Huntsville (Alabama)Huntsville is in northern Alabama, about 20 miles (32 km) from the border with Tennessee.
Today, the city continues to be 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.
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. Madison, Athens, Decatur, and a number of smaller cities are generally considered part of the Huntsville metro area.
Summers are hot and humid, but the thermometer rarely goes above . 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.
- American Airlines and American Eagle, with service to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Charlotte and Washington, D.C-Reagan.
- Delta Air Lines, with service to Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Detroit.
- United Airlines, with service to Chicago-O'Hare, Denver, Houston, and Washington-Dulles.
- Southern Airways, with service to Atlanta
By trainThere is no passenger train service to Huntsville.
By carHuntsville 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.
- I-565: Spur route to I-65, providing access to Birmingham, AL, Nashville, TN, and Decatur, AL.
- US 72: providing access to Chattanooga, TN (via Interstate 24), Memphis, TN, and Athens, AL.
- US 431: providing access to Guntersville, AL and Anniston, AL.
- US 231: providing access to Fayetteville, TN and Arab, AL.
By bussee also Intercity buses in the USA
phone: +1 256 534-1681address: (depot) 500 Church St NWThe depot is in the shared facilities with Huntsville Public Transportation Center and office.
Huntsville is very car-oriented.
By busPublic transportation is not popular in Huntsville, but does exist. The city offers 13 different 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.
- One way: $1
- Seniors, students, children under 6, one way: $.50
- Tourist Loop: $2 (all day pass)
- Downtown Weekend Trolley: Free
- M-Th: 6AM–6PM
- F: 6AM–2AM (Downtown Trolley only after 6PM)
- Sa: 7PM–2AM (Downtown Trolley only)
- Su: No service
- Downtown Huntsville is served by the Pace bike share program. For fairly cheap rates, one has access to 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.
While not widely known as a tourist destination, Huntsville does have a number of attractions of interest.
phone: +1 256 837-3400address: One Tranquility BaseAlabama'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.
address: 300 Church StreetThe 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.
Alabama Constitution Villagephone: +1 256 564-8100address: 109 Gates AvenueSee 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.
phone: +1 256 564-8100address: 320 Church StMid-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.
phone: +1 256 564-8100address: 404 Madison StreetThe 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."
Parks and greenspacesInformation 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.
address: 907 Franklin StreetA 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 GreenwaysA 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 LandingPublic 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.
phone: +1 256 534-3757address: 5105 Nolen AvenueLarge 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.
phone: +1 256 830-4447address: 4747 Bob Wallace AvenueA 110-acre garden with woodlands, meadows and ponds. Features the nation's largest Butterfly House, which is open from May to September. In 2006, a Nature Center and Children's Garden opened. 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. $10 adults, $8 seniors, $5 children under 18. Hours and admission vary between summer and fall/winter/spring months.
Hays Nature PreserveAnd 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. Located off US 431 south of Hampton Cove. Some online map search results may say that the Preserve is permanently closed, but it is not.
- 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.
Five Points Historic DistrictFive 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.
address: 3185 Leeman Ferry RoadYear-round public ice skating rink. Open most afternoons to the public, but check website for hours. Located behind Joe Davis Stadium.
- Canoeing on the Flint River. Several canoeing expeditions are available. The Flint River is in East Madison County, about 7 miles from downtown.
address: 450 Old Highway 431Owens Crossroads. This 54-hole golf course is part of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, which has nine world-renowned golf courses across Alabama. Located in Hampton Cove off US 431.
Space Camp/Aviation ChallengeSpace 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 ThrowingThe fun and stress relieving activity of throwing axes at a wooden target is an activity in Huntsville.
phone: +1 256 655 - 2257address: Campus 805, Room 210 (2620 Clinton Ave, Suite B Huntsville, AL 35801)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.
phone: +1 256 428 1515address: 105 Washington St. SE Suite 100, Huntsville, AL 35801Each target lane will hold 1-4 guests and can be booked in advance or as a walk-in on an hourly basis.
Theatre HuntsvilleA 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, and more at +1 256 536-0807; please note that office hours are by appointment only.
