While a college town known for barbecue and big games may not sound like a place for healthy, athletic people, you’d be surprised to find just how active and healthy we can get here in the deep fried south. Tuscaloosa is a proudly named runners city with a plethora of trails and is home to some of the most flavorful healthy food in the state. With the Triathlon on the same day as Alabama Roots Fest, you’ll find the city in full swing with a buzzing downtown and live music from Robert Randolph and the Family Band in Government Plaza!

  1. Explore nature!

If you aren’t used to the springs in Alabama, you might not know that the outdoors can be immaculate in April, and this weekend will be no different. From Lake Nicol’s cliffs to Lake Lurleen’s sandy shores, you’ll feel at one with nature without having to go more than 20 minutes from downtown.

  1. Take some tea time!

Like any college town, we have an abundance of third wave coffee shops like Monarch or Heritage House that serve some fine brews, but for those who like the serenity of a fresh batch of tea or house-made kombucha, welcome to Tea Town. Located in historic downtown Northport, Tea Town started as a tea bike at our farmers market, then became the brick and mortar hang out for live poetry and original tea mixes.

  1. Pedal over to our bike shops!

Worried your bike needs some last minute repairs or just want to spend some quality shopping time? We have great local and regional stores to meet your needs.

Velocity Pro Cycle in Temerson Square is a fixture in our cycling community with events and races around town.

Queen City Cycles in Pinehurst is known for its quality care when it comes to bike repair. They are dedicated to the art of the bicycle, bringing a love that has really elevated the sport in our city.

Trek Bicycle Store is located in Midtown Village and offers Trek bikes and apparel along with repairs and maintenance. Perfect for those loyal to the Trek brand

  1. I can Escher you we have good art

We have such a thriving art scene in Tuscaloosa, from our growing gallery collections to our museums there’s more than enough art to go around. For some classical and historic works like original John Singer Sargent works to up and coming local artists there is truly something for everyone to enjoy.

Kentuck Art Center

Located in the historic district of downtown Northport, Kentuck dedicates themselves to nurturing our city’s art scene. With their recently renovated space, they have constantly changing exhibits and collections that you’ll find it rare to see the same thing twice. The art campus has over four buildings with free Wi-Fi to make a true art space that’s open to everyone. Hours are: Tues-Fri 10 am-6 pm and Saturday 10 am-4:30 pm

Tuscaloosa Museum of Art

A gift to the city by the late Jack Warner of the Westervelt Company, Mr. Warner was a true lover of the arts with his massive collection that he graciously donated to both his hometown and to a wing in the Met in New York, as well as his private collection in his home. The Tuscaloosa Museum of Art is on the Westervelt campus off of Jack Warner Parkway with a wide collection of original American art.

  1. Find a Foodie Oasis

We are not without some incredible eateries in Tuscaloosa beyond the standard southern classics. With new places popping up, there is always an exciting new element to our foodie scene.

Local Roots

Be on the look out or follow them on Twitter to see with this beloved food truck is going to be around town. With a dedication to great local food, they offer healthier choices with some flavorful salads to more indulgent delights like their crispy pork belly with rice buns.

Animal Butter

With options from hot chicken bao buns to their latest Japanese style pancake, there are exotic dishes inspired by the culinary world of international street food. One of their more popular dishes is their veggie burger that has people considering making the switch to living meatless with the savory treat.

National coffee day is here, and the one and only Tuscaloosa has no shortage of local spots to stop in and grab a cup to celebrate. No matter what type of atmosphere you’re looking for, Tuscaloosa has plenty of unique coffee shops to satisfy that caffeine craving.

 

Edelweiss

Located on Temerson Square, you can find Edelweiss tucked humbly in between the lively downtown bars. The quaint German café opened its doors in 2007 and boasts some of the best pastries in town, made fresh every morning. They also feature lunch specials, which are served Monday through Friday and are changed monthly. Stop in for breakfast, lunch, or even just a coffee and a traditional German pastry.

 

Monarch

One of the newest additions to Tuscaloosa’s growing coffee scene, Monarch opened its doors earlier this year and has already established itself as a local hotspot downtown. The community-powered coffee shop was founded by two UA alumni with not only a passion for a good cup of coffee but also a love for Tuscaloosa and its people. Even before opening its doors in 2017, Monarch was backed by the community through a Kickstarter campaign to help fund startup costs and make what was once a dream a reality. Although new to town, Monarch embraces the diversity of Tuscaloosa with an inviting, ‘come as you are’ atmosphere where all are welcome.

 

OHenry’s

Dr. Henry Bright founded OHenry’s Coffee in Downtown Homewood, AL in 1993, completely unaware of the landmark he just established. 17 years later, OHenry’s has grown to 5 locations and boasts over 30 different types of coffee. The Birmingham-based icon opened the doors of its new Tuscaloosa location last year and it has quickly become a favorite of both college students and locals alike.

