county seat of Madison County, Alabama, United States

Huntsville is in northern Alabama, about 20 miles (32 km) from the border with Tennessee. The city is a center for missile defense and aerospace technologies, with companies like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and Northrop Grumman having major operations here. Cummings Research Park, the second largest research park in the country, is home to many of these companies.

Understand edit

Huntsville was founded in 1805 by a Virginia man named John Hunt. For the first 140 years of its history, the city was a sleepy cotton town. In 1950, the US Army transferred Dr. Werner von Braun and his team of German rocket scientists to Redstone Arsenal. Within a decade, the city became a center for rocket design and construction. In 1960, NASA opened the Marshall Space Flight Center, which has played a significant role in the Mercury-Redstone (named after Redstone Arsenal), Gemini, and Apollo manned space programs.

Huntsville is home to almost 200,000 residents (2018). The Huntsville metro area, with 463,000 residents, is the third largest in Alabama, after Birmingham and Mobile, though the city proper became the largest in Alabama as of the 2020 Census. Madison, Athens, Decatur, and a number of smaller cities are generally considered part of the Huntsville metro area.

Climate edit

Huntsville (Alabama)
Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation+Snow totals in inches
See Huntsville's 7 day forecast
Metric conversion
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation+Snow totals in mm

Summers are hot and humid, but the thermometer rarely goes above 100 °F (38 °C). Strong thunderstorms do come out of nowhere in the afternoons. Autumn is quite comfortable in Huntsville. First frost normally happens around Halloween. In winter, snow is a possibility, but never a guarantee. Most snow in Huntsville is on the light side (less than 2 inches). However, any snow amounts more than 1/3" can close roads and schools.

Being in a "tornado alley", Huntsville gets many tornado warnings in the spring, as well as a second tornado season around November-December.

Get in edit

By plane edit

Huntsville is served by the following carriers:

By train edit

There is no passenger train service to Huntsville.

By car edit

Huntsville is accessible from nearby Interstate 65, approximately 20 miles west of downtown. An interstate spur, Interstate 565, runs from I-65 eastward for 21 miles, to and through downtown Huntsville.

By bus edit

see also Intercity buses in the USA

  • Greyhound, (depot) 500 Church St NW (Church and Cleveland St, northwest of downtown), +1 256 534-1681, toll-free: +1 800 231-2222. The depot is in the facilities shared with Huntsville Public Transportation Center and office.

Get around edit

Map of Huntsville (Alabama)

Huntsville is very car-oriented.

By bus edit

Public transportation is not popular in Huntsville, but does exist. The city offers 13 bus routes, including a Tourist Trolley, which loops past most of the city's attractions and shopping areas. Turnovers between buses can be between fifteen minutes in downtown and one hour in outlying areas. There are also two free weekend evening routes that serve Downtown, Five Points, and the Medical District.

  • Fares
    • One way: $1
    • Seniors, students, children under 6, one way: $.50
    • Tourist Loop: $2 (all day pass)
    • Downtown Weekend Trolley: Free
  • Hours
    • M-Th: 6AM–6PM
    • F: 6AM–2AM (Downtown Trolley only after 6PM)
    • Sa: 7PM–2AM (Downtown Trolley only)
    • Su: No service

By bike edit

  • Downtown Huntsville is served by the Pace [formerly dead link] bike share program. For fairly cheap rates, there are bicycles in several locations in the city. However, outside of the center of downtown (near Big Spring Park) and greenways, Huntsville is not very bike-friendly.

See edit

The Saturn V Rocket prior to restoration and being moved to its new home in the Davidson Center.
An A-12 Oxcart Blackbird at the Space and Rocket Museum.

While not widely known as a tourist destination, Huntsville does have a number of attractions of interest.

