Huntsville is the fourth largest city in Alabama that is located in the northernmost part of the U.S. state of Alabama. The National Trust for Historic Preservation named Huntsville to its “America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations for 2010” list. In 2009, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance named Huntsville as America’s Best City. Experience everything from sports and games to culture and art. The city offers assorted shops, fine dining and exceptional accommodations for any travelers desires. It’s a 3 hour drive to Atlanta (180 miles), 1½ hours to Birmingham (100 miles) and 2 hours to Nashville (110 miles).
Top 10 Attractions
1. The U. S. Space & Rocket Center is home to the US Space Camp and Aviation Challenge programs and the huge Saturn V rocket, which is labeled as a National Historic Landmark. For tourists with a little more time at hand, definitely consider staying at Space Camp residency for an experience of a lifetime. The U.S. Space & Rocket Center is known as one of the most widespread U.S. manned space flight hardware museums in the world. They have the Education Training Center, which houses NASA’s Educator Resource Center, Spacedome Theater, Rocket Park and so much more. Admission is $25 for adults and $20 for children.
2. Alabama Constitution Village is a museum that’s like a time capsule and takes you back in 1819, which is when the Alabama Constitution was signed. Hands-down, it is the largest history museum in the South with tons of fun for all ages. Here you can hear stories from the talking tree, play music on the giant-sized instruments at the Alabama bandstand and try your hand at building a house in the interactive architecture exhibit. You can also walk the gangplank and discover a 46-foot keelboat, wander through Alabama’s agricultural and industrial history and try on clothing from the 1800’s in the Federal house. Admission is $12 for adults and $10 for children.
3. Burritt on the Mountain–A Living Museum, which is also known as a “Jewel on the Mountain.” This jewel comprises of Dr. William Henry Burritt’s splendid mansion, a historic park, and 19th century houses including barnyard and animals, mixture of concerts, plays and exhibits. All this put together gives you an amusing mixture of old and new for adults and kids. This was Huntsville’s first ever museum which was left to the city after the death of Dr. William Henry Burritt. His fourteen-room mansion built in the shape of an “X”, personal collection of artifacts, and 167 acres of land on Round Top Mountain were the pillar of the Burritt Museum and Historic Park. Thus it was renamed “Burritt on the Mountain”. It also offers eight miles of nature trails, five acres of picnic areas, and heirloom gardens which yield food products for cooking demonstrations. Admission is $10 for adults and $8 for children.
4. Huntsville/Madison County Botanical Garden – The Botanical Garden has different types of flowers, trees and plants all year round. May and October are the best months for viewing the flowers and plants. The December Galaxy of Lights has won many awards for tourism in the Southeast. It is a paradise of plants, trees, butterflies, water and native flowers combined with greenery which make the Huntsville-Madison County Botanical Garden one of the most captivating places in Huntsville. The Garden showcases many different areas like the Perennial Garden, the Aquatic Garden, the Annual Garden, Constitution Walk, the 100 year-old Dogwood Tree, the Daylily Garden, Compost Demonstration Site, the Demonstration Vegetable Garden, the Butterfly House, the Fern Glade, Garden Railroad, Herb Garden, Nature Trail, the Rose Garden, and the Central Corridor Garden. Recently a Tea Room was added on-site, specializing in Roly Poly sandwiches, salads, snacks and specialty teas. Southern plantation-style columns from the Old Madison County Courthouse grace the entrance to the Gardens. Admission is $12 for adults and $8 for children.
5. Weeden House Museum – Owned by the City of Huntsville and rented by Twickenham Historic Preservation District Assoc. This lovely Federal design home was built in 1819 by Henry C. Bradford. In 1845, it became the town house of Dr. William Weeden and his family. The Weeden family lived here until 1956. The Weeden House would have just remained one of the lovely Federal houses had it not been for the talents of Maria Howard Weeden. Maria Howard Weeden was world famous for her paintings of black people. Even her drawings were used for the costumes of slaves in “Gone With the Wind.” Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children.
6. Big Spring International Park – This Park is located in downtown Huntsville centered on a natural water body known as Big Spring. The park contains the Huntsville Museum of Art. It is home for celebration of various festivals, such as the Panoply Arts Festival and the Big Spring Jam. There are fishes in the spring’s place. There is a waterfall and a continuously lit gas torch.
