We get it, putting together an itinerary can be overwhelming with vast options to select from. And in Tuscaloosa, the tide rolls all year long with things to do, people to see, and places to be! So, we want to share Tuscaloosa itineraries to help. Up first, a 48-hour, fun-filled schedule that offers you a taste of all things Alabama. While the itinerary below would be best suited during a non-football weekend, you can certainly hit these spots while in town for a football weekend, too! Either way, this itinerary is pretty legendary…
8:30 am – There’s nothing like specialty coffee and doughnuts to kickstart your day! Babe’s Doughnuts serves unique donuts such as Heath Bar donuts, fruity pebbles, and even rich red velvet, yum! They also have stellar breakfast wraps.
9:30 am – Now it’s time to learn about Alabama football. Roll Tide! The Paul W Bryant Museum exhibits artifacts and memorabilia that trace their long history. The museum includes state-of-the-art displays enhanced by videos highlighting great players, plays, and games, and is open Tuesday – Sunday. Members and children under 5 are free. Non-member admission for an adult is $5 and children (K-12) are $3.
11:00 am – If it’s a nice day, stroll down Paul W Bryant Drive after exiting the Bryant Museum. Walking out the door, you’ll be greeted by Sewell-Thomas Stadium, Coleman Coliseum, the Mal M. Moore Athletic Facility, and more. It’s the heart of Alabama’s athletic facilities. Continue west down Bryant Drive as you make your way towards Rama Jama’s – the perfect bama-fied restaurant for lunch. Rama Jama’s is a sports-centric bar and grill for American eats including all-day breakfast, sandwiches, and shakes. We’re talking about the Large Touchdown Burger Platter, an 8oz burger with a fried egg, choice of hash browns or french fries, and a drink.
1:00 pm – Now let’s head for the Quad! As you walk from Rama Jama’s hit up Bryant Denny Stadium, the Walk of Champions, the legendary Coaches Walk, and Tuska. This whole area offers many Instagram-worthy photo opps! As you mosey on to the Quad, which is also home to our beloved Denny Chimes, you’ll find a 22-acre quadrangle in the center of UA. Take time to soak up the sun and explore that area of campus. Surrounding Denny Chimes you’ll find hand and footprints of past Alabama team captains in the concrete.
3:30 pm – Another classic part of an “Alabama Gameday” experience is Gallettes. You must try one of their famous gameday Yellowhammers! The atmosphere is easygoing and it’s a refueling hang out spot loved by locals and visitors alike.
6:00 pm – Who’s hungry for steak? One of Tuscaloosa’s beloved local gems is Nicks in the Sticks. With traditions like their famous “Nicodemus” and pinning dollar bills to the ceiling, this classic joint is almost always packed out, so come a little early and enjoy yourself. Our mouths are watering just thinking about that filet wrapped in bacon and their dinner rolls.
8:00 pm – Now you’re ready for some live music, right? Temerson Square is a tremendous place to scout out local, live music! From country to rock and alternative, there will be such a wide variety of music. You’ll have many options to end the night with in this area.
7:30 am – If you enjoy a good run or walk, hit up the Tuscaloosa Riverwalk or campus – or both! There’s something so motivational about running along the Walk of Champions. It’s like you can feel the presence of legends right there.
9:00 am – Another incredible breakfast joint is The Waysider. You feel like you’re at home the moment you step in – much like how legendary Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant felt when he at there, too. Their customer service always guarantees a happy visit, too. Be sure to check out the homemade biscuits and beignets or their incredible sugar-cured ham!
10:30 am – Now it’s time to buy some Alabama swag. Check out the University’s Supe Store to find some of the best Bama gear. Speaking of Alabama swag, another spot to explore (if you didn’t yesterday) is The Strip. While it’s home to many bars and restaurants, there are a few other spots you can purchase gameday attire.
1:00 pm – Lunchtime (so much food!) Local Tip: Innisfree goes far beyond a bar. They have some of the most delicious grub that never fails to surprise people! For example, the secret menu item is the Irish Gold Chicken Fingers, which are out of this world. On gamedays, this spot is packed with fans as the bar boasts many TVs, making it perfect to keep up with all-things sports.
2:30 pm – Now it’s time to explore the beautiful and revitalized area of Downtown. If you have the kiddos with you, the Children’s Hands-On Museum is a great place that allows little ones to explore, create, and discover! There are also a plethora of storefronts, eateries, and attractions to entertain those of all ages. Some long-time retail spots downtown include The Locker Room, The Pants Store, and The Shirt Shop.
4:30 pm – Before heading to dinner, you might want to take a quick break in the downtown area. If you’re looking for a park, head over to Government Plaza. Need a quick drink, a solid charcuterie board, or something sweet? Check out The Wine Market.
