In Huntsville, Alabama, change is constant, but tradition is never forgotten.
From the rich, historical architecture and neighborhoods to the progressive industries in aerospace, defense, and biotech, and to the community that encourages innovation and inclusivity, the “Rocket City” has never failed to adapt to the present while maintaining a love for the past. Here, residents work creatively and, when they play, they play all over the place—from the antebellum neighborhoods in our historical districts to the waters of the Tennessee River and the nightlife of Downtown Huntsville.
A mix of high-tech cool and sublime Southern culture, this city truly has something for everyone. Did you know Huntsville is home to the largest space museum in the world? The U.S. Space & Rocket Center features interactive, hands-on exhibits, an IMAX theater, a U.S. Space Camp training center, and more. In the Rocket City, everyone can be an astronaut for a day. And in true Huntsville fashion, you’ll find history celebrated along with progress. The permanent museum collection covers the first American satellite, Explorer I; original capsule trainers for the Mercury and Gemini programs; design modules for the International Space Station; next-generation vehicles, such as Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser; and the current models for SLS (Space Launch System—more commonly known as the mission to Mars!).
It’s not all science and technology, though. Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment is the largest privately-owned arts facility in the U.S., and you can find it just southwest of the heart of Huntsville. This historical textile factory building has been redeveloped into 131 working studios for over 200 artists and makers, six fine art galleries, a multi-use theater, and performance venues.
Downtown Huntsville is also where you’ll find the Huntsville Museum of Art, a nationally accredited museum that fills its seven galleries each year with a variety of traveling exhibitions and the work of nationally and regionally acclaimed artists. The museum’s own 2,522-piece permanent collection forms the basis for several yearly exhibitions. Fun fact: The art museum is also the home of the world’s largest collection of Buccellati silver animals.
As if the arts and sciences aren’t enough, you can still check out other attractions, like the Huntsville Botanical Garden, where lush greenery, beautiful reflecting pools, and the nation’s largest seasonal open-air butterfly house awaits.
Go back in time at family-friendly museums like EarlyWorks and Burritt on the Mountain. The EarlyWorks Family of Museums immerses visitors into the life of early-1800s Alabamians, where adults and kids alike can marvel at the birthplace of Alabama’s statehood in the Alabama Constitution Hall Historic Park & Museum. Take in the breathtaking view from Burritt on the Mountain, located atop Monte Sano Mountain, and make friends with the eclectic group of farm animals that reside among the rustic collection of 19th century houses and the iconic Burritt mansion.
Looking for outdoor activities? Take in the fresh air on one of Huntsville’s many hiking, biking, and birding trails. Kayak on the Flint River or enjoy a picnic at Monte Sano State Park. Ditto Landing offers water sports like boating and fishing.
After so much exploring, relax and unwind at one of Huntsville’s award-winning restaurants, like Cotton Row, or sip on a local brew on the Downtown Huntsville Craft Beer or Coffee Trail.
Visit Huntsville and you’ll find a community that continually grows and changes while keeping its relaxed Southern charm and hospitality.
Want to see more? Explore #iHeartHsv on social media to find what visitors and locals love most about Huntsville and Madison County, Alabama.
For more information, email the Huntsville CVB’s Pam Williams, or call her at 256.551.2204.
Photos by Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau