26 Best Things To Do In Tuscaloosa, Alabama - Updated 2021

things to do in tuscaloosa al

Tuscaloosa is the fifth-largest city in Alabama, named after the late chief of the Muskogean people who defeated the Spanish Hernando de Soto in the mid-1500s. Tuscaloosa is known as the “Druid City” due to the large number of water oaks planted in the downtown streets since the 1840s and it was recently named as the “most livable city in America”. This beguiling city has a very rich history which the community preserves so well and a lovely environment to settle in. Learn a thing or two while peaking at the interesting past of Tuscaloosa by checking out the massive list of things to do in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and enjoy an authentic experience.

1. Visit the historical ruins of Capitol Park

Old Capitol Building Tuscaloosa 02
Source: Photo by user Carol M. Highsmith used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

From 1826 to 1846, Tuscaloosa was the seat of the state government and Capitol Park was the Alabama Capitol. In the year 1847, the capitol was moved to Montgomery and the building became the home of Alabama Central Female College. Today, what is left are the ruins of a once grand structure that serve as reminders of the prestige and the rich political history of Tuscaloosa back in the days. If you are a big fan of history and politics, then Capitol Park is a must-visit for you.

Capitol Park

Address: 2828 6th St, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401, USA

Website: Capitol Park

Opening hours: 7am - 10pm (daily)

Price: Free

2. Explore the city's past at Alabama Museum of Natural History

Smith Hall University of Alabama
Source: Photo by user Jet Lowe used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

The Alabama Museum of Natural History is located in the Smith Hall at the University of Alabama and it is the state’s oldest museum that was established in 1831. The museum features a three-story central block and Classical Revival-style architecture that complements its massive collection of history. Explore the natural diversity of Alabama across time periods through exhibits from the age of dinosaurs to the ice age and its ancient past through the museum’s archive of knowledge and research. Take an up-close look at the city’s incredible olden days only at the Alabama Museum of Natural History.

Alabama Museum of Natural History

Address: 427 6th Ave, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487, USA

Website: Alabama Museum of Natural History

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 4:30pm (closed on Sun)

Price: Students/ senior citizens: 1 USD; Adults: 2 USD; Children under five/ UA students, faculty, staff: Free

3. Take a peak at Alabama's sports history at Paul W. Bryant Museum

Bryant Museum
Source: Photo by user Rtr10 used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Another site to visit and learn about the long history of Alabama is Paul W. Bryant Museum. In the years 2009, 2011, and 2012, the Alabama Crimson Tide football team won the BCS National Championship and the College Football Playoff in 2015, thus earning the title “The City of Champions”. Alabama started a love for football in the year 1892 when a Mr. WG Little introduced the sport at the University of Alabama and the rest is history. So if you are eager to know how Alabama’s affair with football started, then visit this unique sports museum that houses the city’s tradition, achievements, and excellence in collegiate sports.

Paul W. Bryant Museum

Address: 300 Paul W Bryant Dr, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401, USA

Website: Paul W. Bryant Museum

Opening hours: 9am - 4pm (daily)

Price: Members, children under 6: Free; Adults: 2 USD; Senior Citizens (60 and up): 1 USD; Children (6-17): 1 USD.

4. Tour the luxurious Jemison-Van De Graaff Mansion

Jemison Van de Graaff Mansion
Source: Photo by user Altairisfar used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Ever wondered how the wealthy and powerful lived during the 1800s? Spend a day at the Jemison-Van de Graaff Mansion to find out. Robert Jemison, Jr., owner of the estate, was one of the wealthiest and powerful individuals back in the days in Alabama. He had around 500 slaves who worked at his coal mines, plantations, and other businesses. His mansion was one of the last and most intricately designed houses built in Alabama before the Civil War. In 1991, the city of Tuscaloosa acquired ownership of the property and restored the mansion’s original style that features Italianate architecture. The two-story mansion contains 26 rooms, each room serving a purpose. Today, the mansion is open for public viewing and rental for special occasions like weddings. So if you want to experience the luxury of living in an enormous mansion, be sure to stop by the Jemison-Van De Graaff Mansion.

Jemison-Van De Graaff Mansion

Address: 1305 Greensboro Ave, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401, USA

Website: Jemison-Van De Graaff Mansion

Opening hours: Tue - Fri: 9:30am - 5pm (closed on Sat & Sun)

Price: Free

5. Let your kids have a fun time at Children’s Hands-On Museum

Treat your kids to a fun and educational play day at the Children’s Hands-On Museum. The kids will never run out of things to try and learn because the three-floor museum houses twenty five interactive and appealing exhibits where they can touch and feel everything. For Children’s Hands-On Museum, learning through playing is the best way to go. Let kids be kids at this hands-on museum and they will surely have a day filled with curiosity, creativity, and discovery!

