— TUSCALOOSA, ALABAMA — Tuscaloosa is the fifth-largest city in Alabama, with a population of 101,000. Ideally 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 most winning records in U.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. Tuscaloosa is recognized as a good area in which to live or operate a business.
Culture includes arts, museums, sports, and several annual festivals. Many scenic parks and bodies of water add natural beauty to the environment.
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Things to Do in Tuscaloosa, Alabama
1. 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
2. Ruminate at the Ruins
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
3. 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
4. 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
5. Picturesque Boulders in Tuscaloosa
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
6. 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
7. 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
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. Fabulous Tuscaloosa Food
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.
Experience Tuscaloosa at your own pace. Enjoy activities such as biking, hiking, fishing, and swimming. Take in the spectacular natural views or take on the town as a tourist with a detailed itinerary. There are plenty of great options for art, culture, food, and shopping.
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.
Getting There: U.S. Highway 82 and Interstates 20 and 59 provide easy access to the area.
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