College Town Tour: Tuscaloosa, AL
The University of Alabama is among the SEC’s strongest competitors—and they know how to throw a party, too.
Written By: Kristin Luna
With 15 national championships to its name, including back-to-back titles in 2011 and 2012, the University of Alabama is among the SEC’s strongest competitors—and they know how to throw a party, too.
School: University of Alabama
Stadium: Bryant-Denny Stadium
Mascot: Big Al the Elephant
Battle cry: “Roll Tide!”
4 p.m. Pull up to the full-service Hotel Capstone, your base for the weekend and home of 150 contemporary-style rooms. Since you’re staying so close to the National Championship Trophy, be sure to take a peek—it can be glimpsed from the sidewalk below Mal Moore Athletic Facility.
7 p.m. Your Saturday is going to get rowdy, so steal away for a quiet dinner tonight at Evangeline’s, one of Tuscaloosa’s only fine dining, white-tablecloth establishments. Decadent items like lobster ravioli and shrimp and stone ground grits pepper the menu.
9 p.m. Enjoy a nightcap and some live music at Innisfree Irish Pub before retiring to your hotel for the evening. (Remember: Tailgating starts early!)
9 a.m. Grab a bite to eat at Waysider, a local landmark dishing out Southern staples like biscuits and gravy, country ham, short stacks, and beignets. From there, the Tuscaloosa River Market (open every Saturday from 7 a.m. to noon) showcases a bevy of artisan products—from pottery to honey—and is a fun way to kill a few hours before kickoff.
1 p.m. Prior to heading to the Quad to tailgate, brush up on your college football history at Paul W. Bryant Museum. For a little retail therapy, you can pick up select Alabama merch at the museum shop, or stroll through the sea of crimson crowding The Strip—the campus’ main drag, University Boulevard—for some serious people-watching mixed with window-shopping at local boutiques Effie’s and Perfect Touch.
7 p.m. Order the catch of the day, like black grouper or red snapper, from Chuck’s Fish, a casual joint serving steaks, seafood caught fresh from the Gulf, wood-fired pizzas, and more than two dozen types of rolls made at the restaurant’s sushi bar.
10 p.m. Any game night must end with the signature Yellowhammer (a punch with vodka, Malibu rum, dark rum, pineapple juice, and orange juice) at Gallettes, a total hole in the wall that’s been around since the late ’70s. Not only is it a true college tradition to hit up this dive post-game—the patio is always packed—but it’s also the closest bar to the stadium.
10 a.m. Sleep in then enjoy brunch at Five, where you’ll have—you guessed it—five choices each of entrees (like crab cake Benedict or chicken and waffles), sides, and drinks. Bonus: Sundays feature live music, a Bloody Mary bar, and bottomless mimosas…if you haven’t gotten your fill earlier in the weekend.
2 p.m. Take a spin around campus to see what all you missed on game day before making the three-hour drive home. Many of the stately sorority and fraternity mansions of Greek Row have recently been renovated and are definitely worth a gander.
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