Museums edit

  • 1 U.S. Space and Rocket Center Museum, One Tranquility Base (I-565 Exit 15), +1 256 837-3400, . Daily 9AM-5PM except Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Day, and New Years Eve and Day. Alabama's number one for-fee tourist attraction, this museum is especially of interest to space-amazed kids and kids at heart. In 2008 the aging museum was revitalized with the opening of the $23 million Davidson Center, which features a Saturn V rocket that was never launched and also includes numerous exhibits on program that led up to the moon visits. Outside of the museum are replicas and test units for numerous other space vehicles, including life-size replicas of the space shuttle and a vertical Saturn V. The US Space Camp is also based here and has hosted over 500,000 visitors since its inception in 1982. $20 for adults, $15 for children, kids under 6 free. Additional charges for IMAX or traveling exhibitions.    
  • 2 Huntsville Museum of Art, 300 Church Street, toll-free: +1-800-786-9095. Open daily until 5PM (except Thursday). The Museum of Art is in Big Spring Park. It features seven exhibit halls which host many regional and national art exhibits every year and the museum's own 2,500 piece collection. There is a large gift shop and a coffee shop with a patio that overlooks the park. $7 for adults, $6 for seniors, military, and students, $3 for children 6-11, and free for members and children under 6.    
  • EarlyWorks Museum Complex.
    • 3 Alabama Constitution Village (Constitution Hall Park), 109 Gates Avenue, +1 256 564-8100. See where the state of Alabama was born in 1819. Village includes a cabinet shop, law office, and a post office. During the Holidays, "Santa's Village" is held here. Open Wednesday through Saturday, March through October, and special hours in November and December. $7 for adults, $6 for children and seniors.    
    • 4 Historic Huntsville Depot, 320 Church St, +1 256 564-8100. Mid-1800s era railroad depot used as a prison for Civil War soldiers. Various festivals are held here throughout the year, including the Rocket City BBQ Festival in May. Open Wednesday through Saturday, March through October. $7 for adults, $6 for children and seniors.    
    • 5 EarlyWorks Children's History Museum, 404 Madison Street, +1 256 564-8100. Tu-Sa 9AM-4PM. The South's largest hands-on children's history museum. See a 46-foot keelboat, play on giant instruments, and listen to stories told by the "Talking Tree." $10 for adults, $8 for children, and $4 for toddlers.
  • 6 Burritt on the Mountain, 3101 Burritt Drive, +1 256 536-2882. On Round Top Mountain off of US 431 and Monte Sano Boulevard. Features a large early 20th-century mansion, a late 19th-century farm and a petting zoo. There are also nature trails, including one that is handicapped-accessible. Open Tu-Su year-round, though hours vary between winter and summer months.    
  • Harrison Brothers Hardware, 124 South Side Square, toll-free: +1-866-533-3631. M-Sa. Founded in 1879, it is the oldest continuously-running hardware store in Alabama. It is on the Courthouse Square downtown.
  • 7 North Alabama Railroad Museum, 694 Chase Road, +1 256 851-6276. It's in the Chase community in Northeast Huntsville. Features the smallest union station in the country and 90-minute train rides on select Saturdays. Open Wednesdays and Saturdays, April to December. Ticket prices for the train excursion are $12 for adults, $8 for children 12 and under. Prices may vary for special events.    
  • State Black Archives and Museum, Wilson Bldg, Alabama A&M University, +1 256-851-5846. M-F. On the campus of Alabama A&M University in North Huntsville/Normal. $5 for adults, $3 for children, and free for toddlers and A&M faculty and students.
  • Veterans Memorial Museum, 2060-A Airport Road, +1 256 883-3737. W-Sa 10AM-4PM. Features military exhibits, memorabilia, and vehicles dating back to the Revolutionary War. To get there, take Memorial Parkway South to Airport Road. Take a right; museum is on the right. $5 adult, $4 seniors, $3 students under 18.
  • 8 Weeden House Museum, 300 Gates Avenue, +1 256 536-7718. M-F 11AM-4PM. A house built in 1819, the same year Alabama became a state. Located in the Twickenham Historic District. $5 adults, $2.50 children.    

Parks and greenspaces edit

Information about parks can be found at the city website.

