If you go to Paris, you take a picture of the Eiffel Tower. If you go to New York, you snapshot the Statue of Liberty. In Rome, the Colosseum. In Cawker City, Kansas, the biggest ball of twine. But what about Huntsville? What do you take a picture of when you come here? Well, the rocket, of course. You know the one (It’s kind of hard to miss.) But that’s not all! Here are seven shots to start your Huntsville scrapbook! (Or Facebook album, if you live in the 21st century.)
One: The Rocket
1 Tranquility Base
There aren’t many places in the world where you can find a full-scale replica of the Saturn V Moon Rocket that carried men to the moon standing vertically on the skyline. In fact, there’s only one, and this is it. Snap Huntsville’s most iconic picture, and then explore the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in all its glory to get even more unique shots including a full scale, full stack space shuttle!
Two: Big Spring International Park
After the Saturn V, the second-most “Huntsville” image you can find is at Big Spring Park, with its iconic red bridge and beautiful scenery. Get the classic shot, but don’t miss anything else that can be found at the birthplace of Huntsville – including the lighthouse, the eternal flame, cherry blossom trees, the lagoon, and the baby ducks! (Note: Baby ducks can only be found some of the time, much to the disappointment of my wife.)
Three: Maple Hill Cemetery
California Street and Wells Ave.
If you expect to find some beautiful monuments and mausoleums, you won’t be disappointed. You’ll also find a bit of state history, including the final resting place of five Alabama governors and U.S. senators. It takes some time to navigate, but that’s only because it’s the largest city-owned cemetery in the South!
Four: All of Huntsville at Once
3101 Burritt Dr SE
Dr. Burritt chose property atop Monte Sano Mountain for the view of the city it provided him, and it’s still one of the best views around. See how many local landmarks you can spot while overlooking the valley, and then check out the city’s first museum and hiking trails.
Five: The Depot
320 Church St. NW
As a former Depot tour guide who got married at the museum site, I’m a bit biased. There are so many great pictures to be captured at Huntsville’s Civil War-era Depot, one of the oldest surviving passenger depots in the United States. Plus, where else can you safely get a picture of yourself running from a trolley or a train? (Answer: The North Alabama Railroad Museum, where on certain weekends you can even go on a short train ride. And I bet you thought that last question was going to be rhetorical, didn’t you?)
Six: The Urban Rural
Huntsville may be the Rocket City and well on its way towards becoming the largest city in Alabama, but it’s also a place where you can find cattle and cotton in the city limits as you drive around town. Keep an eye out and you can snap some unique pictures you wouldn’t usually find in a metropolitan area. If you’re not from ‘round these parts, it’s a convenient way to get “country” pictures without leaving the city.
Seven: That One Lunar Lander Model Outside the Used Tire Shop
3217 Governors Dr SW
Does your city have a small lunar lander hanging outside a used-tire business? I’m guessing no. That’s why we’re the Rocket City. Well, I mean, that’s not WHY we’re the Rocket City. Really, being the Rocket City is probably why we have a small lunar lander hanging outside a used-tire shop, not vice versa. But it’s distinct, and a great conversation piece, is my point.
Do you know of a great photo op that we’ve missed for some shots to start your Huntsville scrapbook? Share your favorites with us in the comments below!
Which iHeartHsv blogger wrote this?
David Hitt is a native of Huntsville who enjoys telling the stories of his hometown. He works in strategic communications for NASA’s Space Launch System, the rocket that will send astronauts to Mars and prove once again that nobody builds ‘em like the Rocket City. David tells Huntsville history stories at the Huntsville Ghost Walk, Constitution Village’s downtown trolley tour, and the Maple Hill Cemetery Stroll. He’s the author of two books on space history, “Homesteading Space” and “Bold They Rise” and is the director of the Comic Science Improv comedy troupe.