25+ Unique Things to do in Huntsville AL After Space Camp

You just dropped the kids off at Space Camp at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville. Now what? Well, you aren’t going to fly home only to turn around and pick them up in Rocket City a few days later. 

You’re also not going to go hang out in your hotel room and twiddle your thumbs while the kids are off in the NASA simulators. There are a ton of things to do in Huntsville AL for the mom traveling without kids.

U.S. ROCKET AND SPACE CENTER in Huntsville Alabama

Why Huntsville, Alabama?

You just might have to do a little wandering to figure out what is happening around Huntsville, Alabama.

Lucky for you, we already made a few visits to get to know the area and have a handy list to get you started. So, the only question left to ask is- what to do in Huntsville today? 

Space Camp at the NASA US Rocket and Space Center in Huntsville Alabama

THINGS TO DO IN HUNTSVILLE AL

Whether you are into outer space, gardens, history, wine, bourbon, shopping or hiking, Huntsville has you covered. This town will keep you active, learning, hydrated, caffeinated and well fed while you wait for the kids to wrap up their week at space camp.

In fact, let’s just call this “Huntsville Camp” shall we?

While the kids are off in outer space, you can find out why we like to play down here on the ground on Planet Earth.

Downtown in Huntsville Alabama

Big Spring International Park

Every travel guide and road trip itinerary knows to take you through Big Spring INternational Park after you arrive in Huntsville, AL. On a hot summer day it’s the perfect spot to meet up with friends.

Personally, I like to cut through it to see the cherry blossoms in bloom as I grab a morning coffee.

This is one of many impressive Huntsville green spaces that get you outdoors exploring, while also sneaking in a little exercise.

U.S. ROCKET AND SPACE CENTER in Huntsville Alabama

U.S. ROCKET AND SPACE CENTER

Just because you dropped the kids off at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center Space Camp doesn’t mean you can’t wander around and check out the complex.

Even if you aren’t a space nut, you can still appreciate man’s (and woman’s) advancements in science through space exploration. There are four planetarium shows throughout the day you won’t want to miss.

Our favorites include Destination Solar System and Galileo First Light

How to explore the Space Center

Not sure where to get started when you tour the complex? Just follow the flow through the building starting at the visitor center.

There is usually a special exhibit towards the front that will lead to the permanent exhibits, Mars Climbing Wall and outside to the Space Shuttle Park.

U.S. ROCKET AND SPACE CENTER in Huntsville Alabama

Follow the path along to the right to see the Saturn V (a really big rocket, in a really big building). There is nothing quite like walking under that much metal and power. It is also a bit quieter in this part of the complex, especially in the afternoon.

Cocktails and Cosmos

Moms won’t want to miss the Cocktails and Cosmos, a cocktail hour at the planetarium (check RocketCenter.com for dates and times).

Biergarten

Oh, and the Biergarten every Thursday from 4:30pm-7:30pm in the Saturn V Hall in the Davidson Center for Space Exploration.

Yes, Huntsville does know how to celebrate outer space in the best ways.

BURRITT ON THE MOUNTAIN in Huntsville AL

BURRITT ON THE MOUNTAIN

History, nature and homeopathic medicine all come together at the site of Dr. William Henry Burritt’s 1938 mansion on Round Top Mountain.

Learn why this is one of the city’s most unique and eccentric homes (it’s built like an X and has no shower in the formal house), and the reason he had three wives. Hint: one wasn’t too happy about that lack of shower.

BURRITT ON THE MOUNTAIN in Huntsville AL

The house sits on 126 acres that have been preserved as a historic park, and house six 19th century homes that showcase life in the Cumberland Plateau, as well as a blacksmith shop, and assorted outbuildings.

There is also a playground, gift shop with incredible local artist jewelry for sale, and is home to one of the best examples of early school life in Alabama.

BURRITT ON THE MOUNTAIN in Huntsville AL

If you are into geocaching, you will want to hit the nature trails to track down the cache on property.

It’s a lovely spot to spend the morning exploring after you hike around the LandTrust of Madison County (also a land trust of North Alabama) and Monte Sano State Park (hike Monte Sano mountain!), which are connected to Burritt.

Want to hit the parks? Check out these Alabama National Parks.

WEEDEN HOUSE IN HUNTSVILLE AL

WEEDEN HOUSE Museum IN HUNTSVILLE AL

While many homes in the Twickenham Historic District are private residences that you can only view from the outside, Weeden House is open and available to tour four days a week.