  • Big Spring International Park Huntsville's signature park, located downtown. This is where Huntsville was founded more than 200 years ago. Features various gifts given to the city by countries like Japan (the Red Bridge) and Norway (the lighthouse). Restaurants, hotels, and the Von Braun Center are nearby. It underwent an expansion near the Embassy Suites hotel.
  • Huntsville Land Trust Trails, 907 Franklin Street, +1 256 534-5263. A 3,400-acre network of nature preserves around the city. One of the most popular attractions is the Three Caves quarry on Monte Sano.
  • Huntsville Greenways. A network of bikeways, trails, and bike-friendly roads across the metro area. 73 miles have been completed, and it will eventually grow to over 312 miles. Aldridge Creek Greenway in Southeast Huntsville is the most popular bikeway, but it becomes impassable after heavy rains.    
  • Ditto Landing, toll-free: +1-800-552-8769. M-F 8AM-10PM, Sa Su 6AM-10PM. Public park along the Tennessee River, with boathouses, greenways, and a campground.
  • Green Mountain Nature Trail, South Shawdee Road, +1 256-883-9501. Open daily. A mile-long nature trail that wraps around a 16-acre lake. Features a covered bridge, picnic area, and a "Braille trail." Located off Green Mountain Road in Southeast Huntsville.
  • 9 Monte Sano State Park, 5105 Nolen Avenue, +1 256 534-3757. Large state park on Monte Sano. Features 14 miles of hiking and biking trails, a large picnic area, cabins, a Japanese garden, and a campground. Take US 431 to Monte Sano Boulevard and follow the signs.    
  • 10 Huntsville Botanical Garden, 4747 Bob Wallace Avenue, +1 256 830-4447. A 110-acre garden with woodlands, meadows and ponds. Features the nation's largest Butterfly House, which is open from May to September. There is a Nature Center and Children's Garden. In November and December, the Botanical Garden is home to the Galaxy of Lights. Open 7 days a week except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's. Hours and admission vary between summer and fall/winter/spring months. $10 adults, $8 seniors, $5 children under 18.    
  • Hays Nature Preserve. And Goldsmith Schiffman Wildlife Sanctuary. The largest city-owned park and preserve, with ten miles of trails through swamps and wooded areas. Horses and bikes are allowed on some trails. It's off US 431 south of Hampton Cove. Some online map search results may say that the Preserve is permanently closed, but it is not.

Historic districts edit

  • Twickenham Historic District. The Twickenham and Old Town historic districts, located just east of downtown, feature large homes that were built as early as 1814. In June and July, free guided walking tours of the area start at 10AM each Saturday.
  • 11 Five Points Historic District. Five Points Historic District is an example of an early 20th-century neighborhood featuring several architectural styles, including California Bungalow, Queen Anne and other modest Victorian styles. The Five Points district has become one of Huntsville's trendiest neighborhoods, with small shops, art galleries, and restaurants lining the streets in the area.    

Do edit

  • Wilcoxon Municipal Ice Complex, 3185 Leeman Ferry Road, +1 256 883-3774. Year-round public ice skating rink. Open most afternoons to the public, but check website for hours. Located behind Joe Davis Stadium. $6.50 per person.
  • Canoeing on the Flint River. Several canoeing expeditions are available. The Flint River is in East Madison County, about 7 miles from downtown.
  • Robert Trent Jones-Hampton Cove Golf Course, 450 Old Highway 431, +1 256 551-1818. Owens Crossroads. This 54-hole golf course is part of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, which has nine world-renowned golf courses across Alabama. In Hampton Cove off US 431.
  • Space Camp/Aviation Challenge. Space Camp is a week-long astronaut training program for kids and teenagers. Shorter programs are available. Located at the US Space and Rocket Center.

Axe throwing edit

The fun and stress relieving activity of throwing axes at a wooden target is an activity in Huntsville.

  • Civil Axe Throwing, Campus 805, Room 210 (2620 Clinton Ave, Suite B), +1 256 655 - 2257, . A perfect way to celebrate a special occasion, organize a team building event or simply have a great time with family & friends! Professional instructors to teach and facilitate your experience are present.
  • RockAxe City Throwing Club, 105 Washington St. SE Suite 100, +1 256 428 1515. Each target lane will hold 1-4 guests and can be booked in advance or as a walk-in on an hourly basis.

