Located in western Alabama, Tuscaloosa is a friendly and welcoming city that offers an array of things to see and do for the whole family. History buffs can learn about the history of the city at the Jemison-Van de Graaff Mansion, while art lovers can view some spectacular works of art by renowned American artists at the Tuscaloosa Museum of Art. Families can take a stroll or have a picnic in Lake Lurleen State Park or Snow Hinton Park, which also offer play areas for children.
1.Tuscaloosa Museum of Art
© Tuscaloosa Museum of Art
The Tuscaloosa Museum of Art is dedicated to the works of art by little known and renowned artists, such as Edward Hicks, George Luks, Albert Bierstadt, and John Singer Sargent. The museum displays approximately 1,000 works of fine and decorative arts, which were collected over several decades by Jack Warner and later shared with the museum to promote a better understanding of the arts. Considered to be one of the most significant private collections of American art, the collection features work by Andrew Wyeth, Edward Potthast, James A.M. Whistler, Jamie Wyeth, Basil Ede, Charles Lannieur, and Duncan Phyfe. The Tuscaloosa Museum of Art is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm and Sunday from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
1400 Jack Warner Pkwy NE, Tuscaloosa, AL 35404, Phone: 205-562-5280
© Bama Belle
The Bama Belle is one of Tuscaloosa’s top attractions. A beautifully restored and maintained riverboat, the Bama Belle is docked at Medeiros Point on the Black Warrior River and offers sightseeing tours and private rentals for special celebrations. Initially constructed in 1970, the riverboat was known as Captain Ann and was used in Opryland in Nashville before moving to Destin, Florida, and renamed as the Emerald Queen. The boat became the Bama Belle in 2001 and has been operating sightseeing tours from the Tuscaloosa Riverwalk ever since. The ship features a restaurant and a full-service bar and offers a variety of different tours from day trips to dinner cruises as well as private rentals for special occasions.
1 Greensboro Ave, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401, Phone: 205-275-0560
3.Children's Hands-On Museum (CHOM)
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The Children's Hands-On Museum of Tuscaloosa presents an interactive and immerse facility that encourages children to explore, discover, and learn through play. The museum features an array of hands-on exhibits and displays that advocates touching, feeling, listening, and smelling to help children learn. Spanning three floors, the museum presents over 25 presentations for children of all ages, ranging from a replica of a Choctaw village and working farmers market to an arts studio, a Japanese house, and a space station. The museum also offers a variety of educational and community-based programs and caters for special occasions such as birthday parties and other celebrations. The Children's Hands-On Museum is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and Saturday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.
2213 University Blvd, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401, Phone: 205-349-4235
4.Druid City Brewing Company
© Druid City Brewing Company
Druid City Brewing Company is a craft brewery on 15th Street in Tuscaloosa that produces six full-time brews and offers tastings and brewery tours. Founded in 2012 with just two beers on tap, the brewery has grown to now provide six popular beers, including Druid City Pale Ale, Druid City Wheat, Riverside Saison, Lamplighter IPA, Tuscaloosa Stout, and Downtown North Porter. The Druid City Taproom is open seven days a week for tastings and tours and boasts a cozy ambiance, a lovely outdoor patio area with cornhole setups, an impressive vinyl selection, and friendly, welcoming staff who are on hand to answer any questions relating to the brewery’s brews.
607 14th St, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401, Phone: 205-342-0051
5.Edelweiss German Coffee Shop & Bakery
© Edelweiss German Coffee Shop & Bakery
The Edelweiss German Coffee Shop & Bakery is an authentic German café in Temerson Square in downtown Tuscaloosa. The cozy café-style coffee shop serves traditional German bakery fare such as German bread, pretzels, pastries, cakes, and other European specialties along with a great variety of breakfast and lunch dishes and a large selection of coffees and drinks. The café boasts a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere that attracts both locals and visitors to come, enjoy the delicious food, and get a taste of Germany in the heart of Tuscaloosa. The Edelweiss German Coffee Shop & Bakery is open for early breakfast, lunch, and afternoon tea, seven days of the week.
