The Rocket City offers out-of-this-world opportunities to enjoy the outdoors
Words by Paige Townley
Huntsville is a bustling city situated in North Alabama. Best known for its rich history in aerospace—it is commonly referred to as the Rocket City for a reason—Huntsville is home to so much more. From food and festivals to live music, hiking, and biking, the city offers a wide variety of outdoor options that are easy to gravitate to, especially throughout the fall. In fact, autumn is a prime time for a journey to the Rocket City thanks to the jam packed calendar of events to take advantage of while also enjoying the sights of the season. Here are some of our top picks to be sure to explore this fall in the Rocket City.
Hike, bike, and explore all that nature has to offer with the eight nature preserves and 70-plus miles of public trails of the Land Trust of North Alabama. Guided hikes are available any time of year, but fall offers the best opportunity to check out the changing leaves and not-too-cool-but-not-too-hot weather. Another must-visit destination for viewing the beautiful colors of the fall is Monte Sano State Park. Boasting 2,140 acres, Monte Sano (which means “Mountain of Health” in Spanish) features breathtaking vistas atop the mountain, 20 miles of hiking trails, and 14 miles of biking trails. Not to be forgotten is the nearby Tennessee River, and no place makes it easier to enjoy than Ditto Landing Marina. Whether you’re looking to boat, ski, wakeboard, or fish, the marina is a convenient spot for any boat to get out on the water. From Burritt on the Mountain, you can take in a panoramic view of the Tennessee Valley. It’s a must-visit view for colorful foliage in the fall.
Combining the outdoors with fun cultural activities is the best of both worlds, and Huntsville offers a variety of festivals throughout the season to do just that. Crush Wine & Food Festival is a can’t miss week that brings together good wine and great food—think charcuterie boards, chocolatiers, and gourmet sandwiches. Not into wine? The best of Germany is brought to the Rocket City with Redstone Arsenal Oktoberfest, a highly anticipated event each year that’s all about schnitzel, bratwurst, and, of course, beer. Each fall the city also welcomes the Monte Sano Art Festival, which showcases the top artists in the city against the beautiful backdrop of Monte Sano State Park.
Relax & Unwind
For a more relaxing time outdoors, there are still plenty of options in Huntsville. First stop: Stove House, a popular destination for all things live music, food, drinks, shopping, and simply enjoying an afternoon or evening with friends and family. Another venue that cannot be forgotten is Campus 805. Situated in the heart of Huntsville, the facility offers plenty of space for all sorts of events and houses a number of intriguing stops, including craft breweries, restaurants, bars, and retailers.
Tried & True Huntsville Institutions
In addition to a multitude of outdoor attractions and annual events taking place this fall, the Rocket City also has its tried and true destinations that offer plenty of entertainment any time of year. Places like the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, the largest space museum in the world, the Huntsville Botanical Garden, a natural oasis in the middle of the city, and the Huntsville Museum of Art, which houses thousands of items in its permanent collection. So whatever you choose to take part in this fall, one thing is certain: Huntsville always has a space for fun and adventure.