Best Things to Do in Tuscaloosa, Alabama with Kids
The land of crimson and “Roll Tide” is just a three-hour drive from Atlanta and offers lots of kid-friendly fun. Take a road trip to this classic, college town and experience why people stay there for more than four years.
The Quad / Denny Chimes
Shaded by giant, 200-year-old oaks and surrounded by columned mansions, that happen to double as classrooms, the quad is a great place to stop first. Grab some sandwiches from a local joint and picnic under the oaks. Let your kids explore the green and maybe even creep into Gorgas Library for a good read. Denny Chimes is a giant bell tower, which chimes and signals the time for students. Surrounding the area are hand prints and footprints of Alabama football greats. Kids will love comparing their hands and feet to the giant prints.
On gamedays, The Quad is packed from side to side with white tents and tailgating galore, so it’s fun to see the more quiet side. From the quad, you can also walk towards the Ferguson Student Center and visit the newly-renovated Sup Store for some Alabama gear.
You can’t come to Tuscaloosa without visiting the original location or Northport Dreamland BBQ. The ribs and barbecue are incredible and the banana pudding is the best in town. They have a great kid’s menu with smaller versions of the adult meals. Kids will love seeing all of the old signs and memorabilia hanging from the walls, and they will be mesmerized by the open-pit barbecue area with chefs cooking the savory meat.
This area is not too far from downtown and includes views of the Black Warrior River. Pick up some homemade Steel City Pops popsicles from downtown and then take a stroll down the boardwalk or sit on the benches by the river and watch boats. On any sunny day, you will see locals and students hanging their ENO hammocks by the river and relaxing. This is also a good time for kids to release some energy on the trails, and there is even a playground right by the river. There are also several restaurants that run alongside the river if you want to grab a bite to eat.
Walk of Champions / Bryant-Denny Stadium
Years of football history and victories are all seen on the Walk of Champions leading up to Bryant-Denny Stadium. Let your kids stand in awe of the giant, bronze Nick Saban or Paul Bear Bryant statues and let them climb up the stairs to the entrance to the stadium. They will feel like they are on top of the world when standing on the steps and looking over the campus. This is a fun learning opportunity for kids to read the names of football players and coaches that run along the walk.
Alabama is home to sports galore–swimming, gymnastics, basketball, soccer and more. Before you visit, make sure to check the athletic schedule to catch some college talent. The impressive Coleman Coliseum is where many an Alabama alumni has graduated, and is where the gymnastics team and basketball teams play.
Where to Stay:
Embassy Suites Downtown: Right in the heart of downtown Tuscaloosa, in walking distance to the Riverwalk. 2410 University Blvd., Tuscaloosa.
Hotel Capstone: More up-scale experience, right in the middle of campus for easy walking. 320 Paul W Bryant Dr., Tuscaloosa.
Where to Eat:
Taco Mama: Best tacos and quesadillas. 2104 University Blvd. A, Tuscaloosa.
Rama Jama’s: Featured on many an ESPN TV special, this unique spot has an old-school feel and is covered in Bama memorabilia. Great breakfast or lunch spot. 1000 Paul W Bryant Dr., Tuscaloosa.
FIVE: Panned chicken or chicken ‘n’ waffles for brunch. 2324 6th St., Tuscaloosa.
Chuck’s Fish: For sushi and seafood. 508 Greensboro Ave., Tuscaloosa.
Depalma’s Italian: Bread pudding or any pasta. This place is authentic Italian as it gets. 2300 University Blvd., Tuscaloosa.
City Café: For Southern home cooking. 408 Main Ave., Northport (just over the bridge from Tuscaloosa).
Mugshots Grill & Bar: Best burger in town. 511 Greensboro Ave., Tuscaloosa.
Other Local Spots:
Paul W Bryant Museum: Sitting right on campus is the museum dedicated to one of the greatest college football coaches of all time. 300 Paul W. Bryant Dr., Tuscaloosa.
The Bama Belle: Take a river boat cruise down the river. 1 Greensboro Ave., Tuscaloosa.
Tuscaloosa Museum of Art: This hidden gem is often visited by art history students, but can offer a great history lesson for older children. It is comprised of one of the largest private collections of American art all displayed inside a Japanese-inspired building. 1400 Jack Warner Pkwy. NE, Tuscaloosa.
Alabama Museum of Natural History: Walk through the creeky, wood floors of this building (students still take classes in the lecture halls) and experience dinosaur skeletons, fossils and more. 427 6th Ave., Tuscaloosa.
Children’s Hands-On Museum of Tuscaloosa: Learn through play with three floors of fun exhibits. 2213 University Blvd., Tuscaloosa.
Worth the Drive:
Moundville Archaeological Park: Explore the ancient ruins of the indigenous people of Tuscaloosa and walk around giant mounds covered with grass. 634 Mound Pkwy., Moundville (20-minute drive South of Tuscaloosa).
Mercedes-Benz Plant Tour: Kids ages 10 and older with their parents can tour the car plant and visitor’s center full of historic cars. Tours begin at the visitor’s center and last around 2 hours. Advance registration required. 6 Mercedes Dr., Vance. Mon.-Fri. 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.