7. Cathedral Caverns State Park in Grant – Cathedral Caverns was initially called Bats Cave. Jacob Gurley bought the cave in 1955 and opened it to the public. For the first time he took his wife to the caverns, she was mesmerized by the beauty of one big room with all the stalagmites and stalactites and said that it looked like a “cathedral.” Since then it was named Cathedral Caverns. Cathedral Caverns became a state park in 1987 and was reopened to the public in August, 2000. The first thing you notice about Cathedral Caverns is the massive entrance, which gets better as you step inside. Inside the cavern, you will find Mystery River, Big Rock Canyon and some of the most gorgeous formations created naturally. Among them, you will see The Frozen Waterfall, Stalagmite Mountain and Goliath, a huge stalagmite pillar that reaches the ceiling of the cave around 45 feet above! Since the caves maintain a 60-degree temperature year round, you can plan to visit it anytime
8. North Alabama Railroad Museum – It is a railway museum and came into existence 1966. The museum showcases a collection of rolling stock, a small train station, and a small heritage railroad called the Mercury and Chase Railroad between the months of April and December. The mission of the NARM is to preserve railroad heritage in North Alabama and South Central Tennessee. It is run entirely by over hundred plus volunteers. The museum is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays and offers free admission.
9. The Historic Huntsville Depot – Hear the rattle of the tracks and the engineer’s whistle as you are exported to the tracks in 1860s. Discover Civil War graffiti & listen as Andy, the robotic ticket agent, tells Alabama’s railway history. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Depot served as the local passenger house & the corporate offices for the eastern division of the Memphis & Charleston Railroad. It used to be an active passenger station until 1968. The original depot building stands as a symbol of Huntsville’s transport history & city development. Admission is $12 for adults and $10 for children.
10. Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail – Hampton Cove – The Hampton cove lies at northern boundary of the Huntsville Trail. It is a 54-hole golf course with ground that significantly changes from one side of the estate to the other. The Highlands Course was recently refurbished to convert it back to its original design as a true Scottish links course, with long, waving grass and rolling fairways. Contrary to this design is the River Course, the only Robert Trent Jones layout without a single bunker. The River Course is a resemblance to the way golf courses were built long ago. The dirt was simply pushed up to create the greens and trees and leaving everything else as it is even the huge oak trees.
Cotton Row Restaurant –This fine dining restaurant is located on the southwest corner of the Courthouse Square. Cotton Row Restaurant is a three-story brick building built in 1821 along the cotton exchange. It offers southern soul with elegance and comfort and is famous for modern American cuisine. This restaurant was inspired by the lasting passion of the cotton traders who once worked in downtown Huntsville. Enjoy a meal and take a whiff of southern hospitality.
The Melting Pot of Huntsville – If you want a relaxing, beautiful surrounding with fine dining and focused service, look no further than The Melting Pot of Huntsville. This restaurant is one of the best choices for creating cherished memories. They offer unique “fondue flair,” you can enjoy communal pots filled with savory cheese and chocolates as well as prepare your own delicious entrée assortments tableside. The cheese fondue dippers provide a wide variety of fresh veggies, fruits and breads, while the sumptuous entrees include premium cuts of seafood, chicken and steak. The famous chocolate fondue dessert couples well with the delicious cakes and brownies, and makes the perfect dessert for your delicious dinner. They also offer vegetarian and gluten free fondue.
Huntsville Marriot – Huntsville Marriott Hotel is nestled off highway I565 at exit 15. The Hotel is on the grounds of the US Space & Rocket Center Museum and Space Camp in a stunning woody setting with hiking trail. So just follow Space & Rocket Center signs and you can find the hotel easily. It is situated near malls, restaurants, and movie theaters, University of AL Huntsville, attractions and is just 8 miles from Huntsville Int Airport. The guest rooms are elegantly decorated with down filled bedding and pillows for a peaceful night’s sleep. There is Seasons Restaurant for breakfast, lunch or dinner and Porters Steakhouse for dinner offering delightful cuisine. They also have indoor/outdoor heated pool overlooking the beautiful courtyard. Nearby attractions include, Constitution Hall Village, Sci Quest, Huntsville Museum of Art, EarlyWorks, Monte Sano State Park, Botanical Garden, and Huntsville Depot Museum, a number of malls are nearby as well.
The Westin Huntsville – Westin boasts that everything they do is designed to help its customers and to make them feel special and their best. They offer world famous heavenly beds and sumptuous, delicious cuisine, great workout gym with the topmost facility, a world renowned spa, Blue which is ranks in top 55 medical spa’s in the world by Conde Nast Traveler and offers the guests with wonderful results. There personal touches and thoughtful services makes you feel welcomed and soothed. At the Blue spa, you can renew your total wellness and health.