2324 4th St, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401, Phone: 205-343-6545
6.Gorges House Museum
© Gorges House Museum
Built in 1829, the Gorgas House Museum is a museum on the University of Alabama campus that houses original furnishings, a collection of 19th century artifacts, and other objects and memorabilia and is the oldest structure on the campus. Named after the Gorgas family, who called it home between 1879 and 1953, the museum initially served as the campus hotel and student dining hall. It is one of only four current buildings on campus that survived the Union troops setting it alight in 1865 and is currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Gorgas House Museum is open from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday, and can be explored on self-guided or docent-led guided tours.
Gorgas House, 810 Capstone Drive, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487, Phone: 205-348-5906
7.Haunted Tuscaloosa Tours
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Experience Tuscaloosa's haunted locations in a unique and spine-chilling way on a Haunted Tuscaloosa Tour. Tours begin and end at the historic Drish House, hailed as being the most haunted house in Alabama, and continue to several area locations that boast hair-raising tales of Tuscaloosa's dark history. Tours take place in a 35-seat vintage trolley bus-style coach and are led by knowledgeable local guides who share their passion for the haunted history of the city with guests over 1.5 hours. The tour visits 16 locations, three of which involve some walking, so comfortable shoes are recommended.
2300 17th Street, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
8.Jemison-Van de Graaff Mansion
© Jemison–Van de Graaff Mansion
The Jemison-Van de Graaff Mansion, also known as the Jemison–Van de Graaf–Burchfield House, is a historic house in Tuscaloosa that is renowned for its architectural significance. Designed by famous architect John Stewart, the 26-room Italianate mansion was built for Robert Jemison, Jr., a local businessman and politician. The estate was a private residence until 1955 before being converted into a library, then publishing house offices, and lastly a historic house museum and is currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Jemison–Van de Graaff Mansion is open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday, year round.
1305 Greensboro Ave, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401, Phone: 205-758-2906
9.Lake Lurleen State Park
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Set on the banks of Lake Lurleen, 9 miles northwest of Tuscaloosa and Northport, Lake Lurleen State Park is a 1,625-acre state park and scenic retreat that offers a variety of outdoor and recreational activities. Home to 250-acre Lake Lurleen and a 23-mile trail system, Lake Lurleen State Park is a favorite recreation area and features a modern campground, picnic areas with barbecue grills, pavilions and play areas for children, an activity building, fishing piers, a beach for sunbathing and swimming, boat rentals and launch areas, and RV storage areas. The park features more than 23 miles of multi-use trails ranging from easy to moderate in difficulty, which can be enjoyed by both hikers and mountain bikers, and the park also has a nature center with several exhibits and displays of the local fauna and flora, a public beach for swimming and sunbathing, and paddleboats for enjoying on the lake.
13226 Lake Lurleen Rd, Coker, AL 35452, Phone: 205-339-1558
10.Mercedes-Benz Factory Tour
© Mercedes-Benz Factory Tour
The Mercedes-Benz Factory in Vance, Alabama, offers tours of the factory, giving visitors the opportunity to experience the rich history of one of the world’s most renowned automakers firsthand. A modern visitors center takes visitors through the history of the German car manufacturer, which has been manufacturing automobiles in Vance, Alabama, for more than 20 years, telling the story through a variety of fascinating exhibits, displays, and images as well as models of classic cars. The center also showcases several authentic Mercedes-Benz race cars and concept cars as well as the classics and also features a gift shop, which sells a variety of Mercedes-Benz merchandise, clothing, and other car-related items and gifts. The Mercedes-Benz Factory Visitor Center is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm and tours can be arranged.