Children’s Hands-On Museum

Address: 2213 University Blvd, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401, USA

Website: Children’s Hands-On Museum

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 9am - 4:30pm (closed on Sun)

Price: ​Museum members, Under 1 year: Free; 1-64 years: 9 USD; 65+ years: 8 USD; Military Discount: 1 USD

6. Catch a game at Bryant-Denny Stadium

BDS west
Source: Photo by user Crassic used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Bryant-Denny Stadium is located inside the University of Alabama and is the home field of the city’s pride - the Alabama Crimson Tide football team. The stadium has been one of the most prominent venues for college football games across the nation with an impressive capacity of over 100,000. Since its opening in 1929, Bryant-Denny Stadium has undergone a lot of expansion and renovation that make watching games a worthwhile and thrilling experience. Feel the luxury of this modern stadium and be sure to catch a game of the most loved sport in Alabama!

Bryant-Denny Stadium

Address: 920 Paul W Bryant Dr, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401, USA

Website: Bryant-Denny Stadium

Opening hours: Check the website for game schedules

7. See the timeless architecture of Federal Building & Courthouse

US Federal Building and Courthouse in Tuscaloosa.
Source: Photo by user Deutschlandreform used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Tuscaloosa was once the capital of Alabama and unsurprisingly, significant civic structures can be found in the city. One of which is the classically revived Federal Building and Courthouse located in the University Boulevard of Tuscaloosa. The vast 127,000-square foot (1.17 hectare) building features Greek columns, steps, and masonry that are timeless and reflects the courthouses of Southern locale. Due to its iconic design, Federal Building and Courthouse has a certain appeal to tourists and locals alike making it a must-see structure in Tuscaloosa.

Federal Building & Courthouse

Address: 2005 University Blvd, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401, USA

Website: Federal Building & Courthouse

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 8am - 4pm (closed on Sat & Sun)

Price: Free

8. Tour the famous Mercedes Benz Factory

Posted by Mercedes-Benz of Tuscaloosa on Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Did you know that the Mercedes Benz Factory in Tuscaloosa, Alabama is the company’s first major production plant outside Germany? The visitor center exhibits the history of the famous Mercedes Benz and offers tours around the manufacturing plant. Get to know how each high-end car is assembled and tested. See an exclusive car show of the wide selection of cars from F1, vintage classics, to the latest models. If you a car enthusiast you should definitely drop by the Mercedes Benz Factory!

Mercedes Benz Factory

Address: 3200 Skyland Blvd E, Tuscaloosa, AL 35405, USA

Website: Mercedes Benz Factory

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 8:30am - 5:30pm; Sat: 9am - 5pm (closed on Sun)

Price: Free

9. Enjoy a live performance at Tuscaloosa Amphitheater

Posted by Tuscaloosa Amphitheater on Saturday, 26 January 2019

Dance the night away or sing at the top of your lungs and meet new friends when you watch a live performance at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater. A 15-acre (6 hectares), beautifully landscaped venue, it has the capacity of over 8,000 people. Check out their website for show schedules and ticket prices and get ready to be part of an energetic crowd spending a night of fun, music, and entertainment.

Tuscaloosa Amphitheater

Address: 2710 Jack Warner Pkwy, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401, USA

Website: Tuscaloosa Amphitheater

Opening hours: Check the website for show schedules

Price: From 15 USD

10. Travel back in time at Battle-Friedman House & Gardens

The townhouse nestled along Greensboro ave is getting touched up for the warm weather, and we would love for you to take...

Posted by The Battle-Friedman House and Gardens on Sunday, 1 May 2016

Built in 1835 by North Carolina native Alfred Battle, the Battle-Friedman House originally featured two front parlors, a central hallway, and the rooms in the second floor. By 1875, the Friedman family acquired the estate and embellished it with a grand garden that includes a gazebo and fish pond. The house is located in Greensboro Avenue which was known as ‘Millionaire’s Avenue’ back in the day since a lot of the wealthy families of Tuscaloosa resided in the area. Presently, the house has turned into a historic museum and a civic- cultural center that holds a massive collection of Renaissance Revival furniture, antiques, and artworks. Appreciate the style of art and design during the early 1800s when walk through the halls of Battle-Friedman House.

