Ride to Tuscaloosa, Then Roll Tide
There’s no disputing it, Tuscaloosa is one of those All-American quintessential college towns. Maybe it’s the charming architecture or the friendly locals. Let’s be serious, the football games play a bit part too. Since our Crescent route makes a stop in Tuscaloosa, we wanted to learn more about the city that the University of Alabama calls home. And just between the two of us we really wanted to scoop some local-approved recommendations. That’s why we reach out to Ashley, a University of Alabama alumnae and the current Alumni Events Coordinator at the university. Lucky for us, she didn’t hold back. Read on and find out why she loves calling this resilient and industrious city home.
Amtrak: What’s the best thing about calling Tuscaloosa home?
Ashley: Tuscaloosa is a unique blend of academia and industry. We are certainly a college town, but we have more manufacturing than most college towns, which brings a unique international population. We get to enjoy the charms of a small town, but we aren’t really all that small. We have lots of culture which blends into a wonderful southern fusion.
What are some of your favorite events on campus?
Of course we can’t talk about the University of Alabama without talking about Alabama football. Game day on campus brings more than 100,000 fans who are ready to show off their southern hospitality, tailgate style. And we don’t mean Ford trucks and a cooler. We mean tents with big screen TVs, chandeliers, and dining tables, paired with the most delicious food and game day cocktails you’ve ever tasted. Life-long friends meet up with friends for a day who all share a deep love for the Crimson Tide.
Where is the best place on campus to snap an Instagram–worthy photo?There is a University of Alabama sign right in front of the Walk of Champions at Bryant-Denny stadium that is perfect for an Insta photo.
If you only have one full day in Tuscaloosa what would you do?
Start with breakfast at the Waysider, they make the best buttermilk biscuits on earth. Then head just a bit out of town to the Mercedes-Benz Visitors Center to take the tour. Fun fact, all Mercedes SUVs are made right here in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. They also make the C-Class and the R-class. After the tour, cross the river for lunch at our favorite meat and three, City Café. Spend the afternoon strolling along the river at Manderson Landing before grabbing dinner at the original Archibald’s Barb-B-Que—the best ribs in Alabama. If you were hoping not to lick your fingers and wear a bib, perhaps head to instead to Depalmas for dinner, where your fingers will stay clean but you’ll likely want to lick the plate. Finally, cap off the night with a show at the amphitheater.
Where do you go to grab a late night bite?
Midnight sushi at Surin if you’re into sitting down with friends. College kids on the go prefer the Quick Grill for fast food staples.
For the 21+ over Tuscaloosa visitors out there, where would you recommend they go to grab a drink?
The Alcove—it’s a perfect blend of people and libations. From craft beer to classic cocktails, hipsters to lawyers, you’ll find them all at the Alcove.
Fill in the Blank: No trip to Tuscaloosa is complete without a trip to ________?
The University of Alabama campus. Even if you aren’t visiting for a football game, the beautifully manicured campus, featuring classic antebellum architecture is a must-see.
Roll? Tide. Always. The ESPN commercial from a few years back is spot on accurate for using the phase.
Whether you’re an alum itching to get back for a nostalgic weekend or a parent of a high school student thinking choosing Bama, plan ahead and take the train to Tuscaloosa this fall.