Are you ready for an unforgettable adventure? Let me share my travels to Huntsville, Alabama, where I have discovered so many gems in what’s known as Rocket City USA. From the 29 best things to do in Huntsville, Alabama, that I’ve enjoyed, I’m here to share my top picks with you. Buckle up and get ready for blast off — you’re going to be amazed!
Table of Contents
1. Huntsville Botanical Garden
Looking for the perfect outdoor adventure? Look no further than the Huntsville Botanical Garden – one of the South’s top attractions! Set in a beautiful Southern mansion-style setting, this 112-acre garden boasts hidden paths, stunning waterfalls and ponds, and a variety of gardens to explore.
Don’t miss the vegetable and Biblical gardens – a unique experience you won’t find anywhere else! And make sure to check out the Japanese reflecting pool and Damson aquatic garden for a peaceful retreat.
For families, the children’s garden area is a must-visit, complete with dinosaur bones and a water attraction. And who can forget the butterfly house – a true highlight of the garden.
2. U.S. Space and Rocket Center
Check out the U.S. Space & Rocket Center – a Smithsonian affiliate that’s sure to blow your mind! As a regular visitor of Kennedy Space Center in Florida, I can honestly say – this place is fantastic! From a stunning replica space station and thrilling Moon Shot ride, to Space Camp and the incredible horizontal Saturn V rocket – there’s so much to see and do here.
Not only will you get to explore fascinating artifacts from the space program, but you can also get hands-on with interactive exhibits too. The rocket center is pretty big, so wear comfy shoes and be prepared to walk a bit.
My daughter and I even tried out the G-Force simulator, which is included in your admission ticket – it’s a real thrill!
Don’t forget to grab a space ice cream sandwich on your way out – it’s the perfect way to end your visit. And here’s a fun fact for you – did you know that the International Space Station modules were built right here in Huntsville? That’s not all, the center is also a National Historic Landmark.
3. The Cozy Cow
Sit for a spell and enjoy a tasty bowl of soup or a gourmet coffee creation from The Cozy Cow, on the edge of Big Spring State Park. Diet Coke drinker? It’s hard to find in Huntsville, but this place has them on fountain. Hooray for me!
To read more about where to eat in Huntsville, check out this post.
4. Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment
Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment is a Huntsville gem filled with over 200 craft studios and shops, making it the largest privately owned art studio in the country. The stunning murals on the building and hallways are just the beginning of the incredible attractions here.
You’ll find amazing food and drink vendors all around, but don’t miss Pizzelle’s Confections and their gorgeous and delicious chocolates – especially Afternoon Delight, Goodbye Earl, and Steel Magnolia.
If you’re a music lover, check out Vertical House Records or catch live performances around the water tower. Plus, Lowe Mill offers classes to brush up on your skills and hobbies.
Bottom line: this place is a blast and a must-visit in Huntsville.
4. Blue Plate Cafe
Not only will you find your favorite Southern dishes in Huntsville, but a large variety of ethnic dishes, diner foods, and just plain exotic. For breakfast, Blue Plate Cafe, a local mom & pop shop, has everything you could want and for a decent price and quality food.
I recommend the Blue Plate Breakfast, so you can sample a bit of it all. Go for the eggs, cheesy browns (the cafe fave!), biscuit, and gravy, or sub for breakfast meats.
5. Get Your Mexican On At Phil Sandoval’s
Pop into Phil Sandoval’s for a colorful setting and picture-perfect Mexican meal with a heaping bowl of tortilla chips and zesty salsa. You may have to wait a bit for a table, but trust me, it is well worth it.
My daughter and I love that Phil Sandoval’s has three options for queso dip: one with black beans, one with white cheeses and peppers, and one with spicy beef and pico de Gallo. They are all three really darned tasty.
There are two locations: Huntsville and Madison.
6. Campus No. 805
Discover the coolest hotspot in Huntsville at the transformed Campus No. 805. Once a bustling junior high school and gymnasium, this repurposed space is now one of the best examples of urban refurbishment in the country, unleashing Huntsville’s hip, urban scene!
