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Birmingham, AL, USA

Take in the South in Tuscaloosa

The Tuscaloosa metro area consists of 182,000 residents. The first people in the area were the Creek and Choctaw Indians who called it "Black Warrior Village." This city is the home of the original Dreamland BBQ, and has been on Money Magazine's best places to live in the U.S. list several times. Come and visit this historic southern town to see the culture and industry that has been built from the plantations and factories of the Civil War days. There's a lot to offer in Tuscaloosa!

Bryant-Denny Stadium
There are 101,821 seats in this University of Alabama stadium, making it in the nation's top five on-campus football stadiums in terms of capacity. The original stadium was built in 1929 and held only 12,000 people to cheer on the Crimson Tide. The facility is named after Paul W. Bryant and Dr. George Denny. Bryant was a head coach for the Tide and has several other campus buildings named after him. Denny was the president of the university for nearly a quarter of a century, starting in 1912. Drive your Birmingham rental car here to cheer for 'Bama on their way to victory.

The Bama Theatre 
Head to downtown Tuscaloosa to visit this historic theater. You'll know you've found it by the massive red and gold light-up "Bama" marquee. Built in 1938, the Bama Theatre is an entertainment and art venue for movie showings, acoustic concerts, art shows, film festivals and more. Recent live productions include "School House Rock," acoustic nights with musicians from near and far, literature readings, performances of "The Addams Family: A New Musical Comedy" and more. Some shows are family friendly so be sure to check the calendar before bringing little ones to any show or gallery at this theater.

Jemison-Van De Graaff Mansion
If you like architecture and history, this is a must on your trip to Alabama. Robert Jemison Jr. was  a mill owner, bridge builder and foundry as well as owner of surface coal mines, a stage line, over 500 slaves and six plantations. He taught his slaves skills that they could use working for him and elsewhere outside of his mills and factories. He was also a state senator. He did not want the South to secede from the union but ended up serving on the Confederate Senate. Jemison built the Italianate mansion to be his town house. It was built between 1859 and 1862 but was not completed when the Civil War started so many finishing touches were left undone. This mansion was the first in Tuscaloosa to have a fully plumbed bathroom and its own gas plant to supply gas for lighting. Once the family no longer owned the building it became the city library. Today it is owned by the Tuscaloosa County Preservation Society and the Heritage Commission of Tuscaloosa. There are offices in the basement available for rental, and the building can be used for weddings, parties and receptions. Drive your Birmingham rental car to this sprawling, historic house to take in a gorgeous piece of Alabama history.