With Outdoor Writer, John E. Phillips, and Jalen Conner

Editor’s Note: 27-year-old Jalen Conner is a native of Tuscaloosa and has been fishing Tuscaloosa County’s Holt Reservoir for eight years. A criminal justice student at Tuscaloosa’s Stillman College, Conner fishes two tournament trails – the S.A.B.A and the Jim Austin.

Jalen Conner and I went fishing upriver from Rock Quarry Boat Ramp (more info here) on Holt Reservoir in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, in early June. From 7:00 am to noon, we caught 10 bass and probably missed twice as many, with the biggest bass weighing about 4 pounds. While that bass was in the live well, it spit-out a crawfish it just recently had been eating. This clued Jalen into the fact that a soft-plastic Zoom Z-Craw was exactly the right bait for the bass we wanted to catch. 

“The crawfish color I fish, as well as what most anglers fish on Holt Reservoir, is the Alabama Craw,” Conner explains. “Its main body is orange, and its pincers are red. During the summer months, the Zoom Z-Craw in the Alabama Craw color is the exact color of the crawfish here at Holt at that time. The crawfish will be in the grass, so when the currents aren’t running, or the current’s light, the bass will move into the grass to feed on the crawfish. However, they’ll eat crawfish almost every day during the summer.” 

Another color of the Z-Craw that Conner fishes in the summertime is a watermelon red. He dyes the pincers with chartreuse dye. Conner fishes two types of the Zoom Z-Craw – the Junior and the larger Zoom Craw.

“I don’t tell the bass what size of crawfish they want to eat,” Conner explains. “I’ll flip both sizes and colors down the bank and in the grass. Whichever-size Craw gets the most bites is the one I’ll continue to fish. I think the bigger Z-Craw causes a reaction strike from the nearby bass, and that’s why it receives more bites than other baits do.”

Conner went on to explain: “When I’m fishing the Z-Craw, I’ll rig it Texas-style with a Gamakatsu 3/0 hook with a 3/8-ounce tungsten bullet weight in front of it. I then peg the weight to the eye of the hook. Although the Junior and the larger Z-Craws in the Alabama Craw and the watermelon red are my favorite colors, I’ll also fish a purple Craw that looks like a small bluegill. Bluegills and crawfish are what the bass are primarily feeding on in the grass and on the bank structure in the summer at Holt.” 

Jalen Conner fishes on the Black Warrior River
Jalen Conner catches a fish on the Black Warrior River in Tuscaloosa County

D.J. McEachern: Fishing in Tuscaloosa County at Holt Reservoir

Editor’s Note: D.J. McEachern and his wife, Emily are working toward their PhDs in chemistry at the University of Alabama. D.J. has been bass fishing for 20 years and just recently has joined the University of Alabama’s Fishing Team. He’s been fishing in Tuscaloosa County’s Holt Reservoir on the Black Warrior River in Tuscaloosa for the last three years and catches bass from below Lock 17 all the way down to Holt Lock and Dam. He primarily likes to fish grass in the summertime for bass because grass will give bass good ambush points, shade and oxygen.

D.J. Fishes in Tuscaloosa County
D.J. McEachern fishes in Tuscaloosa County.

“During the summer, Holt Reservoir has a good bluegill spawn, and I don’t believe many people who fish Holt Reservoir flip grass as much as I do. My favorite lures to fish during the hot summer months, all the way through August, include a bluegill popper, like a Berkley Bullet Pop. I also like a flipping bait like the Reaction Innovations Kinky Beaver in the green-pumpkin color that’s 3-1/2 inches long and features flappy tails. I’ll be fishing with 25-pound-test braided line made by Sunline and I don’t use any leader, just a straight braid. I’ll also fish with a Doybns DX795 Champion Extreme, 7’9” flipping rod with a Shimano Curado spinning reel.”

KINKY BEAVER 7400 lure - fishing in Tuscaloosa County
Reaction Innovations Kinky Beaver Lure

In speaking with McEachern, he catches most of his bass during the summer months near the Lock 15 boat ramp since there’s plenty of grass there on underwater humps, islands and ledges that he can flip.

