One and Only Things to Do Before the Game
There isn’t a city in the world like Tuscaloosa, especially on a game day. The city comes alive with a vibrating energy of excitement and passion for college football. Tuscaloosa goes from the fifth largest city in the state to the second largest when the concrete walls of Bryant-Denny are filled to the brim. From the iconic Quad in the center of the University to the beauty of Downtown, there is something for everyone to do on Game Day.
The University of Alabama Campus
Whether the game kicks off at 11 am or 8 pm you can find people enjoying all these great city offers. The classic start to any game day is on the Quad. A mass of people and tents collide under the shade of the towering trees, or in the open field to the east of the Library with festivities. Tailgate tents can range from collegiate staples like a good grill and stable TV, to full on luxury with fine china illuminated by chandeliers. For those without an invitation to a tailgate, the east side of the quad offers an array of local food trucks lined up to serve you. The Quad is a world all of its and one you have to see to believe.
Along University Blvd, past the old row of fraternity houses, is the landmark strip. It’s a section of incredible bars, restaurants, and shopping all waiting to delight you.
If there’s any place along the strip to make a trip to, its Gallettes. The epitome of a classic college bar, you can find patrons singing every word of “Sweet Home Alabama” with a gospel dedication. If you’re lucky enough to catch a rendition of “Dixieland Delight” you’ll be elated to find everyone around you not only sing the whole song with heart, but extra lyrics are known only by Alabama fans. At the bar, you’ll find the legendary Yellowhammer cocktail. Many try to recreate it, but you can never beat the original in its classic yellow and red cup.
Since the 1980s, Buffalo Phils has been serving guests their delicious food and mysterious green concoction known as the Philibuster. Under the collegiate décor, you can find some of the best wings in town along with some all too tempting items like a chicken fried steak burger, hot dogs, and fries smothered in their wing sauce.
Is there anything more college than pizza? The savory treat that graces every party, late night and early morning of those great four years can be found in top form in Little Italy. Inspired by New York style pizza, you can grab just a simple slice or a whole pie depending on your appetite.
This foodie favorite has some of the best looking, and even better-tasting biscuits. From savory to sweet, these fluffy biscuit sandwiches come stuffed with wonderful fillings like fried chicken and goat cheese or strawberries and cream. They come out looking so picture perfect you’re sure to make your friends envious when they end up on your social media.
Further towards the west from the university, and a short walk or uber ride away is a food heaven waiting for you. Downtown Tuscaloosa’s food scene is growing fast, and it’s time to reap the tasty rewards. There’re so many great options it gets difficult with every year to narrow it down to the best. So come hungry when you come downtown.
This One and Only has grown from Tuscaloosa to several cities across the southeast and it’s easy to see why. Their simple menu keeps it to five choices from appetizers to cocktails. The atmosphere inside is as photogenic as the food that comes out the kitchen.
Inside the former L&N Train Station, you’ll find a fusion of german and southern cuisine that you never knew you needed. The great hall of the old grand station is pleasantly lit by the original gasolier as you dine on Reuben spring rolls and bourbon glazed duck.
This list topping eatery has consistently been the go-to for some of the best food in Tuscaloosa. Known for their hole in the wall setting, great drinks, and incredible fusion dishes, it’s hard to go wrong with Avenue Pub. Fan favorites range from their Thai Nachos to the Bacon Burger that has been winning accolades since its debut.
Tuscaloosa is far from dry when it comes to locally brewed craft beer. With three local breweries, it’s hard to choose, but Black Warrior Brewing along University Blvd keeps the tailgate going. Inside you’ll find their wide collection of brews, along with wine and even non-alcoholic house made root beer. Upstairs they offer the classics like darts, but also bring in the tailgate fun with cornhole and adult sized Jenga!
Not all of Tuscaloosa’s finest can be easily sought after. you can hunt down some ridiculously delightful places that are tucked away and waiting to surprise you. From along the riverbanks to the outskirts, even within the city center, there’s something worth finding in the One and Only.
(Nicks n the Sticks)
During gameday, you’ll hear seasoned fans talk about what almost sounds like a foodie fairy tale. A little red brick building surrounded by towering pines a little out west from the city that’s home to some of the best filets you’ll ever know. Nicks Original Filet House as the little sign will read, is a legend all on its own. It’s a short drive from downtown and tends to fill up quick, but the bacon wrapped filets, low prices, and the iconic cocktail they call the Nicodemus are beyond worth the drive.
Located along the riverbanks not far from the university, you can find what’s quickly becoming one of the best new places to eat in the city. River is a modern foodie heaven with breathtaking views of the Black Warrior and to die for dishes. They have taken the city by storm with their well-crafted cocktails to their refined southern inspired dishes. The Southern staple of shrimp n grits is presented like a refined delicacy with a bounty of flavor.
Downtown has become so overwhelmed with amazing offers, it’s easy to overlook some places. The chaos of the crowd and the paradox of choices can make it easy to walk right past this hole in the wall diamond. Ephipany café is farm to table with some worldly cuisine. You can find it tucked between Carpe Vino and The Grey Lady. Inside under its brick arches are small plates that pack a boisterous punch to them. You can always trust something you’ll like will be on the menu as it changes all the time.
Hardly hidden, but easy to overlook, this Bama burger joint is right under the looming shadow of Bryant-Denny. You can find it thanks to its large neon name, and while the crowd before and even after the game can be intimidating, trust that what’s waiting inside is well worth any wait. Their burgers are that kind of simple that can never truly be beaten. Along with their fries and a classic American milkshake, you’ll wonder why you ever doubted waiting for this Bama Burger. Look for the National Champs BLT that features a slice of bacon for every Alabama Championship win. If you don’t know, that means a lot of bacon.
Getting Around Town
Game Day can mean big-time crowds, with big city style traffic. From the early hours before a game, to well after the 4th quarter it’s not easy to manage driving around town. Luckily this southern college down offers ways to beat the crowd and get around with ease.
Tuscaloosa offers both the classic taxi service, alongside the app driver service of Uber. Both are great ways to get around thanks to their experience on Tuscaloosa roads, and their dedication to getting you around safely
Golf Cart App Services
What is more fun and exciting than flying past traffic on a golf cart? Tuscaloosa has the quirky taxi service of golf carts driven to meet you and take you anywhere you need to go in their service area. Simply use their app and summon a driver like you would for any other app taxi service and be swept past the crowds on a golf cart.
Game Day Shuttles
The University of Alabama, alongside the City of Tuscaloosa, offer several different shuttle services to help ease the way back to your car, or simply head towards downtown and not have to walk.
Crimson Ride Shuttle
For those who parked around the eastern side of the campus, this free shuttle takes you from the quad to stops near the east campus RV lots, the soccer lots, and parking lots along 5th Avenue
Tuscaloosa Transit will take you from the stadium to the Downtown Intermodel Facility parking deck running 3hours before the game, and an hour after for $1 per trip.
University Mall Shuttle
With Free parking at the University Mall, you can ride to and from the stadium for $10 per person round trip.