Though you may have never heard of it, Huntsville in Alabama is a city rich with historical and cultural significance and offers some of the Country’s best natural wonders.
Take a trip back in history by visiting one of Huntsville’s many museums, explore the beautiful countryside, enjoy the wide variety of shopping and culinary delights, or take in an adventure that is sure to please the whole family.
I live in Birmingham, Alabama. Since I love traveling the state and Huntsville is only 100 miles away for me, I visited this city quite some times. It truly is a city which offers a variety of experiences for all ages and interests.
So let’s have a look at what I think are the best things to do in Huntsville, Alabama!
1. Twickenham Historic District
Take in the sights and explore some of Alabama’s most beautiful architecture in the State’s largest antebellum district.
I recommend to take in the Weeden House Museum. Built in 1819, it’s the oldest Alabama house open to the public and features guided walking tours.
2. Huntsville Botanical Garden
This beautiful garden features yearly botanical displays, seasonal festivals, and educational programs for adults and children. Take in the natural wonders on display in the numerous gardens and trails.
The nature center is home to Nation’s largest open aired butterfly house, as well as numerous waterfalls and ponds and supports both vegetation and wildlife. The popular Garden Railway, vegetable and four seasons gardens, and bird trail are sure to make for a delightful and varied experience.
3. US Space and Rocket Center
Discover the birthplace of America’s Space Program. Since the Space and Rocket Center opened in 1970, over 16 million people have visited the most comprehensive US manned spaceflight hardware museum in the world. Enthusiasts will enjoy knowing that the modules for the International Space Station were designed and built in Huntsville.
Even if you aren’t there for the history, there are many exciting simulators including the Space Shot and G-Force simulators, that may make it a great experience.
If you are visiting Mobile and want to experience Huntsville’s top attractions including the US Space and Rocket Center, I recommend the 1, 2 or 5-day attraction pass. With this combined attraction ticket that is directly delivered to your phone you can save money on Huntsville’s top 10 sights.
4. Huntsville Museum of Art
Located in downtown Huntsville, the Museum of Art is also surrounded by the Big Spring Internal Park. Featuring seven galleries which display a variety of exhibitions throughout the year, the museum also offers art classes for children and adults, as well as fantastic shopping and unique dining.
Special programs and presentations as well as traveling exhibits make the Museum an exciting place to visit.
5. Harmony Park Safari
A federally licensed nature preserve featuring exotic and endangered animals, the park is sure to be a unique experience. Take a tour from the comfort of your own vehicle.
You might be lucky enough to spot one of the zebras, buffalo, camels, rams, or alligators who make the park home. Beautiful waterfalls and antique buildings are also featured.
More on Alabama: 15 Amazing Waterfalls in Alabama
6. Alabama Constitution Village
The Constriction Village commemorates the 1819 Constitutional Convection was held, in which Alabama became the 22nd state admitted to the Union.
The quant village boasts eight reconstructed buildings from the 1800’s. Visit the print shop, library, and post office, among other buildings to get an idea of what early Alabama life was like.
7. US Veterans Memorial Museum
Operated by the Alabama Center of Military History, the Memorial Museum is dedicated to the accomplishments of American military men and women.
I spent about 2 hours in the museum and enjoyed seeing more than thirty historical military vehicles from World War 1 to the present. Many different artifacts dating back to the Revolutionary War are also on display.
8. Bridge Street Town Centre
If you’re looking for a mixed lifestyle experience, the Bridge Street Town Centre is a must see. Featuring over seventy unique shops and restaurants, as well as a five acre lake, walking trails, and train rides, the Centre offers something for everyone. If you’re hungry I suggest paying a visit to Agave & Rye, offering delicious taco’s and 70+ tequilas!
If you happen to be there on the weekend, be sure to take in the live music.
9. Weeden House Museum
Located in Huntsville’s historic Twickenham District, Weeden House was built in 1819, making it Alabama’s oldest house open to the public. Renowned for its beautiful architectural features, the house turned museum, has also captivated poets and artists alike.
