Traditionally referred to as “Druid city” Tuscaloosa is a beautiful city Sitting on the banks of the Black Warrior River in Alabama. The “druid city” moniker derives from the abundant water oaks that you can find planted in the city’s downtown streets. However more recently city residents and leaders refer to it as “The City of Champions” following the Alabama Crimson Tide football team’s win in the BCS National Championships. It is easy to dismiss this quaint little city as a tourist destination as it is renowned for lots of things, including its education, sports, and commerce industry but never tourism. However, it is packed with numerous attractions and things that you, your family, and even friends can get involved in. Below are a few fun things you to do in Tuscaloosa:
Take A Walk by The Tuscaloosa River
Cliché, as this may sound the 4.5-mile Tuscaloosa Riverwalk, is not only relaxing but it is also fun. Your walk will begin from Capitol Park and end on the eastern side of Manderson Landing, which means you will have covered the southern banks of the Black Warrior River. The two-way walkway is paved, thus making it ideal for other activities aside from walking such as running and cycling. While walking, you get to enjoy a view of both the river and parts of the park. While you walk, you can make a stop by the riverbank and enjoy a picnic on the benches and gazebos strategically placed throughout the route. There is also a kid’s playground and splash pad, which makes it perfect if you have your kids with you on vacation. You can find parking for the trail available at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater.
Mercedes-Benz US International Visitor Center and Factory Tour
If coming within inches of some the most iconic Mercedes Benz car is something you have always dreamt about then you can do it in Tuscaloosa. The visitor center and factory tour will not only give you insight into the history of these iconic cars, but you also get to see how some of the vehicles are produced. Both the museum and visitor center offer free admission and are usually open throughout the week except on the weekends. From the tour, you will get to see some of the company’s iconic race cars, automobiles, and concept cars along with an exhibition of Mercedes’ characteristic Peerless Safety. It is important to note that the tour of the Mercedes-Benz plant requires advance bookings for both individuals and groups and the tours are conducted on Monday and Wednesday afternoons and mornings.
Jemison-Van de Graaff Mansion
Designed and constructed in the late 1800s the Jemison-Van de Graaff Mansion make a significant part of Tuscaloosa’s history as it was the home of local politician Robert Jemison, Jr. Passed down through Jemison’s descendants throughout the early 20th century, this Italianate style mansion consists of 26 rooms and has over the years been used for multiple purposes.
Before its acquisition by the Tuscaloosa County Preservation Society in 1991, the mansion has been converted into a library before being used as office space for publishing companies before finally being constructed into a history museum. You can visit the mansion for a guided tour to witness some of the home’s bells and whistles which were well ahead of their time but be sure to make a reservation beforehand. If you would also like to have an event at the mansion, you can do so as it is available for rent for specials occasion events such as birthdays and corporate launches.
The Old Tavern Museum
Constructed in 1827 by innkeeper William Dunton, the Old Tavern Museum yet another historical attraction that holds a significant meaning for the city. One of the few remaining 19th-century inns and taverns, housed within the city’s historic tavern building, the museum has housed Confederate soldiers, state legislators, and even Governor John Gayle temporarily. The aesthetic appeal of this building showcasing the structure’s Southern architecture is something anyone will appreciate. Inside the building, you will find Original antique furnishings amongst other relics from the city’s capital period. The Tuscaloosa County Preservation Society has done an excellent job with the buildings restorations and was responsible for converting it into a museum.
DePalma’s Italian Café
We had to include an eatery in the list and being a fan of Italian cuisine, DePalma’s Italian café automatically comes to mind. Serving fine Italian cuisine crafted from fresh ingredients for over two decades, this café with an open style kitchen is one of the food spots you should visit while in Tuscaloosa. You will appreciate being able to see your food being prepared in the kitchen up until it is served on your table. The café has a well thought out and expansive menu with various Italian dishes ranging from antipasti, gourmet calzones, handmade ravioli, artisanal lasagna, and pizza. You have the option of creating your pizza or going with the restaurant’s specialty. For desserts, you will find the classic Italian desserts, including a white chocolate bread pudding that is so divine and specific to the café. There are also several beverage options from coffee, craft beer, and wine.
Archibald and Woodrow’s Barbeque
If you are more of a food truck kind of guy, then the Archibald and Woodrow’s Barbeque a franchise of the original restaurant is a must try. The chain was initially opened by George Archibald, Jr., his wife Betty, and his sister Paulette Washington and served its famous hickory-smoked barbecue recipes. You can find several Southern barbecue dishes including whiting platters, various meat by the pound choices, catfish and chicken wings. If you do not favor southern-style dishes, then you can opt for Country-style dinner plates which are also available.
The number of things that you can do in this city are so much that we’re not able to fit them in a single post. Other attractions and things that you can do in Tuscaloosa include visiting Lake Nicol, Bryant-Denny Stadium, The Mildred Westervelt Warner Transportation Museum and many more. Do not hesitate to take a trip to this city as we can guarantee you will not be disappointed.