Performing arts edit

  • Theatre Huntsville, +1 256 536-0807. A non-profit, all-volunteer arts organization that presents six plays each season in downtown Huntsville's Von Braun Center Playhouse, and also produces the annual "Shakespeare on the Mountain" in an outdoor venue, such as Burritt on the Mountain. Presentations range from such popular favorites as "Little Shop of Horrors" and "Noises Off" to cutting-edge productions like "The Laramie Project" and "Angels in America," and even a few Alabama premieres, such as "Mrs. Bob Cratchit's Wild Christmas Binge." Information on tickets, group rates, special rates for touring and student groups, workshops, auditions by phone; office hours are by appointment only.
  • Huntsville Community Chorus Association. The state's second-oldest performing arts organization, producing both choral concerts and musical theater productions (ranging from "The Pirates of Penzance" to "Guys and Dolls" and "Jesus Christ Superstar"). In addition, HCCA features its Madrigal Singers; "Glitz!" (a show choir); a Chamber Chorale; an annual summer melodrama/fundraiser; and three children's groups, the Huntsville Community Children’s Chorus (HC3), HC3Jr, for the younger set, and HC3Sr, for high-schoolers.

Sports edit

  • Huntsville Havoc, +1 256 518-6160. Minor-league hockey team. Plays from October-March at the Von Braun Center Arena. Buy tickets early- games sell out frequently.
  • 1 Huntsville Speedway, 357 Hegia Burrow Road, +1 256 882-9191. Stock-car racetrack off Hobbs Island Road in South Huntsville. Races are held on Friday nights from March to October. $10, $8 for military and seniors, and $5 for students.    
  • Huntsville Dragway, 502 Quarter Mountain Road, +1 256 859-0807. Small dragway in Harvest. Open Fridays and Saturdays from March to October.
  • Rocket City Trash Pandas: Minor League baseball team playing in the Double-A Southern League at Toyota Field in the suburb of Madison.
  • 2 Alabama–Huntsville Chargers (UAH Chargers). Sports teams of the University of Alabama in Huntsville, playing mostly in NCAA Division II and the Gulf South Conference. The Chargers play 18 sports in all, nine for each sex, but football isn't one of them. Unusually for a school in the South, UAH's highest-profile sport had long been men's ice hockey, which played in Division I, but that team was shut down in 2021 due to a combination of conference realignment and COVID-19 impact. The remaining UAH teams play on campus.
  • Huntsville will become home to a professional men's soccer team in 2023, specifically the as-yet-unnamed reserve side for Nashville SC of Major League Soccer. The team will play in the third-tier MLS Next Pro, a league made up almost entirely of MLS reserve sides. Joe W. Davis Stadium, which had for decades been the city's home for minor-league baseball, is being rebuilt into a soccer-specific venue for the new side.

Festivals edit

  • Whistlestop Weekend[dead link]. Held the second weekend in May at the Huntsville Depot. Features music and a Barbecue cookoff.
  • Galaxy of Lights. A drive-through Christmas lights show held at the Huntsville Botanical Garden. Open from 5:30–9PM nightly from mid-November to New Year's Eve.
  • Con*Stellation. Annual science fiction/fantasy convention held over a 3-day (Friday–Sunday) weekend each fall.

Learn edit

Buy edit

  • 1 Parkway Place, 2801 Memorial Park South, +1 256 533-0700. M–Sa 10AM–9PM, Su noon–6PM. An enclosed mall with 70 upscale shops and restaurants. Tenants include Belk, Dillard's, Williams-Sonoma, and Carrabba's Italian Grill. Located off of Memorial Parkway at the Drake Avenue exit.
  • Bridge Street Town Centre. An open-air upscale lifestyle center with 60 shops and restaurants and a 12-story Westin hotel. Tenants include J. Crew, Kate Spade, Swarovski, PF Chang's and Barnes & Noble. Located at the Research Park Boulevard (AL 255)/Old Madison Pike interchange.

Eat edit

Like most cities, Huntsville does have its fair share of fast-food restaurants, but there are many local eateries as well that serve every budget and taste. Because of Huntsville's diverse population, there are ethnic restaurants that specialize in Greek, Indian, Thai, and many other ethnicities.