Renaissance TheatreEstablished in 1997,it has made a tremendous impact on the renewed interest in the Lincoln Mill neighborhood in Northeast Huntsville. The theatre is in the historically important Lincoln Mill Village Commissary Building, built in 1927 to accommodate the needs of the Lincoln Mill workers. Certain productions contain strong language and are thus recommended for adult audiences only; however, Renaissance also produces children's shows.
Huntsville Community Chorus AssociationThe 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.
phone: +1 256 518-6160Minor-league hockey team. Plays from October-March at the Von Braun Center Arena. Buy tickets early- games sell out frequently.
phone: +1 256 882-9191address: 357 Hegia Burrow RoadStock-car racetrack located off Hobbs Island Road in South Huntsville. Races are held on Friday nights from March to October. Admission is $10, $8 for military and seniors, and $5 for students.
address: 502 Quarter Mountain RoadSmall dragway located in Harvest. Open Fridays and Saturdays from March to October.
- Rocket City Trash Pandas, Minor League baseball team beginning play at Toyota Field in the suburb of Madison in 2020.
Alabama–Huntsville ChargersSports 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 is men's ice hockey, which plays in Division I as a member of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. The hockey team plays at the Von Braun Center, but other teams play on campus.
phone: +1 256-519-ARTSThis three-day outdoor festival features presentations, demonstrations, performances, and workshops. Panoply is one of the region’s largest festivals, with activities such as the “Global Village” – a gateway to the area’s diverse cultures – to free hands-on children’s activities to the “Official Alabama State Fiddling Championship,” “Homegrown Talent Contest,” “Ten-Minute Playwright Competition,” choreography and photography competitions, and the Art Marketplace. Held the last weekend in April each year in downtown's Big Spring International Park, Von Braun Center, and Huntsville Museum of Art.
Summer Sidewalk Arts StrollsThe third Thursday of each month throughout the summer of 2007, beginning at 4:30PM and continuing until 8:30PM Featuring artisan crafts and musical and cultural performances.
- Whistle Stop BBQ Festival. Held the second weekend in May at the Huntsville Depot. Features music and a Barbecue cookoff.
WEUP Black Arts FestivalHeld in June near the Lewis Crews Football Stadium on the campus of Alabama A&M University (off Meridian Street in the Northeast Huntsville/Normal area). Features local black musicians and artists.
- Galaxy of Lights. A drive-through Christmas lights show held at the Huntsville Botanical Garden. Open from 5:30PM–9PM nightly from mid-November to New Year's Eve.
- Santa's Village. Held at Alabama Constitution Village. See Santa, the elves, and the reindeer. Open from 5PM–9PM nightly from Thanksgiving to December 23rd.
- University of Alabama in Huntsville. A mid-sized university that specializes in engineering and science. Part of the University of Alabama system. Located off Sparkman Drive near Research Park.
- Alabama A&M University. A historically black college located in Normal in Northeast Huntsville.
- Oakwood University. A small Seventh Day Adventist school located in Northwest Huntsville.
- JF Drake State Technical College. A small public technical school in Northeast Huntsville.
- Calhoun Community College. The largest community college in Alabama, with campuses in Huntsville, Decatur, and Redstone Arsenal.
- Athens State University. The state's only 2-year upper-level university. Located in Athens, which is about 20 miles west of Huntsville.
- Florida Institute of Technology. Campus located on Redstone Arsenal serving the local high tech community.
phone: +1 256 533-0700address: 2801 Memorial Park SouthAn enclosed mall with 70 upscale shops and restaurants. Tenants include Belk, Dillard's, Williams-Sonoma, Banana Republic, and Carrabba's Italian Grill. Located off of Memorial Parkway at the Drake Avenue exit.
Bridge Street Town CentreAn 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.
phone: +1 256 881-0044address: 7500 S. Memorial ParkwayIn Main Street Shopping Village with fresh salads, sandwiches and soups.
Bandito Burritoaddress: 3017 Governors Dr SwVegetarian-friendly texmex dive. Quick service, freshly made.
