Now that 2023 has officially begun and is in full swing, it’s the perfect moment to explore and take advantage of the myriad of activities readily available in the Tuscaloosa/Northport vicinity. Whether you’re on the lookout for activities that nourish you physically, immerse you culturally, or stimulate you mentally, there’s no doubt that a wealth of opportunities awaits right here in our local region. We’ve put together a list of 23 things to do in 2023.
list of 23 things to do in Tuscaloosa
- Visit the Tuscaloosa Public Library. In addition to a large selection of print books, the TPL offers ebooks and audiobooks that are available online. Download ebooks using OverDrive or Libby, the newer reading app by OverDrive, which is free and allows you to read/listen to books on your computer or personal devices such as phones and Kindles. For children, check out Tumblebooks, animated talking picture books that teach kids the joy of reading in a format they’ll love.
- Take a hike at one of the area’s beautiful walking trails. Enjoy Riverwalk, Snow Hinton Park, Munny Sokol Park, or Hurricane Creek Park. A lesser-known walking trail with lovely views is the Van DeGraff Arboretum and Historic Bridge Park located in Northport near the Municipal Airport. There are grills, picnic tables, and rentable facilities as well.
- Take your pup to a local dog park. Visit the newly opened Good Dog Park and Beer Bar that features a large turf-covered indoor space, grooming, daycare, and a bar for humans. Located on 16th Street, the park is free to enter and offers a great space for dogs and their humans to have fun.
- Experience fine dining at one of the area’s gourmet restaurants. Forte in the Alamite Hotel offers elevated classic French staples under the direction of Executive Chef Jacob Stull. In addition to excellent steaks, Forte offers other French dishes such as Coq au Vin and Beef Bourguignon.
- Treat yourself to a concert at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater. On Friday, May 12 Hank Williams, Jr. will perform with the Old Crow Medicine Show. Tickets are available on the Amphitheater’s website.
- Go out for a really good burger. If you’re downtown, check out the burgers at Avenue Pub on University Boulevard or Mugshots on Greensboro Avenue. Other great options are Local Roots on McFarland Boulevard North and Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers on 15th Street. Most everyone loves a good burger, and Tuscaloosa has no shortage of them.
- Visit the Alabama Museum of Natural History on the U of A campus. It houses plant and animal fossils, a fragment of a meteorite, and a replica of a prehistoric whale, along with many other items of interest.
- Attend a U of A sporting event. Check out a softball or baseball game, or watch the UA rowing team from Manderson Landing along the banks of the Black Warrior River.
- Go out for breakfast. You can’t go wrong with The Wayside, where you can enjoy a full-course breakfast and take in all the Alabama football memorabilia as you dine. If you’re seeking a quicker and lighter breakfast, visit Homewood Bagel Company on 15th Street or Mo’ Bay Beignets on 23rd Avenue downtown.
- Take the kids to CHOM–the Children’s Hands-On Museum–a place to explore, create, and discover. See special exhibits, enjoy Saturday theme days, and more. “Learning through play” is at the heart of all of CHOM’s exhibits, and children thrive at this wonderfully designed place.
- Go swimming, fishing, boating, or camping at Lake Lurleen State Park. This public reservoir also has great hiking trails.
- Attend an event in the historic Bama Theater downtown. School plays, musical performances, dance recitals, and other events occur regularly. Each December, the Tuscaloosa Community Dancers present The Nutcracker amidst the twinkling lights of this historic place.
- Be a part of Northport’s first-ever Bunny Trail. The Grand Opening will be on Saturday, March 11 beginning at 2:00 PM to kick off the Bunny Trail in Downtown Northport. Hop on down and enjoy music and refreshments, visit with sponsors, and see all of the decorated displays that will put a spring in your step for the season.
- Take the kids to Mason’s Place, the All-Inclusive Playground at Sokol Park. Designed with many iconic and historical components of the Tuscaloosa area, this playground allows people of all ages and abilities to play together.
- Head to the rooftop and get a close-up view of the skies at one of Tuscaloosa’s rooftop bars. Enjoy cocktails and appetizers on the banks of the Black Warrior River at The Lookout atop the Hotel Indigo. Or, head to Roll Call atop The Alamite Hotel downtown, where you can have sushi, wood-fired pizzas, and more.
- Express your creativity. Visit The Art Garage on 6th Street in Tuscaloosa. A place for both kids and adults, the Art Garage offers open play time, classes, and special events. It can be booked for birthday parties and other private events. Once a month, there is a ladies’ night, and throughout the year, there are planned Parents’ Nights Out as well.
- Find fresh produce, grass-fed meats, baked goods, and artisan crafts at the Tuscaloosa Farmers Market year-round on Saturdays. The Northport Farmers Market offers fruits and veggies from local farms, honey, baked goods, and handmade wooden items.
- Visit the Mercedes-Benz US International Visitor Center & Factory Tour. It showcases the history of the Daimler-Benz Motor Company and provides exhibits that explore the technological innovations and development of Mercedes-Benz.
- Attend the West Alabama Food and Wine Festival on Main Street in downtown Northport on Sunday, April 30. Local chefs, restaurateurs, and distributors will come together to provide a variety of southern flavors and experiences unique to our region while benefiting the West Alabama Food Bank.
- Go to the annual Witches’ Ride in October. Participants dressed as witches ride decorated bikes through the streets of Tuscaloosa in a fundraiser that benefits The Arc of Tuscaloosa, an organization that helps people with intellectual and developmental disabilities Join in the fun of this festive activity next fall.
- Shop at the Kentuck Gallery Shop in downtown Northport. Open year-round, this store offers handmade items by artists from around the country and many from Alabama. Find jewelry, ornaments, paintings, sculpture, and more.
- See Bama football history and memorabilia at the Bryant Museum. Enjoy exhibits like The Tide Through Time and visit a replica of Coach Bryant’s office.
- Enrich your cultural knowledge by visiting the Sarah Moody Gallery of Art in Garland Hall at the University of Alabama. Since its founding in the 1950s, this gallery has amassed a permanent collection of over 1500 works. Visitors can view a rotating selection of this collection, as well as ever-changing exhibitions.
So, now you know: there are many things to do in 2023 in the Tuscaloosa/Northport area. We hope you’ll experience many of these activities for yourself.
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