Whether you saw its feature on the New York Times 52 Places to Visit in 2019 list, or watched Chris Pratt and James Corden train like astronauts at Space Camp, there’s no doubt about it: Huntsville is quickly becoming a must-visit destination for travelers in 2019. No matter your travel style, here are a few tips and tricks all first-time visitors to Huntsville need to know:
Start at the Visitor Center
The men and women at the Huntsville/Madison County Visitor Center in downtown know the area like the back of their hand and are more than happy to help you map out the perfect itinerary, no matter how long your stay. Aside from offering up itinerary suggestions, they’re also quick to offer up special offers discounts. They'll also point out local events you might be interested in as well.
Don’t underestimate its food scene
Kristin Luna of Camels and Chocolate is a blogger known for seeking out local breweries, cocktail hours and great bites. So you know a place is worth checking out if she’s reviewed it. Restaurants like Purveyor and Church Street Wine Shoppe, both known for their wine and small plate selections, are two of her personal favorites, while Pizzelle’s Chocolates at Lowe Mill ARTS and Entertainment also earns a sweet nod of approval.
Credit: Kristin Luna / Camels and Chocolate
Seek out the “Map Guy”
A local celebrity in the Huntsville area, the Map Guy can be found on the third floor of Lowe Mill Arts and Entertainment District. His real name is David Nuttall, and he’s most well-known for his mesmerizing and intricate hand-drawn, usually fictions maps. He has been known to paint them on standard textiles like wood and canvas. However, his preferred — and most popular — backdrop tends to be skin. His stunning work caught the attention of Caz of Y Travel Blog back in December. And you might even be tempted to ask David to paint on your arm or leg like she did when you meet him!
It’s perfect for kids — and the kids at heart
The U.S. Space and Rocket Center and nearby Space Camp are two of the most talked about attractions in the Rocket City, but Huntsville’s ties to NASA aren’t the only family-friendly attractions in town. The Purdy Butterfly House at Huntsville Botanical Garden and the interactive exhibits at the EarlyWorks Children’s History Museum will delight the entire family. Meanwhile, Michael of the Bemused Backpacker says adults are sure to find their inner child. He suggests Campus 805 or at retro arcade bar Pints and Pixels downtown. We’ll toast to that.
Your first visit will certainly not be the last
With its food scene and attractions catching the eye of celebrities and bloggers across the country, it’s clear Huntsville is a city on the rise. At some point, you’ll probably catch yourself wishing for more time to squeeze in just one more activity or restaurant. As Ann Fisher noted in her blog, there are plenty of reasons to plan a visit to Huntsville. And to that we say, “Y’all come back anytime. We’d love to have you.”