There are many fun things to do in Huntsville, Alabama! Everyone will enjoy the contrast between historic and modern Huntsville attractions.
**A big thank you to the Huntsville/Madison County CVB for hosting our trip and providing us with admission to museums and some of our meals.**
Huntsville is a diverse and international city where technology lives well along with art and culture. In Huntsville, you can easily spend a day walking among giant rockets or beautiful historic homes. We’ve been to Huntsville twice now and we love the contrasts of it and feel the city has something for everyone.
We’ve gone ahead and put together some Huntsville attractions that we think you’ll really enjoy. Whether you’re visiting Huntsville with kids, looking for a romantic date night spot, or you’re a history nerd, you’ll find something of interest in Huntsville.
Don’t forget to scroll to the bottom and watch our YouTube video about Huntsville!
This place is awesome whether you’re looking for fun things to do in Huntsville at night, or with kids, or with coworkers during your lunch break. Pints & Pixels is an arcade with over 50 vintage arcade games and pinball machines. Plus, they have a full food menu and full bar with craft beers and cocktails with names like “DK’s Banana Barrel” and “Princess Peach Cosmo.” Seriously, this place is amazing!
Formerly a school, Campus 805 is now THE place to hang out in Huntsville. With multiple breweries, restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues, it’s the perfect place to unwind and have some fun. They’ve also kept the school theme, which we really love.
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Our favorite places inside the campus are the secret speakeasy (hidden behind sliding lockers), Earth and Stone Wood Fired Pizza, and Civil Axe Throwing. The axe throwing is particularly thrilling, and although it took a few tries, we eventually got a bulls eye. If you have time, though, we recommend making multiple visits to Campus 805 because it truly has so many awesome places to visit.
Harrison Brothers Hardware was established in 1897 and was passed down from generation to generation until 1983. The store was then purchased by the Historic Huntsville Foundation; they wanted to preserve the store and it’s traditions. Although they no longer sell hardware, there are still a variety of things you can purchase like housewares, snacks, toys, and other knickknacks. It’s one of the most popular Huntsville attractions.
We loved how much of the original store is still intact. The wooden floors, the shelves and fixtures; everything is as it was a century ago! There’s also a display with many mementos, photos, and original ledgers and receipts. The highlight for us was seeing the 1907 National Cash Register that is still in use. It’s so big and beautiful and we loved the sound it made when the drawer opened.
Over looking Huntsville, on Round Top Mountain, is Burritt on the Mountain. This property has over 160 acres and is made up of Dr. Burritt’s mansion, a historic park that has six authentic 19th century homes, a replica of a 1918 Rosenwald School, nature trails, and more.
Dr. Burritt built his retirement home in 1938. It’s a bit eccentric, as there are a few different architectural styles blended together. And although Dr. Burritt was married three times, he had no heirs. So when he passed away in 1955, he left the property to the city of Huntsville to become the city’s first museum.
Behind the mansion, visitors step back in time and see what it was like to live in the area as a farmer during the 19th century. There are living history interpreters dressed in period clothing that can tell you all about their homes and the tools they used on the farm. There are also plenty of animals and livestock. If you’re looking for fun Huntsville activities, make sure to check out their events calendar; there’s always something going on!
Also on the property is a replica of a Rosenwald School. In the early 1900’s, there weren’t many schools for African-American children in the South. Julius Rosenwald, philanthropist and president of Sears, Roebuck & Company, and black educator Booker T. Washington got together and with local support built nearly 5,000 schools in 15 states between 1913 and 1932. Known as Rosenwald schools, they helped thousands of children get an education and learn valuable skills.
Currently, there is a program where 4th grade Huntsville students get to spend the day at the school and experience what it was like to be a student in 1918. They put on period clothing, write with a nib pen and ink, do their lessons on slates, and more. We would have loved to spend a day doing some of the activities they do as part of the program!
The U.S. Veterans Memorial Museum is probably the best veterans museum we’ve ever been to and definitely one of the best things to do in Huntsville. Some of you may remember that Vicky was in the Army, so any chance we get we try to visit memorials and museums dedicated to military veterans. And this museum truly was spectacular.
