Whether you’re an astro-enthusiast or a live music lover, or you just appreciate a well-rounded city with plenty of hidden gems, Huntsville, Alabama is all that and more! We’ve put together some key information that will have you feeling like a local in no time!
Overview & History of Huntsville
Huntsville has been dubbed “Rocket City” due to the integral role it played in helping launch the mid-twentieth-century space race. Since that time, some of the best and brightest in space and rocket science have been drawn to this high-tech city that is picturesquely situated in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Home to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, as well as Space Camp, Huntsville may appear at first glance to be mostly science-centric. However, the city truly reflects international culture with more than 10% of residents being natives of other countries.
Huntsville was the cotton trading center of the Tennessee Valley during the 1840s and 50s. While still a cotton market town with 16,437 residents during the 50s, U.S. Senator John Sparkman brought a band of German rocket scientists to Red Stone Arsenal to develop rockets for the U.S. Army. By the end of the decade, the team had developed the rocket that would orbit America’s first satellite, and they eventually put the first American in space and transported the first astronauts to the moon. Red Stone Arsenal is still one of the Army’s most important strategic posts, responsible for research, development, and production of worldwide support missiles, aviation, rockets, and related programs. The influx of engineers, scientists, and other high-tech specialists has continuously contributed to the growth of Huntsville over the years.
Cost of Living in Huntsville
Although Huntsville is home to a number of unique attractions and countless integral members of the aerospace community, the cost of living remains 5% below the national average. Housing expenses are a whopping 26% below the national average; however, utility prices are slightly higher at 10% above. The median home price is $258,000 and the median rent amounts to $800. Food and health care both ring in lower than the national average at 4% and 3% respectively.
Here are some helpful breakdowns to give you an idea of costs:
Meal for one at inexpensive restaurant: $12.00
Cup of coffee: $4.50
Gallon of milk: $ 2.59
Dozen eggs: $1.82
One-way bus ticket (local transport): $1.00
Gallon of gas: $2.20
Movie ticket: $9.00
Beer (1 pint): $4.00
The Job Market in Huntsville
Whether you are relocating for work or hoping to explore a new career path, the job market plays in instrumental role in moving to a new city. The job market in Huntsville is relatively strong with a 2.1% unemployment rating, which is far below the national average. High-paying tech jobs have become increasingly prominent in the past several years, especially since Huntsville has become one of the largest beneficiaries of tech companies searching for cheaper places than Silicon Valley.
Jeff Bezos (the founder of Amazon) founded a space startup entitled Blue Origin and has committed to building a $200 million facility in the area. Facebook and Google have committed to $750 million and $600 million, respectively, to build data centers in Huntsville as well. Likewise, Mazda/Toyota has committed $1.6 billion to build a new manufacturing facility that will increase the job pool by 4,000 in the Huntsville area alone.
If you’re serious about making a move to Huntsville, then it’s time to take a closer look at some of the popular neighborhoods in the area to figure out which could be the perfect fit for you! We always recommend planning a visit before the big move to discover which neighborhood is perfectly suited for your needs!
Five Points: Best known for its mix of historic architecture, substantial greenery, and tree-lined streets, the majority of home prices fall around $150,000. Given its name because it sits at the intersection of five popular streets, there are a variety of shops built out of converted homes, and the area is overall very friendly to walkers and bikers.
Downtown: Unlike many bustling downtown areas, Huntsville’s offers more of a sprawling suburb feel. The traffic isn’t overwhelming and there are a lot of eateries and venues to enjoy, such as the Space and Rocket Center, along with some newly developed shopping centers. There are also a variety of housing types, catering to families and professionals at all stages of life.
Medical District: While the name leaves a lot to the imagination, this charming neighborhood possesses a unique character – from the diversity in housing structures ranging from traditional to Craftsman style, to the array of nearby restaurants, stores, and parks. It is also a very walkable part of town, where residents can frequently be seen sitting on their front porch enjoying the Alabama weather.
Twickenham Historic District: This beautiful area boasts American architecture dating back to the 17th century. It’s a neighborhood that the locals are truly proud of, and even offer regular guided historic walking tours for visitors to enjoy.
Entertainment & Culture
If you’re looking for something fun to do in Rocket City, you’re in luck! From its vibrant music and arts scene to endless space-related endeavors, you’re sure to find something to enjoy! If you’re into music, check out Tangled String Studios, where instruments are custom-made for some of the most prominent performing artists in Nashville. The shop is run by a former NASA engineer, and holds intimate live shows from world-class artists who travel from all over to shop for these quality guitars and mandolins. Another hidden gem is Vertical House Records, a locally owned and operated indie music shop.
On the hunt for some local flavor? Try Pizzelle’s Confections for local, artisan chocolates and truffles, followed by some wine and tapas at Church Street Wine Shop. Art lovers should definitely check out Lowe Mill to browse the largest privately owned art space in the country.
Moving to Huntsville
We hope this Huntsville city guide has helped you to get to know Huntsville a little more – and perhaps you’re ready to make the move and become the next full-time Huntsville resident!
Wherever you may be moving from, Black Tie Moving is ready to help make your move to Huntsville an unforgettable VIP experience! We offer comprehensive concierge moving services and can even supply quality packing and supplies to make your transition super easy!
Thinking of moving to Huntsville? Give our team of local, industry-leading movers a call today at (256) 755-4836 and get a FREE quote on your moving costs! We would love to help with your move from start to finish, and treat you like a rock star every step of the way!