The 20 Best Things To Do In Huntsville, Alabama for First Timers
Are you planning a trip to Huntsville, Alabama in the near future? If so, it’s not to early to start putting your itinerary together. Huntsville is the home of some of the most amazing tourist attractions in the state. First-time visitors who are not familiar with the surroundings may not know about all of the great things there are to see and do in and around the city. We’ve put together a mini-guide to point out some of the best things to do while you’re there. Here are the top 20 that are the highest on our list to make your experience in Huntsville unforgettable.
20. Go to the Space Camp
If you’re visiting Huntsville with the family, the kids will never forget a day at Space Camp. It’s great for the entire family. Throughout the summer months, Space Camp provides kids with a crash course on becoming an astronaut and there are speakers scheduled every week. You can even join the kids in having lunch with an astronaut and getting in on the fun and wonder.
19. Visit the IMAX Theater
Huntsville is one of the locations for IMAX. You’ll be thrilled with the panoramic view of rocket ships in flight. You’ll get the most amazing views of the footage from the comfortable seats and you’ll feel like you’re the one going on the mission. Spend a few hours at the Huntsville IMAX for an unforgettable experience.
18. Burritt on the Mountain
Burritt on the Mountain is one of the more popular tourist attractions that also draws locals. It is commonly referred to as the Jewel on the Mountain. This is a Historic Mansion in Huntsville that is situated in a park that overlooks the city of Huntsville. It’s placed on 167 acres on a round top mountain. In addition to the mansion, there are events held throughout the summer that are great for the entire family. There are workshops and other events held throughout the year.
17. Tour the Huntsville Botanical Gardens
The Huntsville Botanical Gardens exists to provide locals and tourists with information about the history of the city. The public gardens offer a breath of fresh air for plant lovers. It began with fourteen locals with a love for the history of the city. They gathered in kitchens and churches in a grassroots movement to make the dream come true. Through persistence, the small band pulled the resources together to create the garden with its historical significance to the city.
16. The Huntsville Museum of Arts
The Huntsville Museum of Arts is another popular attraction to see while you’re in the city. Here you will find a variety of exhibits and there are usually between three and four traveling exhibits on display throughout the year on rotation. There are fourteen galleries at the Huntsville Museum of Art, so plan to spend several hours if you want to see it all.
15. See the North Alabama Railroad Museum
No trip to Huntsville is complete without a trip to the North Alabama Railroad Museum. This is the ideal attraction for anyone who is fond of trains and railroad memorabilia. The museum features exhibits and educational information on the history of the North Alabama Railroad. You are welcome to take a self-guided walking tour of the museum, but there are staff available to assist you if you have any questions or would like more information. There are no admission fees so you can tour the museum for free, but donations are always appreciated.
14. Experience the Huntsville Escape Rooms
The Huntsville Escape Rooms is something you can participate in anywhere in the city, provided you have an internet connection and a device that you can connect. It’s a virtual experience of fun and mystery. This is for groups of people who book a session and the online room is filled with clues and puzzles to solve to help you navigate your way through the room to find the exit and make your escape. Groups of 1-8 persons are welcome to book a session and you can do it from the convenience of your hotel room, but you have to make reservations in advance.
13. Take the kids to the Early Works Children’s Museum
The Early Works Children’s Museum is the largest hands-on history museum in the south. This is a great place to go for the entire family. There are plenty of activities including climbing, touching, pulling and exploring. The Talking Tree is available for storytelling and there are giant instruments that you can play. There is also a Kidstruction Zone for building and having a great time. There is also a pre-school area as well as karaoke.
12. Spend a day at Lowe Mill Arts and Entertainment
Lowe Mill Arts and Entertainment is another big attraction for tourists in Huntsville. The venue is located in a factory warehouse that has been renovated. Here you will find a theater with performance spaces, six fine art galleries, and more than 200 artists’ work at 148 studios along with classes, special events, and more. There is always something interesting going on at Lowe Mill Arts and Entertainment.
11. Cinemagic Theater
Cinemagic Theater is a drive-in movie theater that will take you back in time. This is like taking a trip backward in time and you are welcome to bring your own chairs and food. Kids are welcome to show up in their PJs and to enjoy the open spaces. This drive-in theater has five screens with plenty of options that are family-friendly.
