10 Best Things to Do in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

|   Last Updated on February 26, 2023

Tuscaloosa is the fifth-largest city in Alabama with a population of 101,000. Located in west-central Alabama on the boundary of the Appalachian Highland and the Gulf Coastal Plain, there is a diversity of hills and plains.

Tuscaloosa was named for a Native American. Chief Tuscaloosa was from one of the many tribes which once flourished in the region.

Well-known as a college town, Tuscaloosa has a community college, a historically black college, and a university. The University of Alabama opened to students in 1831 and proudly boasts that their Crimson Tide football team has one of the winningest records in the sport’s history. That football reputation prompted city leaders to call Tuscaloosa “The City of Champions.” Other city nicknames include “T-town” and “Druid City.”

The Tuscaloosa economy thrives due to industry, manufacturing, and a significant number of hospitals. The city has both a river port and an airport.

Culture includes arts, museums, sports, and several annual festivals. Many scenic parks and bodies of water add natural beauty to the environment.

A few points to remember – “Y’all” is entirely acceptable, but not “you’uns” or “youse.” If you don’t know who Nick Saban is, you need to find out…quick! If you are not quite sure what to say, “Roll Tide” is always the perfect solution.

Enjoy the Outdoors

The Riverwalk has paved trails that meander along the bank of the Black Warrior River for over four miles and offer views of woods, parks, and bridges. Some spots are shady and secluded, while others have areas for dining and shopping. Tuscaloosa River Walk

Ruminate at the Ruins

Capitol Park - Tuscaloosa AL
©Angela Dowdy

Give thought to history as you gaze upon impressive ruins. Tuscaloosa served as the Alabama State Capital from 1826 to 1846. This once-grand Capitol later was part of a college that burned down in 1923. What remains is eerily picturesque. Capitol Park

Learn the Legend

Football fans flock to pay respects to “Bear” Bryant, who coached Alabama football from 1958 through 1982. Learn what the admiration is all about. Then enjoy the rest of the lovely University of Alabama campus. Paul W. Bryant Museum

Education Matters in Tuscaloosa

Stillman College is a small and affordable historically black Presbyterian college with active student life. The campus, which opened in 1876, is safe and attractive and offers bachelor’s degrees in 12 programs. Stillman College

Picturesque Boulders in Tuscaloosa

Hurricane Creek - Tuscaloosa AL
©Angela Dowdy

There is a spectacular spot where water plays and splashes over sandstone boulders. It is significant on several levels.

Bring your camera since geologists, botanists, historians, and environmentalists all declare Hurricane Creek as a thing of rare beauty to be appreciated. Hurricane Creek Park

Honoring Veterans

Alabama’s finest tribute to those that served in the U.S. Armed Forces has numerous military artifacts on display. These include a helicopter, a tank, a jeep, and artillery. A row of boots, guns, and helmets is a poignant reminder of the war. Veterans Memorial Park

Doing It Downtown

Downtown Tuscaloosa is full of remarkable surprises. The hugely impressive Federal Courthouse, the River Market, the Amphitheater, and the Old Tavern are all worthy of anyone’s must-see list. On weekends one can walk with to-go cups of alcoholic drinks within a specific boundary, as local college students can tell you. Downtown Tuscaloosa

The Iconic BAMA Theatre

The BAMA Theatre opened in 1938 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The exterior is PWA (Public Works Administration) Moderne, while the interior is of Italian Renaissance design. The BAMA is a venue for festivals, films, and special events.

The Oliver Lock & Dam

The first modern dam built on the Black Warrior River was completed in 1940. It was named for U.S. Representative William Bacon Oliver.

There are good fishing areas on the river and lovely places for picnics and family activity along the banks. It spans the river between Northport and Tuscaloosa.

Fabulous Tuscaloosa Food

DePalma’s Italian Café - Antipasti
©Angela Dowdy

Find whatever taste tickles your fancy in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

  • For the best breakfast, try The Historic Waysider on Greensboro Avenue. They have elephant-shaped pancakes and tons of “Bear” Bryant memorabilia.
  • For lunch, try T-town Café on 14th Street for great variety.
  • One of my favorite spots for dinner is DePalma’s Italian Café on University Boulevard. Their risotto and antipasti are incredible.

Last Updated on February 26, 2023


  • Angela Dowdy worked in radio broadcasting and counseling until taking disability due to arthritis. She writes on positive aspects of people and places in the southern United States. Her writing has included psychology essays, commercials, poetry, and travel narratives. Her writings have been published in DavesTravelCorner.com, Jitter, The Latest, and Pink Pangea. When not traveling or writing, she can usually be found at home in Florida painting or playing with her dog Gizmo.