HUNTSVILLE, ALABAMA: A high-tech city with a historical legacy and international appeal
As one of the fastest growing cities in the Southeastern USA, Huntsville can aptly be described as unexpected. Huntsville seamlessly marries the rich history of southern hospitality with innovative high-tech ventures and cultural diversity. In fact, more than 100 languages and dialects are spoken in the city. A sense of curiosity and exploration has been rooted in the city’s foundation. The first American satellite was sent into orbit from the city in 1958. One of the “Fathers of Rocket Science,” Wernher von Braun, lived and worked in Huntsville during the 1950s and 1960s, launching the space and rocket industry still associated with the city today. Experience that same sense of awe-inspiring curiosity today as you explore icons like the U.S. Space and Rocket Center or head off the beaten path into Huntsville’s vibrant neighborhoods and historic districts.
Where Art and Science Meet
There’s something awe-inspiring about being greeted by a 36-story tall Saturn V moon rocket when gazing out into Huntsville’s horizon. That’s just one of the many incredible sights at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, the visitor center for NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. Explore the largest spaceflight museum in the world to see more than 1,500 artifacts including Explorer I, a prototype of the first U.S. satellite, and a rare “full stack,” a massive space shuttle, external tank and two solid rocket boosters.
Art lovers shouldn’t feel left out, though. The Huntsville Museum of Art beckons visitors to admire a variety of permanent and temporary exhibits, including the unique Sellars Collection of Art by American Women. Huntsville also hosts the Panoply Arts Festival, an annual weekend celebrating the arts, music and more downtown. Art aficionados will especially love Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment, a former textile mill providing artists with public studio spaces. Visitors can check out galleries, watch live performances and even take creative classes including painting, sculpting and hula hooping.
The Great Outdoors
Huntsville’s location in the expansive Tennessee Valley makes day tripping for mountain adventures easy. Venture up Round Top Mountain (also known as Monte Sano Mountain), home to Monte Sano State Park, to enjoy the tranquil Japanese garden, or to hike trails blanketed with azaleas in the spring and colorful leaves in the fall. Nearby, blend your outdoor explorations with history at Burritt on the Mountain, featuring a historic mansion, open-air exhibits and nature trails.
Around town, see historic antebellum homes and their gardens, or stroll through the gorgeous blooms at the Huntsville Botanical Garden. Whether you crave a leisurely walk or a romantic picnic, Big Spring International Park is a lakefront gem nestled downtown.
Fun Food & Drink
Unique culinary experiences abound. Dine in an old jail cell at Main Street Café, housed in a restored city hall and jail in Madison, a 15-minute drive from Huntsville. Savor Southern comfort food at G’s Country Kitchen or Blue Plate Cafe, both eateries serving up meat-and-threes (a traditional dish featuring one meat with three sides – yum!). To quench your thirst, hop over to one of Huntsville’s breweries, Straight to Ale, for a Monkeynaut IPA, or check out Campus No. 805, a landmark brewing, dining and entertainment complex in the city’s urban core.