Looking for new experiences during your stay in Rocket City? Take some time to explore Downtown Huntsville, Alabama. This lively neighborhood is brimming with great dining, excellent museums, and beautiful outdoor spaces.
Delve into Huntsville’s history at Constitution Hall Park and Weeden House Museum and Garden. Afterward, you can take a break in the lush Big Spring International Park. If you’re traveling with little ones, they’ll have a blast at EarlyWorks Children’s Museum and the Huntsville Depot Museum. Wrap up your day with a show at the Mark C. Smith Concert Hall, then hit top Downtown Huntsville restaurants like Commerce Kitchen and Cotton Row.
Not sure where to start in this Alabama tourist hot spot? Craft the perfect trip with the guide to Downtown Huntsville, AL, including what to see & do, places to eat & drink, and where to stay.
What to see & do in Downtown Huntsville
Big Spring International Park
Take in the Huntsville scenery at Big Spring International Park. Downtown’s most distinctive feature, this public park is built around the Big Spring, where people chose to settle 200 years ago. Today, it’s a popular spot for people to get in touch with nature, socialize, and participate in fun events and activities.
Big Spring International Park is a wonderful place to grab some fresh air for a few hours on your Huntsville trip itinerary. Linger by the man-made lake, where you can feed the resident ducks and Koi fish.
The park has many international friends—hence its name! It’s received international gifts like a lighthouse, fog bell, and sundial. Make sure to spot blooming cherry blossoms and red bridge that came all the way from Japan.
Big Spring International Park is a great chance to throw yourself into local life. Eat your heart out at fun food festivals or laze on the grass and listen to live music.
Huntsville Museum of Art
For inspiration, head to the Huntsville Museum of Art. This art museum will throw you into American Art from the 19th and 20th centuries. The huge collection of 3,200 works also includes African, Asian, and European art that was influential for the American art scene.
With exciting examples of glass and silver works, photography, and paintings from around the world, the Huntsville Museum of Art has become one of Huntsville’s most popular museums. The art museum also hosts a collection of regional work, giving you the chance to experience the styles and perspectives of local cultures.
Complex themes and emotions will spark inspiration in every type of visitor. The American female artist collection highlights women who were overlooked in history, while the American Identity exhibit explores our relationship with our nationality and sense of self.
If you’re struggling to drag the rest of your travel group to an art museum, lure them in with the Huntsville Museum of Art’s interactive exhibits. Fun tasks and challenges help visitors to understand the basic concepts of the visual arts.
EarlyWorks Children’s Museum
Ignite a passion for the world of STEM and history at the EarlyWorks Children’s Museum. Your children will love the hands-on exhibits so much that they won’t even realize they’re learning! It’s a great place to watch the engineers, scientists, and anthropologists of tomorrow.
Whatever your child’s learning style, there’s plenty at the EarlyWorks Children’s Museum to grab their attention. They’ll get to play at being adults while dressing up as builders and firemen and can even take their toy pup to the dog groomers. Watch a real 3D printer in action and build beautiful structures together in the light lab.
Children also get to uncover important parts of US history. A magical talking tree will tell them all about Native American cultures, and they’ll learn about African-American culture with a colorful mural and musical instruments. Kids can also pretend they’re sailing across the seven seas when setting the sails on a 19th-century keelboat.
Constitution Hall Park
Get a big slice of local history at Constitution Hall Park. This park marks the place where Alabama’s constitution was signed back in 1819. As well as being an important cultural landmark, it’s also a fun and immersive museum and one of the coolest points of interest in Huntsville for travelers.
Becoming a state had a huge impact on every person living in Alabama. Constitution Hall Park will help you understand why this moment was so significant and what it meant for all the people living there.
But Constitution Hall Park isn’t your regular history lesson; it’s an immersive experience that’ll throw you into life in the 1800s. Staff in period costumes will guide you through the museum and share their knowledge of the architecture, history, and culture of the region.
Visit the blacksmith shop and the post office. Fun demonstrations like wool spinning and newspaper printing show you what life was like before modern technology.
Weeden House Museum and Garden
Step into 1819 luxury at the Weeden House Museum and Garden. This opulent property has been home to famous figures. The building is now a fascinating museum, and its gardens are so beautiful that they’re a sought-after spot for Huntsville weddings.
Architecture buffs can spend hours admiring the details of this 19th-century Federal-style building. Marvel at the arched glass entrance and the glamorous spiral staircase. Step inside Weedon House and explore the incredible artwork and antique furniture. Tour the historic building, full of interesting art and vintage furniture.
Maria Howard Weeden had a gift for capturing the essence of her subjects in her paintings. Her most celebrated work is her portraits of people from African-American communities who lived in Huntsville at the turn of the 20th century. You’ll find many of her works spread across the Weeden House Museum and Garden.
Huntsville Depot Museum
Learn all about Alabama’s railway history at the Huntsville Depot Museum. This historic site was a buzzing transport hub until 1968 and the headquarters of the Memphis & Charleston Railroad. Now, it’s one of the oldest depots left in the United States and a fun, informative museum.