11 Mercedes Drive, Vance, AL 35490, Phone: 205-507-2252
11.Moundville Archeological Park
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Set on the Black Warrior River in Hale County, near Tuscaloosa, the Moundville Archaeological Site, also known as Moundville Archaeological Park, is a Mississippian culture site that dates back to between the 11th and 16th centuries. Once the ceremonial and political center of a regionally organized Mississippian culture, the site encompasses 185 acres and is made up of 29 platform mounds set around a rectangular plaza. The second-largest site in the United States of the classic Middle Mississippian era, next to Cahokia in Illinois, the Moundville Archaeological Site is a National Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
634 Mound State Parkway, Moundville, AL 35474, Phone: 205-371-2234
12.Murphy-Collins House (Murphy African-American Museum)
© Murphy-Collins House (Murphy African-American Museum)
The Murphy-Collins House, also known as the Murphy African-American Museum, is a two-story craftsman bungalow dating back to the 1920s that was once the home of the first licensed black mortician in Tuscaloosa, Mr. Will J. Murphy. Mr. Murphy built the cottage himself with salvaged materials from the old state capitol building a few blocks away when it burned down in 1923, and today it has become a symbol of the lifestyle of affluent black African Americans during the early 1900s. The beautifully maintained home is now home to the Murphy African-American Museum, which can be explored on guided tours that take place Wednesday through Saturday from 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm.
2601 Paul W Bryant Drive, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401, Phone: 205-758-2861
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13.Snow Hinton Park
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Snow Hinton Park is a family-friendly green space for the community to enjoy with rentable picnic pavilions, a network of walking and mountain biking trails, and a massive jungle gym for older children, the pyramid-like Spacenet with its 38-foot tube slide. Other amenities at the park include lighted athletic fields, picnic tables and barbecue grills, modern restrooms and drinking water facilities, electricity, and pavilions that can be rented for special occasions.
Tuscaloosa, AL 35404, Phone: 205-562-3210
14.The Alabama Museum of Natural History
© The Alabama Museum of Natural History
The Alabama Museum of Natural History was founded in 1931 and is the oldest museum in the state. Located in Smith Hall at the University of Alabama campus in Tuscaloosa, the museum features a variety of fantastic exhibits that depict the natural diversity of Alabama from the Carboniferous Period to the Age of Dinosaurs to the last ice age. The museum’s collections range from ethnology, history, and geology to mineralogy, paleontology, and zoology and are showcased in exceptional exhibits, such as the giant replica of an Eocene whale that can be found in the Grand Gallery Exhibition Hall. Other notable exhibits in the museum include the skull of an American mastodon and the Hodges meteorite, which hit a woman as it fell to earth in 1954.
427 6th Ave, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487, Phone: 205-348-7550
FIVE is a simple concept bar and restaurant in Tuscaloosa, themed around menus with five unfussy, high-quality selections for diners to choose from. The restaurant, which was founded by Charles Morgan and Cris Eddings, opened its first Tuscaloosa location in 2011 and has spread to encompass three other locations throughout the state today. Five-item brunch, lunch, and dinner menus highlight Southern comfort fare such as shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles, and Gulf Coast platters with fried fish, shrimp, and oysters. The numeric theme carries through to beer, wine, and cocktail menus, with high-quality domestic and import beer and red and white wine selections chosen carefully for each menu.
2324 6th St, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401, Phone: 205-345-6089
16.The Paul W. Bryant Museum
© The Paul W. Bryant Museum
The Paul W. Bryant Museum is located on the campus of the University of Alabama and focuses on the history of football in Alabama with a particular focus on the legendary football coach, Paul W. ‘Bear’ Bryant. Opened in 1988, the museum was established to honor former coaches and players who helped Bryant set the intercollegiate coaching record for the most victories and features extraordinary exhibits such as a Waterford Crystal houndstooth hat, a Daniel Moore painting celebrating the life of Bryant, and a research room with all Alabama's games on video, including victories, defeats, and funny and embarrassing moments. The Paul W. Bryant Museum is open from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, seven days of the week, throughout the year.
