UPDATE: This post is written by Calhoun County Insight. Learn more at: http://calhouncountyinsight.com/
Welcome to Calhoun County, new JSU students! Insight has updated their local food, entertainment and exercise guide to give you the area’s top attractions and best spots for having fun, meeting new people and settling into the area. Locals can use this list to find their new favorite spot, too, so read on and get ready to get out of the house!
Places to Eat
Momma Goldberg’s / mommagoldbergsdeli.com / 208 Mountain St, Jacksonville
If you want a casual, deli-style restaurant with pitchers of beer and nachos made with Doritos and buffalo chicken (and trust us, you do), Momma Goldberg’s is the best spot to stop right near campus, just across from the stadium. There are daily specials to save you money, so be sure to check in with them regularly.
Java Jolt / javajoltcoffeehouse.wordpress.com / 5 Public Square E, Jacksonville
Not only for pick-me-ups in the morning, Java Jolt also has a selection of fresh-baked breakfast and snack items on display, and since they’re a coffee shop, they’ve got free wi-fi and plenty of space for students to study all day long.
Struts / strutswings.com / 500 Forney Ave NW, Jacksonville
There’s a lot of good stuff on the menu at Struts, but if it’s your first time in town, you’ve got to go for one thing: wings. Struts has incredible wings with a ton of different sauces to try, from mild to super hot and unique flavors like teriyaki and lemon pepper for those who want to beat the heat.
Cecil’s Place / 313 Pelham Rd S, Jacksonville / https://www.facebook.com/CecilsPlaceLLC/
Jacksonville’s legendary burger shack has made itself into an area institution, where the hamburgers, fries and shakes get top reviews in reader surveys every time they’re mentioned. Want something out of the ordinary? Try a grape milkshake.
The Rocket / 1508 Pelham Rd S, Jacksonville / https://www.zomato.com/jacksonville-al/rocket-drive-inn-jacksonville
Another area legend, The Rocket is beloved to Calhoun County residents for having the best barbecue around (though some worthy contenders keep them on their toes), but they’ve also got an awesome burger, to boot.
Mata’s Greek Pizza & Grinders / 1708 & North Quintard Avenue, Anniston / http://www.matasgreekpizza.org/
Anniston’s answer to Chicago, San Francisco and Italian pizzas, with deep dish, thin crust and house styles backing up a passion for pizza perfection. Plus ranked as Alabama’s best pizza from AL.com.
Cooter Brown’s / cootersribs.com / 8464 Alabama Highway 204, Jacksonville
They’ve got an unusual name, but this rib shack is a prime spot for barbecue, and they’ve got a comfortable atmosphere that makes you want to hang out for a while (and get a second helping of cheddar bacon fries).
Heroes / heroesgrille.com / 8896 McClellan Blvd, Anniston
Heroes is one of the best wing places in the county, with double-fried wings and all the sauces you’d expect from a serious kitchen. Plenty of televisions line the dining area for keeping up with the game, and regular entertainment from local artists keeps the restaurant lively.
Places to Party
Smoking Moose / 1214 Noble St, Anniston
The Moose is a two-story spot for drinking, dancing and music, with an outdoor area that’s great when the evenings start to cool off.
Dark Horse Saloon / darkhorsesaloon.org / 1113 Noble St, Anniston
One of the newest spots in town, the Dark Horse keeps a casual atmosphere, with live, acoustic performances by local artists and decor that honors military veterans.
The Peerless Saloon and Grille / peerlesssaloon.com / 13 W 10th St, Anniston
Of all the establishments in town, the Peerless has one of the best historical vibes, with the bar, restaurant and stage all putting off a vintage feel. Regular performances by local acts and a once-monthly open-mic/poetry night keep it fresh.
Cheaha Brewing Company / cheahabrewingcompany.com / 1208 Walnut Ave, Anniston
One of Anniston’s favorite meeting spots, with a brewery on site and tons of different drinks to try (including samplers, for those who want to mix it up).
Places to Be Entertained
In addition to the local music scene in area night life spots, you can also find entertainment in the form of local theatre and events.
Oxford Performing Arts Center / oxfordpac.org / 100 Choccolocco St, Oxford
JSU Drama / jsu.edu/drama
CAST Theatre / castalabama.com
Buckner Event Plaza / http://www.bucknereventplaza.com / 412 Bucker Circle, Anniston
Don’t forget to check in with the listed party spots and restaurants to see what they’ve got going on for any given night.
Places to Exercise
The Chief Ladiga Trail / chiefladigatrail.com
The Ladiga Trail is great for walking and biking, stretching all the way through Calhoun County. The trail intersects with JSU, downtown areas of Piedmont and Weaver, and has eventual plans to extend the trail through Anniston.
Anniston Aquatic and Fitness Center / 130 Summerall Gate Rd, Anniston / www.annistonal.gov/pages/?pageID=82
With an eight lane, 25-yard swimming pool, the Aquatic Center is a great spot for cooling off and getting a good workout. There are also several classes available, including Zumba and other above-water activities.
Coldwater Mountain Trail / facebook.com/coldwatermountain / Coldwater Road, Anniston
For mountain biking and BMX riders of all skill levels, this open trail has a lot of possibilities. Check out the Facebook page for maps and more info.
YMCA of Calhoun County / ymcacalhoun.org / 29 W 14th St, Anniston
You know where it’s fun to stay. The Y has equipment for sports, exercise and fitness classes and programs to keep you in shape throughout the whole year.