Tony’s Italian Deliaddress: 119 James Madison Drive
Gibson's BBQaddress: 3319 Memorial Pkwy SWFamous for its BBQ.
Po-Boy Factoryaddress: 815 Andrew Jackson Way
- Rolo's, 975-E Airport Rd., +1 256-883-7656. Barbecue and seafood.
address: 800 Holmes AvenueThe original location of a local chain known for its chicken fingers.
address: 6125 University DriveReally, it is nothing but noodles. In the Burlington Coat Factory shopping center.
address: 420 Jordan LaneThe 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 Gardenaddress: 800 Wellman AvenueExcellent, 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.
phone: +1 256 922-1001address: 6196 University DriveProbably the most famous restaurant to come out of Huntsville since Steak-Out.
Viet Huongphone: +1 256-890-0104address: 930 Old Monrovia RoadNW; #1 (near Madison Square Mall). 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 Kitchenaddress: 114 Jordan LaneLocal Cajun restaurant.
address: 619 Meridian SreetRestaurant with a large patio and live music. Artwork and (of course) furniture are for sale. Located between Downtown and Five Points.
Beauregard'saddress: 975 Airport RoadWings, burgers.
address: 4249 Balmoral Drive
Luciano’saddress: 964 Airport RoadUpscale Italian restaurant.
address: 4800 Whitesburg DriveIn the Fresh Market shopping center.
address: 975-C Airport RoadNext to Books-A-Million.
Pepito’saddress: 3508 Memorial ParkwayMexican restaurant.
El Palacio of Mexican Foodaddress: 2008 Memorial ParkwayOne of the oldest, if not the oldest, Mexican restaurants in Huntsville.
Palette Cafeaddress: 5000 Whitesburg Drive
address: 475 Providence Main StA stylish Thai restaurant in the village of Providence.
address: 3991 University DriveUpscale Japanese steakhouse chain.
Mikato Japanese Steak Houseaddress: 4061 Independence DriveUpscale Japanese restaurant.
address: 109 Washington StreetA pair of restaurants; Humphrey's Bar and Grill (live music and a patio) and The Chophouse (upscale steakhouse).
address: 800 Monroe StreetUpscale New Orleans steakhouse chain. Located within Embassy Suites.
Surin of Thailandaddress: 975 Airport RoadUpscale Thai restaurant. Located near Books-A-Million.
BreweriesThe micro brewery scene in Huntsville is new but growing fast.
phone: +1 256 325-1131address: 500 Lanier Road Building 1, Suite A Madison, AL 35758The taproom is open seven nights a week, and flagship and seasonal beers are available on tap in bars and packaged on shelves throughout the region.
phone: +1 256 990-2477address: 206 Eustis Avenue Huntsville, AL 35801Located 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 Companyaddress: 2414 Clinton Ave Huntsville, AL 35805
Mad Malts Brewingphone: +1 256 503-2233address: 109 Maple Avenue Huntsville, AL 35801A small and relaxed brewery. Live music and comedy shows most Friday and Saturday nights.
phone: +1 256 850-4639address: 212 Main Street Madison, AL 35758Working 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.
phone: +1 256 361-4677A brewery started by rocket scientists.
phone: +1 256 425-5204address: 2406 Clinton Avenue West Huntsville, AL 35805
phone: +1 256 801-9650address: 2610 Clinton Avenue Huntsville, AL 35805Look for the Speakeasy. Free brewery tours are given on Saturdays at 2 PM. No reservations required. Also contains Ale's Kitchen restaurant and Ronnie Raygun's, an arcade. This is Huntsville's biggest brewery.
phone: +1 256 489-3510address: 2600 Clinton Avenue West Huntsville, AL 35805Yellowhammer beers can be found in many fine restaurants, taverns, groceries and craft beer stores across both Alabama and Tennessee.
address: 5901 University DriveSteakhouse and bar, in front of Madison Square.
address: 2750 Carl T. Jones RoadIn the Target shopping center.
Chips & Salsaaddress: 10300 Bailey Cove Rd SEBar with live music.
Bongo'saddress: 7908 Memorial Parkway SBar with live music.