“I’m known as a bank beater. I like shallow-water fishing for bass better than offshore in the summer months because the bass don’t have to come up through any other atmosphere other than the water depth where they are living. Not having to bring the bass up from deep water isn’t as stressful for them, and they easily can be released and will survive – even on the hottest days.” 

Since he knows bass like to feed on bluegills, and almost always there are bluegills in shallow water in the summer at Holt, the shallow-water bass usually bite better than deep-water fish. Of course, a bass in shallow water has to be big enough to get a bluegill in its mouth and eat it, and often will be bigger than deep-water bass in the summertime.

Largemouth Bass Vs. Spotted Bass in the Summer:

“I’d rather catch largemouth than spotted bass. Largemouths are usually the species of bass holding in the grass and shallow water in the summer months. However, my best day of fishing at Holt was in March, 2022. My best five bass there were spotted bass that weighed a total of 20 pounds. I’ve had a lot of days when I’ve caught 15-18 pounds of bass at Holt for a five-fish limit. On an average day, I’ll catch 15-20 small bass. However, I’ve even heard of people catching 10-pound bass out of Holt. For me, a big river bass weighs 4-5 pounds. I try to bass fish two days a week – regardless of the weather or water conditions. But a caution to anyone fishing in Tuscaloosa County and the Holt reservoir is to watch out for logs and other floating trash, especially after a rain.”

D.J. fishes in Tuscaloosa County on the Black Warrior River

Editor’s Note: 27-year-old Jalen Conner is a native of Tuscaloosa and has been fishing in Tuscaloosa County’s Holt Reservoir for eight years. A criminal justice student at Tuscaloosa’s Stillman College, Conner fishes two tournament trails – the S.A.B.A. and the Jim Austin.

Jalen Conner fishing in Tuscaloosa County.
Jalen Conner fishing in Tuscaloosa County

Fish the Bankhead Tailrace to Catch a Wide Variety of Fish:

When fishing in Tuscaloosa County, according to Conner, “When only the generators are running at Bankhead Lock and Dam, you can catch a wide variety of fish in the tailrace, including saltwater stripers, hybrid striped bass, white bass, catfish and crappie. I’ve seen a 65-pound blue catfish that was caught in that tailrace, and the tailrace homes plenty of eating-size cats too. I’ve also had some friends who have limited out quickly on catching crappie in the tailrace because they know where the eddy holes are, and the places where the crappie hold when the current’s running.

Lock 17 Dam is the Bankhead tailrace border between Tuscaloosa County to the south and Walker County to the north. Numbers of spotted bass are in this tailrace when the current’s running, especially when the floodgates are open and the power-generating plant is producing current at the same time. Depending on how much current is moving through the lake, the lake may be 3-4 feet high above normal pool. Once there’s little or no current being released by Bankhead Dam, Holt Lake may be 3-4 feet below normal pool. When the current’s running strong, and I want to catch largemouths, I’ll go further downstream and fish mainly grass and bank cover.” 

Fish Holt Lake with Jalen Conner and Outdoor Writer John E. Phillips:

The weatherman had promised a 50% chance of rain when Jalen Conner and I had set a date to fish Holt Reservoir. Because we both realized that the weatherman could be 50% wrong, we decided to go ahead and fish and carried our rain suits with us. We were fishing on the first Thursday in June, 2022. Although we ran almost the entire 20-mile stretch of the reservoir from Bankhead Dam to Holt Dam, we only saw three or four boats all day, with only one boat having a fisherman in it. We put in at Rock Quarry Landing with its boat ramps, restroom facilities and parking (more info here) and went upriver first. 

During the summer months, Conner believes that the best fishing is upriver.

“Another advantage we have when we fish this section of the river during the week is that we rarely, if ever, see jet skis or people water skiing. This section of the Black Warrior River in Tuscaloosa County is unknown to most Alabama anglers. If you enjoy fishing for bass in a river with plenty of grass, points, sandbars, quality backwater and pocket areas and underwater humps as well as islands and ledges in the middle of the river, then Holt Reservoir on the Black Warrior River near Tuscaloosa, is a hidden gem for you to bass fish.”