It’s crazy to think that it all began with someone’s personal collection. And then people heard about the museum and started donating their own memorabilia. They still receive donations constantly and its amazing to see what they have amassed. Artifacts go all the way back to the Revolutionary War and they include uniforms, weapons, jeeps, tanks, and even aircraft! They also have a replica of the briefing room of the 385th Bomb Group, USAAF in Great Ashfield, England during 1943-45.
Of course, any time you ask about Huntsville attractions, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center will undoubtedly be mentioned. The rocket center is made up of the main museum, the Davidson Center for Space Exploration, historic Shuttle Park, and Rocket Park. Everyone of all ages will enjoy learning about the space race and the development of the space shuttle program.
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Currently, the featured exhibit is “Apollo: When We Went to the Moon” and it celebrates the 50 year anniversary of when we landed on the moon. There are artifacts and memorabilia that chronicle the competitiveness between the U.S. and Russia, and highlight the extraordinary efforts of U.S. engineers and astronauts.
Another fun Huntsville entertainment venue is A.M. Booth’s Lumberyard. They’re all about Southern Hospitality and relaxation at the lumberyard so you can enjoy a drink while listening to live music on the Veranda, play a game of pool in Booth’s Alley, or enjoy a romantic dinner inside the Taproom.
Another unique feature of the lumberyard is the restored 1924 dining rail car in the central courtyard. It seats 36 people and provides lunch and dinner (reservations are highly encouraged) but they also host various events and themed dinners throughout the year.
If you’re visiting Huntsville in April or October, we definitely recommend taking one of their free guided walking tours. It’s a great way to learn about Huntsville’s historic districts and see some great architecture.
The Huntsville Museum of Art, located along side Big Spring International Park, has excellent permanent and traveling exhibits. Its seven galleries are filled with world class paintings and sculptures and they also offer cultural events throughout the year. We especially recommend visiting on Thursday evenings after 5pm, when admission is only $5 and you can also get a glass of wine for $5.
After the museum, take a stroll around Big Spring International Park. A Huntsville must-see, this iconic park is beautifully manicured and a perfect spot to take photos, walk along its many paths, feed ducks and fish, or just sit and people watch. Make sure to head up to the northeast corner where there is a shaded path that leads to a waterfall.
No matter what time of year it is, we think one of the best things to do in Huntsville is visiting the Huntsville Botanical Garden. The 112 acre garden is even listed as one of the top things to do in Alabama! There are so many specialty gardens, trails, and exhibits that you can easily spend hours wandering around and taking it all in.
One of our favorite areas of the botanical gardens was the pavilion inside Damson Aquatic Garden. Of course, the butterfly house inside the nature center is amazing as well. Besides hundreds of butterflies, you’ll also see turtles, frogs, and quails. And did we mention it’s also the largest open-aired butterfly house in the country?
We though their Children’s Garden was really awesome too, so if you’re looking for things to do in Huntsville with kids, we definitely recommend visiting. It’s actually divided into eight sections and has playgrounds, splash areas, a maze, and plenty of space for the kiddos to run around. They’ll even be able to see dinosaurs!
Be on the lookout for this colorful alley as you explore downtown Huntsville. Located between two buildings, the Clinton Row Colorwalk stretches from Clinton Avenue East to Holmes Avenue Northwest and is filled with murals painted by local artists.
Aside from visiting the veterans museum we mentioned earlier, we also recommend visiting the Huntsville Madison County Veterans Memorial Park. It’s a really well laid out memorial with touching sculptures and plaques. It was dedicated on Veterans Day, 11/11/11.
There are eight polished black granite markers with the names of local service members who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. The granite for the markers came from the same quarry that supplied the Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC. There are also small white headstones in the Defender Fountain that are replicas of the headstones in Arlington National Cemetery that represent all fallen warriors.
In this video, we showcase some of our favorite Huntsville attractions.
We loved our trips to Huntsville! It’s already such a fun city and we know it’s only going to continue to grow. We can’t wait to visit again!