 

 

Heritage House

As the original coffee house of Tuscaloosa, Heritage House has been serving up fresh baked goods and café breakfasts and lunches to its customers since 1994. The local favorite has seen three different owners and has grown just as much as the town itself, with a new location opening its doors at Riverfront Village last year. The easygoing rustic atmosphere makes this gem feel like a place of refuge from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, somewhere to warm your heart and also fill your stomach.

 

Written by Katy Aspinwall

Tuscaloosa’s coolest ongoing summer event is back! Live at the Plaza is an annual concert series that features amazing acts in live concerts on a stage at Government Plaza. Up and coming regional bands, as well as solo artists will rock the stage from April 28th through July 28th. Some changes have been made since last year’s series, but it is still an absolute must-do for your summer in the one and only Tuscaloosa! Here are our top 5 reasons why:

1. Local Musicians
Tuscaloosa loves art in every way, and so it loves music! It is a special pleasure to host some up and coming bands from the region and even from Tuscaloosa itself. Let bands like the Nashville-based country/rock trio Campbell Station or the soul and funk of Lamont Landers Band from Alabama impress you with amazing homemade music. Or enjoy our friendly neighborhood country singer Matt Jones from Tuscaloosa, whose concerts capture the soul of the City! More acts will be announced soon, but this is already an amazing start!

2. Entertainment District
New this year is the entertainment district around Government Plaza. As it is not allowed to bring your own alcoholic beverages into the festival anymore, the district was made to be the perfect alternative. You can get your favorite adult beverages in approved go-cups and so can take them to the concerts and anywhere else within the district! Food and soft drinks are also available in the entertainment district. Participating local businesses are, for example, Alcove, Monarch, Black Warrior Brewery, and many others. The entertainment district opens each Friday at 4 pm!

3. Pet Friendly
A special plus about Live at the Plaza is that it is totally pet-friendly! Located on the meadow of the Plaza, the concerts are the perfect place to bring your furry friends. For sure they will love to spend a fun night out with their owners and meet new friends, human and pet alike! And of course, all dog moms and dads enjoy having their puppies around so take them out for the concerts! Other visitors will be delighted by some puppy love, too – promise!

4. Kick Back After a Hard Week
Held every Friday night from 6 pm to 9 pm, Live at the Plaza is THE perfect event to relax after a long week of work! You can make yourself just as comfortable as in your own living room: You’re welcome to bring picnic blankets, pillows, lawn chairs and anything else you need to enjoy a leisure evening with your colleagues, friends or family. If somebody already made dinner at home – no problem! Bring them AND the food to the concert. As always, you are welcome to bring your own food, snacks, and soft drinks!

5. It’s Free!
Let’s sum up, with Live at the Plaza you can: Have a fantastic night outside. Listen to great live music from regional artists. Bring your whole family, including dogs. Bring your own food and soft drinks. Buy food and drinks from local restaurants and bars. Let down a hard week of work.
And now comes the final, the ultimate reason to not miss this event: It’s absolutely free! You enjoy all these amazing things for free admission!
See you at the Plaza!

While a college town known for barbecue and big games may not sound like a place for healthy, athletic people, you’d be surprised to find just how active and healthy we can get here in the deep fried south. Tuscaloosa is a proudly named runners city with a plethora of trails and is home to some of the most flavorful healthy food in the state. With the Triathlon on the same day as Alabama Roots Fest, you’ll find the city in full swing with a buzzing downtown and live music from Robert Randolph and the Family Band in Government Plaza!

  1. Explore nature!

If you aren’t used to the springs in Alabama, you might not know that the outdoors can be immaculate in April, and this weekend will be no different. From Lake Nicol’s cliffs to Lake Lurleen’s sandy shores, you’ll feel at one with nature without having to go more than 20 minutes from downtown.

  1. Take some tea time!

Like any college town, we have an abundance of third wave coffee shops like Monarch or Heritage House that serve some fine brews, but for those who like the serenity of a fresh batch of tea or house-made kombucha, welcome to Tea Town. Located in historic downtown Northport, Tea Town started as a tea bike at our farmers market, then became the brick and mortar hang out for live poetry and original tea mixes.

  1. Pedal over to our bike shops!

Worried your bike needs some last minute repairs or just want to spend some quality shopping time? We have great local and regional stores to meet your needs.

Velocity Pro Cycle in Temerson Square is a fixture in our cycling community with events and races around town.

Queen City Cycles in Pinehurst is known for its quality care when it comes to bike repair. They are dedicated to the art of the bicycle, bringing a love that has really elevated the sport in our city.

Trek Bicycle Store is located in Midtown Village and offers Trek bikes and apparel along with repairs and maintenance. Perfect for those loyal to the Trek brand

  1. I can Escher you we have good art

We have such a thriving art scene in Tuscaloosa, from our growing gallery collections to our museums there’s more than enough art to go around. For some classical and historic works like original John Singer Sargent works to up and coming local artists there is truly something for everyone to enjoy.