This section of the Black Warrior River runs through some of the most-rural areas in Tuscaloosa County and receives little or no publicity. So, the fishing pressure is almost nonexistent during the week there.

Tuscaloosa, AL – Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports (TTS) has partnered with the Bama-Q Grilling Series to host Grilling in T-Town on Saturday, July 9th at Druid City Social as an official Steak Cookoff Association (SCA) competition.  With the goal of creating more opportunities for family-friendly events that unite the community through food sport, TTS is working with local private chef and traveling food judge Alison Hudnall and experienced food sport promoters, Alabama Coasting and Bama-Q productions, to bring this SCA sanctioned event to Downtown Tuscaloosa.  

Admission is free to the public and guests will enjoy food trucks, a sampling tent, local vendors, cold drinks, live music, and a family-friendly atmosphere.

This SCA-sanctioned event and World Food Championship qualifier invites top-tier traveling competitors as a way to promote food sport tourism to the City of Tuscaloosa.  Local businesses, organizations, and amateur backyard cooks are invited and encouraged to register to compete as well. The top-performing locals will be recognized and eligible to win special prize packs. The competition will also feature a World Food Championships qualifying event with the best dessert taking home a golden ticket to the World Food Championships Finals in Dallas.

To ensure a level playing field, all steaks for the competition are provided by local sponsor Northriver Cattle Co. and are included in the competitor registration fee. Judging will be completely blind.

Food sport has become a new American pastime.  As food sport has grown, various sanctioning bodies have emerged across a large range of cooking styles, methodologies, and categories of food. KCBS, FBA, MBN, IBCA, SCA, PNWBA, WFC are just a few sanctioning bodies that offer both seasoned chefs and everyday cooks a chance to take home a win. With cash prizes up for grabs, many have turned to food sport as a way to monetize a hobby. Each sanctioned competition offers up another opportunity for any competitor to land themselves a spot on a national stage.​

Learn more about the SCA format and rules by visiting https://www.grillinttown.com or by contacting David Calametti. Click here for the SCA registration link.

From hiking and fishing to biking, boating and more, Tuscaloosa County is the perfect playground for outdoor enthusiasts. If you’re looking for things to do in Tuscaloosa – or around the community – you’ve come to the right place for outdoor options!

Whether you’re chasing adrenaline-fueled adventure or a leisurely stroll in the sun, Tuscaloosa’s proximity to countless lakes, rivers and trails gives visitors easy access to the great outdoors. Discover how to experience the best of Mother Nature. 

RIVER RANGERS 

The heart of Tuscaloosa is the Black Warrior River, and the Tuscaloosa Riverwalk is a testament to the city’s adoration of this waterway. With 4.2 miles of woodsy, pet-friendly paths along the river’s southern bank — plus a playground and splash pad for the littles — there’s fun to be had around every bend.

Tuscaloosa Riverwalk
Credit: Trail Therapy Life

The new Randall Family Park and Trailhead along the northern bank of the Riverwalk adds to the excitement, offering additional places to play, explore and revel in the river’s beauty. Tuscaloosa’s neighboring city, Northport, also offers a paved path connecting guests to its historic downtown.

PLAYTIME PROS 

Thanks to the city’s array of parks and playgrounds, playtime is never far away. At the sprawling Sokol Park, discover bike trails, playfields and Mason’s Place, the city’s first public all-inclusive playground, designed to allow children of all ages and abilities to play together. 

Hurricane Creek Park is home to a creek with multiple swimming holes, rope swings and waterfalls, plus about 7 miles of hiking trails. To check out more parks and playgrounds, visit tcpara.org

If a round of golf is more your speed, head to Ol’ Colony Golf Course. Fun fact: The 18-hole, public course is also home to the UA golf teams.

LAKE LOVERS AND CAMPING CONNOISSEURS 

Lake Lurleen State Park is only 9 miles from Tuscaloosa, but this scenic retreat feels worlds away from the hustle of Tuscaloosa on game day. The park features 91 campsites with water and electric hookups, but the real star of the show is the lake itself and its 23 miles of shore-hugging trails that beckon hikers and bikers alike. 

