Best Places to Live

Huntsville, AL

Population: 205,061
iStock Photo/Sean Pavone

Known as the “Rocket City,” Huntsville is home to the famous rocket at the US Space & Rocket Center and has a thriving aerospace industry. Once a sleepy town, Huntsville grew to notoriety during the 1960s Space Race and is now the fastest growing metro area in Alabama. But it isn’t all out space exploration and rocket science here — Huntsville is a diverse city with a great food scene, repurposed buildings and history on every corner. Several universities call Huntsville home, too, including University of Alabama - Huntsville and Alabama A&M University. Additionally, the cost of living in Huntsville is below the national average. 

Top Industries and Employers: The top industries in Huntsville are aerospace and military technology as well as manufacturing.

Best Coffee Shop: Alchemy

Best Local Beer/Brewery: Yellowhammer Brewing’s Groovy Don’s Groovy IPA is a must-try. 

Must-Have Meal: The BLT of Curtis Loew from the I Love Bacon Food Truck. Yes — Huntsville has an entire food truck devoted to bacon and it is just as amazing as it sounds. 

Best Co-Working Space: Huntsville West was once home to an elementary school but today it’s a co-working space catering to freelancers, artists and startups who need flexibility, fast wi-fi and free coffee.   

Best Meetup Spot (When Meeting Up Is a Thing Again): Meet up with your group at any of the bars or eateries located inside of Campus 805, the “coolest middle school in the nation.” 

Creative Hub: Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment is the largest, privately-owned arts facility in the South and the re-worked building now houses 150 working studios for more than 200 artists, seven art galleries, four performance venues, a multi-use theater and restaurants.  

Favorite Weekend Activity: Huntsville is the craft beer capital of Alabama and the Downtown Huntsville Craft Beer Trail is the best way to sample what the city has to offer. Enjoy any (or all!) of the eleven local breweries on the map, including Rocket Republic Brewing, Straight to Ale and Salty Nut Brewery.

Free Way to Have Fun: Spend the day looking for all 14 ducks hidden around the city of Huntsville as part of the Lucky Duck Scavenger Hunt

Local Dream Job: Counselor at Space Camp, because who didn’t dream of being an astronaut when they grow up?

Read More: 
Why Huntsville is the Best Place in America to Pursue a STEM Career 
5 Most Affordable Cities in Alabama 
Beyond Silicon Valley: Huntsville is an Up-and-Coming Tech Hotspots

- Cara Sanders

List Index

"Huntsville is a dynamic destination for artisans, makers and entrepreneurs. People from around the country settle in Huntsville because it provides the perfect intersection of high-tech opportunities and creative experiences."


Autumn Nelson
Communications Coordinator, Downtown Huntsville

Huntsville, AL Ranking Data