Take in the museum and discover the life of famous poet and watercolorist, Ms. Weeden, known as Howard. She gained international acclaim for her portraits of freed slaves and her poems which captured their stories.
10. Burritt on the Mountain
Take a step back in time to the 1800’s and view authentic log cabins and a barnyard. Experience period correct interpreters and tour the mansion of the eccentric Dr. Burritt.
The scenery is also fantastic in the area and features many hiking trails.
Also see: 30 Amazing Hidden Gems in Alabama
11. Railroad Station Antique Mall
If you’re looking for a great place to shop or see some unique antiques, the Railroad Station Antique mall has great reviews. From furniture to books, to clothing and jewellery, you can spend hours looking at all three floors of items.
Related reading: 15 Best Flea Markets in Alabama
12. Big Spring Park
For some incredible scenery and fantastic bird watching opportunities, I suggest visiting the beautiful lagoon in Big Spring Park.
History buffs will also enjoy the park, as Huntsville was originally settled in 1805 by John Hunt near a limestone spring in this area.
13. Huntsville Symphony Orchestra
For a unique musical experience, be sure to visit Alabama’s oldest continuously operating symphony orchestra.
The Huntsville Symphony Orchestra first opened in 1955 and features classical and pop series and has hosted guest artists from around the world.
14. Madison County Nature Trail
Situated atop Green Mountain, this seventy two acre park features breathtaking scenery, walking trails, picnic tables, a covered bridge, and the State’s oldest and largest Champion Winged Elm Tree.
This beautiful park is sure to please nature lovers of all ages, no matter the season.
Related Reading: 15 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Alabama
15. Merrimack Hall Performing Arts Center
Located in the historic Merrimack Mill Village neighborhood, the Center was founded in 2006 as a gift to Huntsville. Since its founding, the center has played an integral role in the revitalization of the neighborhood. In eight years the theater has reinvested over $200,000 back into the community.
Take in one of the many shows and professional touring productions that are sure to delight.
16. Dog Spot Dog Park
Just north of downtown Huntsville, the dog park is open from sunrise to sunset every day of the year.
Huntsville’s first dog park, the area allow you to meet other dogs, and their owners. A great place to give your dog some exercise, the park is completely free. It even has separate fenced areas for both small and large dogs.
17. Monte Sano State Park
Opened in 1938, the park was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage in 1996. Located on the awe inspiring slopes of Monte Sano Mountain, the park features 1930’s era rustic cottage and hiking trails with scenic overlooks and picnic areas.
Modern campsites are also available and make for a great experience for any outdoor enthusiast.
18. Land Trust of North Alabama
Through its passion of preserving lands for the public, the Land Trust encourages visitors to enjoy the beauty of nature.
Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachians is the Bethel Spring Preserve. Take in the quaint farm, continuing on a tradition started in t 1800’s, and marvel at the spring fed creeks and waterfalls.
19. North Alabama Railroad Museum
Located in Chase, just east of Huntsville, the North Alabama Railroad Museum is dedicated to preserving railroad history.
Take in a great display of items, or if you visit on a day the train is running you can experience a vintage train ride over the museum’s own tracks.
20. Hays Nature Preserve
Visit some of the largest and most undeveloped, pristine parklands in Huntsville. Ten miles of trails allow visitors to enjoy varied and unique countryside, including forests, fields, and wetlands.
Hike, bike, or enjoy horseback riding through part of the trails. Enjoy the natural beauty of the trails and keep your eyes peeled to spot the many different species of wildlife that call the area home.
21. Maple Hill Cemetery
Founded on two acres in 1822, the cemetery is the oldest cemetery in Huntsville. Now stretching for 100 acres, and containing over 80, 000 grave markers, it is also the largest.
Located in the Twickenham Historical District, the cemetery was added to the National Register of Historical Places in 2012.
22. Historic Huntsville Depot
This historic site was once used as a Union hospital, prison, and as living quarters for Union soldiers.
Now the building is home to many hands on and exciting programs where you can examine civil war graffiti and climb on locomotives. If you’re in the area when the Rocket City BBQ and Whistle Stop Festival take place, be sure to check them out as well.