Other local favorites include Lake Nicol, which is popular with bird watchers and paddleboarders, and Harris Lake, where you’ll often find locals going for a swim or relaxing in a hammock. Venture a bit further afield to discover Deerlick Creek Campground, where 46 campgrounds are nestled in a forest along the shores of Holt Lake. Need a Paddleboard rental? Check out Tuscaloosa Paddleboard for a convenient option! Need a pontoon boat rental? Check out Pier 43 on Lake Tuscaloosa.

Lake Nicol
Lake Nicol Photo Cred: @andrela.barao

FISHING FANATICS 

Anglers in Tuscaloosa don’t have to travel far to find a place to cast their lines. The Black Warrior River runs right through town and contains thousands of spotted bass per river mile, making it a dream destination for fishing. Just 5 miles north of town is Lake Tuscaloosa, a man-made reservoir with nearly 180 miles of shoreline perfect for fishing. When you’re ready to put a boat in the water, check out this blog for some boat landings in the area.

Fishing in Tuscaloosa County

Still looking for things to do in Tuscaloosa? Continue to explore our website or contact our office today for personalized suggestions!

The Riverwalk is such a stunning trail that travels along to the Southern banks of the Black Warrior River. Whether you’re walking your dog, going for a jog, biking, or just admiring the view, the Riverwalk is a great place to be with nature and to appreciate the jaw-dropping beauty of Tuscaloosa.

This trail offers park areas that are all pet-friendly. The pathway includes benches, gazebos, picnic tables, and hammock-friendly trees that visitors can enjoy. There are several open areas for playing frisbee, picnicking, or relaxing in a hammock reading your favorite book.  It is well lit with street lamps lining the trail with access to an emergency phone if an accident occurs.

The Riverwalk starts at Capitol Park on the western end, rounds the beautiful Tuscaloosa Amphitheater, and finishes on the east side of Manderson Landing. The length of the trail stretches 2.5 miles one way! Eventually, the Southern Riverwalk will meet up with the new Northern Riverwalk (Randall Family Park & Trailhead) and will extend into West Tuscaloosa as well. When the time comes, these additional miles will be well-traveled by all, that’s for sure!

One of the most iconic views on this trail is the historic train trestle bridge, which was once considered the country’s longest at 3,600 feet. This bridge is simply stunning, especially as the sun sets, reflecting on the river that flows through the heart of our community. Its picturesque views has been the perfecting setting for proposals, family photos, picnics, and more.

Along the pathway, which offers many shady areas for a break from the heat, are shops and restaurants for people to enjoy during their visit to the Riverwalk. The Shops at Riverwalk Place is home to Another Broken Egg Café, Bellagio Nails Spa, River, Market House Boutique, and more! Near the Amphitheater, you’ll also find Heritage House and Hotel Indigo. Along the trail, you’ll find the Visit Tuscaloosa Visitor Center as well as the Farmers Market at the Tuscaloosa River Market, where fresh, local goods and produce are sold every Saturday.

There is hardly anything that competes with the breath-taking scenery on a bright, sunny day or the majestic sunset views along the Riverwalk. In the morning, you often catch The University of Alabama Rowing Team practice for their next regatta as they race up and down the river.  During the spring, summer, and fall months, one can enjoy the sounds of a concert coming from the Amphitheater too.  Simply put – it’s the perfect place where all can come to gather, to exercise, to enjoy time alone or with family and friends.  It truly is one of Tuscaloosa’s best outdoor adventures, conveniently located in Downtown.

For information about the gazebo rental, contact  Tuscaloosa County Park and Recreation Authority at 205-562-3210. 

Walk along the Tuscaloosa Riverwalk
Credit: Trail Therapy Life

There really is no such thing as a timeout in Tuscaloosa – and we’re totally okay with that!  While our friends up North or in the Midwest experience winter snowstorms, our ideal southern location in West Alabama is a prime setting for events year-round.