6:00 pm – It’s dinner time! Baumhowers Victory Grille is one of those places you can’t miss while in town. If you’re an avid Alabama fan, you’ll probably recognize that name. Alabama football legend Bob Baumhower is the owner of this local spot and the restaurant is home to the weekly radio show “Hey Coach with Nick Saban” during football season!
8:00 pm – There’s nothing like ending the day with drinks at a friendly, homey brewery. We have two local breweries in town that both offer wonderful atmospheres. But if Black Warrior Brewery and Druid City Brewing Company aren’t your style, don’t fret, our website can help with that. Fun fact: Druid City is famous for their wall-art and it’s not uncommon for you to see art featuring legends like Coach Nick Saban or Bear Bryant. It’s another perfect spot for a selfie in T-Town. For a starry night, Hotel Indigo’s The Lookout Rooftop Bar is a beautiful place to admire the city from above with a beautiful view of the Black Warrior River.
While Tuscaloosa offers a unique blend of sports, history, outdoor adventures, music, and food for every palate, we hope that you enjoyed this “Alabama” themed itinerary featuring legendary history, popular gameday spots, and just all-around one-of-a-kind experiences that only Tuscaloosa has to offer. Stay tuned for more!
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Let’s be honest, the first word that comes to mind when you hear “Tuscaloosa” is most likely football. While the Crimson Tide dynasty is undeniably an incredible aspect of T-Town, it is impossible to experience the entirety of our city without the missing pieces. Your answer, most likely, was not history, but what if I told you it deserves a spot in the top five, at least? Below we have compiled just a few of the different ways to immerse yourself in the diverse and captivating history of the one and only Tuscaloosa!
The most extensive historical attraction in Tuscaloosa is the Tuscaloosa Civil Rights Trail, with 18 stops spread throughout Downtown Tuscaloosa. This trail is a compilation of historical Civil Rights sites throughout town, where prominent events occurred, whether it was the location of a riot, a safe house for those escaping racial persecution, or exhibitions of art from Black artists and creators. The Tuscaloosa Civil Rights Trail is a wonderful activity for families and friends to walk around historical Tuscaloosa and learn about the rich and difficult history of the city. Each location along the trail offers a different glimpse into a not-so-distant past and can be an important lesson for all of us in modern times!
Built in 1835 and surviving nearly two centuries, the Battle-Friedman House is one of the oldest standing buildings in the City of Tuscaloosa. The history of this house lies in its journey of ownership from family to family over the last two centuries. The house was originally built by the Battle Family, a plantation-owning couple from North Carolina who had recently moved to Tuscaloosa. Then, towards the end of the Reconstruction Era in 1875, the Battles foreclosed on the house, and its ownership was transferred over to the Friedmans, a Hungarian family who had moved to Tuscaloosa to open up a store and eventually became a respected member of the Tuscaloosa community. Ultimately, the Friedman family willed the house to the City of Tuscaloosa in 1965, and has since been preserved as a location of historical significance located just outside the heart of Downtown Tuscaloosa!
For fans of historic architecture and intricate design, the Jemison-Van de Graaff Mansion is a beautiful destination throughout Tuscaloosa’s history. This mansion was built in the late 1800s, with its construction being halted for the Civil War, causing a number of incompletions in the initial construction of the mansion itself. The mansion was designed by architect Samuel Sloan – also known for designing Bryce Hospital – but was unfortunately built by slaves, given the timeframe in which it was constructed. Before becoming an official historical site to the City of Tuscaloosa and in addition to being used as a residence, the Van de Graaff Mansion has also been used at the city library. Admission to the mansion for viewing is free, plus the space is available for rent for events and celebrations! For more information about the mansion, visit its dedicated website.
As the host of a number of exhibits and featured speakers over the years, the Alabama Museum of Natural History is one of the most impressive buildings on the University of Alabama campus. This museum is home to many different exhibits, collections, and programs dedicated to educating its visitors about the natural wonders of Alabama and the Earth itself. It dives into the ancient and modern history of all the nature that is all around us, even here in the City of Tuscaloosa! The museum is housed inside Smith Hall on campus, just off the quad, and is open to all who wish to learn more about the science that lives around us in our everyday lives. For more information about admission and hours of operation, visit the Alabama Museum of Natural History website on the University of Alabama website.
For those avid fans of both Crimson Tide athletics and the history of Tuscaloosa, there is no better place to visit than the Paul W. Bryant Museum. This museum is an exploration into the history of not only the best coach in the history of collegiate football but also the history of one of the most decorated athletic programs in the history of all collegiate athletics! Extensively archived over the course of the university’s history, the exhibits and videos featured in the museum show an in-depth look into the growth and evolution of Alabama athletics navigating through segregation, World War 2, and of course, the beginnings of the Iron Bowl rivalry! The museum is open Thursday to Sunday with varying admission prices – including free for visitors aged 6 years or younger – so be sure to visit the museum website for more information, as well the opportunity to buy admission ahead of time.
