Huntsville, Alabama

Rocket City

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What's it like to live in Huntsville?

Do You Suggest Living in Huntsville?

Huntsville is often considered one of the most affordable metros to live in. It’s growing rapidly bringing with it a wealth of new entertainment and dining options. Atlanta and Nashville are day-trip accessible for anything that Huntsville can’t provide. Gentrification and redevelopment is doing wonders for some older parts of town bringing in new business and giving people like me fun and interesting places to spend my money.

There is a thriving craft brewery scene here in town often times coupled with excellent food. If you don’t like beer, there are a variety of other bars, restaurants, and nightlife spots that offer the hard stuff. Some new development downtown as well as along the University Drive/Research Park corridors is bringing new entertainment options.

As for you child, the quality of schools is a bit of a mixed bag. Madison County and Huntsville City school systems are often considered to be less desirable when compared to Madison City Schools. There are also a variety of private schools in the area offering religious and non-religious curriculums for a price, of course.

Huntsville is slowly expanding its network of greenways and walking trails around town. Coupled with Monte Sano State Park, the Flint and Tennessee Rivers, the Nature Preserve, and the Land Trust there is a variety of outdoor options. Mountain Biking is fairly popular here with Monte Sano offering a selection of routes at various difficulties. There are also plenty of caves to check out in the area. The headquarters of the National Speleological Society is here in town.

Let me know if you any other questions or if there is a specific topic you’d like me to expound upon. Huntsville is where I am from, and other than 6 years at college, where I’ve lived my entire life. I’m sure we can find something that will get you excited to live here.

What is it like to live in Huntsville, Alabama, USA?

I moved to Huntsville in 1966, when my father became chief of anesthesia at a local hospital. I have lived several decades now in and around Huntsville, and I can tell you that I really do not want to live anywhere else.

Huntsville is a very metropolitan community in the heart of the deep South, and as a result it has been able to keep a small town charm and yet advance into the 21st century leading the nation's military and space exploration efforts. Huntsville has the highest concentration of PhDs anywhere in the United States. It has the highest concentration of high-tech talent anywhere in the United States except for Silicon Valley - it's why one of Huntsville's nicknames is Silicon Holler.

If you enjoy biking, hiking, camping, fishing, or any other kind of outdoor activity, Huntsville is a wonderful place to live because those activities are right out your door. If you are more intellectually inclined, and you enjoy libraries, music, art, dance, or any other such high-brow activities, we have a lot of it in Huntsville, and more is just to the north and south of us.

If you want to learn about the civil rights movement, Birmingham is just about a 2 hour drive away. If you want to go to the other side of the street, you can go up to Pulaski, Tennessee and see where the Ku Klux Klan was founded. The Jack Daniels distillery is only about an hour from here, but we have had such an explosion in the craft brewing industry in the past few years that nobody much cares about whiskey anymore. (Update 6/28/18: we now have a couple of distilleries in town; at Straight to Ale and in Lowe Mill. Very nice whiskies and other spirits.)

We have some very fine restaurants in Huntsville, owned by very fine, classically trained chefs. Even the food truck food here is orders of magnitude better than most places - as a matter of fact, three of the top eight food trucks in the United States are here in Huntsville. The food is not to be believed.

In truth, the best answer I could ever give you regarding your question of what life is like in Huntsville would be to tell you: why don't you come here and try it? You may never want to leave.

What advice would you give to someone who is moving to Huntsville, AL?

I lived there for over 23 years so I think I can answer. It would help if you could specify a topic you’d like info on, but in general:

It’s an enigma unto itself. You have several research parks, Marshall Spaceflight center, and Redstone Arenal located there. They draw in some of the brightest minds in various engineering disciplines from all over the world. Because of that the city has a very culturally diverse population and an economy to support it. Literally from Korean Baptist Churches to Vietnamese restaurants to Bollywood movies in the cinemas.

Tech-wise it’s above most areas, in fact Google fiber recently arrived making Huntsville one of the few cities right now Google is expanding that market into. The utility grid is pretty stable, but only one supplier so it’s off kilter in rates. Comcast supplies cable so you’ll probably want to look at Google first, but Dish and DirectTV is also in the area.

Medically it has cutting edge facilities between the two hospitals located there and physicians that are tops in their fields in some practices. As a patient it’s great, as an employee at the larger hospital it sucks, but such is life.

Climate wise it’s located in the Tennessee Valley and draws tornados second only to Tornado Alley in the midwest. It has mild winters, little to no snow, but ice storms are far more common. Summers are hot and muggy, think walking into a wet towel when stepping outside in August.

For education there are public schools that range from poor to highly rated. University of Alabama Huntsville is there and Calhoun Community College.

Recreation is off the charts if you count things within an hour of the city. Boating on the Tennessee River, cave spelunking, skydiving, hiking in a couple of State Parks, a Greenway, cycling clubs are a few of the physical recreations.

The Space and Rocket Center has a domed IMAX theater, food truck evenings, and concert in the park are some of the things outside the mainstream to do, but a lot of these are seasonal.

Nightlife is on the lean side but does cater from Hipster snowflake to back-hole brawler bars if that’s your fancy - you just have to seek out what you like and be prepared to drive a bit.

A symphony orchestra, playhouse, museum, and concert hall round out other recreational venues.

Huntsville’s nicely located between Nashville, Birmingham, and Atlanta which plugs you into the concert scene quite nicely - not to mention Huntsville draws a few great shows to the Von Braun Center.

What are the people like in Huntsville, AL?

A population that is well education in science, engineering, and/or computer science. Most are not from Alabama. Some are from other countries like India and Japan. Most have security clearances.

Politically: Hunsville runs from Bernie-to-Trump. I have seen both stickers in NASA parking lots. Those this area is “Red”, it is really Purple with a possiablity of turning Blue.

Religious: Huntsville goes from Southern Baptist to Universals-Unitarians. From New Age to several Buddhist sets.

International. Walk into Costco on a Saturday and you can hear German, French, Japanese, Chines, Hindi and other languages. There numerous Japanese companies in the area. There are regular Japanese Festivals.

Fortunately the work place is diverse.

NASA prides itself in be a diverse and inclusive work environment. This includes internationals working there as well. NASA is LBGT, ethnically, and Austic friendly with an “Office of Diversity and Equal Employment.”

The defense side is some what less diverse, especially since the Trump administration. Defense jobs require a security clearence so you must be a US citizen. LBGT protections for federal contractors has been removed. So it depends on corporate culture if LBGT are portected or not.

There are some commercial companies that have come here to take advance of the large population of programmers.

If you have a hobby, there is club or organization for that hobby.

Is Huntsville, Alabama: The BEST Place to Live in the Deep South