Battle-Friedman House & Gardens

Address: 1010 Greensboro Ave, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401, USA

Website: Battle-Friedman House & Gardens

Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 2:30pm - 3:30pm (closed on Mon & Sun)

Price: 10 USD

11. Take a relaxing walk at Tuscaloosa Riverwalk

Morning walks are better if your trail includes a scenic view. Tuscaloosa Riverwalk features a smooth paved path divided into two lanes for bikers and runners lined with lush trees and grass. The park also includes areas friendly for your furry friends, as well as benches, gazebos, and hammocks for your picnic plans, and a playground for the kids to enjoy. Tuscaloosa Riverwalk is your place to be for a relaxing morning with the whole family and to unwind with nature.

Tuscaloosa Riverwalk

Address: 2710 Jack Warner Pkwy, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401, USA

Website: Tuscaloosa Riverwalk

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free

12. Buy fresh produce at Tuscaloosa River Market

Posted by Tuscaloosa River Market on Saturday, 25 November 2017

Weekend markets are where we usually get our stash of fresh produce from our local farmers, but in Tuscaloosa River Market everyday is a ‘weekend market’ day! Located in the banks of the pristine Black Warrior River, the market houses local sellers offering a variety of fresh goods including fruits, vegetables, honey, beef, flowers, pastries, and artworks! you can even rent out the place as venue for your occasions. Tuscaloosa River Market is your one- stop-shop for all your home and events needs so be sure to stop by.

Tuscaloosa River Market

Address: 1900 Jack Warner Pkwy, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401, USA

Website: Tuscaloosa River Market

Opening hours: Mon - Fri, Sun: 9am - 11pm; Sat: 7am - 12pm

13. Beat the heat at Lake Tuscaloosa

Sunset on Lake Tuscaloosa... from @PatrickBAdcock

Posted by James Spann on Thursday, 13 June 2019

Tuscaloosa is home to many bodies of water, one of which is Lake Tuscaloosa which is also the largest in the city. The lake was built as a reservoir to provide potable drinking water to the rising population of Tuscaloosa. Aside from that, the lake is also a recreational spot for the locals and tourists alike. Swimming, boating, and fishing are the usual activities you can do especially during the summer and recently, watercraft rentals also became accessible to the public. Whether you are looking for an outdoor activity or to simply cool off, Tuscaloosa Lake is a must- visit place for you!.

Lake Tuscaloosa

Address: Northport Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35475

Website: Lake Tuscaloosa

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free

14. Make a stop at Mildred Westervelt Warner Transportation Museum

Located in the historic Queen City Bath House

Posted by Mildred Westervelt Warner Transportation Museum on Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Built in 1943 through community effort and support, Mildred Westervelt Warner Transportation Museum in Tuscaloosa wishes to showcase how transportation shaped Tuscaloosa’s culture and development. Today, the museum features a wide array of exhibits including David Plowden’s landscape photography in the steam age and other locomotive-related displays across time periods. Discover another interesting aspect of Tuscaloosa’s history when you visit the Mildred Westervelt Warner Transportation Museum absolutely for free!

Mildred Westervelt Warner Transportation Museum

Address: 1901 Jack Warner Pkwy, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401, USA

Website: Mildred Westervelt Warner Transportation Museum

Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 10am - 4:30pm (closed on Mon & Sun)

Price: Free admission; tour fee is charged upon request

15. Relive the olden times at Old Tavern Museum

Wonderful photo of the Old Tavern as it rests today in its current spot beside The Capitol Park at the end of University Blvd.

Posted by Old Tavern on Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Old Tavern Museum was built in 1827 and is one of the only inns in the 19th-century Tuscaloosa. This tavern has served high-ranking politicians and wealthy families of the city. The Old Tavern features a French design that stood out from the early architecture prominent in the state back then. Today, the historic building is now a museum that displays artifacts, antiques, and things of the past for free public viewing. Appreciate the earlier days of Alabama when you visit the centuries-old structure.

