1. Welcome To Rocket City
Source: Flickr User Jasen Miller
loves rockets. As soon as you enter the city you’ll notice missiles, spacecraft, and a rocket theme that runs deep throughout the city. Home to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center and NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and the Army’s Aviation and Missile Command, it’s probably no surprise that…
2. Where Everyone Is a Rocket Scientist...
Source: Space Camp via Facebook
Here’s a common scene from Huntsville: You’re at a restaurant or a gas station - you know, just doing your daily life - and you’ll overhear a couple of guys talking with thick Southern accents. That seems pretty common for Alabama, right? Listen closely…. are they talking about beer, women or cars? Nope, they’re chatting it up about aerospace engineering and avionics.
Yeah, it’s like that.
3. ...And A Pretty Happy Government Employee
Source: Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM) via Facebook
You’ll be hard pressed to find anyone in the fine city of Huntsville that doesn’t work for the government in some fashion. Aerospace and military technology are the main economy here, so the people have great government jobs that they all want to keep!
4. Craft Beer Is Serious Business Here
Huntsville is crazy about craft beer because it’s actually a new experience for them. They’ve been working on ‘Free The Hops’ for a long time, and now that the hops are freed, the craft beer is flowing. For the best local brews, you’ll find everyone at Straight To Ale. Try a Monkeynaut IPA, Brother Joseph's Belgian Dubbel or a Lily Flag Milk Stout.
5. In Fact, Rocket City Brewfest Is Almost A City Holiday
It’s all weekend long and it’s huge. You’ll get your fill of music, local food vendors and the best craft beer in the region. Might as well go ahead and ask for May 9th off from work… and maybe May 10th too, depending on how much you’re going to celebrate.
6. Be Prepared To Sweat, A Lot
Source: Flickr User Nine Helmer (origami_potato)
You won’t find four seasons here like in other parts of the country. Huntsville has humid, sticky, hot summers and very mild winters. You’re going to want to bring all your tank tops and shorts, flip flops and wide-brimmed hats. While the winters stay around 50 degrees, the summers can be brutal and push 100. You’ve been warned.
7. The Hammers Are Your New Home Team
Source: Alabama Hammers via Facebook
Have you ever seen indoor football? I know, I know, it sounds crazy, but trust me, you’re going to appreciate an air-conditioned arena in this heat. The Alabama Hammers are getting huge in Huntsville, especially since they won the Professional Indoor Football League (PIFL) title in 2013. So learn to love it.
8. And Hockey Wreaks Havoc In Huntsville
Source: Huntsville Havoc via Facebook
You’ll want to be around when Havoc hits the ice, trust me. They have a very loyal, local following in Huntsville and there’s nowhere better to watch than on the home ice at Van Braun Center. Tip: Thursday night games are 2-for-1 beer.
9. No, That’s Not An Earthquake—Just a Rocket Test
Source: Flickr User NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center
The windows might rattle and the dishes may fall out of their cabinets. Your first instinct is probably to run for cover from the earthquake. Don’t fret, it’s just a rocket test launch. Nothing to fear—except maybe the tornadoes, but that’s a whole different story.
10. Fresh, Local Food Is Everywhere You Look
Source: The Greene Street Market at Nativity via Facebook
Huntsvillians love local food. You’ll find plenty of opportunities to get the best seasonal food possible at various farmer’s market throughout the city. From the Madison County Farmer’s Market to Three Rivers, Terry Heights, Ayer’s Farmer’s Markets and The Greene Street Market, you’ll never really need a grocery store again.
11. But The Best Pizza Ever Is Definitely At Big Ed’s
Source: Big Ed’s Pizza via Facebook
The crust is perfect, the cheese is gooey, the toppings are fresh and delicious. Try the “Big 8” with pepperoni, onions, ham, pork sausage, green peppers, fresh mushrooms, black olives and green olives. And don’t overlook their calzones—you’ll get at least two meals out of those babies.
12. Be Warned: There Is NO Airport On Airport Road
Source: Flickr User Larry Wilbourn
This tip is going to provide very helpful. Don’t get on Airport Road thinking that you are actually going to the airport; the two aren’t related. The Huntsville International Airport is on Glenn Hearn Blvd. Airport Road used to provide access to the old airport, which is now John Hunt Park. Aren’t you glad I told you?
13. Christmas Is A Galactic Affair In Huntsville
Source: Huntsville Botanical Garden via Facebook
The Galaxy of Lights is a must-see during the holiday season. Yes, you’ll wait in line for a long time and pay $20 per car, but the 1.5 mile light display is totally worth it. You can also get your exercise in with the dog walking nights and the Galaxy Night 5k.
14. Even The Parties Are Space Themed
Source: Yuri's Night Huntsville/SpaceParty.info
You’ll quickly find that the love of rockets and rocket science isn’t just reserved for the museums and rocket centers, or even for what people do between 9 and 5. The space theme spills over into every single thing they do. Dust off your Dr. Who and Star Trek costumes, you are going to use them here!
15. But Art Lovers Won’t Feel Left Out...
Source: Lowe Mill ARTS and Entertainment via Facebook
Just head to Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment. You can watch artists work in public studio spaces, visit galleries, watch live performances, and even take classes on painting, yoga, hula hooping, sculpting and more. It used to be an old cotton mill, but now it’s where everyone goes to get a taste of the finer things.
16. And Huntsville Is An Outdoor Paradise Too
Source: Monte Sano State Park Huntsville via Facebook
See, it’s not all about spacecrafts and missiles here. Monte Sano State Park has more than 14 miles of hiking and biking trails, campgrounds, and a Japanese garden, while Green Mountain offers miles of nature trails, majestic mountain views and lush green woodlands. There’s plenty of places for nature lovers.
17. Your New Favorite Cuppa Joe Is At Olde Towne
Source: Olde Towne Coffee via Facebook
Olde Towne Coffee Shop is hands-down Huntsville’s best coffee. Piping hot, organic, shade grown and certified fair trade in a cute, tiny house-turned-cafe. The atmosphere has a community feel, everyone is friendly and the outdoor seating is ideal for sipping on your perfectly executed cuppa joe.
18. And The Food At Blue Plate Might Just Change Your Life
Source: Blue Plate Cafe via Facebook
Craving some fried catfish, country fried steak, and homemade meatloaf with mashed potatoes and cornbread? People line up out the door for Blue Plate Cafe, and even though their food is great all the time, breakfast is by far their most popular meal. Don’t forget the cheesy browns.
19. The Botanical Garden Is Your New Happy Place
Source: Huntsville Botanical Garden via Facebook
Sometimes after the Havocs lose or you’ve been through one too many rocket launches you just need to get some Zen. The Botanical Garden has woodland, wildflower, vegetable and flower display gardens, various walking trails, and a 9000 sq. ft. Nature Center.
20. Cotton Row Will Quench Your Inner Wino
Source: Cotton Row Restaurant via Facebook
Cotton Row is definitely the destination for impressing your parents when they come into town— exquisite food in an upscale atmosphere. It’s expensive, but you won’t be disappointed. Hey, you’re trying to impress, right? They also have a killer wine selection—be sure to ask to see the wine cellar.
21. The Playground Is Kind Of Haunted
Source: Dead Children’s Playground via Facebook
Cemeteries are always spooky, but if you really want to creep yourself out visit the Dead Children’s Playground located in the Maple Hill Cemetery. Locals say the playground is haunted by the ghosts of children playing. Swings moving by themselves, the faint sound of children laughing when no one’s around... paranormal society investigations have actually caught apparitions on film. Creepy.