  • Good Company Cafe, 7500 S. Memorial Parkway #123 (one block south of Martin Rd overpass), +1 256 881-0044. Tu-Su 7AM-3PM. In Main Street Shopping Village with fresh salads, sandwiches and soups. Budget.

Budget edit

  • Bandito Burrito, 3017 Governors Dr Sw, +1 256 534-0866. Vegetarian-friendly Tex-mex dive. Quick service, freshly made.
  • Gibson's BBQ, 3319 Memorial Pkwy SW, +1 256 881-4851. Famous for its BBQ.
  • Po-Boy Factory, 815 Andrew Jackson Way, +1 256 539-3616.
  • Rolo's, 975-E Airport Rd., +1 256-883-7656. Barbecue and seafood.
  • Tenders, 800 Holmes Avenue, +1 256 533-7599. The original location of a local chain known for its chicken fingers.
  • Nothing but Noodles, 6125 University Drive, +1 256 922-1650. Mostly noodles. In the Burlington Coat Factory shopping center.

Mid-range edit

  • Sitar Indian Cuisine, 420 Jordan Lane, +1 256 536-3360. The best Indian food in town, and reasonably priced. The lunch buffet (all days but Saturday) at this family-owned chain changes items often, remaining fresh and very popular.
  • Thai Garden, 800 Wellman Avenue (near Five Points), +1 256 534-0122. Excellent, moderately priced Thai food in a comfortable atmosphere resulting largely from its family-run, family-friendly ambience. The longest-running Thai restaurant in the area.
  • Rosie’s Mexican Cantina, 6196 University Drive, +1 256 922-1001. Probably the most famous restaurant to come out of Huntsville since Steak-Out.
  • Viet Huong, 930 Old Monrovia Road (near Madison Square Mall), +1 256-890-0104. NW; #1. Delicious Vietnamese cuisine, ranging from the familiar pho – the national dish – to clay pots, fresh spring rolls, Vietnamese coffees, and more. Condiments allow you to “doctor” your dishes to your liking.
  • Tim's Cajun Kitchen, 114 Jordan Lane, +1 256 533-7589. Local Cajun restaurant.
  • Furniture Factory Bar & Grill, 619 Meridian Sreet, +1 256 539-8001. Restaurant with a large patio and live music. Artwork and (of course) furniture are for sale. Located between Downtown and Five Points.
  • Moe's Southwest Grill, 975-C Airport Road, +1 256 880-0113. Next to Books-A-Million.
  • Phat Sammy's, 104 Jefferson St S (Once in Downtown it is near the courthouse and is marked by a pineapple sign. Take the stairwell down.), +1 256-489-0232. 11:00 - 14:00. Known for it's modern and experimental cocktails and comfort food. Phat Sammy's is a fun place for adults. Loud atmosphere, Geek themed.

Splurge edit

Drink edit

Breweries edit

The micro brewery scene in Huntsville is new but growing fast.

  • Green Bus Brewing, 206 Eustis Avenue, +1 256 990-2477. Located in a 150-year-old building just off the historic square. This nano brewery specializes in small batches which creates a diverse and ever-changing tap list.
  • InnerSpace Brewing Company, 2414 Clinton Ave. This family-owned and family-friendly nanobrewery featuring space-themed decor and games for the kids is located in the Butler Green Arts & Entertainment district..
  • Mad Malts Brewing, 109 Maple Avenue, +1 256 503-2233. A small and relaxed brewery. Live music and comedy shows most Friday and Saturday nights.
  • Old Black Bear Brewing Company, 212 Main Street Madison, +1 256 850-4639, . Working alongside local companies such as Leavendary at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, Old Black Bear embraces innovative strides in how beer is processed. Also has a great food menu.
  • Rocket Republic Brewing, +1 256 361-4677, . A brewery started by rocket scientists.
  • Salty Nut Brewery, 2406 Clinton Avenue West, +1 256 425-5204, .
  • Straight to Ale, 2610 Clinton Avenue, +1 256 801-9650, . Look for the Speakeasy. Free brewery tours are given on Saturdays at 2PM. No reservations required. Also contains Ale's Kitchen restaurant and Ronnie Raygun's, an arcade. This is Huntsville's biggest brewery.
  • Yellowhammer Brewery, 2600 Clinton Avenue West, +1 256 489-3510, . Yellowhammer beers can be found in many fine restaurants, taverns, groceries and craft beer stores across both Alabama and Tennessee.

