Our top 10 picks of tourist attractions and places to explore and enjoy in Huntsville and northern Alabama is for the out-of-towner and the local resident. Are you having out-of-town guests for the weekend? You can entertain them with one of my Top 10 pick of the best local tourist attractions and sightseeing in and near Huntsville. Find out more about the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Huntsville Botanical Garden, Unclaimed Baggage Center, Burritt on the Mountain, Cathedral Caverns, Ave Maria Grotto, Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament and many more great places to visit.
U. S. Space and Rocket Center
This is a must-see for first-time visitors to Huntsville. There are not many cities that can put on such a display as the big Saturn V rocket standing outside the Space Museum. For the more adventuresome tourist with a few days or a week to spare, a residency at Space Camp will always be a fond memory.
The Botanical Garden has special features all year round. May and October are the best months for viewing the flowers and plants. The December Galaxy of Lights has won many awards for tourism in the Southeast.
A 45-minute trip to Scottsboro is always on our list of places to take guests. They enjoy seeing this famous landmark that Oprah Winfrey once said: "was the best-kept shopping secret in America."
One of the delights of Huntsville is seeing the history of the Tennessee Valley. The Burritt Museum offers not only the best view in Huntsville but several log cabins and animals demonstrating how people lived in the second half of the 1800's.
Alabama Constitution Village
Since the Alabama Constitution was signed in Huntsville in 1819, it is only fitting that a whole village has sprung up to depict the life of Huntsville during the early 1800's. EarlyWorks Children Museum, Historic Huntsville Depot, and the Humphrey-Rodgers House are all located downtown and make up the EarlyWorks Museum Complex.
Weeden House Museum
Maria Howard Weeden was known worldwide for her paintings of black people. Her drawings were used for the costumes for slaves in "Gone With the Wind." Her Federal-style home is one of the oldest in Huntsville.
Cathedral Caverns is now a State Park. This cave holds six world records and is located near Grant, Alabama. Be sure to go into Grant and have lunch at Mimi's Cafe.
This attraction should really be further up the list. The only reason it isn't is that it is located in Hanceville, over an hour away from Huntsville. This experience is certainly worth the trip and a must for anyone near Alabama. Mother Angelica has built a magnificent shrine of gold, marble, and cedar in honor of Jesus.
So much has been written about Helen Keller, born in Tuscumbia, Alabama. It is awe-inspiring to go in June and July and see "The Miracle Worker" performed in the backyard of the house where the famous story actually took place.
The Ave Maria Grotto near Cullman, Alabama is the ingenious work of Benedictine Monk Brother Joseph Zoetti. The amazingly accurate architectural miniatures of shrines throughout the world are set in a beautiful Alabama hillside. Expect to spend the whole day and take a picnic lunch. Don't try to do the Shrine on the same day--it's too much.