With a myriad of about 20 vendors ranging from Rock N Roll Sushi, Hops N Guac, Parlor Donuts, a fun speakeasy and even Civil Axe Throwing, you’ll be spoiled for choice! Immersed in the art and fun spaces, the Campus No. 805 also has a few artsy murals you won’t want to miss.
The Campus No. 805 has about 20 vendors, from restaurants (Rock N Roll Sushi, Hops N Guac, and Earth and Stone) to a really fun speakeasy and axe throwing. You can easily just wander the grounds, soaking up the art and fun spaces, to have an enjoyable time.
There are two breweries: Yellowhammer and Straight to Ale.
7. Alabama Constitution Village
Looking for a blast from the past? Step back in time and visit Alabama Constitution Village, where you can relive the 1819 Constitutional Convention that brought Alabama into the Union.
This charming village boasts eight reconstructed buildings from the 1800s, including a cabinet maker, post office, and print shop.
Get a feel for what life was like back then by exploring this well-maintained piece of history.
8. Big Spring International Park
One of Huntsville’s most incredible attractions is Big Spring International Park, located in the heart of town. This picturesque park spans 12.5 acres and boasts a stunning limestone spring, complete with a downtown waterfall.
Enjoy photo opportunities galore, including a charming red friendship bridge and beautiful cherry trees gifted by the Japanese. Keep an eye out for adorable nesting geese and ducks, plus the captivating koi that swim along the stream.
And don’t forget to snap a shot in front of the popular “Welcome to Huntsville” mural. You won’t want to miss this must-see park.
9. Burritt on the Mountain
Experience the breathtaking views of Huntsville at Burritt on the Mountain, an enchanting venue located on Round Top Mountain. Along with the stunning panoramas, Burritt boasts a variety of exciting attractions, including the historical home of William Henry Burritt, authentic log cabins, a schoolhouse, blacksmith shop, and barn.
Step back in time with guided tours of the 1930s home and interact with the charming goats and chickens who call the barn their home. Living history interpreters share fascinating stories of life on the mountain – you may even spot Holly Hobbie during your visit, as I did!
The 167-acre property also offers nature trails that lead past historic coal mines and captivating rock formations, perfect for hikers and nature lovers alike. Don’t miss out on this unforgettable destination above the city.
Thanks to Huntsville/Madison County CVB for hosting our visit. As with all of my work, reviews and opinions are 100% mine and unbiased.
10. 106 Jefferson Boutique Lodging
Experience luxury and nods to the Space Program at 106 Jefferson Huntsville, a stunning Curio Collection by Hilton property with top-notch onsite restaurants and a rooftop patio. Take delight in the beautiful artwork, exhilarating showers, and attention to detail.
You will love the 106 Jefferson’s proximity to downtown Huntsville’s must-see places. Rest easy with the Curio Collection by Hilton Enhanced Sleep Experience featuring Serta Suite Dreams mattress, down pillows, and luxurious linens.
The spacious rooms also includes a 55″ HD TV with streaming capability, a comfy chair with an ottoman, work desk, and a spa-inspired bathroom with a marble vanity and walk-in shower.
11. AC Hotel by Marriott Lodging
Discover a great overnight stay at the AC Hotel by Marriott Huntsville Downtown. Its unbeatable location in the heart of downtown Huntsville offers easy access to everything on foot.
You’ll love the spacious and modern rooms, complete with floor-to-ceiling windows and comfortable furnishings. Make sure to check out the impressive rooftop bar and restaurant, as well as the swanky lobby.
You can enjoy stunning views of Big Spring International Park and The Von Braun Center, located just steps away.
12. Farm Fresh Markets
Discover the freshest farm-to-table markets in Huntsville! From juicy fruits and veggies to locally sourced jams and honey, you’ll find everything you crave at these top spots:
- The Market at MidCity
- Oakwood Farms Market
- Madison City Farmers Market
- Ayers Farmers Market
- Bailey Cove Market
Support your community and indulge in gourmet food products made from the highest quality ingredients – all in one convenient location!
