Located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Huntsville is the fastest-growing metropolitan area in Alabama and one of the state’s most diverse places. Nicknamed the “Rocket City” because of its deep ties to NASA, Huntsville boasts a hard-to-beat combination of high average income levels, low unemployment, affordable housing, award-winning public schools, a vibrant arts scene and favorable weather. It’s no wonder U.S. News & World Report recently ranked Huntsville No. 3 on its list of Best Places to Live in America.
Huntsville is home to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, which helped design the famous Saturn V rocket that took Neil Armstrong to the moon and is now developing the powerful Space Launch System to carry humans to Mars – and beyond. The Army’s Redstone Arsenal, which manages missile defense programs, is another major employer. And Huntsville recently beat out dozens of other cities for a $1.6 billion Toyota-Mazda auto plant that will create 4,000 new jobs.
When the workday is done, we know how to have fun. From hiking in Monte Sano State Park and fishing on the Tennessee River to sipping a locally-made craft beer at Campus 805, catching a concert at the Orion Amphitheater or the Von Braun Center and shopping for one-of-a-kind artwork at Lowe Mill, Huntsville is full of surprises.
At a glance:
- Huntsville Metro Area population: 455,448 (2016 Census estimate)
- Average household income: $79,022
- Unemployment rate: 3.4 percent (Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 2018)
- Top employers: U.S. Army, NASA, Huntsville Hospital, Boeing, SAIC, ADTRAN, Toyota, University of Alabama in Huntsville
- Major Attractions: U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Monte Sano State Park, Huntsville Botanical Garden, Alabama Constitution Village, Huntsville Museum of Art, Low Mill Art and Entertainment Center
- Accolades: No. 3 Best Place to Live in U.S. by U.S. News & World Report; Fastest Growing Tech City by CBS Money Watch; No. 3 City Where Your Money Goes the Farthest by Boston Business Journal