13 Things to Know About Living in Huntsville

Considering moving to Huntsville? As one of the best mid-sized cities in the U.S., Rocket City offers budget-friendly living, excellent job opportunities, abundant outdoor recreation, and more. Here are 13 things to know about living in Huntsville!

Enjoy Affordable Living in Huntsville

With small-town charm and big-city amenities, residents living in Huntsville get the best of both worlds—without having to spend a fortune. In fact, Huntsville is one of the most affordable cities in the U.S., with median home and rent prices sitting at $184,500 and $868, respectively. As an added bonus, Alabama offers some of the lowest property taxes in the country, which makes it even easier to find Huntsville real estate that fits within your budget! Plus, considering there’s no state income tax on pensions or social security benefits, Huntsville is also one of the best places to retire in the South. With an overall cost of living that’s 2% lower than the national average, this Alabama city is a great choice for those seeking affordable Southern living.

Secure Top Jobs in Huntsville

Moving to Huntsville in search of a new career? With a low unemployment rate of 3.2%, an income per capita 23% higher than the national average, and an emerging tech sector—it’s no surprise that Huntsville is one of the best cities for jobs in the nation. Secure a job in government or healthcare IT services through F1 Solutions or explore more than 300 other companies at Cummings Research Park—the second largest research park in the nation. Find a position in the engineering industry at nou Systems or Qualitest, two of Huntsville’s largest employers. Check out Huntsville Hospital Health System and Crestwood Medical Center to further your career in healthcare. If you’re an active military member or veteran, take advantage of convenient access to the U.S. Army Redstone Arsenal. Or launch into a career in aerospace engineering in Rocket City at the Marshall Space Flight Center.

Blast Off in Rocket City

How did Huntsville become known as Rocket City? The answer is simple, yet quite extraordinary—Dr. Wernher von Braun created the rocket that carried Apollo 11 to the moon during NASA’s 1960 Space Race at none other than the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) in Huntsville! Today, the Von Braun Astronomical Society (VBAS) carries on this legacy with observatories, a planetarium, and a vast collection of astronomical materials to educate the community about space. In addition, the official visitor center for the MSFC, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, remains one of Huntsville’s top attractions. Not only is this Huntsville museum home to the ever-popular Space Camp—a launchpad for careers in aerospace—but it also has one of the largest collections of rockets and space memorabilia in the world. This includes an unused, authentic Saturn V Rocket—one of only three in existence! Participate in high adrenaline activities like descending 24 feet to experience neutral buoyancy in the SCUBA Experience—Underwater Astronaut Training, roll and spin as you ride the Max Flight simulator, or experience the cosmos and watch space-themed shows in the INTUITIVE Planetarium.

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Further Your Education at Huntsville Schools

There are colleges and universities in Huntsville to suit all kinds of interests! Jump-start your education in fields such as industrial maintenance, nursing, music technology, and more at Calhoun Community College. Find excellent programs in aerospace engineering, biological sciences, and economics at The University of Alabama in Huntsville—home to 17 centers and institutes dedicated to research. Earn a faith-centered degree in education, ministry, or social work at Huntsville Bible College. Enroll in the programs for nursing and health professions, education and social sciences, or business and information systems at private Oakwood University. Register for classes in programs such as drone piloting, cosmetology, or welding at Drake State Community & Technical College. Or become a Bulldog and explore master’s programs in electrical engineering, computer science, and physics at Alabama A&M University.

Take Advantage of Huntsville’s Outdoor Activities

Located near the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and boasting over 65 parks, Huntsville has no shortage of outdoor recreation to enjoy. Spend the day boating, hiking, and fishing in Huntsville along the Tennessee River at Ditto Landing Marina. Walk the trails with your furry friend, have a picnic underneath the cherry blossom trees, or observe the ducks and koi fish at one of the best Huntsville parks, Big Spring International Park. Go camping, disc golfing in the mountains, or biking on the trails at Monte Sano State Park. Take advantage of the 52,000-square-foot skatepark, outdoor fitness court, professional sand volleyball complex, and more at John Hunt Park—also known as “Huntsville’s Central Park.” Participate in events like the Arbor Day Races or Golden Hour or admire the gorgeous flora and fauna at the 118-acre Huntsville Botanical Garden. Practice your putting and chipping on 54 holes across three courses at Hampton Cove, part of the renowned Robert Trent Jones golf trail. Or play a game of sand volleyball, softball, or soccer, and let your kids run around the splash pad at Brahan Spring Park.

