Passing through North Alabama on an upcoming road trip? Dedicate a few days of your itinerary to exploring all the best things to do in Huntsville, AL!
Huntsville, Alabama, is a wanderlust-worthy city full of historic buildings and flanked by stunning natural areas. With top tourist attractions like the U.S. Space & Rocket Center and Harmony Park Safari in every direction, Alabama’s third-largest city also makes a great choice for traveling families.
Does this sneak peek of what to do in Huntsville tickle your fancy? Don’t sleep on adding the best places to visit in Huntsville, AL, to your next vacation bucket list!
Best places to visit in Huntsville, AL
U.S. Space & Rocket Center
Get ready to blast off on a space-themed adventure at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. At this top-rated Huntsville point of interest, you’ll get up close to a space shuttle, take flight in a mission simulator and hop on board the G-Force Accelerator at this Rocket Park. You can also undertake some water-based VR exploration and give real-live diving a try if aquatic adventures are more up your alley.
Traveling to Huntsville in summer with the kids and looking for a little quiet time for mom and dad? Consider enrolling them in the U.S. Space & Rocket Center Space Camp. This age-appropriate astronaut training at the Hunstville Shuttle Park is sure to make for a vacation experience they’ll never forget!
Huntsville Botanical Garden
If your flower-filled backyard is your favorite escape back home, then you’ll absolutely adore the Huntsville Botanical Garden. Located 10 minutes southwest of the city center, it’s one of the city’s most beautiful places to see.
On your visit to the Huntsville Botanical Garden, don’t forget to check out their self-proclaimed “top attractions” like the Aquatic Garden, Garden Railway, and even a butterfly garden. Once you’ve made your way through the popular display gardens, head down one of the many hiking trails, some of which are flanked by beautiful blooms like the Bush Azalea Trail.
Is your four-legged friend joining you on vacation? Every Monday evening, the Huntsville Botanical Garden allows dogs to join you on-site. They even have dog-friendly pathways to ensure your pets can safely enjoy their time in nature—and stop to smell the roses, too!
Big Spring International Park
Looking for the best park in Huntsville? Look no further than Big Spring International Park. Events are often held here throughout the year, from art festivals to concerts. But even if you’re visiting on a regular ol’ day, there will be plenty to do. Kids, in particular, love feeding the ducks and koi that swim around the Big Spring pond.
Traveling to Huntsville during the spring? Every year around the beginning of April, the lawns of Big Spring International Park spring to life with the beautiful blooms of cherry blossom trees. It’ll make for the perfect family vacation photo backdrop or location for a romantic couples’ picnic before returning home.
Burritt on the Mountain
For a taste of local history, plan a trip to Huntsville’s most popular living museum, Burritt on the Mountain. Here, you’ll follow period interpreters through the homestead of William Henry Burritt, with farmyards, blacksmith shops, and schoolhouses still intact.
Among the collection of 19th-century homes on the estate, you’ll find the museum’s prized gem: the Burritt Mansion. Wander the rooms and imagine yourself living the life of a 19th-century settler.
When it starts to feel like happy hour, head on over to The View at Burritt on the Mountain. Every Wednesday evening, this mountaintop venue—famed for offering the loveliest sunset views in Huntsville—transforms into an alfresco cocktail lounge. Charcuterie, appetizers, and desserts are always available, and admission is free. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Huntsville Museum of Art
If roaming the gallery halls of an art museum is your idea of a perfect day, you’ll quickly fall in head-over-heels for the Huntsville Museum of Art.
At the popular art museum, you’ll be treated to 14 different galleries of regional works, as well as some traveling collections on a limited-time-only basis.
Docent-led tours are complimentary with your Huntsville Museum of Art admission. You can also take a pause and wander at your own speed if you find a piece that speaks to you.
Though many of the works in the Huntsville Museum of Art are paper-medium paintings from the 18th and 19th centuries, you’ll be excited to know that they’ve recently been expanding their collection to include woodwork, blown glass, and clay sculpture.
Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment
All visiting art lovers must make time to check out the Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment. No matter what your favorite way to experience art is, this art center has you covered.
At Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment, you can browse art galleries, catch a theatre performance or participate in a hands-on workshop. There’s also a weekly artisan market in case you’re looking for something one-of-a-kind to bring home.
For some special Friday night entertainment, come experience the Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment Concert on the Docks series. From snazzy jazz to classic rock & roll, every week promises a new artist to discover.
(Oh, and pets are welcome to join—if you’d like to make some concert-going memories with your furry family members!)
Monte Sano State Park
Looking for the best places to go in Huntsville, AL, for day hike? If so, the Monte Sano State Park should be at the top of your list. Choose from over 22 miles of stellar hiking trails and set out on the forest bathing experience of a lifetime.
When you’ve returned from your trek through the Alabama wilderness, there’s plenty more to enjoy at Monte Sano State Park. Outdoor activities such as disc golf, camping, and meditation in the Japanese garden are all at your fingertips. There’s also a state-of-the-art planetarium for exploring the cosmos with a telescope.
U.S. Veterans Memorial Museum
One of the top attractions in Huntsville, AL, the U.S. Veterans Memorial Museum provides a glimpse into the lives of some of the United State’s most revered war heroes.
