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Despite being relatively unknown outside of the south, Huntsville is the biggest city in the state of Alabama, coming in at just over 200,000 residents. It is known as “Rocket City,” as a huge chunk of the city works on space programs for NASA or the US military. Huntsville was instrumental in the first moon landing, and today, it is also doing extremely critical work for the next moon landing in 2024/2025. The whole city practically breathes Air and Space, which makes for a really fun and unique dynamic.
The Space and Rocket Center is easily the #1 thing to do in Huntsville. There are some really cool exhibits inside, including an authentic Saturn V rocket that you can walk around and under. Unfortunately, the Space and Rocket Center closes at 4pm on weekdays (5pm weekends), so visiting the museum doesn’t work as an after-work destination. However! Even after hours, this is still the #1 thing to do in Huntsville because you can admire several cool replicas (or decommissioned aircraft) outside from the parking lot, including an upright, to-scale replica of the Saturn V rocket (the rocket used to propel the lunar module to the moon), a space shuttle, several other rockets, and even an SR-71 Blackbird! You simply cannot visit Rocket City and miss a stop by here, regardless of the time of day!
How to Get to Huntsville, AL
While the large airport in Nashville is only two hours away, most people arrive in Huntsville via the Huntsville International Airport, which is only 15 minutes from downtown.
The best way to navigate around Huntsville is either by rental car, or rideshare if you’re in a pinch. Public transportation (buses) are available, but routes are limited and it is much less convenient.
Despite not being a big city, traffic in Huntsville definitely does back up at rush hour – plan extra time to get around.
Where to Eat Dinner in Huntsville, AL
Chuck Wagon BBQ // Everyone has their own opinion, but I declare this THE best BBQ joint in town. The brisket and ribs are juicy and beyond delicious here, and the sides are second to none.
Metro Diner // Hit up Metro Diner for excellent, no fuss, southern fare. The fried chicken and waffles is the best I’ve ever had!
AM Booth’s Lumberyard // As the name suggests, this restaurant sits on the site of an old lumberyard, right on the railway. The setting is definitely unique, and the food is a modern twist on southern comfort food.
Kamado Ramen // This relatively new arrival to Huntsville offers a variety of delicious and authentic ramen options.
Old Black Bear Brewing Company // Come for the juicy, handcrafted burgers and sandwiches, stay for the old building and patio area with a lot of character.
Hit up Bigfoot’s Little Donuts for boxes of freshly prepared, flavored mini donuts. This mini donut shop is one of Huntsville’s best breakfasts!
Things to Do in Huntsville at Night
Go on a hike // There are a lot of interesting but easy hikes in the Huntsville area. I recommend: Rainbow Mountain, Stone Cuts Trail in Monte Sano, the Beaverdam Swamp Boardwalk, or Wildflower Trail (best in summer as you can hike in the stream itself).
Explore downtown // Huntsville has a small but charming downtown area, with historic homes, cute streets, and lots of murals to see. Our favorite murals are the Welcome to Huntsville mural at Big Spring Park and the space-themed mural on the corner of Washington Street and Holmes.
Lowe Mill Arts and Entertainment // This unique art facility is set up in a historic textile mill. There are art galleries to visit and over 150 working studios for artists, where you can admire them doing their craft. There are also several restaurants, dessert shops, and performance venues. On Friday nights in Spring and Fall there are free concerts at the dock in Lowe Mill.
Catch a hockey or baseball game // The Huntsville Havoc are the city’s minor league hockey team, and the Rocket City Trash Pandas is the minor league baseball team. Both have great community support and provide excellent atmospheres.
Top Golf // A favorite activity for young professionals in Huntsville is getting in a game or two of at top golf, over drinks and apps. While Top Golf is certainly not unique to Huntsville, it is still a popular and enjoyable activity to do with a free evening!
Stay in one of the hotels in Providence – this little neighborhood is adorable, has several additional good restaurant options, and has a ton of charm!
Also check out:
- San Jose, CA After 5:00 pm
- Huntsville, Alabama After 5:00 pm
- Walnut Creek, CA After 5:00 pm
- Culver City, Los Angeles After 5:00 pm
- Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles After 5:00 pm
- Duluth, Minnesota After 5:00 pm