Not only is it a prime example of pre-Civil War architecture, but it was also home to artist Maria Howard Weeden.

WEEDEN HOUSE IN HUNTSVILLE AL

Weeden may be best known for her realistic portraits of African-Americans that showed hair, skin texture and even veins in a way not many artists were portraying in the late 19th century or early 20th century.

She put a face to the people she saw coming out of slavery in her hometown, and gave their stories voice through her writings and poetry that would later be published. Her work is on display in the house, as well as in the Huntsville Museum or Art. 

Weeden House tours available on Wednesday-Saturday at 10:30am-11:30am and by request with advance notice. Call ahead of time or check the website as weddings and school groups often cause schedule changes.

TWICKENHAM DISTRICT IN HUNTSVILLE

TWICKENHAM DISTRICT IN HUNTSVILLE 

Twickenham has the largest concentration of antebellum homes in the south (more than 65 in the area). Not sure where to find them? Drive past the Weeden House, down Greene Street SE and turn left on Williams Avenue SE into the neighborhood.

Now, follow the big houses. You can’t miss them. Historic homes are marked with their names and the date they were built.  

TWICKENHAM DISTRICT IN HUNTSVILLE

Why the name Twickenham? Well, Twickenham was the first official name given to the town back in the early 1800s. Cotton trading flourished, and Twickenham became the center of trade in the Tennessee Valley by the mid-19th century.

Those with money (bankers, lawyers, traders, merchants, etc.) started building their homes, all trying to outdo one another of course, making this the fashionable area to live in.

Huntsville Alabama

Now, the district is home to Federal, Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, Italianate, Queen Anne Bungalow and post-Civil War homes, making it an architect’s wonderland.

Grad a coffee at Honest Coffee Roasters on Clinton Avenue East, and take a stroll through history. What better way to get your exercise in the morning, right?

Free walking tours of the district are offered in April and October. Check Huntsville.org for more details and dates.

HIKE MONTE SANO STATE PARK IN HUNTSVILLE AL

HIKE MONTE SANO STATE PARK IN HUNTSVILLE AL

According to AllTrails.com, most of the hikes in Monte Sano State Park are Easy to Moderate, but as we all know, it depends on what kind of shape you are in. Also, how much time you have.

If you are short on time, I found that the North or South Plateau Loop were best for a morning stroll before lunch.

Pack a lunch or light snack to enjoy in one of the picnic areas, as you will be hungry once you are finished.

HIKE MONTE SANO STATE PARK IN HUNTSVILLE AL

Stone Cuts Trail

If you have a bit more time, and you want to go where all the locals talk about, head to the Stone Cuts Trail. This is where everyone will point you to for the best hiking trails. It is also one of the most scenic hikes in the park.

You will find plenty of wildflowers throughout your hike, as well as waterfalls, depending on where you go, and the time of year you are hiking.

Birdwatching is big if you are into birds, and dogs are welcome as long as they are on a leash.

Runners love to hit the trails on the weekends, so stay to the right so they can pass you. Mountain bikers can also be found in the park on nice days biking.

Huntsville Botanical Garden in Alabama

HUNTSVILLE BOTANICAL GARDEN

Grab a picnic lunch and head to the Huntsville Botanical Garden for a few hours. You will not want to rush through this garden and nature preserve.

Take the time to wander the trails to see what is in bloom.

Even in early spring you will find buds popping out of the ground. There are 19 sections of the garden- don’t miss a single one.

Oh, and just because the kids aren’t with you doesn’t mean you can’t stroll through the children’s garden too.

Huntsville Botanical Garden in Alabama

Huntsville Botanical Garden Special Events

While I was visiting, there was a Chinese Lantern Festival happening at night. This was a special event only happening for a limited time along the walking trails, but the garden regularly brings in special events for patrons to enjoy.

Keep an eye on the HSVBG.org website to see what is coming next. It is worth planning your trip around. The lantern festival was like nothing I had ever seen before.

Huntsville Botanical Garden in Alabama

Purdy Butterfly House

May through September you can enjoy the Purdy Butterfly House. I don’t know about you, but I love quietly sitting amongst the butterflies.

For some reason, my youngest is terrified of butterflies, so whenever my kids aren’t with me, I take full advantage and pop in to see these winged critters.