At the U.S. Veterans Memorial Museum, you’ll learn all about Alabama’s involvement in the Revolutionary War, Civil War, and World Wars through expert storytelling and collections of genuine artifacts and memorabilia. You’ll also have the chance to get up close and personal with collections of military helicopters, jeeps, tanks, missiles, motorcycles, boats, and weaponry.
Madison County Nature Trail
Can’t get enough of Alabama’s great outdoors? Add a walk on the Madison County Nature Trail to your Huntsville itinerary. The park sits on 72 acres of protected forest, offering total solace away from the noisy city streets. The walking path itself stretches a mere 1.5 miles, making it an accessible option for nearly everyone.
The Madison County Nature Trail loops around the summit of Green Mountain and transforms into a sea of color during the autumn months. For the perfect photo opportunities, don’t forget to stop at the famous covered bridge and venture over to the stunning viewpoints.
Huntsville Depot Museum
If there are any train lovers in your midst, a trip to the Huntsville Depot Museum is a fine idea. Once the passenger house for Memphis and Charleston Railroad and an operating station, this retired monument is now one of the top points of interest in Huntsville. The depot also had a significant role in the Civil War, housing imprisoned confederates and acting as a makeshift hospital for the wounded.
Discover graffiti left by Civil War soldiers, play with model trains or go for a little ride of your own; there’s a neverending list of fun activities at the Huntsville Depot Museum. All aboard!
Harmony Park Safari
If you’re traveling to Huntsville with your own vehicle—or you’ve rented one during your stay—don’t miss out on a Harmony Park Safari. Located about 30 minutes south of the city, it’s one of the must-do day trips from Huntsville, AL.
This is no ordinary zoo experience: There are no cages or exhibits here, just wide open space and grazing packs. Harmony Park Safari is chocked-full of free-roaming exotic animals, including some rare endangered species.
A trip to this drive-through safari will leave you feeling like you’ve teleported to some faraway place. Throughout your two-mile journey, keep your eyes peeled for the likes of ostriches, zebras, camels, and more.
Weeden House Museum and Garden
For a day-in-the-life experience of one of Huntsville’s most prominent families, visit the Weeden House Museum and Garden.
The Weeden House is the historic private residence of Maria Howard Weeden, a famous artist and poet, and her husband, William Weeden. Take a tour of the home to observe period decor and 19th-century architecture as well as some of Maria’s most cherished paintings.
Centrally located in the historic district of downtown Huntsville, the Weeden House Museum and Garden can be easily combined with other historic tours and top-rated attractions.
Constitution Hall Park
One of Huntsville’s top attractions for history buffs, Constitution Hall Park is sure to impress. Travel back to the 19th century as you tour a series of Huntsville’s historic buildings. Your children will love learning about the various prominent industries in Alabama, from printing presses to blacksmithing.
For a true Americana experience, don’t forget to visit the Cabinet Shop at Constitution Hall Park. This is where Alabama’s constitution was historically signed. Today, the Cabinet Shop operates as an interactive children’s museum exhibit, with vintage woodworking demonstrations.
Twickenham Historic District
On a “no plans” kind of day, consider heading down to the Twickenham Historic District, where you can explore at your own pace until your legs are ready to give out.
One of the most popular things to do in Huntsville, AL, is to roam the streets of Twickenham Historic District, filled with historic, Antebellum homes. The architecture in the neighborhood is unrivaled; it makes an excellent setting for your morning stroll.
After taking in the sights of the Twickenham Historic District, keep the adventure going by browsing the area’s boutique shops or grabbing a delicious meal at one of its restaurants.
Bridge Street Town Centre
Ready to launch an Alabama shopping spree? The Bridge Street Town Centre is Huntsville’s top shop-til-you-drop destination. This open-air mall has over 60 stores to browse, ranging from big multi-national brands to smaller, local boutiques.
Once you’ve purchased all the souvenirs you can stuff in your suitcase, it’ll be due time to refuel. The Bridge Street Town Centre is home to plenty of excellent restaurants. Depending on the day, you may even enjoy the melodies of live performers wafting over to your perch on the patio!
Cotton Row Restaurant
When it comes to supper time, look no further than Huntsville’s most buzzed-about eatery: Cotton Row Restaurant. Located in a historic building along the cotton exchange in historic downtown Huntsville, this restaurant is turning good ol’ fashioned American cuisine on its head and adding some modern flair. And—newsflash!– everyone’s loving it!
These innovative restauranteurs hold Southern hospitality at the heart of everything they do. Whether you’re craving some Gulf Coast seafood or stick-to-the-ribs BBQ, the Cotton Row Restaurant has got you covered.
Cathedral Caverns State Park
Ever wanted to try spelunking? Now you can (safely!) at Cathedral Caverns State Park, less than 40 minutes from the Huntsville city center.
During your visit to Cathedral Caverns State Park, you’ll have the opportunity to observe incredible natural phenomena, including a “frozen waterfall” and a stalagmite forest. You’ll even spot a cave-dwelling bat colony that earned the state park its nickname, “The Bat Cave.”
If you’re visiting Alabama with young kids, stop by the Cathedral Caverns State Park gemstone mine. Here, kiddos can buy a bag of “mining dirt” with their souvenir money and sleuth for gems, fossils, and seashells.
Want some crystals for your own collection? Not to worry: The gemstone mine doesn’t have an age limit!