The Huntsville Depot Museum is an emporium of train memorabilia. Check out the model train set and a fun collection of antique trains and locomotives. You can even go inside! Andy Barker, the resident train conductor, is a chatty robot that’ll tell you fun stories from Alabama’s train history.
There are heaps of non-train gems to discover. The building has also been a Confederate prison and a hospital. You’ll get to see graffiti from Civil War soldiers and artifacts from the cotton industry.
The Huntsville Depot Museum is temporarily closed, but the park, picnic pavilion, and one antique train are open for visitors in the meantime.
Huntsville Madison County Veterans Memorial
Pay tribute to the heroes who served our country at the Huntsville Madison County Veterans Memorial. This beautiful memorial park is a quiet place to remember our history and reflect. It uses thoughtful design principles to convey deeper meanings while staying aesthetically pleasing. You can take a tour to learn more about the ideas that went into creating the park.
Sleek granite markers serve as a timeline to different military conflicts, while the rushing from the circular fountain represents the blood of Madison County veterans. Real-life veterans posed for the statues you’ll see spread throughout Huntsville Madison County Veterans Memorial. They show incredible moments of battle and sacrifice.
Take a stroll along Legacy Walkway, where thousands of bricks reflect the stories of our soldiers. Or head to Patriots Walkway, where informative kiosks tell you more about US military history.
Mark C. Smith Concert Hall
Check out the Downtown Huntsville entertainment scene at Mark C. Smith Concert Hall. This continental-style theatre seats up to 1,955 people and hosts all types of performances, from theatre and ballet to top-rated bands.
The Mark C. Smith Concert Hall is a hub for entertainment in the wider Huntsville area. Every aspect of the auditorium design and the sound systems were designed by experts in acoustics. The proscenium stage helps you feel the energy of the crowd and keeps you immersed in the entire performance.
The huge site also has a convention center and arena, meaning it’s always buzzing with activity. During your visit, events could include anything from a hockey game to a civic show.
Find out what tickets are on sale while you’re in town, or just head up to the rooftop restaurant for sparkling views of the city.
Where to eat & drink
Downtown Huntsville buzzes with a fantastic variety of global restaurant options. With new chefs always flocking to the area, you can expect an exciting and dynamic dining experience here. If you want to continue to explore the nightlife, you’ll find everything from cozy pubs to chic cocktail bars. With a fun live music scene and lots of lively bars, you’ll have a fantastic experience after dark.
Get fun salads and tasty toasted sandwiches at MELT. This laid-back spot has a cozy atmosphere and a sunny patio with yard games.
For upscale American dishes and excellent craft cocktails, head to Purveyor. This restaurant charms with stylish décor and dishes inspired by wine and bourbon.
Commerce Kitchen serves authentic Southern cuisine with a sophisticated twist. Savor their seasonal menu and the very best local ingredients.
You could also get an exquisite dining experience at Cotton Row. It’s in a historic building from the Cotton Exchange and showcases top American fine dining. Expect lots of Southern influences and seasonal, local ingredients.
Escape to warmer climates at Phat Sammy’s. This eclectic tiki bar has nautical décor and lots of fun rum cocktails that’ll leave you feeling as if you had a day at the beach.
Stella’s Elixir Lounge is the place to be for expert mixologists and classic cocktails. The stylish bar has lots of plush corners where you can curl up for a couple of hours.
For something livelier, head to The Martin. Luxuriate in the trendy Art Deco décor and a slew of TVs for watching sports.
Watch live music every night of the week at Voodoo Lounge Bar & Grill. The underground spot has a sultry vibe where you’ll be happy to hide away until the small hours.
Where to stay
As it’s the heart of the city, Downtown is one of the most popular neighborhoods to stay in Huntsville, AL. In the city center, you’ll find a variety of excellent accommodation options, from boutique hotels to inns.
This sophisticated hotel is a great place to relax after your downtown adventures. As well as a complimentary hot breakfast, you can treat yourself to free tea and coffee all day long. Soak up the sun by the outdoor pool or work up a sweat in the gym.
Stay just 10 minutes from Huntsville Museum of Art and Big Spring International Park at this popular hotel. If you want a more laid-back experience in the city, every room has a full kitchen so you can stay in and recharge for the night. There’s an outdoor pool and gym to keep you busy when you’re not exploring.
Stay in this sleek hotel overlooking Big Spring International Park. Work up an appetite in the fitness center, then check out the farm-to-table menu with tasty regional cuisine. Or, head to the lounge bar and kitchen for cocktails and Spanish tapas.
Spacious rooms with pops of color make this a fun place to stay while you’re in Huntsville. The hotel is in a prime location, with attractions like the Huntsville Museum of Art less than 10 minutes away. You’ll have everything you need at your fingertips, with a gym, free breakfast, and convenience store on site.
This elegant boutique hotel has a central location and upscale amenities. Sip craft cocktails under the stars at the rooftop bar or try global cuisine at the on-site restaurant. Calming rooms use a wonderful combination of classic-style furniture and modern touches.