Lake Lurleen is a site of natural beauty located close to the City of Tuscaloosa and is ripe with natural wonders for all to discover! Lake Lurleen is a 250-acre Lake Lurleen home to many varieties of fish, and measures nearly one and a half miles in length, one-half mile wide, and goes as deep as 48 feet! Visiting Lake Lurleen State Park in Fall is one of the best times to visit as leaves are changing colors and the temperatures are moderate enough to enjoy a relaxing hike or a walk around the area. The park facilities include campgrounds, picnic areas, play areas for kids, pavilions for gatherings, beaches, piers for fishing, RV storage, and boat rentals. Admission is required for day use, so be sure to visit the Lake Lurleen State Park website to learn more about admission prices and the rules and regulations of using the park’s facilities on a daily basis.
Located about 13 miles south of the City of Tuscaloosa is the Moundville Archaeological Park, one of the most prominent Native American heritage sites in modern-day North America. This park was once the location of the largest city north of modern-day Mexico and was home to the Mississippian tribe of Native Americans. On this 326-acre preservation, 800 years ago, the Mississippian tribe celebrated with festivals and ceremonies, sites of which are visible today for visitors! As an extension of the modern-day City of Tuscaloosa, this is a destination of great historical significance to the original peoples that inhabited our country centuries ago. This site is currently hosting the Virtual Moundville Native American Festival, a celebration of the original peoples who inhabited this land and their rich culture that survives to this day. Joining in on the festival is a beautiful opportunity to learn more about an ancient civilization that thrived and prospered only a short distance away from Tuscaloosa!
Written by: Will Baggett
Edited by: Jamie Hoven
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!
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.
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.
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.
International Museum Day is a holiday that shouldn’t be overlooked! May 18th, the whole world celebrates and values the importance of museums for the development of society. A museum stands for cultural exchange and enrichment, mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples. As Tuscaloosa is a city with a long and rich history, important cultural legacies and a prosperous art scene, there are numerous amazing museums in town that are worth a visit – not only on National Museum Day! These are our favorites:
Tuscaloosa Museum of Art
This former private collection, amassed by Jack Warner, turned into a Museum in 2003 and is truly a treasure within the community. You can marvel at approximately 1000 pieces of fine and decorative arts, and also the building itself is special: It’s an Asian-inspired complex that also contains a beautiful garden! As the “Home of the Westervelt Collection,” the museum holds one of the greatest private collections of American Arts in the nation.
Mercedes-Benz Visitor Center
Even if cars are sometimes more of a man’s passion, this museum is worth a visit for everybody! Take a short drive east of Tuscaloosa and enter the ground of Mercedes-Benz U.S. International – the only Mercedes factory in the United States! The visitor center is located in its own building and contains the museum and a souvenir shop. Stroll through the stunning exhibits and discover the history and tradition of this classic car brand, and you will walk dreaming of owning a beautiful Mercedes! German engineering meets Southern hospitality – a successful combination!
Alabama Museum of Natural History
Usually, the huge dinosaur bones in the Alabama Museum of Natural History don’t come alive like they do in Hollywood, but it doesn’t make this museum any less exciting! For more than 150 years, it offers permanent and temporary exhibits, collections and programs to learn everything about Alabama’s fascinating natural history! Among the obvious highlights, like the dinosaurs, there are many exciting things to discover. Recently added: An Augmented Reality sandbox, in which you can create topography models out of sands that are then augmented by a digital simulation! Give it a try and go explore!
Paul W. Bryant Museum
One of the most important aspects of Tuscaloosa Culture is, of course, football! When it comes to fall season, dixie’s football pride is present all over the city and everybody comes together to be a part of the gameday experience. To feel that spirit even in the off season, you shouldn’t miss a visit to the Paul W. Bryant Museum! It opened in 1988 and since then, houses the history of Alabama football, with a special emphasis on the legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. Permanent and changing exhibits, including Bear Bryant’s original office, can be visited daily from 9 am to 4 pm – just as on National Museum Day on May 18th!
Children’s Hands-On Museum of Tuscaloosa
You can’t start early enough to introduce your kids to arts and culture! Take the National Museum Day as an occasion and take them out to Tuscaloosa’s Children’s Hands-On Museum. This unique museum in downtown is tailor made for the little ones, to introduce them to arts, crafts, and exciting exhibits in an interactive and exploring way! It provides fun for kids of all ages and they will never ever get the idea of calling a museum boring afterward!
Written By: Katharina Horvath – Intern