Explore the New Bachelorette Destination: Rocket City

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Huntsville, Alabama

(hunts • ville ; not hun’s • vul)

by Kristina Domitrovich // photos by Lindsay Pace

I grew up in Madison, Alabama, just a hop-skip-and-10-minute-jump-on-the-interstate away from Huntsville. When we first moved in, I was 4, and I remember when cattle pastures, cotton and cornfields surrounded my neighborhood. In fact, there was a cow field right behind my house. My sister and I spent a summer perfecting our cow calls, and we could get the cows to run to the fence line in order to look at them up close and quite literally hand-feed them the figuratively greener grass on our side of the fence. Over the years, I’ve watched as various patches of land were tilled over for the last time before leveling out and building something new. For years now it’s been clear: Huntsville and the surrounding area is on its way to making the “big leagues” of Southern towns. My Dad totes around a census prediction matter-of-factly: “In the next five years, Huntsville will be the most populated city in Alabama” (yes, beating out both Birmingham and Montgomery). Dubbed the engineering hub of America, people move in to land jobs in the Rocket City, between all the independent contracting businesses, Redstone Arsenal, Boeing, Toyota and NASA, just to name a few.

My last visit home, I met up with some friends in downtown Huntsville. I hadn’t spent that much time in Huntsville since I was in high school, and things have certainly changed. It wasn’t always all that and a box of cornflakes; I remember spending the majority of high school complaining about how there was never anything to do in our town. Well, someone must have heard my classmates’ and I’s complaints, because pretty soon, the city’s planning upped their game. So much so that since that weekend, I have heard so much chatter surrounding the town’s up-and-comingness. Call it more active listening or call it weird timing, either way, it’s got me convinced: Huntsville really is becoming a fun city, and in this case, the ideal destination for a bachelorette trip – and I’ll tell you why.

How to Plan It:

Get the bridesmaids to go in on an Airbnb house somewhere downtown. There, you can set up a photo booth, have snacks and drinks for everyone, plus host a lingerie party one night with other bachelorette-themed games. Do a rough sketch of the weekend’s schedule, with options the bride-to-be can choose throughout the day (i.e. this activity or that one? This restaurant or a food truck?). Try to group your activities – food and whatever else you decide to throw on the agenda – in the same area. Huntsville may require a little bit of driving, so zone all of your agenda options to certain sides of town.

Brewing up a Great Culture and Other Things to Do:

If you play your cards right, you can hit up the city after April 2020, and the Trash Pandas’ home field will be up and running. First of all, let’s get this out of the way: Trash Pandas. Yes, that’s the team mascot; no it’s not a panda in a trashcan (I wish), it’s a raccoon; and yes, I voted for that option on the Twitter poll. How could I vote for a space-themed mascot when an option as nonsensical as a Trash Panda was on the table? They set themselves up for that one.

Anyways, catch a baseball game if your party is into that sort of thing. If not, there are so many new districts and hangouts popping up. Lowe Mill is always a big hit, home of Piper & Leaf teas and Pizzelle’s Confections (think: delicious and fun chocolates), not to mention all the artists’ booths. We all know about The Rocket (Rocket City, duh), so the Space and Rocket Center is always a semi-kitschy option on the table – don’t knock it ‘til you try it. MidCity is a new hangout to appeal to 20-somethings, along with Stovehouse and Campus No. 805. The amount of breweries bubbling up in the area is pretty intense. So much so that I’ve lost count. If the bride-to-be vibes with a good brew, she’s in for a treat; if not, don’t worry, there are plenty of other fish in the sea (of drink options), too.Any of those options will have food, drinks and fun things to do. If your group is more into hiking and the outdoors, a drip to Monte Sano State Park is a must. There are even lookouts to peak at Huntsville from a new angle. 

Pics or It Didn’t Happen:

What’s a bachelorette trip without a photo-op? Big Spring Park in downtown Huntsville is a gorgeous place to walk (just watch out for the duck/goose poo), and makes for great photos. For the art admirers, there are so, so many murals scattered about downtown. Bonus: A quick stroll downtown on the hunt to find a few will give way to a fun adventure of popping in shops and alleyways. For a more urban feel, coffee shops are always a win. Check out the cozy aesthetic at Alchemy Coffee in MidCity, and you won’t be disappointed. Ever feel like there should be a neon sign above your head that reads, “Feed me tacos and tell me I’m pretty?” Well, Huntsville’s got you covered. Go check out Hops N Guac.

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