10. Visit Palmer Park
After a day of shopping, stop by Palmer Park to let the kids run off some steam. This is one of the most beautiful and family-friendly parks in town. There are usually soccer, football and baseball games going on. It is a great place to enjoy a family picnic or to just relax after a busy day of sightseeing. You’re also welcome to bring your own picnic chairs or blankets to spread on the ground.
9. Go to Rocket City NerdCon
Some people make a trip to Huntsville for the specific purpose of going to Rocket City NerdCon. This event is made for people of all ages and it includes old school arcades, gaming tables, a teen masquerade ball, Disney sing-alongs, with costume contests and so much fun and gaming available. If you’re a nerd at heart then you’ll think you’ve found a little piece of heaven. If you’re in Huntsville and you don’t have a costume, it’s not a problem because they always have props available for your photo ops. Dress up as your favorite characters, play video games and more.
8. Go to the Everyone Can Play Splash Pad
If you’re in Huntsville during the warmer months then you absolutely must go to this unique splash pad. It’s made to take the heat off of a hot summer day. This is the perfect alternative to a larger water park because it’s smaller in size, but there are a total of 51 unique features at the Splash Pad. Everyone is welcome to join in the fun and it’s good for people of all ages. The features include dump buckets, roll arches, bubbly geysers, water cannons, sprinklers, and more. This is one of the most economical alternatives to a traditional swimming pool or water park and it is ideal for families with babies and small children.
7. Harrison Brothers Hardware
One of the most unique retail stores in the city of Huntsville is the Harrison Brothers Hardware establishment. The business has been in operation since 1897 and it has been a fixture in the town. What makes this hardware store so very unique is that much of the original architecture, displays, furniture, and shelving have been preserved. Walking through this store is like taking a trip backward in time to the late 1800s. Here you will also find great souvenirs including old fashioned tools and hardware that you can’t find anywhere else. There are some great souvenirs of your trip available here and the store carries old time gardening tools, pottery, cast iron cookware, and more. There are also vintage toys and games, local arts and crafts, housewares, and even edibles. This will be an experience that you won’t soon forget.
6. Go to the Planetarium Shows at Wernher von Braun Planetarium
We can’t forget the Wernher von Braun Planetarium. This is one of the premier attractions in Huntsville. If you’re an amateur astronomist or you’re just fascinated with stars and planets then this is an experience that you can’t pass up. The Planetarium is located on the top of Monte Sano Mountain and here you can get a good look into the galaxy. The planetarium offers shows that are educational and fascinating. Check-in advance to make arrangements to attend one fo the shows and hear the guest speakers who present on a variety of different astronomy topics at the planetarium.
5. The Weeden House Museum and Garden
The Weeden House Museum and Garden are located at 300 Gates Avenue SouthEast in Huntsville. This is a historic house and flower garden that was built in the year 1819. It was the home of Maria Howard Weeden, painter, and poet from the area. You can call or go online in advance to schedule a tour of the Weeden House Museum and Garden, which is one of the most highly recommended tourist attractions for first-time visitors to the city.
4. Alabama Constitutional Village
The Alabama Constitutional Village is a must-see when you’re in Huntsville. It’s located at 109 Gates Avenue SouthEast. This is a historical open-air museum, also known as The Constitution Hall Park. Here you will discover a reenactment of life as it was in the year 1819. There are a total of eight buildings in The Constitution Hall Park, including a residence, a cabinetmaker’s shop, a post office, a land surveyor’s office, a print shop, and a law office. This museum was officially designated as a world heritage site on October 31, 1975.
3. Take a walking tour of Twickenham
Twickenham is a Historic District in Huntsville, Alabama. This is the largest antebellum district in Alabama. This is a fascinating guided walking tour that is filled with some of the most amazing architecture in the city. You’ll find Federal, Italianate, and classical examples. The tour also includes the Weeden House Museum and other points of interest in the district.
2. Visit the Harmony Park Safari
No trip to Huntsville is complete without a trip to Harmony Park Safari. It is located at 431 Clouds Cove Road SouthEast in the city. This is a giant nature preserve that features many exotic and endangered animals. If you’re lucky, they may just peek through the windows as you drive by. This is a drive-by route that takes you through the nature preserve.
1. U.S. Space and Rocket Center
The U.S. Space and Rocket Center is one of the most visited attractions in Hunstville. A visit to the center is a truly educational experience. There is a section that gives you an overview of the entire history of space exploration along with multiple interesting exhibits. Here you can learn all that there is to know about space flight. There is also a really great section of artifacts in the center. You can also get the facts about how to become an astronaut while you’re there.