While the University of Alabama is bursting with all sorts of events this semester, Tuscaloosa is also home to many winter and spring activities that are perfect for those living here or visiting.  Whether you’re looking for something that’s indoors or outdoors, family-friendly, or for young adults, we hope you’ll consider a visit to our City.

Continue reading to learn about seven upcoming events that we’re looking forward to in Tuscaloosa!

Theatre Tuscaloosa Presents On Golden Pond

Date: Friday, February 25th (opening date)

This classic play inspired the Academy Award-winning film with Henry Fonda and Katherine Hepburn.  Norman is a curmudgeon with a strained relationship with his daughter, Chelsea.  Together for their 48th summer at Golden Pond, he and his wife nevertheless agree to care for Billy, the son of Chelsea’s fiancé, and a most unexpected relationship blooms.

To learn more or to purchase your ticket, click here.

Tuscaloosa Tourism & Sports Half Marathon + 5K

Date: Saturday, March 26th

On March 26th, join us as we celebrate 10 years of West Alabama’s premier 13.1-mile running event featuring a great course, good food, friendly staff and volunteers, and a run to remember!  As you run throughout the heart of Tuscaloosa, you’ll enjoy scenic views, experience some of Tuscaloosa’s most historic neighborhoods, and get some phenomenal selfie opportunities with many Alabama-related iconic spots like Bryant Denny Stadium and Denny Chimes.  All runners will have access to a post-race party full of beverages and food!  Registration is open for the half marathon and 5k.

For more information or to register, click here.

West Alabama Food & Wine Festival

Date:  Thursday, April 7th

The 8th Annual West Alabama Food & Wine Festival will showcase some of the best local restaurants with tasting tables that highlight signature dishes. Wine tastings are provided by local distributors to introduce trendy and seasonal varietals. The event takes place along the scenic Black Warrior River at the Tuscaloosa River Market and benefits the West Alabama Food Bank!  Details are actively being finalized, so be sure to visit their website to learn more and to purchase a ticket.

Access the West Alabama Food & Wine Festival website here.

Inaugural Tuscaloosa Gauntlet – A Marine-Inspired 5k Obstacle Course

Date: Saturday, April 9th

The Alabama Marines Foundation is excited to host the inaugural Tuscaloosa Gauntlet event.  This is a Marine-inspired 5k obstacle course that is open for anyone to participate – even including a youth heat!  If you’re a fan of obstacle races, you’ll love to hear that this course is one-of-a-kind in Alabama and will feature the Marine’s “O Course” as one of the 20+ obstacles.  They have partnered with Phoenix Races and it is an OCRWC Qualifier.  This race will give all who participate a purpose and a challenge worth celebrating!

To learn more and to register, click here.

Golden Flake A-Day

Date:  Saturday, April 16th

Three months is just too long without football season – but we are in luck!  This Spring game, a long-standing University of Alabama and Tuscaloosa tradition, is our annual college football exhibition game that takes place at the conclusion of spring practice.  Played at the one and only Bryant Denny Stadium, fans get a preview for the upcoming football season for free.  Continuing with tradition, the captains from the previous seasons’ team will also be honored at the annual Walk of Fame ceremony at the base of Denny Chimes, in addition to many other activities!

Check out the Crimson Tide’s 2022 football schedule and A-Day details by clicking here.

Tuscaloosa Mayor’s Cup 5k for Pre-K presented by Mercedes-Benz U.S. International

Date: Saturday, April 30th

On Saturday, April 30th, over 1,000 runners and walkers will gather in Downtown Tuscaloosa for a great cause.  Since the inaugural race in 2007, the Mayor’s Cup has raised over $325,000 for the Tuscaloosa Pre-K Initiative.  The race 3.1 miles and begins and ends at Government Plaza.  We are thrilled to have this annual race return in 2022!

For more information or to register, click here.

