A little over two years ago, it was time for me to pack my bags and move to a new city. I received a job offer in Huntsville, Alabama and I had two days to move. Now that I have had the chance to explore and get my roots started, I can share some of the top places to visit, eat, explore and shop. If you are ever in the South and are travelling through Huntsville, this is your one stop shop of where to go and what to do. I may even be able to convince some of our readers to make a weekend trip!
Check out my 6 favorite things to do in Huntsville, Alabama!
1. Space and Rocket Center
Huntsville aka “Rocket City” is very much well known for their U.S. Space & Rocket Center (USSRC). It has one of the biggest collections of space and rocket memorabilia in the world. You could spend the entire day between going from the Saturn V Hall, Shuttle Park, Rocket Park, and the main exhibit area or you could catch an IMAX on their dome screen. You can also enjoy NASA’s Payload Operations Integration Center. It allows you to get a true sense of what it’s like to live and work in space! My favorite is the Saturn V Hall when you can check out a 13.1 billion year old moon rock.
2. Huntsville Botanical Gardens
Beautiful flower gardens, hammocks, aqua center, butterfly garden and so much more make up Huntsville’s Botanical Gardens. Most people like to go in the spring, but I highly recommend making the trip during the Festival of Lights. It is truly magical to wind your way around the grounds with thousands of Christmas lights sparkling and brightening your way. They even have a week where you can walk through it with your four legged friend! Any time is a good time though, it’s something to see for the whole family.
3. Huntsville Hiking Trails
Huntsville has amazing hiking trails on Monte Sano Mountain which is Spanish for Mountain of Health. The mountain rises more than 1,600 feet above downtown Huntsville and it allows you to capture breathtaking views. Monte Sano is a state park that is open 7 days a week from 8 a.m. until 30 minutes before sunset and offers 14 miles of trails. The park not only has hiking, but biking trails as well. There are playgrounds, disc golf courses, pavilions, cabins, rock climbing spots and campgrounds too. If you visit the website alltrails.com you can get some insight and tips from hikers that have been on the trails and get their ratings and opinions of each. I am not much of a hiker but there are beginner trails that are only 2 miles as well as advanced options. It is truly refreshing to get out and experience nature and this city makes it easy to do.
Downtown Huntsville has everything from trendy to relaxed eating establishments. Cotton Row and Commerce Kitchen are two of my favorites. Cotton Row has the most delicious appetizers including truffle fries and fried green tomatoes. Their entree’s include an incredible filet mignon and roasted chicken, and they definitely know how to pair it with the perfect wine. It’s easy to walk downtown and spot good food spots and considering you are in the South, you can’t go wrong. Honorable mentions include 1892 and The Bottle. A huge bonus, I feel very safe walking around this downtown area.
Bridge Street Town Center is the trendy go to spot in Huntsville for all your shopping needs. Right off the interstate, it’s easy to get to and you have endless shops, bars, food options, and even a movie theater. It is an outdoor shopping center with cute bridges over waterways, a splash pad for the kids in the summer, music, and at Christmas time it’s decked out in lights. You can stop in the bookstore and grab a latte or tea and make your rounds to upscale stores or the common stores you see in most malls. Anthropology, Kate Spade, and DSW are three of my favorite shopping stops.
Tip if you’re hungry: My all time favorite restaurant is located in Bridgestreet, it’s called Connor’s Steak House. The grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, and asiago creamed spinach are mouthwatering options. Go by the Chocolate Crocodile for dessert if you have room!
6. Local Breweries
Fun Fact, five years ago Huntsville only had one brewery. That brewery was opened in 1933 and the only commercially brewed local beer for 71 years! Our small southern city is now booming with craft beer and has 9 breweries and counting. Some of the local favorites are Straight to Ale, YellowHammer, Salty Nut and Below the Radar. Each of these have high ratings and a relaxed atmosphere that is sure to put you in a good mood. I highly recommend stopping by one of these and enjoying finding that perfect beer for your palate!
Huntsville is booming with young adults looking to take their career to the next level. My career has completely sky rocketed (no pun intended) in the 2 1/2 years that I have been here. The great part is, the city is keeping up with the demand that young adults request. New restaurants, shops, activities and nightlife are continuing to pop up to keep up with cities like Atlanta and Charleston. I must say, I am the most excited about the newest adventure Top Golf that is on schedule to open in December 2017!
Grab your weekender bag and make a trip to Huntsville, Alabama and let us know what you think about the city!