13. Huntsville’s Cool Murals
Discover Huntsville’s stunning murals and more! Explore 16 historic churches on the Foundations of Faith Trail, all over 100 years old. Admire the 39 large-scale sculptures on the SPACES Sculpture Trail – perfect for an iconic selfie.
Check out our friend Erin’s guide to finding each piece in the Downtown Huntsville, Alabama Murals article. Don’t miss the 19th Amendment mural – it’s our favorite!
14. Huntsville Museum of Art
Discover the Huntsville Museum of Art, a must-visit attraction in downtown. Wander through seven galleries and experience an impressive array of famous art, from paintings and pottery to glassware and sculptures, all in one inspiring setting.
Explore collections of 19th and 20th century American art, and take advantage of instructor-led art classes. The Dale Chihuly was and is always my favorite piece at the gallery.
15. Orion Amphitheater
Discover Huntsville’s brand new amphitheater, the Orion Amphitheater, with a state-of-the-art 8000 person capacity! From legendary performers such as Hank Williams Jr., James Taylor, and The Black Keys, to newer artists like Chris Stapleton and Widespread Panic, this venue is home to unforgettable musical experiences.
Plus, year-round food and drink options are available with 15+ specialty bars to choose from, including the popular Teal Monkey, Carbon, and El Cohere.
If you’re planning to attend an event, you can bring own seat cushion (without any arms) and a reusable water bottle (32 oz. or less) to refill at the water stations throughout the venue.
16. Harrison Brothers Hardware
Take a step back in time and visit the Harrison Brothers Hardware store, which has been in operation since 1897. This charming store is filled with unique and vintage items that will take you on a journey through history. The wooden floors, creaky stairs, and old-fashioned cash register will transport you back to a bygone era.
You’ll find everything from bougie dish towels to handmade brooms to antique tools. Don’t leave without buying a souvenir to commemorate your visit.
17. Trash Panda Baseball
Are you a fan of America’s favorite pastime? Then you must check out the Trash Panda Stadium, home to the Minor League Baseball team known as the Rocket City Trash Pandas.
This state-of-the-art stadium is located in the Town Madison, a development project that is transforming the area into a popular gathering place. Catch a game and enjoy the lively atmosphere, plus the adorable mascot. You can also grab some souvenirs and delicious food while you’re there.
18. Von Braun Center
The Von Braun Center is a hub for arts and entertainment and easily one of the best things to do in Huntsville, Alabama. This massive brand spankin’ new multipurpose cashless complex features a concert hall, theater, conference center, and several exhibition halls. You can catch a show, attend an event, or simply stroll around and admire the architecture.
The Von Braun Center hosts a variety of events throughout the year, so check their schedule before you visit. Upcoming shows include Ben Folds, the Wallflowers, and Kansas: 50th Anniversary tour.
19. Weeden House
If you’re looking for a unique experience in Huntsville, Alabama, I highly recommend a visit to the circa 1819 Weeden House Museum and Garden. Don’t miss the chance to take a guided tour, where you can learn about the special relationship between Howard Weeden, a famous poet and artist, and the slaves she painted and cared for.
Her story is truly fascinating, and her artwork is not to be missed – it’s intricate and beautiful. The Weeden House itself is also worth admiring, as it was built back in 1819 and is the oldest house open to the public in Alabama. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children 12 and under.
20. Phat Sammy’s
Looking for a unique dining experience? Then you must try Phat Sammy’s, a funky Asian fusion Huntsville restaurant. This restaurant serves up inventive dishes that combine flavors from different parts of the world. You can try the Phat Fries (sweet Chinese sausage gravy kimchi, and cheese curds), beef bulgogi, or Thai coconut curry bowl.
Don’t forget to wash it down with one of their signature cocktails, complete with cool barware and accessories. This place is a must-visit for foodies!
Discover the latest upcycled gem in Huntsville – Stovehouse, transformed from the historic Martin Stove Factory. Relax on the spacious lawn or community seating area, while indulging in an array of delectable dining and beverage options, and fantastic live music from multiple stages.
Bring your furry friend along – pets are welcome too! Don’t miss the chance to check out Kamado Ramen, Parm + Pepper, and The Brewers Cooperative, all within easy reach.
