Young Professionals

YPs will <3 Huntsville. Here’s why:

By Sarah Belanger

After a long workweek, it is great to have a fun, innovative city to unwind in. Huntsville is big enough to offer the fun amenities: a diverse food scene, a thriving craft beer community, shows, and museums; but it is small enough to avoid the pains of city life: bleak parking options, expensive activities, and nightmarish traffic.

Here are my recommendations for 3 days of fun in Huntsville for the Young Professional.

Day 1

The Kaffeeklatsch—Make sure you start your day out right with a cup of Joe from this Huntsville icon.  Their coffee is cooked in-house in a 1929 vintage coffee roaster that sits at the entrance of the shop.

Get in touch with your artsy side at Lowe Mill—Once you are properly caffeinated, head over to the Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment complex to check out a variety of quirky studios, unique eateries, and more. Up your cool factor by snagging a vintage vinyl album at Vertical House Records, or try your hand at pottery with DesignByHart Pottery.

Mason Dixon Bistro—The bistro is first and foremost delicious, but it is also gluten-free and offers Paleo, vegan and kid-friendly menu options. The gluten-free Smoked Mac & Cheese is to die for! The restaurant is frequently busy, but it is well worth the wait. 

Monaco Movie—Take in a movie at the Monaco at the Bridge Street Town Centre. Hint: Pay a bit extra to sit in the Privé section, so you can enjoy a glass of wine or beer with your popcorn.  

Stein and Dine at the Space and Rocket Center—Eat authentic German fare and drink beer while sitting underneath a honest-to-goodness Saturn V rocket. Yes, it’s as awesome as it sounds. The event runs from March until the end of October. In the off months, check out Old Black Bear, Madison’s newest brewpub.

Pub Crawl in Madison—Madison County has a burgeoning beer scene that can’t be missed, so make sure you do a pub-crawl while in town. I recommend starting in the city of Madison so you can visit three wonderful breweries in one evening: Blue Pants Brewery, Rocket Republic Brewing Company and Old Black Bear

Day 2

A Cup of Everything—For breakfast, go to A Cup of Everything. I've heard lore of a drink called the Buzz Kill that comes with three shots of espresso, two pumps of chocolate and red pepper!

Hike a Trail—Assuming you ordered the Buzz Kill you probably have a lot of energy to burn, so go hiking at one of the Land Trust of North Alabama’s five nature preserves. Hint: Land Trust Members can download a free app with all of the trail maps.

Lunch at 1892 East Restaurant and Tavern—This restaurant specializes in locally grown and produced food so if you want a taste of what Huntsville is about, go there. Make sure you save room for dessert, especially the bread pudding.

Huntsville Museum of Art—This museum is quite eclectic in what exhibits they host. You can see everything from Rembrandt and Rubens to Grandma Moses and inflatable contemporary art.

Dinner Downtown—The hardest decision of your day will be where to eat dinner because there are so many excellent places to try.  In Huntsville’s downtown district, check out the more upscale Cotton Row Restaurant, The Bottle, or the more causal Big O’s, Sam & Greg’s, or Papou's.

Day 3

Piper & Leaf—It is absolutely imperative that you visit this family-owned artisan teashop when you come to Huntsville.  The teas are created with many local ingredients and served in wonderfully rustic Mason jars.

Downtown Dish Food Tour—Learn about the history of Huntsville and eat lots of decadent food, there isn’t a better way to spend your Saturday morning.

Lowe Mill ARTS and Entertainment—Lowe Mill is America’s largest independent center for the arts. The mill houses over 120 working artists, local restaurants, bakeries and shops.

Campus No. 805—To get a taste of Huntsville’s excellent beer scene you need only visit Campus No. 805, which includes both Straight to Ale Brewing and Yellowhammer Brewing.  There are plenty of food and entertainment options as well.

This itinerary barely scratches the surface of what there is to do in Huntsville. There’s also swing and salsa dancing, music and theater scenes, museums, countless classes, forums and workshops, the symphony, and so much more. But this 3-day tour gives you a first taste of what the greater Huntsville area has to offer.



Sarah has photographed for numerous national brands including Southern Living, Betty Crocker, and Cooking Light. Recently her work was featured in Paste Magazine and she is listed as one of the "World's Best Photographers" by website builder Squarespace. Sarah is a regular contributor on the subject of craft beer for several sites, including Huntsville Eats and iHeartHsv. Sarah is also a writer with her work published in Event Magazine, NoAla Magazine and Rocket City Pets, among others.  See her food photography at S. Belanger Photography and keep up with her culinary adventures at The Jealous Crumpet.


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