Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Huntsville, AL

  • Published 2022/10/08

In Madison County, Huntsville is a high-tech city known for its space development and technology contributions.

It was the venue of many historical developments, including missile constructions, early space flights, and biotechnology.

Before that, the city had been a humble settlement in 1805.

Huntsville is now home to historical museums, state-of-the-art centers, nature preserves, and a vivid local scene.

Beautiful destinations await those who visit this city!

It’s nestled within the proud region of southeastern Alabama, below a gorgeous mountain.

Discover some of the best things to do in Huntsville, Alabama!

Explore Space through the US Space and Rocket Center

View of US Space and Rocket Center

Michael Gordon /

The US Space and Rocket Center in Tranquility Base offers unique adventures beyond your wildest dreams.

It’ll almost be as if you’re out of this world!

As its name suggests, this destination takes you along space-related ventures in Tranquility Base.

You can join guided tours in a high-tech museum, sip specialty cocktails in a state-of-the-art planetarium, and venture into space through virtual reality.

That’s only a peek into the activities you can explore in this fantastic destination.

Inside the US Space and Rocket Center /

There are also vivid daytime shows, immersive simulation exercises, and surreal training adventures underwater and in the air.

Their museum even contains the world’s most extensive collection of rockets and space memorabilia.

Truly, the US Space and Rocket Center is an example of modern, futuristic entertainment.

Get Lost in the Huntsville Botanical Garden’s Maze

No matter the season, there’s always something to see in the Huntsville Botanical Garden.

These beautiful gardens take pride in being open year-round for various changing attractions.

They host light displays, fall festivals, outdoor camping, horticulture workshops, and more.

You can also roam around 100 acres of scenic landscapes, including meadows, forests, wetlands, and a hidden straw-like maze.

Besides that, they offer loads of learning programs for anyone interested in learning more about the environment.

All of these can be found in one location at Bob Wallace Avenue.

It’s no surprise that the Huntsville Botanical Garden is one of the highest-paid attractions in Alabama.

See for yourself the intricate wonders of these man-made gardens.

Reach the Top of Monte Sano State Park’s Mountain

Overlooking view of Monte Sano State Park’s Mountain

Mike Tilley, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Amazingly, Monte Sano State Park is positioned right at the top of the mountains.

A visit will present you with endless views of the gorgeous vistas, including the surrounding nature and the city below.

You can access fun outdoor opportunities like camping, lodging, hiking, and biking at Monte Sano State Park.

While you roam multiple trails, expect many native plants, flowers, and abundant wildlife.

You can also spend a comfortable night in cozy cabins or experience the wild outdoors in primitive campsites.

This park on Nolen Avenue Southeast offers plenty of ways to connect you with nature—add it to your list!

Enjoy the Peace at Big Spring International Park

Couple kissing at  Big Spring International Park

Katssoup /

Big Spring International Park was Huntsville’s main water source from the 19th to 20th century.

Now, it boasts of many top tourist attractions within its premises.

The Huntsville Museum of Art and Von Braun Center are inside the wide park.

Guests can admire unique local artworks, talented performances, and sports competitions in those destinations.

On its own, Big Spring International Park is a pristine venue with concrete pavements, picturesque waterfalls, and a backdrop of simple nature.

It’s great for travelers who want to relax and bask in a quiet ambiance.

There’s also a pond that’s home to colorful koi fish, friendly ducks, and adorable geese.

Located on Church Street Southwest, Big Spring International Park has become a diverse venue for art-related ventures and peaceful walks.

Tour Burritt on the Mountain’s Historic Mansion

Old chair at Burritt on the Mountain

Glen Jacobs /

Burritt on the Mountain is a secluded park overlooking Huntsville and other parts of Alabama.

You can find it on Burritt Drive Southeast.

Dr. Burritt had his first retirement home built on the premises of Round Top Mountain.

In 1934, it was a beautiful mansion built from wood and native stone until a fire made it ripe for reconstruction.

His next historic home was inspired by a blend of Art Deco, Classical Revival, Beau Arts, and Federal architecture.

Since Dr. Burritt didn’t have any heirs, his home was given to the city and transformed into a public destination.

The place is now known as Buritt on the Mountain, having several attractions to explore within the vicinity.

There are animal barns, an old schoolhouse, and a quaint gift shop with trinkets, snacks, and novelty souvenirs.

You can also explore nature trails that feature historic coal mines, limestone formations, and scenic landscapes.

Feed the Animals at Harmony Park Safari

Ram at Harmony Park Safari

LoloYopek /

Harmony Park Safari offers an easy way to interact with various animals in their natural habitats.

The experience involves a simple drive through the preserve where animals will come up to your windows and get their fix of food.

You can purchase buckets of feed from the safari park and rent a vehicle if you’re worried about scratches on your car.

It’s a fun, interactive experience that gets you up close and personal with unique and adorable animals.

Some of them include rare emus, cute llamas, and exotic deer, among many others.

You can feel free to pet and talk to them in the comfort of a secure vehicle.

Located along Clouds Cove Road Southeast, this safari park opens from March to November.

See Artists in Action at Lowe Mill Arts & Entertainment

Nestled on Seminole Drive Southwest, Lowe Mill Arts & Entertainment takes pride in being among the top privately-owned arts centers in the United States.

It’s housed in an old factory building that was developed to hold 152 studios, galleries, performance venues, etc.

This is the ultimate destination for art enthusiasts in Huntsville.

You can explore different mediums and see artists work on unique masterpieces.

From ceramic and paintings to musical performances and culinary arts, this center fosters creativity in each corner.

Whether you want to eat, drink, or roam around, there are plenty of things to discover in Lowe Mill Arts & Entertainment.

