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Tuscaloosa touts historic architecture, unique Crimson Tide traditions around Alabama

Most people probably wouldn’t have too much trouble enjoying the University of Alabama. If you like college football, after all, there’s no one that racks up wins — blowout wins, no less — like Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide.

But the university has a whole lot more than SEC dominance to threaten a good time on and around campus.

As Shell Rotella presents in CBS Sports’ “What’s Inside the SEC” series, the home of the Crimson Tide touts everything from historic architecture to unmatched student-athlete traditions.

Tuscaloosa is the fifth largest city in Alabama, but you’d think it’s even bigger considering all the school spirit it offers. Classic building designs are seen throughout campus, and the most notable piece of architecture — Bryant-Denny Stadium, constructed in the 1920s — is the second largest stadium in the SEC and the fifth largest in all of college football.

Right by the stadium, there’s an equally historic structure — Denny Chimes on The Quad, a 115-foot tower named after former Alabama president George H. Denny. The tower holds 25 cast-bronze bells that chime every 15 minutes on the hour, but it also serves as a marker for a nearby Walk of Fame that’s been in existence since 1948. Centered mostly around the base of Denny Chimes, the walk has almost 200 Crimson Tide alumni honored with their names and hand or footprints pressed in concrete. To date, Alabama is the only school to honor its former players in this way.

Then, of course, there’s the dining and drinking scene.

Like the stadium, the tower and the Walk of Fame, some of Tuscaloosa’s most popular spots are also rich in tradition.

The “5” restaurant, whose original location is right in the middle of town, offers five appetizers, five entrees, five red wines and five white wines, with its baked avocado — topped with tempura and spicy bacon mayonnaise shrimp sauce — among the specials. And the Campus Party Store, positioned right next to Bryant-Denny Stadium, serves as a disguise for the hidden Gallettes bar, which has operated since 1976 as one of the oldest bars on the strip outside the stadium, serving up famous Yellowhammer drinks as a game-day tradition.

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