You won’t just see them in the pavilion either. Butterflies will be roaming the garden, looking for nectar in the wildflowers, along with birds, bees and other flower loving insects. 

Huntsville Art Museum in Huntsville Alabama

HUNTSVILLE MUSEUM OF ART

The Huntsville Museum of Art is small, yet mighty with a permanent collection that impresses, and traveling exhibits that bring in some of the top art from around the world to the many art galleries.

Free daily guided tours are available with a curator to help you dive deeper into the exhibits. Take advantage of the guided tour.

Huntsville Art Museum in Huntsville Alabama

The museum features local artists you might not be familiar with and some you may know all too well, but not realize they have an Alabama connection.

Best of all, every Thursday the museum offers up $5 wine and $5 admissions after 5pm. What better way to meet the locals, enjoy a glass of vino and celebrate the local art scene?

Huntsville Restaurants

WINE TASTING AND COCKTAIL SIPPING IN HUNTSVILLE AL

You really can’t go to Huntsville and not enjoy a glass of wine at Domaine South or a cocktail at one of the many craft cocktail spots, micro breweries, and restaurants.

It’s almost as if all of the bartenders are in competition with each other, and quite frankly, we are OK with that idea. Here are just a few of our favorites in Huntsville, Alabama.

  • Domaine South, 103 North Side Square, Huntsville, AL 35801
  • Cotton Row, 100 Southside Square, Huntsville, AL 35801
  • Purveyor Huntsville, 201 Jefferson St N, Huntsville, AL 35801
  • SIP Cocktail and Bar, 111 Greene St NE, Huntsville, AL 35801
  • Straight to Ale2610 Clinton Ave W, Huntsville, AL 35805
  • Yellow Hammer Brewery2600 Clinton Ave W, Huntsville, AL 35805

Grab our Huntsville Restaurant guide

Lowe Mill in Huntsville AL

LOWE MILL ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Are you ready to get lost? Oh good. But first, you might want to load up on sweets at Pizzelle’s Confections and a strong black tea from Piper and Leaf Tea.

Now, make a note. These are both accessed via the exterior of the Lowe Mill complex. Park in the back, or hook up your bike if you are biking to the campus, and you will see them on the docks.

Lowe Mill in Huntsville AL

Once you have provisions, you can enter the labyrinth. Get ready to be inspired by sketches, pottery, illustrations, paintings and installations of all shapes and sizes.

Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment was set up as a space for artists to work, but also educate the public on the creative process. Artists can rent studio space and sell their art out of their space.

Lowe Mill in Huntsville AL

Over 200 artists and makers are creating at Lowe Mill. There are also six galleries, a theater and performance venues. Public performances are regularly on the schedule, with Concerts on the Dock being a local favorite each week throughout the spring and fall. 

Check LoweMill.net for workshops and classes being offered while you are in town, including pottery, print making, cloth mending and journal making. 

Salt Spa in Huntsville Alabama

SPA TIME AT SALT ON THE ROCKS

Everyone deserves a break from the daily grind. Even when you can’t take time off to escape to the Caribbean, Salt on the Rocks can bring you a little of that beach and calm island life into your life.

Book time in the salt room, or better yet, a sinus massage or Raiki session to unwind and rejuvenate your soul a bit. The kids are at Space Camp. It’s your time to take care of you, and what better way than with a little self-care.

The staff is lovely and always up for a chat, especially if you need restaurant recommendations. Take advantage of the natural remedy store in house.

The Elderberry syrup will help you get through flu season, as well as a number of other natural cures to help you and the kids stay healthy this season.

Axe throwing in Huntsville AL

CIVIL AXE THROWING AT CAMPUS NO. 805

Now, the mother of all activities has got to be ax throwing at Civil Axe Throwing in Campus No. 805. Not only is it a great arm workout, but you can get some serious aggression out in under 30 minutes ladies. One session here had me looking for places closer to home to practice on a regular basis.

Kids whine one too many times on the car ride or flight to Huntsville? There is an ax for that (no, you will not harm your children. Just let it loose on some wood!)

Work driving you insane with deadlines and an incompetent boss? Yup. There is an ax for that too!

There are so many reasons to throw an ax, and the helpful instructors at Civil Axe will make sure you get that metal ax into the wood over and over again. They will even let you throw two at once if you ask nicely. 