Find Family-Friendly Fun

There’s a reason why Huntsville, AL is known as one of the best cities for families—this city is packed full of kid-friendly activities! Explore interactive exhibits like KIDSTRUCTION, Light Lab, or The Keelboat at EarlyWorks Children’s Museum. Tour the 150+ working art studios, participate in a creative art class, visit the outdoor market, and more at Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment. Let your young rock climbers boulder, climb, and belay in the Kids Zone, or enroll them in climbing camps at High Point Climbing & Fitness. Get outside and support local growers, artisans, and vendors at The Greene Street Market at Nativity. Challenge the whole family with clues and puzzles in The Experiment, The Queen Pin, and The New Atlantis rooms at Huntsville Escape Rooms. Or ride bumper cars, run around the two-story laser tag arena, and knock some pins down at Stars & Strikes Family Entertainment Center.

Attend Vibrant Huntsville Festivals

Whether you love celebrating art, beer, food, or the holidays, there are plenty of Huntsville events and festivals to choose from! Enjoy a full weekend of over 100 local visual artists, live music performances, interactive art activities, and more at the annual Panoply Arts Festival. Marvel at over three million lights as you travel through the Whimsical Woods or participate in the 3k Fun Run during the holiday season at the Galaxy of Lights. Support a great cause and watch people compete for the best wings in Huntsville, chow down chicken, and challenge yourself to the Salmon Run 5k at Battle of the Buffalo. Celebrate all things craft beer with more than 100 brews on tap and live music in Huntsville at the annual Von Brewski Beer Festival. Picnic on the lawn and get up and dance to local, regional, and national music acts during Concerts on the Dock. Or munch on tasty treats, experience thrilling carnival rides, meet live animals, and more at the ten-day Rocket City Fair.

Visit Huntsville Museums

While many museums in Huntsville recount the city’s American Civil War history, there are a variety of historic and artistic sites to explore. View permanent American, Japanese, African, and European art exhibits containing hundreds of sculptures, paintings, and prints at the Huntsville Museum of Art. Take a self-guided walking tour or hop on a train for a railroad excursion at the North Alabama Railroad Museum. Learn about the conflicts during World War I or view the displays of historical military vehicles—including the oldest surviving Jeep, the Ford Pygmy—at the U.S. Veterans Memorial Museum. Explore the natural beauty atop Round Top Mountain, visit the Historic Park & Barnyard, and tour the Burritt Mansion at the open-air museum Burritt on the Mountain. Take a lantern tour through the grounds at Alabama Constitution Hall Park, a replica of the site where Alabama’s Constitution was signed. Or dive into Huntsville history and the city’s connection to the Underground Railroad in one of its oldest standing buildings, The Historic Lowry House.

Explore the Huntsville Performing Arts Scene

Art lovers will feel right at home in Huntsville, as it has a booming visual and performing arts scene! Get tickets to Theatre Huntsville shows such as Little Shop of Horrors, Don’t Dress For Dinner, and The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940 at VBC Playhouse. Attend improv comedy nights or singer-songwriter showcases at The Studio Theatre. Enjoy Broadway musical productions like Jesus Christ Superstar or Pretty Woman at Broadway Theatre League. Support inclusivity in the arts with a variety of classes in music, theater, dance, and more at Merrimack Hall Performing Arts Center. Check out The Color Purple live on stage or audition for shows such as The SpongeBob Musical at Independent Musical Productions. Watch the Huntsville Ballet dancers perform Swan Lake or catch a Huntsville Symphony Orchestra show at Mark C. Smith Concert Hall. Or enroll your child in acting camp and classes and watch them perform musicals and plays such as The Jungle Book or Rapunzel and the Beanstalk at Fantasy Playhouse Children’s Theater & Academy.