300 Paul W Bryant Dr, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401, Phone: 205-348-4668
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17.Tuscaloosa Farmers Market
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Set on the banks of the beautiful Black Warrior River, the Tuscaloosa Farmers Market is a weekly market located Jack Warner Parkway that offers a variety of farm-to-table produce and fare, such as fruit, vegetables, grass or grain-fed beef and chickens, locally raised Berkshire pork, and farm-raised shrimp. Market vendors also sell fine cheeses, homemade jams, preserves and confits, farm-fresh eggs, jellies, freshly baked pastries, bread and other baked goodies, and handcrafted items and gifts. The Tuscaloosa River Market can also be hired for special events and celebrations, with 5,600 square feet of versatile event space that can support seated banquets for up to 400 guests, auditorium-style events for up to 800 guests, and open festival space for up to 3,000 guests.
1900 Jack Warner Parkway, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401, Phone: 205-248-5295
18.Downtown Pedal Tours
© Downtown Pedal Tours
Downtown Pedal Tours offers a unique and fun way to explore the city of Tuscaloosa – on a bicycle built for 15 people! The registered tour company operates year-round customized tours on pedal bikes for groups of up to 14 people, including a guide who steers the bike in the right direction. Tours begin and end at Royal Fine Cleaners on University Boulevard, across the street from the Federal Courthouse, and last about 2 hours, with a choice of three stops along the way. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks are allowed on tour, all of which must be consumed in plastic containers, and music may be played if so desired.
521 30th Avenue, Northport, AL 35476, Phone: 205-535-4454
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19.The Downtown Gallery
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Located in the Downtown Plaza Shopping Center, Downtown Gallery is an art gallery that sells a variety of sports-related art, including the work of Daniel A. Moore, as well as offers quality custom framing services. The gallery features a variety of Daniel Moore prints, Greg Gamble prints, hard-to-find works by contemporary and classical artists, bronze statues, coins, posters, and other sporting memorabilia, and also offers premium framing services for artworks or prints purchased in the store or private works purchased elsewhere.
1552, 408 Queen City Ave, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401, Phone: 205-752-6222
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19 Best Things to Do in Tuscaloosa, Alabama
- Tuscaloosa Museum of Art, Photo: Tuscaloosa Museum of Art
- Bama Belle, Photo: Bama Belle
- Children's Hands-On Museum (CHOM), Photo: Courtesy of ChGuss - Fotolia.com
- Druid City Brewing Company, Photo: Druid City Brewing Company
- Edelweiss German Coffee Shop & Bakery, Photo: Edelweiss German Coffee Shop & Bakery
- Gorges House Museum, Photo: Gorges House Museum
- Haunted Tuscaloosa Tours, Photo: Courtesy of chrisdorney - Fotolia.com
- Jemison-Van de Graaff Mansion, Photo: Jemison–Van de Graaff Mansion
- Lake Lurleen State Park, Photo: Courtesy of Aleksey Dmetsov - Fotolia.com
- Mercedes-Benz Factory Tour, Photo: Mercedes-Benz Factory Tour
- Moundville Archeological Park, Photo: Courtesy of littlestocker - Fotolia.com
- Murphy-Collins House (Murphy African-American Museum), Photo: Murphy-Collins House (Murphy African-American Museum)
- Snow Hinton Park, Photo: Courtesy of Andreas - Fotolia.com
- The Alabama Museum of Natural History, Photo: The Alabama Museum of Natural History
- FIVE, Photo: FIVE
- The Paul W. Bryant Museum, Photo: The Paul W. Bryant Museum
- Tuscaloosa Farmers Market, Photo: Courtesy of Crin - Fotolia.com
- Downtown Pedal Tours, Photo: Downtown Pedal Tours
- The Downtown Gallery, Photo: Courtesy of schankz - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Thomas Braun - Fotolia.com