Tell me about Huntsville, AL

It appears that I have an opportunity to work there for a couple of years. Career-wise it’s a great opportunity but I’m still not sure if I want to move to a Southern town. Is it a good place to live? Would a foreigner and non-caucasian like me feel comfortable and accepted? I did spend a month there one time and liked what I saw, but I was too busy working to see much of the town or talk to anybody outside of work.

There is the Space and Rocket Center. Very cool.

The people are friendly for the most part.

The weather is nice for the most part.

There are going to be negatives about any city. What will determine how you adjust is YOUR attitude about it.

Good luck!!!

What Aries28 said. Also, I think Ogre lives there now. Maybe he can check in with more specifics. Huntsville’s a long way from me, and I don’t know any specifics about it.

Huntsville may be the most non-southern city in Alabama. The Space Center, Redstone, etc. high-tech business have attracted lots of “foreigners” so you’ll be in decent company.

Funny, when I moved from Pennsylvania to Kentucky, I was called a “yankee”. When I moved from KY to Alabama and was asked where I came from I said Kentucky. They still called me a Yankee.

Alabama is definitely Dixie, but Huntsville is probably least so.

I lived in Decatur Alabama, roughly 16 miles west of Huntsville for about 8 years, and spent a lot of time in the Rocket City. Because there is a large NASA operation at Redstone, as well as all the companies that sell to the Army and use Redstone as a test site, it is a very high tech city. The educational system is better than most Alabama cities.
In addition, Huntsville has a very active “arts community”; community theater, Opera Company. Monte Sano Mountain is gorgeous. The city is also rather centrally located: its’ only about 90 miles to Birmingham to the south and 120 miles to the north is Nashville. Both Memphis and Atlanta are also within very easy driving distance.
All in all, it’s a good town. If you don’t mind a bit of drive, Decatur Alabama is also a good town, and a large number of people live in Decatur and work in Huntsville.


I’ve been there to the Space Center. It’s… um… cool. It’s excellent, in fact. I don’t remember the city. That’s my entire contribution to this thread.

I have a good friend who lives there. I should have been many times but just never quite made it. She always describes it as “cosmopolitan” but I assume she means cosmopolitan by Alabama standards.

She gives the NASA centre as the main reason for that (lots of non-Americans, apparently). They even have a small British food and knick-knack shop in Huntsville, but I doubt that will interest you greatly.

I believe it’s also growing quite fast now. And it’s nicely located for the Gulf and Naw’Lins,as well as Nashville (and DollyWorld!).

Seems very pleasant – oh, there’s a great music festival there, I think around the Spring, that I’d love to catch.

Not heard anything bad

That’d be Dollywood, up here in Knoxville. I’ve never been, really.

I’ve driven through Huntsville, and I went on a school trip when I was quite young, but I don’t really remember it. Osip lives there. Maybe if you’re lucky he’ll grace this thread with his presence. :wink:

I lhave lived in Huntsville on and off for twenty years now (though currently is off).

It’s a nice city, provided you are not too hung up on having the life and culture of a real metropolitan area. It is very comopolitan for Alabama, and the University and Technical communities mean that if you are unconventional, you can find people like yourself.

If oyu have any specific questions, feel free to email me. If you are comfortable telling me where you have the offer from, I can likely tell you something about the place.

But that was in the late 70’s/early 80’s.

It was the cleanest city I’ve ever lived in.

Also, a very safe place, by American standards.

They’re right about Monte Sano Mountain. Lovely.

Thanks for all the replies! They seem consistent with my impressions from my short stay.

Looking at my OP again it seems more negative than I intended - sorry about that. It’s just that I have a colleague who was very vocal about how much he hated Huntsville. I think he’s simply addicted to “life and culture of a real metropolitan area” as Manda JO put it. I’m not. (I don’t have much of a life as it is…)

What about political views? Since it’s a high-tech oriented city, can I assume it’s not overwhelmingly conservative?

Alabama A&M, a fine black university is in Huntsville. That tones down the redneck factor that you may be concerned with. However, the boys probably get to town every so often. :stuck_out_tongue:

Why, YAY-us, it’s cosmopolitan! Why, everyone there presses their overalls every day! And the tractors are all shiny and new! And everybody dresses in their Sunday finest for the truck pulls!

I swear, if everyone who thought they knew what Alabama was like would actually visit the place before making judgements …

SO you want to know more about huntsville eh?

Well, when we aint washing our white sheets, NASCAR aint on the tube andf the bowling alley is closed because they are refinishing the floors. Why we put on our shoes and best clothes,put down the banjo, mosey on down to the library and Pick us up a good book. Which we bring home. place on the coffee table, prop our feet on it and bitch about them damn Yankees who have been coming to this fair city since That German Guy started making rockets out there in the swamp.

No actually, Huntsville is a moderate sized town,. with quite a bit to do comparative for its size. Museums like the Space and Rocket center. The art Museum downtown, Burritt up on Monte Sano. Nice hiking trails on both Monte Sano and Green mountiian. Many resturants with a nice variety of foodsTwo large universities A&M, UAH two large colleges Oakwood and Calhoun. A fantastic Park downtown which host two big events every year. Big Spring Jam (last weeked) and Panolpy (in the spring).
Most of the people in Huntsville are Yankees or 2nd Generation Yankees. (I am 2nd gen).
If the Night life is not up to your approval Nashville is 2 hours North and Bhatanooga is an 1 1/2 away as well.(An excelent day or weekend trip)

Any question in particular lemme know


Bring a CD player. If the radio stations are any guide, it’s all Jaysus, all the freakin’ time. Or country.

Not ALL the time.

100.7 is a translator station where we get the WBUZ out of Nashville. A nice alternative rock.
94.5 is a pretty solid Classic oldies station.
104.3 is a top 40 kinda station (tolerable in doses, YMMV)
95.1 and 106.1 are Classic Rock stations (to much AC/DC for my taste).

The ** rest** are all country and Jaysus all the time.:slight_smile:

I just wanted to bump this thread to say I’ve accepted the job offer at Huntsville. I’ll be starting work there May 2004, assuming my thesis will be finished and accepted without problems. Thanks again to all who responded to this thread!

Yay! You will have to come down to Birmingham one day and see the sites. Sauron and I would be happy to be your tour guide. :slight_smile:

There’s the Civil Rights Institute. The McWane Science Museum which has a fabulous Titanic exhibit going on through April. The Birmingham Arts Museum. The Imax theater. Lots of cool stuff.

Good luck and congraulations on the job!

Thank you Aries28! I’d love to take you up on the offer when I get there.

I’m getting excited about living there. After 6 years in a huge claustrophobic city, this should be a nice change.

I just opened this thread to see if AL came along to tell you about Huntsville.