Huntsville (Alabama)

Huntsville is in northern Alabama, USA about 20 miles from the border with Tennessee. It is the county seat of Madison County, and is located north of the Tennessee River.


Huntsville was founded in 1805 by a Virginia man named John Hunt. For the first 140 years of its history, the city was a sleepy cotton town. In 1950, the US Army transferred Dr. Werner von Braun and his team of German rocket scientists to Redstone Arsenal. Within a decade, the city became a center for rocket design and construction. In 1960, NASA opened the Marshall Space Flight Center, which has played a significant role in the Redstone (named after Redstone Arsenal), Gemini, and Apollo manned space programs.

Today, the city continues to be a center for missile defense and aerospace technologies, with companies like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and Northrop Grumman having major operations here. Cummings Research Park, the second largest research park in the country, is home to many of these companies.

According to the Census Bureau 2005 estimates, Huntsville is home to 166,313 residents. The Huntsville metro area, with 517,006 residents, is the third largest in Alabama, after Birmingham and Mobile. Madison, Athens, Decatur, and a number of smaller cities are generally considered part of the Huntsville metro area.


 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°F) 51 56 65 74 81 88 91 91 85 75 34 54
Nightly lows (°F) 32 36 42 50 59 67 70 69 62 51 42 34
Precipitation (in) 4.9 4.8 5.2 4.3 5.1 4.3 4.0 3.6 3.7 3.6 4.9 5.8

Summers are hot and humid, but the thermometer rarely goes above 100F. Strong thunderstorms do come out of nowhere in the afternoons. Autumn is quite comfortable in Huntsville. First frost normally happens around Halloween. In winter, snow is a possibility, but never a guarantee. Most snow in Huntsville is on the light side (less than 2 inches). However, any snow amounts more than 1/3" can close roads and schools.

Being in a "tornado alley", Huntsville gets many tornado warnings in the spring, as well as a second tornado season around November-December.

Get in

By plane

Huntsville International Airport (IATA: HSV) is located off of Interstate 565, 15 miles west of town. Passenger aircraft fly to/from such cities as Dallas, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Cincinnati, Denver, Memphis, Detroit, Charlotte, Chicago, Houston and New York City. Huntsville is served by the following carriers:

By train

There is no passenger train service to Huntsville.

By car

Huntsville is accessible from nearby Interstate 65, approximately 20 miles west of downtown. An interstate spur, Interstate 565, runs from I-65 eastward for 21 miles, to and through downtown Huntsville.

By bus

see also Intercity buses in the USA

Greyhound has a depot at the corner of Holmes Ave. and Monroe St. in downtown Huntsville.

Get around

Huntsville is very car-oriented. Public transportation is not popular in Huntsville, but does exist. The city offers 13 different bus routes, including a Tourist Trolley, which loops past most of the city's attractions and shopping areas. Turnovers between buses can be between fifteen minutes in downtown and one hour in outlying areas. There are also two free weekend evening routes that serve Downtown, Five Points, and the Medical District.




The Saturn V Rocket prior to restoration and being moved to its new home in the Davidson Center.
An A-12 Oxcart Blackbird at the Space and Rocket Museum.

While not widely known as a tourist destination, Huntsville does have a number of attractions of interest.


Parks and Greenspaces

A map of city parks can be found at the city website

Historic Districts


Performing Arts






Like most cities, Huntsville does have its fair share of fast-food restaurants, but there are many local eateries as well that serve every budget and taste. Because of Huntsville's diverse population, a number of ethnic restaurants have opened in recent years with restaurants specializing in Greek, Indian, and Thai, among many other ethnicities.


Mid range









Extended Stay

Stay Safe

Though crime levels are above average for a city in its population bracket, most of the crime is restricted to inner city neighborhoods that would be of no interest to visitors. In general, the most dangerous region of the city is the northern neighborhoods (particularly the northwest). In addition to crime, If hiking on Monte Sano or engaging in some other outdoor activity, be aware that during the Summer, temperatures can hit triple digits and one can dehydrate quickly. Be sure to consume an adequate amount of fluids during the warm temperatures.



The area codes for Huntsville and North Alabama are 256 and 938, which overlay the same region. As a result of this overlay, all calls within Huntsville require dialing a ten-digit number.


Free WiFi is available at these places:




There are two major hospitals in Huntsville.

Other hospitals in the Huntsville region:

Law enforcement

In an emergency, dial 911.

Go next

Farther away- all are a 1 1/2-2 hour drive.

Routes through Huntsville

Ends at Decatur  W  E  END
Corinth Athens  W  E  Chattanooga END
Murfreesboro Fayetteville  N  S  Arab Montgomery

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, December 29, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.