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An Ultimate Guide to Parents Weekend in Tuscaloosa

This past weekend my sorority hosted a Parents Weekend filled with events, clothes, raffles and food.  My mom came to town, and I couldn’t quite figure out what to do with her when we were not doing sorority events. I knew I wanted to try a new restaurant (on her card of course), and I wanted her to meet my friends. Other than that, I was a little stuck.

Sure, I had the places I like to go to, but would my mom?

Here are the places and suggestions to have the ultimate Parents Weekend in Tuscaloosa.

Lodging

My dad is loyal to the Capstone Hotel, if he can’t get a reservation, it’s almost like he won’t even want to come visit. It’s a great place, close to campus and the strip, with big rooms and a great bar.

Although my family is Capstone loyal, some other options are the AC Hotel and Embassy Suites. These locations are perfect if you want to meet your parents for dinner downtown. The AC Hotel even has a rooftop bar, and the tapas are wonderful. The Embassy Suites in downtown is a great option too!

Hotels on McFarland are a little far from campus, but you can make it to campus in a 10-15 minute drive. Many of these hotels also offer gameday shuttles during the fall to and from campus.

Food

Parents love Taco Mama and World of Beer. It’s a fact.

Taco Mama has affordable food and really good margarita pitchers to split. It’s a perfect lunch place and easy to take all your friends to. Taco Mama is the ultimate crowd pleaser

World of Beer (WOB) is also downtown and has a wide variety of food such as burgers, tacos, salads, giant pretzels and (obviously) a ton of beer. I consider WOB a good place for lunch, because you will almost always get a table, and the restaurant will not be inundated with college kids. However, I would not recommend taking your parents to WOB after hours- it’s loud and crowded, and not the vibe once the evening hits.

Mellow Mushroom, The Grocery, and Mugshots are great for lunch or dinner. Mellow Mushroom has a variety of pizzas and salads with a fun atmosphere. The Grocery has a great bar, and I recommend ordering the fried green tomatoes, salmon salad, or rocket philly sandwich. Nothing is too pricey, so you can walk away without hurting the bank. Bonus: I’ve never waited more than 15 minutes at The Grocery! It’s a perfect spot for for the family beer-lover since they have over 80 beers that rotate on the menu. Mugshots is a safe bet because they have a little bit of everything, and everything tastes good. It’s sure to have something for everyone, so no one leaves unhappy!   

For nicer restaurants, I recommend 5 Restaurant, Chuck’s Fish, DePalma’s, Avenue Pub, and River. River is that only restaurant that takes reservations, so I recommend making them as early as possible. River has a smaller menu, but there is something for everyone at this American style restaurant. 5 Restaurant has five menu items and strong drinks. Everything tastes fresh and the food is super filling.

Chuck’s Fish is open again after a short hiatus. Chuck’s is mainly sushi and fish, but also offers steaks and salads. They source fish from their restaurant on the gulf- so you know everything is fresh! You have to try the brussels sprouts, trust me. DePalma’s is Tuscaloosa’s Italian restaurant. From build your own pasta dishes, warm bread, and yummy desserts- it’s hard to miss!

As a former hostess of a Tuscaloosa restaurants, wait times get long…fast. Call ahead, if possible, to gauge how long you might be waiting, and don’t go in hungry.

Night Life

Red Shed, Gallettes, and Session are great places to take your parents. Rhythm and Brews is another option if your parents like country music. Red Shed is chill and has a band. When I took my mom last weekend, the band played a variety of music and my mom LOVED it. Gallettes has outside seating perfect for talking and a back room for ‘partying.’ Session is a craft cocktail bar located downtown. It is definitely a sit down and sip bar. The prices are high, so you can only hope your parents want to pay.

Things to Do

I love to walk around Tuscaloosa- on the Riverwalk, from campus to downtown, and just around campus.

My parents love to shop in Tuscaloosa because the Southern style is so different than my Los Angeles roots. The boutiques in Midtown encapsulate Southern flair and sorority shops like The Trunk and The Row are great for getting stuff to rep your letters. Dads love the Shirt Shop right next to The Trunk too!

Whatever you end up doing, you will have the most fun because your parents are in town!

MJ Miller

Alabama '24

MJ Miller is from Los Angeles, California and is thoroughly enjoying her studies at the University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa. MJ loves spending time with her friends and making Taylor Swift playlists.
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