Druid City Arts Festival presented by Cadence Bank

Date: Friday and Saturday, May 20-21

Located in the heart of Downtown Tuscaloosa at Government Plaza, the Druid City Arts Festival (DCAF) is a local favorite that we look forward to each year!  Spring will have arrived and it’s the perfect time to enjoy art, music, and food of all kinds.  No matter your age, this festival has something for everyone (plus it’s free to attend – bonus!).  If you have children bring them along! They will have the opportunity to explore the Kids Zone, giving them a chance to show off their creativity too.

As always, never miss an event in Tuscaloosa or Northport with our Visit Tuscaloosa Events Calendar!

The T-Town Edition

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in and around the Tuscaloosa and Northport area! While we had one of the most beautiful fall seasons, the leaves have now fallen and there’s a slight chill in the air.  We now turn to some of our most beloved holiday events of the year. In this edition, we’ll share a few of our favorite festivities, so get your scarves, grab your friends and family, and get ready to have a magnificent time!

Tuscaloosa Tinsel Trail
benefiting Tuscaloosa’s One Place

Beloved by all, the Tuscaloosa Tinsel Trail has become a hallmark of the holiday season in West Alabama. Nearly 200 festive trees, combined with the ice skating rink at Government Plaza, allow anyone who visits the opportunity to create traditions that make you feel right at home. Feel the joy of the holiday spirit and select your favorite trees as you stroll through Government Plaza. The Tinsel Trail runs through January 17th.

Check out all of the fun activities taking place along the trail and learn more here!

Location: Government Plaza – 2106 6th St, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
Parking: Free parking is available on-site in the City’s parking deck.

Holidays on the Plaza
ice skating fun and more

Skate the night away and cherish this delightful cold weather with your friends and family in style. Whether it’s your first-time skating or you’re a seasoned professional, you’re bound to have a blast out on the ice as you overlook the Tinsel Trail – all located within Government Plaza. We are so thankful that the City of Tuscaloosa hosts this for all to enjoy this time of year!

For more information, hours, and tickets, click here.
Tip: Don’t forget to bring socks for the skates that are provided.

Location: Government Plaza – 2106 6th St, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
Parking: Free parking is available on-site in the City’s parking deck.

45th Annual West Alabama Christmas Parade
super heroes celebrating Christmas

The 45th annual West Alabama Christmas Parade is happening at 6:30 pm on Monday, December 6th. This parade, put on each year by the Tuscaloosa County Park and Recreation Authority, is one of the biggest Christmas parades in the state! Get bundled up and prepare for an amazing parade through Downtown Tuscaloosa. This year’s grand marshals include Jheovanny Gomez, Nancie Blewitt, and Pam Parker.

A tree lighting ceremony will take place on the steps of the Tuscaloosa County Courthouse prior to the parade at 5:15 pm.

To get all the details, visit their website here!
To view the parade map, click here.

Dickens Downton
a victorian Christmas celebration in historic downtown Northport

Dickens Downtown is hosted by the Merchants of Historic Downtown Northport, and it is a FREE family event celebrating the Christmas spirit and the joy of giving. At 5 pm on December 7th, attendees can expect live caroling performances, Father Christmas, snow machines, a tree lighting, and live artist demonstrations. In addition, excerpts of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens will be read at Shirley Place and hundreds of people will be dressed in Victorian-era costumes inspired by the popular novel. 


For more information about Dickens Downtown, check this out!
Location: Main Avenue in Historic Downtown Northport

Hotel Capstone’s Jingle Bar
a hotel bar filled with the Christmas Spirit

Get toasty with the elves at Hotel Capstone. Join them for a SELFIE-worthy explosion of Christmas decor, elf-approved holiday cocktails, and magical moments with friends! Book your office party or just grab a group of loved ones for a festive evening of holiday cheer! This will be open until January 2!

For more information visit here.

Check Out These Additional Events!

