The University of Alabama commonly referred to as UA, Bama, or “The Capstone” is the state’s flagship school located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Alabama is a large school with an enrollment over 32,000, with over 50% of the population from out of state. Just 45 miles from Birmingham, Tuscaloosa has been on many lists as one of the most livable cities, thanks to a strong sense of community, a college town atmosphere and easy access to big-city conveniences. The sports teams are well known as the Alabama Crimson Tide, with football as the reigning king and a famous rallying cry of “Roll Tide.”
Transportation: The nearest major airport to the university is Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport , 62 miles from the center of Tuscaloosa, AL. Amtrak’s Crescent route stops in Tuscaloosa if you are arriving by train.
FYI: The University of Alabama campus is often referred to as "The Capstone" by alumni and friends of the university. "The Capstone" is a nickname coined by former UA President G. H. Denny calling the University the "capstone of the public school system of the state" in 1913. At the beginning of freshman year, at convocation, every new student recites the Capstone Creed; “As a member of The University of Alabama community, I will pursue knowledge, act with fairness, integrity and respect; promote equity and inclusion; foster individual and civic responsibility; and strive for excellence in all I do.”
Stay: Located on the University of Alabama campus, Hotel Capstone is our first choice for campus visits, and Parents Weekends. It is within walking distance to Bryant-Denny Stadium, the University Quad, and the Paul W. Bryant Museum. Unfortunately, Hotel Capstone is often booked, especially during football season, but Home2 Suites by Hilton and Embassy Suites by Hilton are both within walking distance to campus, and just a few blocks from the downtown’s restaurants and shops.
Coffee: Right on campus, student spot at Starbucks at The Ferguson Student Center, fondly called The Ferg by all. There is also another Starbucks on Paul Bryant Drive; it is very close to the Admissions office and perfect for a cappuccino before your tour. Alternatively, head to Java City located in the Gorgas Library. If you’re staying downtown or for a late afternoon fix don’t miss Monarch Espresso Bar, we loved the large industrial space and specialty craft coffees; it was abuzz with students and locals making for an ideal stop.
Breakfast: You must stop by Rama Jama’s at least once during a visit to Tuscaloosa for either breakfast or lunch. Every inch of this sports-centered grill is crammed with Crimson Tide memorabilia—we loved it and didn’t know where to look first! Located directly across the street from Bryant Denny Stadium, Rama Jama’s is the spot to be at in Tuscaloosa on game days. A short ten-minute drive from campus local chain Another Broken Egg serves eggs benedict, grits, sweet potato pancakes and more with the lovely view of the Black Warrior River. If you’re in town on the weekend, downtown’s Five Bar and Avenue Pub are local favorites for brunch.
Lunch: We asked numerous students where to go for lunch, and unanimously they all said to head to Buffalo Phil’s, right on the edge of campus. It’s a typical college kind of place famous for bringing chicken wings to Tuscaloosa. Right down the street is Steamers, known for their fried seafood and seasonal crawfish. If you’re in the mood for BBQ, make your way to Dreamland, popular for ribs, sausage, and their famous BBQ sauce (which you can order also order online). Taco Mama is many students go-to Mexican restaurant for a quick bite, with a fun atmosphere and fresh food. Mugshots located in downtown Tuscaloosa has a large selection of burgers, salads, and sandwiches, some with a Hawaiian-twist.
Casual: Five Bar is both a popular brunch spot and dinner venue. The southern-pub menu features five appetizers and five entrees, with regular specials. At night, the lights are low and live music is playing, making for a fun night out! If you’re in the mood for pasta, DePalma’s is one of the best Italian restaurants in Tuscaloosa. Jim ‘N Nick’s is a quaint, laid-back restaurant with slow-cooked BBQ and cheese biscuits--everyone in town raves about them. If you want a change from southern cuisine, Surin of Thailand and Kobe are where to go for good sushi and other Asian dishes.
A Step Up: Chuck’s Fish located in downtown Tuscaloosa, features a diverse menu of seafood, sushi, and pizza. It is one of the more upscale, trendy restaurants in town and many students bring their parents here while they’re in town. Although farther away, we hear it’s worth the drive to the Cypress Inn, known for killer river views, great cocktails, and delicious food. The Side by Side restaurant located in the Embassy Suites is known for blending Southern, French, and Californian cuisines.
Late Night Snack: For college students, Quick Grill on the Strip is infamous, known for their “messy fries.” (fries smothered in chili and cheese) Quick Grill is open until 3 AM, and its location next to the bars makes the restaurant very popular. Little Italy is also a staple late-night restaurant, with pizza that tastes as good as a New York slice.
Local Attractions: Leave some time for a wander around campus. The University is home to 67 frats and sororities and you will be in awe at some of the houses. History fans will enjoy viewing the historic President’s Mansion or Gorgas House. Both of these buildings narrowly spared destruction during the Civil War, making them some of the oldest buildings on campus. Whether you’re a football fan or not we highly recommend a visit to the Paul W. Bryant Museum to learn about the rich history and tradition of Crimson Tide football; it’s a small museum but well done and we were fascinated. The Tuscaloosa Amphitheater is the outdoor venue for music concerts in town attracting acts such as John Legend, Rod Stewart, Eric Church, and others. Check their website for schedules and tickets.
— Quotes From Campus —
UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA FAST FACTS
Crimson & White
Big - 29,000 Undergraduates
203 Student Services Center
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0132
(p) (205) 348-5666
NCAA Division I
UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA
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