Old Tavern Museum

Address: 500 28th Ave, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401, USA

Website: Old Tavern Museum

Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 10:30am - 2:30pm (closed on Mon & Sun)

Price: Free

16. Learn about African-American history at Murphy-Collins House

Murphy-Collins House (Main Entrance)
Source: Photo by user Gregr used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Murphy-Collins House showcases a unique piece of Tuscaloosa’s heritage in the era where segregation was the norm. This museum houses artifacts about the influence and achievements of the African-American community, such as George Weaver being the first black doctor in Tuscaloosa. The museum also honors businessmen and entrepreneurs of color and exhibits the African-American culture from the 1900s. Learn how theye thrived and succeeded in the earlier times. To complete your history tour, visit nearby attractions such as Battle-Friedman House and Jemison-Van de Graaff Mansion.

Murphy-Collins House

Address: 2601 Paul W Bryant Dr, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401, USA

Website: Murphy-Collins House

Opening hours: Tue - Fri 10am -3pm (closed on Sat & Mon)

Price: Free (donations are accepted)

17. Chow down on smoked ribs at Archibald & Woodrow's BBQ

Archibald & Woodrow’s BBQ is one of Tuscaloosa’s home-grown restaurant that serves premiere barbecue. Take a bite of their six-decade old barbecue recipe oozing with thick and delicious sauce. The joint still uses the same hickory wood for that smoky richness in every slab of meat and crispiness to the top layer. Each meal comes with bread and two sides of your choice. Satisfy your taste buds with the finest barbecue there is in Alabama.

Archibald & Woodrow's BBQ

Address: 4215 Greensboro Ave, Tuscaloosa, AL 35405, USA

Website: Archibald & Woodrow’s BBQ

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 9pm; Sun: 11am - 6pm

18. Watch an artful play at Bama Theatre

Opened in 1938, Bama Theatre is Tuscaloosa’s first air-conditioned public venue. Showcasing an old-school, retro style entrance complete with marquee letters and show signs while the interior features an open-air vibe with its night sky ceiling with twinkling stars and cozy clouds. The theatre can seat about a thousand guests and shows orchestra acts, plays, and movies ranging from foreign, local, and even art films. Check out their website for a complete list of show schedules and get ready for a retro viewing experience only at Bama Theatre.

Bama Theatre

Address: 600 Greensboro Ave, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401, USA

Website: Bama Theatre

Opening hours: Depends on shows

Price: 20 - 22 USD

19. Have a good read at Tuscaloosa Public Library

If you are a travelling bookworm, you will surely love to visit Tuscaloosa Public Library or commonly known to its locals as “TPL”, located in Jack Warmer Parkway. The library houses a wide range of materials and books in a wide array of formats. From downloadable e-books to audio visual materials and children’s books to school references. It also holds events like book meets and discussions for its community to enjoy. Presently, TPL has four branches that serves the whole population of Tuscaloosa. If you enjoy reading, visit the TPL and get some food for thought.

Tuscaloosa Public Library

Address: 1801 Jack Warner Pkwy, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401, USA

Website: Tuscaloosa Public Library

Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 9am - 9pm; Fri: 12pm - 5pm; Sat: 9am - 5pm; Sun: 2pm - 6pm

Price: Free (donations are accepted)

20. Play with your furry friends at Will May Dog Park

Will May Memorial Dog Park is a place that will get your dogs’ tails wagging. The park features three separate fenced areas - the training yard, small dogs pen, and large dogs pen. These sections let your furry friends run free and play endlessly without you worrying. The park was established due to public demand and was constructed through the funding of the family of Will May, a local kid who passed away on a hunting accident in January 2013. Will May Memorial Dog Park serves a useful place for the community and thoughtful dedication to a local boy.

Will May Dog Park

Address: 6198 Watermelon Rd Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35406

Website: Will May Dog Park

Opening hours: 6am - 9pm (daily)

Price: Free

21. Plan a picnic at Snow Hinton Park

Snow Hinton Park - panoramio - Idawriter
Source: Photo by user Idawriter used under CC BY-SA 3.0

In the middle of Tuscaloosa’s busiest boulevard lies a gem where people spend time to relax. Snow Hinton Park is a local’s favorite to work on their wellness and to spend some fun time with their families. The park feature an 0.8 mile (1.3 km) track conducive for a run, walk, or a jog mainly because of the concrete pathway and the open-air atmosphere. During the nice fall days, family picnics and barbecues are common in the park grounds as well as kids flying kites and throwing balls. The park is a place where the community takes some time off their busy lives and recharge. If you want to either bond with your loved ones or to break some sweat, Snow Hinton Park has a spot for you.

