campus, stop by the Paul W. “Bear” Bryant Museum to learn more about the campus’s famous football history. See some of the program’s most memorable moments displayed through state-of-the-art exhibits. To satisfy your artsy side, visit the Kentuck Art Center to learn more about the creativity of the Tuscaloosa community or enjoy one of their year-round programs. Round off your tour around Tuscaloosa with a drink at Black Warrior Brewing Company, which offers a large variety of craft beers and wines that are made in-house.
Black Belt Adventures’ many trails focus on the food, drinks, stays, and sights you’ll encounter on your trip, and shopping lists tell what local goodies you’ll want to pick up along the way. While on your adventure, make sure to enter Black Belt Adventures’ Feed Your Adventure Photo Contest! Simply snap a photo along one of their trails and upload your photo to their website. More information can be found on their website’s Flavors Photo Contest page. View the full brochure here and happy trails!
Congrats to all of The University of Alabama’s 2020 graduates! You deserve to relax, relish, and reminisce in one of the most remarkable college football towns in the nation. You might think it stops there, but Tuscaloosa goes far beyond football. Thanks to excellent lodging, exceptional eats, and endless local gems, T-Town offers unforgettable experiences whether you roll with or away from the tide. Read on for tips to get the most out of your weekend getaway in the Druid City.
Whether you are attempting a last-minute road trip or scheming a self-indulging staycation in the near future, you’re in luck. Some of our city’s incredible hotels have availability for the next few days! For a traditionally southern experience, check out Bama Bed & Breakfast, located a mere two blocks from Bryant-Denny Stadium. Providing five gorgeous rooms to choose from, hot tub access, and complimentary breakfast + basket of snacks, this place goes above and beyond to accommodate for their guests! If Tuscaloosa’s fantastic local shopping and dining is calling your name, check out Embassy Suites, Home2 Suites, or Hotel Indigo. All of these highly-rated hotels are a short walk to the heart of downtown T-Town, home to many iconic places that give this city personality. Haven’t quite found what you’re looking for? There are more amazing local hotels with availability for this weekend!
Gather with family, friends, and fellow graduates to celebrate this chapter in life with some spectacular dining options, all fresh and all local! Enjoy a graduation sushi platter special at Chuck’s Fish, or venture down the street for a taste of Gulf Coast seafood with a New Orleans flare at Half Shell Oyster House. Another elegant option that encompasses the vibrant life of this city is River. Have your cake and eat it too at this restaurant with dinner and a view of the Black Warrior River. And of course, one can never go wrong with a dinner at DePalma’s to enjoy some delicious homemade bread and pasta made fresh to order.
What is a weekend getaway without souvenirs? For those die-hard Bama fans, you can stock up on some of the coolest Alabama gear at local stores like Bama Stuff and JCG Apparel. Be sure to look out for brand new alumni clothing! Not a Bama fan? Not a problem. Tuscaloosa is home to a variety of local favorites that are sure to impress guests and locals alike. If you enjoy shopping at unique boutiques you are in the right place. Effie’s Inc. is nestled in the historic district downtown and is known for its outstanding customer service. Whether you are perfecting a special occasion outfit or just enhancing your wardrobe, Effie’s carries the latest trends for a variety of lifestyles and ages. It also doesn’t hurt that the entire website is 50% off (excluding new arrivals). Another hidden treasure in town is Pause Boutique. Enjoy endless jewelry, clothing, shoes, accessories, and more at this special local shop! For men’s clothing, swing by University Blvd. and check out Pants Store and The Locker Room! Both stores provide stellar customer service and a vast selection of fashionable products that can appeal to everyone.
What is a quick weekend trip for some is a spectacular staycation for others. Regardless, Tuscaloosa can’t wait to welcome you all with open arms (abiding by social distancing guidelines, of course). We hope this helps enhance your experience in our beloved city!
Evangeline’s hit the local restaurant scene by storm, and for good reason! The restaurant is considered to be one of the city’s premier fine dining establishments. Best of all, Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports is giving a $50 Evangeline’s gift card to one lucky winner next week on Instagram or Facebook! Join us as we show you everything that Evangeline’s has to offer.
Evangeline’s has a wide selection of dinner options that are sure to satisfy any visitor. The restaurant offers one of the best filet mignons in Tuscaloosa. Served with a garlic-infused potato puree, sautéed broccolini, and jumbo lump crab mornay sauce, the dish is both sophisticated and delicious. If you’re in the mood for lighter fare, try the summer peach salad. A bed of romaine and organic mixed greens is topped with peaches, strawberries, blueberries, candied pecans, goat cheese, and a house-made peach and poppy seed dressing to create this delightful and summery salad. Craving seafood? Evangeline’s has that too! Their phenomenal crab cakes are a must, so much so that al.com included them in 100 dishes to eat in Alabama before you die. If you’re looking for a nice dinner in Tuscaloosa, Evangeline’s is one of the perfect places in town!
Evangeline’s also serves dessert to ensure that you finish your meal on a sweet note. There are a few classic options on the menu, including chocolate cake and peanut butter pie, but Evangeline’s offers so much more than classic treats! Lemon sorbet is the perfect option for those looking for something to complement the Tuscaloosa summer heat. There are even a couple of cheesecake options! Try blueberry cheesecake to get that summer feeling that accompanies fresh berries, or choose the praline pecan cheesecake for an irresistibly sweet crunch. No matter what you choose, rest easy knowing that each option is fresh and delicious.
There’s a lot that goes into making Evangeline’s the pinnacle of high class, including its atmosphere and high-quality ingredients. White tablecloths paired with a black ceiling emanate big-city sophistication, while the shot glass votives that sit on each table bring back the warmth that’s expected in southern towns like Tuscaloosa. Make sure you dress up to match that comfortable classiness, whether that means your Sunday best or your finest eveningwear. Keeping with the high-quality vibe, Evangeline’s also uses local produce in all of their dishes. Their fresh fruits and veggies are sourced from Katie Farms in Coker, Alabama. The atmosphere and high-quality dishes at Evangeline’s combine to make something totally unique, making the restaurant a must-visit!
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.
Happy Fresh Veggies Day! What better way to celebrate than to enjoy some fresh veggies from your local markets in the #OneandOnly Tuscaloosa? Here’s our top three places to buy fresh produce in Tuscaloosa:
- Tuscaloosa River Market – Located on the banks of the beautiful Black Warrior River, lies the Tuscaloosa River Market. This venue is home to the popular Tuscaloosa Farmers’ Market which is held every Saturday (all year) and Tuesday (Memorial Day – Thanksgiving) from 7 a.m. until 12 noon. The Tuscaloosa Farmers’ Market is a state Certified Farmers Market which means all of the produce and meats sold were locally grown or raised in the state of Alabama.
- Manna Grocery & Deli – Known as Tuscaloosa’s natural food store, Manna Grocery & Deli offers a selection of whole, unrefined, natural foods and natural dietary supplements. Manna also supports local, seasonal produce and local packaged grocery when available.
- Homegrown Alabama Farmers Market – Homegrown Alabama is the University of Alabama’s student-run farmers market. This student-led farmers’ market sells locally grown produce on lawn of the Canterbury Episcopal Chapel every Thursday, April through October from 3-6 p.m.
Written by: Adrian Gee, TTS Public Relations Intern