22. Twickenham Historic District
Explore Twickenham, a neighborhood filled with exquisite Antebellum homes that date back to the pre-Civil War era. These stunning homes, ranging in style from Greek Revival to Queen Anne, are situated close together and some can be toured.
You may also want to stroll through Five Points, where you’ll find charming bungalows built during the 1920s through ’50s.
23. Pane E Vino
If you haven’t indulged in museum food lately, you may be missing out. They’ve upped their game and I find it some of the best food in town. That’s not necessarily the case at the Huntsville Museum of Art, because they have a stand along eatery, Pane E Vino, which is 10/10 fantastic and reasonably priced.
Order at the counter and have a seat inside or out while your food cooks. Pane e Vino’s pasta dishes are off-the-hook yummy, and the menu has a bit of everything, including perfectly baked pizzas and an extensive wine list. You may want to save room for the cannoli trio dessert option or a decadent affogato.
24. Downtown Huntsville Craft Coffee Trail
Are you a fellow coffee enthusiast? Well, Huntsville has the perfect trail for you! Take a journey through the city’s most beloved coffee spots and indulge in some of the best cups of Joe in town on the Huntsville Craft Coffee Trail.
You’ll check off your very own craft coffee passport by visiting notable locations such as Charlie Foster’s, Dragon’s Forge Cafe, Offbeat Coffee Studio, and my personal favorite, Honest Coffee Roasters.
Don’t fancy coffee? Not to worry, there are two other beverage trails- the craft cocktail and craft beer trails.
25. US Veterans Memorial Museum
Huntsville has a rich military history, and the US Veterans Memorial Museum pays tribute to those who have served. This museum features exhibits that showcase the sacrifices and contributions of the American military throughout history.
Expect to see artifacts from World War I, WWII, the Korean War, and Vietnam War. The museum also has an outdoor area that features several military vehicles and aircraft.
26. Monte San Mountain
If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, then you’ll love Monte Sano Mountain, a scenic mountain offering several hiking trails that cater to all skill levels. You can hike to the summit and enjoy the breathtaking views of the surrounding area. You can also have a picnic, camp, or take a stroll through the forest.
Monte San is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse yourself in nature.
27. Piper & Leaf
Piper & Leaf, a local tea shop that is known for its delicious blends, is one of my favorite places to visit when I’m in Huntsville. Sip on some refreshing iced tea or cozy up with a warm cup of chai. You can also buy some loose leaf tea to take home with you.
The shop itself is cozy and welcoming, with rustic decor and friendly staff. This is a great place to relax and enjoy some downtime. They will also customize your beverage based on your likes. I learned a lot about tea on my first visit, and the fruity blend they chose for me was fabulous!
28. HC Blake Art & History Center
If you find yourself at this treasure trove (2007 N Memorial Pkwy Suite O), be prepared to go down the rabbit hole and browse for hours. Small but mighty describes the Huntsville Revisited Museum at the HC Blake Art & History Center. This museum commemorates Huntsville’s African-American contributions to music, art, cultural heritage, and pop culture.
I loved hearing about the fabulous musical talents that hailed from Huntsville, and hearing about them through the museum curator, William Hampton’s, stories. The artwork was impressive and this museum is totally free of charge, though donations are gladly accepted.
29. Edgar’s Bakery
Perhaps the most drool-worthy space in Huntsville is Edgar’s Bakery, a place that’s smell is so sweet, it’s almost intoxicating. The spectacular display of sweet treats makes it hard to choose, but then throw in a breakfast, lunch, and coffee menu, and it’s even harder!
My favorite things are Edgar’s cinnamon bread, strawberry bundt cake, and thumbprint cookies, but macarons, muffins, and cupcakes are close contenders.
Edgar’s Bakery is in several locations and cities throughout Alabama. You’ll definitely want to pencil in time for a stop here.
Huntsville, Easily One of the South’s Best Cities
In conclusion, Huntsville is a city that has something to offer for everyone. Come see why it is one of America’s most growing cities, and best places to live, work, and retire.
Whether you’re a history buff, an adventurer, a foodie, or simply passing by on a road trip, you can find something to enjoyable in Huntsville.
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