Root for Huntsville Sports Teams

Are you a sports fan? Huntsville, AL has a variety of teams to support! Watch the Rocket City Trash Pandas (MiLB) hit a grand slam and run the bases at Toyota Field. Grab tickets to see the Huntsville Havoc (SPHL) glide around the ice and hit a slap shot into the net at Von Braun Center. Applaud the Huntsville City FC (MLS Next Pro) as they score a goal against their opponents at Wicks Family Field at Joe Davis Stadium. Enjoy a Rocket City Roller Derby (WFTDA) game at the NSS Conference Center. Spend the day watching cars race around the track at Huntsville Speedway. Support the Huntsville Tigers semi-professional women’s tackle football team during a game at Bob Jones High School. Or cheer on the Alabama A&M Bulldogs (NCAA D-1) as they pass the ball down the field to score a touchdown at Louis Crews Stadium.

Dine on Delicious Food in Huntsville

No matter if you’re in the mood for Southern comfort food or Mexican cuisine, there are a variety of diverse restaurants in Huntsville to satisfy your cravings. Enjoy weekend brunch with dishes like the 8-Hour Braised Short Rib Hash, Fried Green Tomato Benedict, and Granola-Crusted Stuffed French Toast at Commerce Kitchen. Try specialty pizzas like the Bacon Buffalo Chicken, Italian Pie, and Taco Pizza at Big Ed’s Pizza. Order happy hour bites like the Prime Rib Gravy Fries, Tenderloin Tip Skewers, and Pork Rinds at Char Restaurant. Craving Italian food in Huntsville? Go for dishes like the Marsala, Chicken Cannelloni, or Pasta Portofino at Terranova’s Huntsville. Make dinner reservations and start with the Fried Okra Salad, order main dishes like the Springer Mountain Chicken Pasta, and treat yourself to the Fudgy Brownie Panna Cotta for dessert at The Bottle Restaurant. Or chow down the Chicken Enchiladas or Shrimp Tacos while sipping on a Mambo Taxi Margarita at Rosie’s Mexican Cantina.

Grab a Beer at Local Huntsville Breweries

Craft beer enthusiasts will love that Huntsville has a brewery presence! Gather with friends to try unique draft beers on tap such as the Monkeynaut, Juicy Bunny, and Pompatus of Love at local favorite taproom and speakeasy Straight to Ale. Grab a pint of T-Minus Tangerine Kolsch, Miracle Worker Tripel, and Cheatin’ Heart IPA at Yellowhammer Brewing. Try local beers like the Rice Lager, Hazy Hooligan, and Birthday Cake Triple IPA at Chandlers Ford Brewing. Make your way to a family-friendly and dog-friendly, sci-fi-themed taproom known for its saisons and lagers, board games, and wood-fired Neapolitan pizza—InnerSpace Brewing Company. Treat yourself to rotating brews such as the Cosmic Cookie, Terrestri-ALE, and Lunar Lander at Rocket Republic HSV, one of the best Huntsville breweries for live music. Or get your friends together and spend a weekend touring the many other breweries on the Downtown Huntsville Craft Beer Trail!

Experience Huntsville Nightlife

From social hot spots like MidCity District, to the city’s range of live music venues and bars—Huntsville’s nightlife scene certainly delivers. Catch up with friends, grab some food and drink, participate in karaoke, and experience live entertainment every night at The Camp. Relax on the rooftop with craft cocktails like the Jennifer Coolidge, Caramel Apple Mule, and Pineapple Upside Down Cake Martini at Stella’s Elixir Lounge. Sip carefully-curated cocktails while rocking out to popular artists and bands like Greta Van Fleet, Lainey Wilson, Styx, and Foreigner at The Orion Amphitheater. Attend trivia nights, swing dancing classes, and live music performances from local artists at Stovehouse. If you’re looking to stay in one area for the night but never run out of Huntsville nightlife options, head to Campus No. 805. Order a Ghost Train Kettle Sour or Main Channel Amber and participate in bingo or karaoke nights at Lone Goose Saloon. Or head down the street and try one of 40 tap beers while playing on pinball machines and other vintage arcade games at Pints & Pixels.

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Moving to Huntsville? Extra Space Storage has convenient self storage facilities located throughout Rocket City to help with your move. Find affordable Huntsville storage near you!

About Mike Beutler

Mike Beutler is a writer and digital content specialist who transitioned to self storage in 2020 after several years in the airline industry. His travels cultivated a passion for exploring cities across the U.S. and abroad and inspired him to learn more about practical insights for urban living. With 14 moves under his belt, both locally and cross-country, he also has a passion for minimalism and organization, and sharing tips to help others make any space feel like home while staying organized.

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