Dec. 5 at 3 pm: Tinsel Trail Pet Night
– Dec. 10 at 6 pm: Tinsel Trail Family Night
– Dec. 10 at 7 pm: Alabama Choir School Winter Concert, Moody Music Bldg. Purchase tickets here.
– Dec. 12 at 2 and 6:30 pm: The Nutcracker, presented by the Tuscaloosa Community Dancers at
the Bama Theatre
– Dec. 13 at 7 pm: Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra Annual Holiday Concert, UA School of Music.
Purchase tickets here!
– Dec. 16 at 6 pm: Movie by Moonlight Drive-In, supporting DCH Foundation. Learn more here.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2021

STAN ADAMS PROMOTED TO EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF SPORTS FOR TUSCALOOSA TOURISM AND SPORTS

Tuscaloosa, AL – President and CEO Don Staley has announced the promotion of Stan Adams to Executive Director of Sports for Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports (TTS) effective immediately.  Adams, who has been with the organization in a full-time role since 2017, most recently held the position of Director of Sports.

“Since Stan’s return to Tuscaloosa, he quickly made his professional mark in sports tourism locally, regionally, and nationally,” said Staley.  “He is a bright star in our profession because of his dedication to his career, and TTS and West Alabama are very fortunate to have someone of his caliber promoting our destination.”

The announcement came after TTS’ executive committee for the board of directors approved the request by Staley.  Adams began his career in the sports tourism industry as an intern for TTS in 2015.  Upon graduating from The University of Alabama with a master’s in sports management, he joined the Wicomico County, Maryland team as a sports marketing representative in 2016.  In 2017 he returned to TTS as the sports sales manager.  Adams is also a young professional member with Sports ETA, the sports events and tourism industry’s association that provides essential resources for sports commissions, sports destinations, sports event owners, and industry partners.

“I want to thank the TTS board of directors and Don Staley for having the confidence in me to take this next step in my career,” said Adams.  “Tuscaloosa is home for me – it’s where I went to school, started my career, and found my fiancé.  I look forward to continuing the success we have had at TTS and taking our organization to new heights through sports tourism.”

Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports’ mission is to promote and develop local tourism and sports industries to stimulate Tuscaloosa’s economy and enhance the quality of life for all Tuscaloosans. TTS generates lodging, dining, shopping, and entertainment revenue for the City. TTS is a destination marketing organization that promotes tourism to leisure travelers, conferences, conventions, sporting events, and more. To learn more, go to visittuscaloosa.com.

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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…

Day 1

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.



Day 2

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!

Ready to plan your trip? Request a free Visitor’s Guide by clicking here!

Tuscaloosa’s food truck scene has certainly evolved over the past few years, and we’re totally here for it!  Whether you’re attending a local festival, exploring The University of Alabama’s beautiful campus, or simply frequenting some of our neighborhoods, it’s likely you’ll see a food truck out and about. If you’re like us, there’s just something special about a delicious meal cooked to perfection and served with a smile and at the convenience of “on-the-go”.  Today, we want to share six local food trucks that you can find hitting the streets of T-Town.

Just remember, there are many more food trucks in Tuscaloosa than the ones we’re covering, especially depending on the time of the year (ie: football season – roll tide!).

  1. Catch a Taste

Serving with love and devotion to make great food is the goal of this food truck. It’s nearly impossible to leave this place without a smile. They move around day-to-day, so you can click here to view their schedule. Whether you’re looking for a beef wrap combo or a wing platter, you will be more than satisfied as soon as you catch a taste.

  1. Bean Me Up Scottie

This little gem is relatively new to town, but word travels fast when the food is incredible. This organic eatery has unique delicacies like vegan cupcakes, mac and cheese burger, and the classic BLT sandwich. All of their meat is plant-based for those vegetarians and vegans out there. With deserts like Zucchini bread and banana nut bread, this place can cure just about any craving! Their schedule will be posted soon on their Facebook page.

  1. Cheese Louise

This local gourmet grilled cheese food truck specializes in, none other than, spectacular sandwiches. They have earned quite the reputation around town and have lived up to the hype. This place puts a bit of a spin on the American icon. Just imagine, you order the Macdaddy, which is filled with Colby jack cheese, bacon, and chipotle sauce on freshly toasted white bread. Yum!! For the full menu and more details check out their website here.