Snow Hinton Park

Address: 1000 Hargrove Road East Tuscaloosa, AL 35405

Website: Snow Hinton Park

Opening hours: 7am - 10pm (daily)

Price: Free

22. Pay homage to the veterans at Veterans Memorial Park

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Veterans Memorial Park was built to give honor and pay respect to all veterans of the United States Armed Forces as well as a tribute to the Northington General Army Hospital, one of the biggest military hospitals during the World War II. In this memorial park, you will see ships, tanks, helicopters, and other war machines that the soldiers used to serve the United States. Veterans and other men and women of service often go to this park and pay their respects to their fallen colleagues and friends. When you see one, try to have chat and relive their stories of bravery and courage during the 1940s.

Veterans Memorial Park

Address: McFarland Blvd E, Tuscaloosa, AL 35403, USA

Website: Veterans Memorial Park

Opening hours: Dusk to dawn (daily)

Price: Free

23. Enjoy the buzzing vibe of Government Plaza

Listen to some amazing music from local artists, satisfy your cravings with a wide range of food choices, and enjoy the company of friends and family at Government Plaza. This year, the plaza is packed with a great line-up of events and entertainment shows that are filled with fun, some of which are even for free! From Shakespearean plays to rock and roll concerts and from weekend markets to food truck crawls, Government Plaza always have something in store for you. Check out their website for the list of their upcoming events because an amazing time is just around the corner!

Government Plaza

Address: 2106 6th St, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401, USA

Website: Government Plaza

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Depends on event

24. Breathe in fresh air at University of Alabama Arboretum

The Arboretum will be closed tommorrow, November 23rd for the holiday. We will resume normal operating hours on Friday, November 24. Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by The University of Alabama Arboretum on Wednesday, 22 November 2017

The University of Alabama Arboretum is a 60-acre (24.3 hectares) conservatory that houses the native plant and animal species of Alabama. The enormous land area also includes a 4-kilometer (2.5 miles) trail passing through piney woodland, ornamental plants garden, wildflower garden, experimental garden, children’s garden, oak-hickory forest, and an open-air pavilion. A visit to the arboretum is absolutely free and will surely be an educational one. Bring the whole family for a day of learning and appreciating nature.

University of Alabama Arboretum

Address: 4801 Arboretum Way, Tuscaloosa, AL 35404, USA

Website: University of Alabama Arboretum

Opening hours: 8am - 5pm (daily)

Price: Free (donations are accepted)

25. Experience the local nightlife at Rhythm & Brews

Whether you want to watch a big sporting event with other fans or want to party the night away and meet new people, Rhythm & Brews is where you want to go! Aside from that, the pub serves a wide variety of food and drinks that complements their great entertainment. A friendly tip, be sure to try their famous crawfish and ride the mechanical bull. Rhythm & Brews is committed to give you the best nightlife experience in Tuscaloosa so head out and have a guaranteed great time!

Rhythm & Brews

Address: 2308 4th St, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401, USA

Website: Rhythm & Brews

Opening hours: Wed - Fri: 5pm - 3am; Sat: 7pm - 2am (closed from Sun - Tue)

26. Shop 'til you drop at University Mall

University Mall Tuscaloosa, AL (15247278708)
Source: Photo by user Mike Kalasnik used under CC BY-SA 2.0

University Mall, located in the busiest city of Tuscaloosa, is the largest mall in Western Alabama. It opened in 1980 and was previously the home of the Northington Naval Hospital from World War II. The ruins were destroyed during the filming of the movie Hooper and presently, the mall has 65 stores with a wide selection of clothes, gifts, home decors, and more to shop from. So, if you are looking for a place to get your dose of retail therapy, University Mall is the best place to get it!

University Mall

Address: 1701 McFarland Blvd E #100, Tuscaloosa, AL 35404, USA

Website: University Mall

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 9pm; Sun: 1pm - 5pm

A cultural trip in Tuscaloosa

A visit in Tuscaloosa means trying something new and learning something about its culture. This city has a lot of interesting places to visit, museums to check out, foods to try, or parks to traverse that do not break the bank–each place having a story rooted on the culture and heritage of Tuscaloosa. So plan that trip and appreciate the beauty of Tuscaloosa with each place you visit from the list above.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

Get Trip101 in your inbox

Unsubscribe in one click. See our privacy policy for more information on how we use your data

Still Need Travel Insurance?

You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.

*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101

*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.

A Filipino travel enthusiast who is passionate in experiencing life to its fullest and in going beyond her horizon. She has traveled to some parts of Asia, especially the islands of the...Read more

 Want to contribute as a Local Expert?
Explore Tuscaloosa
Good things are meant to be shared!