Humphrey's Bar and Grillphone: +1 256 704-5555address: 109 Washington StreetLive music and a patio area.
address: 115 Clinton Ave E, Huntsville, AL 35801Full bar, full food menu, craft beer, and 50+ arcade machines. One of the newest bars in downtown Huntsville.
address: 5909 University Drive Huntsville, AL 35806Coffee shop located in MidCity
address: 114 Clinton Ave. E #106, Huntsville, AL 35801Roaster and coffee shop located in Historic Downtown.
Sweet Dreams Caféaddress: 7 Town Center DriveDesserts, ice cream.
Coffee Tree Books & Brewaddress: 7900 Bailey Cove RoadPopular coffee shop/hangout.
Olde Towne Coffee Shoppeaddress: 511 Pratt Avenue
address: 103 Jefferson StreetThis coffee shop is a downtown tradition.
address: 2211 Seminole Dr. SW, Huntsville AL 35805Artisan Tea shop located in Lowe Mill Entertainment District.
address: 1145 McMurtrie DriveJust west of the Target shopping center on University Drive. Convenient to Research Park and West Huntsville. Rates start at $59 nightly.
Eastaddress: 3141 University Drive533-0756. On University Drive near Jordan Lane. Nearby restaurants. Rooms start at $60 nightly.
Westaddress: 4870 University Drive830-2070. Convenient to Research Park and Madison Square Mall. Denny's restaurant on site. Rooms start at $60 nightly.
address: 6224 Torok CircleNext to the Best Western.
address: 1385 Enterprise WayJust off University Drive between Burlington Coat Factory and Target. Convenient to West Huntsville and Research Park.
Holiday Inn Research Parkaddress: 5903 University DriveNext to Madison Square. Restaurants and shopping nearby. Convenient to Research Park.
address: 401 Williams AvenueNext to Big Spring Park and the Von Braun Center. Upscale restaurant and a Starbucks inside.
address: 6000 S Memorial ParkwaySouth Huntsville's most upscale hotel. Restaurant onsite. Rooms start at $70 nightly.
phone: +1 256 539-7373address: 800 Monroe StreetThis 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.
phone: +1 256 428-2000address: Bridge Street Town CentreIn the Bridge Street Town Center.
address: 201 Exchange PlaceConvenient to Space Center and Research Park. Rates start at $60 per night.
Residence Innaddress: 6305 Residence Inn RoadBehind the Target shopping center off University Drive. Convenient to Research Park, restaurants, and shopping. Rooms start at $70 nightly.
Suburban Extended Stay Hotel1565 The Boardwalk. Off University Drive near Madison Square. Convenient to restaurants and shopping.
TelephoneThe 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.
InternetFree 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
- The Huntsville Times. Huntsville's Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday newspaper.
- Valley Planet. A monthly alternative newspaper.
MedicalThere are two major hospitals in Huntsville.
- Huntsville Hospital, 101 Sivley Road, +1 256-265-1000. A public hospital located downtown on Governors Drive.
Huntsville Hospital for Women and Children. Located just east of the main hospital.
Other hospitals in the Huntsville region:
- Athens-Limestone Hospital, 902 Washington St, Athens, +1 256-233-9292.
- Parkway Medical Center, 1874 Beltline Road, Decatur, +1 256-350-2211.
- Decatur General Hospital, 1201 Seventh Street, Decatur.
- Highlands Medical Center, 380 Woods Cove Road, Scottsboro, +1 256-259-2444.
- Marshall Medical Center North, 8000 Alabama 69, Guntersville, +1 256-571-8000.
- Lincoln Medical Center, 106 Medical Center Blvd., Fayetteville, TN, +1 931-438-1100.
Huntsville Police Departmentphone: +1 256-722-7100 (for non-emergencies inside city limits)
Madison County Sheriff's Departmentphone: +1 256-532-3416 (for non-emergencies outside of Madison or Huntsville)
Madison Police Departmentphone: +1 256-722-7190' (for non-emergencies in Madison city limits)
Alabama State TroopersFor highway emergencies anywhere in Alabama, dial
- 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.