It’s All Happening in Huntsville

It’s All Happening in Huntsville

Huntsville offers out of this world attractions

 Words by Paige Townley

Huntsville may be best known for its high-tech offerings and the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, but the north Alabama city is home to so much more.

The Rocket City is all about the music. Huntsville’s music scene has long been showcasing local talent, whether it be rock, folk, country, Latin, dance, or R&B. The music has been kept alive in Huntsville in part thanks to the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra, the state’s longest continuously operated professional orchestra that has been going on for well over 50 years.

The city also celebrates music every summer with Concerts in the Park, and the opening of The Orion Amphitheater this year only amplified the booming music scene. With a capacity of 8,000, The Orion hosts a wide variety of musical events, drawing thousands of attendees per event.

This month the Rocket City is celebrating Music Month, another way Huntsville is building excitement around all things music. While shining the spotlight on its musical community in September, there are well over 100 shows on the books for residents and visitors to enjoy.

Another highlight that can only be found in Huntsville is its unique history, which is being celebrated in October as History Month. Before and even during the Civil War, Huntsville was at the center the railroad and river-based trade (thanks to its proximity to the Tennessee River). The city is still home to the country’s oldest existing railroad depots. Also found in Huntsville is a large quantity of antebellum homes.

A popular destination is Weeden House, a property situated in the heart of downtown. Originally built in 1819, it was once home to John McKinley, an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and it was the birthplace and lifelong home of Maria Howard Weeden, a famous artist and poet. Today, the home is now a museum visitors can explore.

Another sought-after historical destination is Burritt on the Mountain. Situated atop Round Mountain on 167 acres overlooking the city, the property features Burritt Mansion, a home built in 1938 by Dr. William Henry Burritt. Also on site are six authentic 19th -century homes, a blacksmith shop, assorted outbuildings, a barnyard, and nature trails.

A historical aspect of Huntsville that can’t be overlooked is its role in the U.S. space program. As the birthplace of the U.S. space program, the city is home to the largest space museum in the world, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. Only there can visitors stand beneath the world’s only full-stack Space Shuttle and walk the length of a suspended, authentic Saturn V moon rocket. Other historic aspects visitors can enjoy at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center is the first American satellite, Explorer I, original capsule trainers for the Mercury and Gemini programs, design modules for the International Space Station, and next generation vehicles.