And yes, you will impress all of the men around you. No one shows aggression like a mom. No one. 

While you can grab a beer from Straight to Ale or Yellow Hammer Brewery, you may want to try it sober first. Just saying.

But you could try an absinthe drink after you wrap up from Cafe Benelux. Just make sure you grab an Uber home, OK? 

Shopping in Huntsville Alabama

SHOPPING ON CLINTON ROW

Clinton Row is the main shopping street in downtown Huntsville, but there are plenty of spots throughout the city to find great clothing, accessories and a few treasures to take home.

Unclaimed Baggage is probably the biggest claim to fame when it comes to shopping in the area, but never discount the beauty of a well curated boutique.

Sales in Huntsville are magnificent when the seasons are changing over, and you can get beautiful high-end items at bargain prices. Elitaire and Kennedy + Rowe on Clinton Avenue are our two of our favorite boutiques to pop into for clothing, especially when sales are going on.

Grab a cute dress or bright top to show off tonight while you are out on the town.

Make sure you walk around the corner to Harrison Brother’s Hardware to wander for a bit. It’s a great spot for local art, gifts and, well, you just never know what you will find in there.

Unclaimed Baggage near Huntsville AL

DAY TRIP TO UNCLAIMED BAGGAGE

Ladies, are you ready to shop until you drop? Unclaimed Baggage is like thrift shopping on steroids. Instead of browsing through the stuff people don’t want anymore, you are now digging through the things people wanted but lost.

How does Unclaimed Baggage work? When a suitcase is lost on a flight, the airline has 90 days to reunite it with the owner. Most of the time the airline does just that.

However, when they can’t, it gets sent to Unclaimed Baggage. The staff sorts through each suitcase, filtering out what is trash, donations and what should go on the floor to sell.

Unclaimed Baggage near Huntsville AL

If you ever wondered why you should NOT pack your iPad, laptop or camera in your checked bag, Unclaimed Baggage is proof. You can get electronics for half their retail price.

Need a diamond engagement ring? Yup. You can pick one of those up for half their appraisal value too.

There is also unclaimed cargo, which means a company lost a ton of goods in shipping.

That gorgeous vegan leather handbag I just bought was marked way down because it was lost in transit. Oh well. All the better for me!

Lowe Mill in Huntsville AL

More things to do in Huntsville AL

Alabama Constitution Village

Take a 90-minute tour of this living history museum that shows off life when Alabama was becoming. a state and the constitutional convention of 1819 (part of the EarlyWorks family of museums). If you do have the kids with you, plan time to visit the EarlyWorks Children’s Museum too.

Lincoln Mill

Explore this neighborhood’s rich history, which is listed on the  National Register of Historic Places, and filled with tech start ups and NASA lore.

Harmony Park Safari

Pop into this nature preserve filled with free-ranging exotic and endangered animals. If you have the kids with you, this is the perfect kid-friendly activity to fill a morning.

Huntsville Depot Museum

Part of the Norfolk Southern Railway line and the oldest railroad depot in Alabama, and one of the oldest in the United States.

Redstone Arsenal

If you do your homework, you can access the Redstone Arsenal, the current center for the US Army’s missile and rocket program. This is an active military base, so you will need to do a bit more than stroll through the gates.

Make your way to Gate 9 Visitors Center, do a background check. After you rget your pass, you can enjoy Family and MWR activities on post.

U.S. Veterans Memorial Museum

Come learn about the art of war from the Revolutionary War to the present through exhibits featuring memorabilia, weapons and vehicles.

North Alabama Zoological Society

While this non-profit is still raising funds for a zoological park and aquarium, they are bringing wildlife education, conservation, and research activities to the community in Huntsville and Madison County.

So, while there aren’t any zebras to hang out with you, you check out where to see a few critters during your visit.

von braun center

Check out a live music show and other events taking place at the Huntsville civic center throughout the year. If you are really lucky, your kids space flight with NASA will coincide with Panoply, a spectacular art festival in Huntsville.

Bridge Street Town Centre

If you love to shop, Bridge Street is the place for you. Load up on the latest fashions at your favorite chain stores, grab a few sale items and grab a bite to eat. You can even see a movie while you are there.

Looking for a Huntsville Hotel? Check out the following!

This post is part of a paid partnership with Huntsville CVB. As always, my opinions are my own. When they aren’t you will be the first to know.

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking one of those links I will receive a small commission.

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