  1. Little Poblano

Hungry for tacos and tamales in Tuscaloosa? This Poblano food truck has just what you want to satisfy even the deepest hunger. They offer an incredible chicken roasted in an orange tinga sauce, guacamole, pickled red onion, marinated cabbage, and house crema. And if that’s not your style, the classic quesadilla never disappoints with chicken tinga, cheese, and roasted poblanos. For more information on Little Poblano click here.

  1. Big Tasty

One of the more classic food trucks that roam T-Town is Big Tasty, serving a wide range of hot dogs and hamburgers. They offer quality services that go a long way to ensuring that your order is to perfection. Not to mention the rave reviews they receive about their customer service going above and beyond. If hamburgers and hot dogs aren’t your thing, they also serve a mouth-watering wing combo, served with a side and a drink. For more details check out their website.

  1. Urban Cookhouse

When the official food truck of Urban Cookhouse roams Tuscaloosa, we all know what that means… it’s time to grub! They’re serving up your favorite UC Classics, now on the go! Check out their website to find our next stop! Whether you’re craving something healthy like Berry Good salad and wrap or something hardy, Applewood bacon, avocado, lettuce, and tomatoes with aioli on toasted white bread, you’re sure to be satisfied with all the variety of options here.

June 19 marks an incredible milestone for black liberation. Juneteenth, or Freedom Day, is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. It commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas – two months after the Confederacy had surrendered.  This was also about 2 ½ years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in the Southern states.

 

We are encouraged to recognize today as an opportunity to listen, learn, and act as we fight for progress and equality within our very own community. With the help of some of our employees, we have compiled a list of five ways you can celebrate Juneteenth in Tuscaloosa this year!

 

  1. Educate Yourself

One of the very best approaches to fully understand what Juneteenth means is to simply spend time listening and learning. We have the emerging Civil Rights Trail that collects, preserves, and tells the stories of the important struggle for civil rights in Tuscaloosa. The trail, museum, and other resources represent the historical honesty necessary for our community to prosper. Enjoy the summer sun and immerse yourself in the rich civil rights history of this city with this walking trail.

 

  1. Support Black-Owned Businesses

Another incredible way to celebrate this holiday is to support all of the amazing black-owned businesses right here in Tuscaloosa. Want to branch out and try something new? Check out Reggae Flava’s delicious, gourmet Jamaican cuisine! They also have fun drinks like the Frozen Pina Colada or the Blue Coconut Rum Runner. If your appetite is far from adventurous, check out the local staple Catfish Heaven. Although their dining rooms are closed, now is the perfect time of year to grab some wings to-go and enjoy the fresh air! For all black-owned businesses in town check out Young Tuscaloosa’s list!

 

  1. Listen and Learn

We really wanted a full collaboration for this blog, so some of our TTS family joined in on the conversation. So why is it so important to celebrate and recognize Juneteenth? According to Naytalia Douglas, our director of first impressions, any part of American history, good or bad, deserves to be recognized because it helps teach the future generation how to evolve as an entire community. Loretta Jones, our expert accountant, also shared advice for someone who wants to learn and better understand the meaning behind Juneteenth. Her suggestion is to “research, ask questions, and do not be afraid to empathize with the people around you.”

 

  1. Celebrate

Don’t miss out on all of the Juneteenth celebrations this year! There is one at Snow Hinton Park from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday. This free event, organized by West End Pop Up Festival, will feature food, music, and vendors. There is also a free family-friendly event in Kentuck Park, located in Northport, from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. Saturday. This celebration will include free food, inflatable bounce houses, games, activities, and a live radio broadcast by 105.1 The Block.

 

  1. Take Action

It is important to take time to learn about Juneteenth, but the holiday represents much more than education. Juneteenth represents the power of change. Educating yourself on our nation’s history can only take you so far. It’s the tactical actions that make a real difference! One way to embody the spirit of Juneteenth is to volunteer online with the United Nations and its “Let’s Fight Racism” initiative. Put your skills to work for a great cause. There are a plethora of ways you can volunteer, whether it be writing an article, developing a communications strategy, or even designing an infographic.

 

If you or your family and friends participate in a Juneteenth celebration here in Tuscaloosa, be sure to tag us in your photos!  We’d love to share them.