Kentuck Art Center

Located in the historic district of downtown Northport, Kentuck dedicates themselves to nurturing our city’s art scene. With their recently renovated space, they have constantly changing exhibits and collections that you’ll find it rare to see the same thing twice. The art campus has over four buildings with free Wi-Fi to make a true art space that’s open to everyone. Hours are: Tues-Fri 10 am-6 pm and Saturday 10 am-4:30 pm

Tuscaloosa Museum of Art

A gift to the city by the late Jack Warner of the Westervelt Company, Mr. Warner was a true lover of the arts with his massive collection that he graciously donated to both his hometown and to a wing in the Met in New York, as well as his private collection in his home. The Tuscaloosa Museum of Art is on the Westervelt campus off of Jack Warner Parkway with a wide collection of original American art.

  1. Find a Foodie Oasis

We are not without some incredible eateries in Tuscaloosa beyond the standard southern classics. With new places popping up, there is always an exciting new element to our foodie scene.

Local Roots

Be on the look out or follow them on Twitter to see with this beloved food truck is going to be around town. With a dedication to great local food, they offer healthier choices with some flavorful salads to more indulgent delights like their crispy pork belly with rice buns.

Animal Butter

With options from hot chicken bao buns to their latest Japanese style pancake, there are exotic dishes inspired by the culinary world of international street food. One of their more popular dishes is their veggie burger that has people considering making the switch to living meatless with the savory treat.

This weekend is looking like a special one in the One and Only Tuscaloosa! Green Bar keeps bringing great musicians to the city! This Friday you can catch Little Raine Band! From Birmingham, AL, this band has garnered an incredible following through the Southeast! Their ever-evolving sound has unique musical backgrounds and influences. Elements of progressive rock, fusion, electronica, soul, and energetic improve can be heard at a Little Raine Band show!

Saturday is absolutely packed with great events! You can start your Saturday off down by the river. The 2017 Dragon Boat races will get underway starting at 10:30 am! Teams of 20 paddlers, a drummer and navigator race in authentic, Hong Kong style, 46-foot-long dragon boats! In the past five years, The Junior League of Tuscaloosa Dragon Boat Races participants and sponsors raised more than $100,000 to continue to build leadership capabilities in women and help fund our community partnerships, such as Holt Elementary School. All ages, skill levels and physiques can paddle, making it the ultimate teambuilding sport, requiring synchronicity and finesse, more than power to win.

Next, swing by Wilhagans for the Sassafras Beer Festival! Sixteen Alabama breweries will try to win your Best of Alabama vote! They invite you to try them all and choose your favorite! The event will offer great music, FREE limited edition event glass, unlimited beer samples (standard cutoff right reserved), raffle prizes, and even better people to meet!

The First Annual Roots Fest is going to wrap up this perfect Saturday! If you missed our blog about the top 5 reasons to attend, you can find it HERE! With three whole pigs, drinks from Monarch Espresso Bar & Alcove Tavern, and Adam Hood, this is shaping up to be an incredible end to your Saturday! It’s also important to note that both Dragon Boat Races and Roots Festival will be a part of an entertainment district!

Finally, Sunday night will be a wild one! Greek Fight Night will be taking place in Government Plaza. The event will feature twenty fraternity members from the University of Alabama who will participate in ten sanctioned boxing matches! Full Moon Barbeque will be there selling food and GNC Wellness will have a booth as well. There will not be alcohol served at the event, but it is allowed in the surrounding area!

It’s no joke that April first in Tuscaloosa is geared up to be one eventful Saturday. From the Dragon Boat Races on the river, the beer fest for Sassafras, and the first annual Roots Fest! Roots Fest is sponsored by Local Roots and First Bank to bring an exciting new event in town with live music, great food, and good times.

  1. Adam Hood

The festival has rising country singer Adam Hood performing through the night, which is a change of pace from most venues. Instead of sitting in the nosebleeds, enjoy being up close has he plays some tunes like its a private concert!

  1. The Food!

It’s no secret that Local Roots has earned its place as one of the must-try places to eat around town. With their dedication to locally sourced ingredients and bringing explosive flavors to the city, it’s hard not to be drooling in anticipation. For the festival they’ve teased on their social media there will be 3 whole pigs, house-made sausage, pork belly, and much more!

  1. The Neighbors

The alley between Alcove International Tavern and Monarch Espresso Bar has been a common spot to find Local Roots since its arrival, so it’s no surprise they would start their festival here. With Alcove serving some fantastic drinks, and Monarch about to start their own cocktails along with their coffee, it’s the perfect spot to find just about any beverage you could need!

  1. Entertainment District

On a typical night, your drink is limited to the confines of the bar and its patio if they have one, but the festival will be in an entertainment district. That means you can take your drink and wander the grounds without having to dump your cup!

  1. It’s Free!

Nothing is better than free. Admission to the festival is free and open to the public, including the live music. Of course, food and drinks are on you but it’s a small price to pay for a great night out on the town!

Written by: Deven Wilson – Intern