At the same time, you can purchase distinct pieces that are to your liking.

Play Nostalgic Games in Pints & Pixels

Pints & Pixels is a venue on Clinton Avenue West that combines assorted craft beers with vintage retro games.

Paired with old-fashioned decor, this pub takes you back to the late 1970s, when arcades got their peak popularity.

This destination has more than 35 machines, including pinball games, Pacman, and Skee Ball.

Their menu also features an assortment of delicious shakes and customizable sodas.

Pints & Pixels has a good selection of ales, stouts, ciders, and other refreshing brews.

Venture into the Caves at Monte Sano Nature Preserve

Snapping Turtle at Monte Sano Nature Preserve

Jason Patrick Ross /

Monte Sano Nature Preserve reaches up to 1,100 acres of natural landscapes.

It’s a tranquil paradise that takes pride in being one of the largest nature preserves in the whole region.

The Land Trust of North Alabama carefully manages the premises’ pristine condition and ensures that the environment can thrive.

It’s rich in diverse public trails with many native plants, flowers, waterfalls, and other natural wonders.

You can also drop by some of the historical sites in Monte Sano Nature Preserve.

Among its highlights are the intricate caves travelers can explore and photograph.

Monte Sano Nature Preserve offers you plenty of reasons to admire the inherent gifts of the environment.

For those who want to experience nature at its finest, head to this attraction in Bankhead Parkway Northeast!

Ride an Old-School Train at the North Alabama Railroad Museum

View of the tracks at North Alabama Railroad Museum

James Deitsch /

The North Alabama Railroad Museum is a product of people’s love and passion for trains and its history in Huntsville.

Volunteers have managed to keep this museum running since 1996.

Some vintage trains are functional and can take on curious passengers on scheduled dates.

You can also take self-guided tours around the outdoor museum, where you’ll be treated to views of old-school trains and tracks.

It’ll be a flashback to the past when traditional trains had been the most innovative form of transportation.

Situated along Chase Road Northeast, this venue offers a place for learning while also being great for a leisure walk.

See an important part of history at the North Alabama Railroad Museum.

Experience the Local Lifestyle in Downtown Huntsville

City lights at Downtown Huntsville

Sean Pavone /

To experience the local lifestyle, Downtown Huntsville is easily the place to be.

Downtown Huntsville Inc. is a non-profit organization that began a project to innovate the streets and push them to top form for locals and tourists alike.

The place has a little bit of everything.

From cool pubs and trendy restaurants to various forms of indoor and outdoor entertainment, this area displays the beautiful, thriving side of the city.

Scenice View of Downtown Huntsville

Rob Hainer /

Modern businesses and historic buildings line up the streets, while long, creative murals add color to the area.

The result leads to bright, colorful streets that are rich in character.

As you walk along the streets, you might also catch a glimpse of clear ponds with ducks and fishes within.

If you’re interested, Downtown Huntsville starts at Washington Street!

Immerse Yourself in Keel Mountain Preserve

Keel Mountain Preserve is important because it’s the home of the federally endangered Morefield’s leather flower.

Those flowers are small, unique plants that can only be found within Huntsville’s mountains.

The Nature Conservancy, a global organization, has gone to great lengths to keep the preserve in its natural state.

You can expect to be immersed in dense oak forests with hints of cedar, hickory, and smoke trees.

Paired with impressive limestones and sinkholes, Keel Mountain Preserve offers a fresh experience with nature.

The place is also known for the “lost sink falls,” a lone scenic waterfall that flows into a sinkhole.

Nature enthusiasts are in for a treat if they decide to enter this natural preserve.

In case you’re curious, Keel Mountain Preserve can be found on McMullen Road.

Enter the Purdy Butterfly House

The Purdy Butterfly House offers an alluring refuge from the modern, structured sights of the city.

Located on Bob Wallace Avenue Southwest, this venue is the largest open-air butterfly house in the nation.

It takes you through a journey of vibrant flowers, plants, and colorful butterflies in almost every direction.

Butterflies will be seated on flowers, but they may also go to you or rest on your hands if they like.

Other than the butterflies, you can’t discount the tranquil scenery.

The Purdy Butterfly House was constructed with intricate ponds, streams, waterfalls, and abundant nature.

Take Your Kids to the EarlyWorks Children’s Museum

The EarlyWorks Children’s Museum proves that learning doesn’t have to be boring.

This museum on Madison Street Southeast presents an interactive space for kids to learn about history.

It was specifically designed so that children could actively touch, explore, and climb up on their diverse exhibits.

Their exhibits include a talking tree, a historically accurate keelboat, beautiful murals, and a small backyard.

The EarlyWorks Children’s Museum also features modern exhibits with translucent building blocks and mechanical toys.

It’s a destination that kids can surely enjoy!

Shop till You Drop at Bridge Street Town Centre

The Westin at Bridge Street Town Centre

Carla Sloke /

Bridge Street Town Centre offers a taste of the casual shopping experience in Alabama.

As its name suggests, you can find this place along the lengths of Bridge Street.

It took inspiration from Venice, featuring man-made canals, Venetian Gothic-style buildings, and classic fountains.

There’s something for almost everyone in Bridge Street Town Centre.

Whether you prefer to shop, dine, or drink, this center has an attraction for your tastes and preferences.

There’s also an on-site movie theater for easy entertainment.

Sometimes, musicians will be tasked to play outdoors and liven up the atmosphere.

Final Thoughts

While Huntsville is most famous for its relation to technology, the city offers much more.

From scenic gardens and pristine nature preserves to historic venues, there are many options to try within the area.

You can also have your pick of entertainment venues, art destinations, and local businesses.

Enjoy trying all the best things to do in Huntsville, Alabama!

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