Spotlight on Tuscaloosa County: Culture & Recreation

Museums, historic places, trails and sports attract visitors to the area

Alabama Museum of Natural History.


The Alabama Museum of Natural History on the University of Alabama campus is the state’s oldest museum, celebrating the state’s natural history. Moundville Archaeological Park, 13 miles south of Tuscaloosa along the banks of the Black Warrior River, is a 326-acre archaeological park featuring 29 huge flat-topped earthen mounds constructed 800 years ago by the Mississippian people. The park also includes a museum, plus nature trail and picnic and camping facilities. Or think football at the Paul W. Bryant Museum, tracing the storied history of Crimson Tide football.


Art galleries and performance space are highlights at the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center. Harrison Galleries displays 19th and 20th century works of art, including paintings, prints, drawings and sculpture, along with vintage and contemporary photography. The renowned Kentuck Art Center in Northport is home to an annual Folk Arts Festival and offers workspace to artists and workshops for others. The Paul R. Jones Art Gallery, in downtown Tuscaloosa, presents exhibitions of works from the Paul R. Jones Collection of American Art at The University of Alabama, one of the largest collections of 20th-century African American art in the world. On the university campus, the Sarah Moody Gallery of Art features work of contemporary artists.

Tuscaloosa Amphitheater.


Venues abound from the concerts and special events at Tuscaloosa Amphitheater on 15 acres along the Black Warrior River to the Bama Theatre, now serving as Tuscaloosa’s performing arts center with shows and events almost every night of the year, and to Theatre Tuscaloosa, a partner of Shelton State Community College, one of the largest community theaters in the state.


Druid City Makerspace, dubbed “a gym for hobbies,” is a place to try something new without a major investment in supplies and equipment.


Tuscaloosa River Market, on the banks of the Black Warrior River, is a year-round Farmers Market each Saturday. There’s event space, too.

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Art Garage offers structured and unstructured art exploration for children. Children’s Hands-On Museum of Tuscaloosa offers dynamic learning experiences designed to foster curiosity, creativity and discovery. Mason’s Place is an all-inclusive playground located at Sokol Park in Northport.


Skate, bowl, jump and more in an array of game venues. Black lights, arcade games, classic films and more add extra fun at Bowlero. Shindig features bowling, laser tag and arcade games. Super Skate offers a roller rink plus arcade games and more, or jump in at UpSurge Trampoline Park.


Bryant-Denny Stadium, home turf for the Crimson Tide, is one of the most iconic facilities on the UA campus and one of the largest on-campus football stadiums in the country. It is also one of the most visited destinations in the state.


Crux Climbing offers climbers of all ages a place to challenge themselves. Ol’ Colony Golf Course offers 18 holes of golf on 25 acres, all designed by Jerry Pate. Tuscaloosa Tennis Center has indoor and outdoor courts with leagues, lessons and more.


Good Dog Tuscaloosa Is an off-leash dog park with shade, pools, tunnels and a bar for adults.


Riverwalk traces the southern bank of the Black Warrior River on a 4.5-mile, well-lighted, paved trail. Highlights include dog-friendly areas, picnic areas, a playground and splash pad. Randall Family Park and Trailhead, which opened last year, has a path, playground and pavilion, plus the trailhead.

The Old Jail, part of the area’s civil rights heritage.


The Tuscaloosa Civil Rights History Trail tells the role Tuscaloosa played in the civil rights movement with 18 stops that tell the stories of segregated schools, churches, stores, restaurants and movie theaters. The downtown portion centers on the events of “Bloody Tuesday” in 1964.


The University of Alabama Arboretum features walking trails through a native woodland, a wildflower garden, an ornamental plant collection, an experimental garden and a children’s garden.

Lake Tuscaloosa.


Lake Tuscaloosa offers waterskiing, tubing, swimming, fishing and more while Lake Lurleen State Park includes a lake with a swimming beach, fishing piers and kayak and canoe rentals. Also, kayak or hike along Hurricane Creek, just east of downtown Tuscaloosa.



The Venue Tuscaloosa opened earlier this year and features an ice cream shop with a drive-thru, a full-service pub and five restaurants, as well as an outdoor space and stage for live music and event nights.

This article appears in the September 2023 issue of Business Alabama.

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