Bars edit

  • Chips & Salsa, 10300 Bailey Cove Rd SE, +1 256 880-1202. Bar with live music.
  • Humphrey's Bar and Grill (Washington Square), 109 Washington Street, +1 256 704-5555. Live music and a patio area.
  • Pints and Pixels, 2500 Clinton Ave W Suite H (Northeast end of Campus 805). Full bar, craft beer, and more than 50 arcade machines.

Coffee edit

Tea edit

  • Piper & Leaf, 2211 Seminole Dr. SW. Artisan tea shop in Lowe Mill Entertainment District.

Sleep edit

Budget edit

Mid-range edit

Splurge edit

  • 1 Embassy Suites Huntsville, 800 Monroe Street, +1 256 539-7373. This 10-story hotel opened in October 2006. Great views of the city, downtown, and the skyline. Connected by a "skybridge" to the Von Braun Center. A Ruth's Chris Steakhouse is inside the hotel.
  • 2 The Westin Huntsville, 6800 Governors West NW (in the Bridge Street Town Center), +1 256 428-2000. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon.

Extended stay edit

Stay safe edit

Though crime levels are above average for a city in its population bracket, most of the crime is restricted to inner city neighborhoods that would be of no interest to visitors. In general, the most dangerous region of the city is the northern neighborhoods (particularly the northwest). In addition to crime, If hiking on Monte Sano or engaging in some other outdoor activity, be aware that during the Summer, temperatures can hit triple digits and one can dehydrate quickly. Be sure to consume an adequate amount of fluids during the warm temperatures.

Connect edit

Telephone edit

The area codes for Huntsville and North Alabama are 256 and 938, which overlay the same region. As a result of this overlay, all calls within Huntsville require dialing a ten-digit number.

Internet edit

Free WiFi is available at these places:

  • Big Spring Park
  • Krystal- Five locations in Madison County.
  • Stanlieo's Sub Villa- Jordan Lane and Governors Drive locations.
  • Atlanta Bread Co.- in the Target shopping center on University Drive.
  • West End Grill- on Old Madison Pike near the Research Park Blvd. interchange.
  • Huntsville Hospital
  • Crestwood Hospital
  • Huntsville International Airport
  • Huntsville Public Library.

Newspapers edit

  • The Huntsville Times. Huntsville's Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday newspaper.
  • Valley Planet. A monthly alternative newspaper.

Cope edit

Medical edit

There are two major hospitals in Huntsville.

Other hospitals in the Huntsville region:

Law enforcement edit

  • Huntsville Police Department (the main precinct is located north of downtown off of North Memorial Parkway), +1 256-722-7100 (for non-emergencies inside city limits).
  • Madison County Sheriff's Department, +1 256-532-3416 (for non-emergencies outside of Madison or Huntsville).
  • Madison Police Department, +1 256-722-7190' (for non-emergencies in Madison city limits).
  • Alabama State Troopers. For highway emergencies anywhere in Alabama, dial *HP (*47)

Go next edit

  • Lynchburg – home of Jack Daniel's Distillery. A 45-minute drive from Huntsville.
  • Guntersville – this town on Lake Guntersville is a popular weekend retreat for Huntsvillians. About a 40-minute drive from Huntsville on US 431 South.
  • Decatur – home of "America's First Wave Pool" at Point Mallard Park.
  • Florence – home of many museums and festivals.
  • Scottsboro – home of the "Unclaimed Baggage Center." Much of the world's unclaimed airline luggage ends up here, for sale to the public in grossly oversized "luxury" thrift store.

Farther away- all are a 1½-2 hour drive.

Routes through Huntsville
Ends at  Decatur  W   E  END
CorinthAthens  W   E  ChattanoogaEND
MurfreesboroFayetteville  N   S  ArabMontgomery

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