I always like to find new unique activities to celebrate the holiday season. I’m excited to say that I met my goal by finding Christmas in Huntsville! To say I was blown away by how much The Rocket City has going on at Christmastime is an understatement. Whether you reside in Huntsville or wish to make a road trip, these experiences are completely worth the time and will truly get you in the Christmas spirit!
Thank you to the Huntsville/Madison County CVB for hosting me. As always, all opinions and recommendations are my own. This post contains affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission if you book or purchase through these links. You can read my full disclosure policy here.
Christmas in Huntsville
Christmas in Huntsville is definitely an exciting time. There’s a seasonal activity for every age and so many for the entire family to enjoy together!
Christmas in Huntsville Activities
Explore Downtown Shops
While you can enjoy these shops year-round, they are particularly beautiful all decorated for Christmas. Definitely pop into Harrison Brothers Hardware and a few others to see how gorgeous they are and pick up gifts for everyone on your list!
Galaxy of Lights
For 25 years, the Huntsville Botanical Garden has put on the Galaxy of Lights, a magical 2.5-mile festive light show.
Galaxy of Lights features a wide representation of holiday classics including The Nativity, 12 Days of Christmas, Hanukkah, and American icons such as the Statue of Liberty.
The event begins in mid-November and typically runs through January 2nd. In November, there are walk-through nights if you prefer the outdoors. Additionally, for dog owners, there are even nights designated to let your furbaby in on the action!
Holiday Art Marketplace
To find that one-of-a-kind handcrafted gift, stop by the Holiday Art Marketplace. New this year and taking place on the first Saturday of the month, this artistic take on the Christmas market is one of many events put on by Arts Huntsville.
The Marketplace featured approximately 50 local artists showcasing various mixed media items. The cool thing about this is that you can enjoy an outdoor holiday market, find a unique gift for everyone on your list, and support local artists at the same time!
Perhaps my favorite Christmas activity during my weekend exploration was Tinsel Trail. I spent so much time on multiple nights and even during the day winding my way through the ~300 Christmas trees.
Yes, 300. You read that right. That extra zero isn’t a mistake.
Let me be clear. Not just any 300 Christmas trees. 300 individually decorated, sponsored trees. Sponsors include everyone from corporations to healthcare facilities to private families honoring loved ones.
As an art lover myself, the creativity was astounding. As a Type A fanatic (to a fault), the attention to detail was not lost on me.
These trees were not only touching and beautiful but each one contributed to the makeup of a magical outdoor holiday spectacular!
Yule Y’all! Sounds like the merriest of all jolly southern Christmas greetings, right? Well, it kind of is…
Yule Y’all is a Christmas market held at Lowe Mill Arts & Entertainment. An old textile mill, it is now the largest privately owned arts facility in the southern United States!
With approximately 152 studios for 200 artists, Lowe Mill A&E is definitely an art wonderland. I thoroughly enjoyed finding these little gems of surprises!
At Yule Y’all, there is a slight twist. Self described as an “Outdoor-centric Christmas Market and Spirit Sampling”, they offer test tasting of different whiskeys, beer, and other spirits. Now I might know where the jolly name comes from…😉
Cruising with the Claus
Have you seen these fun things? They have been on my radar for a while now and I finally got the chance to try it out. Even better that it was a Christmas version. Everything is better at Christmas, right?
Rocket City Rover offers rides seven days a week on their 14-person pedal trolleys. The sky is the limit on the different experiences one could have.
Think progressive dinners, private tours, brunch rides, and even private tours to celebrate your own event!
During the holidays, they have Christmas with the Claus. Santa takes the reigns leading guests on an adult 21+ ride complete with cocktail stops and Christmas trivia.
Don’t forget to sing along to Christmas music as you pedal the streets of downtown Huntsville!
Walking Tour of Old Historic Homes
Pair your love of history with your love of the holidays and walk through the old, historic homes of Twickenham.
The gorgeous, old homes are beautifully decorated for Christmas. Walking through them transports you back to a different era!
Skating in the Park
Skating in the Park occurs right outside the Museum of Art providing a beautiful backdrop and a magical feel.
Although I love to ice skate, I’m not the best at it and it had been a good five years since I last met the ice.
I thoroughly enjoyed a great time reorienting myself and I’m proud to say I didn’t fall once. I might have even relearned my little circle-turns!
I know when you visit a city, you want to maximize your time and visit attractions for which the destination is well known.
So, even if you are visiting for Christmas in Huntsville, here are a few suggestions for classic activities as well!
U.S. Space & Rocket Center
Probably the number one thought that comes to mind when one thinks of Huntsville is the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. It is The Rocket City after all….
It had been a very long time since I last visited so it was almost like my first experience all over again.
Enjoy spending time meandering through the exhibits, Military Park, Rocket Park, and Shuttle Park.
In addition to all of the aforementioned activities, The INTUITIVE® Planetarium is a digital experience that is a MUST. Plain and simple, this is worth its price of admission and then some.
The 8K Digital Planetarium and Dome Experience is the only one of its kind in the Southeast. Amazing doesn’t even begin to cover it.
While I don’t know what it’s like to be in space viewing the beautiful planets and stars in the Milky Way, I felt like I was truly there. You know….minus the weightlessness and all.
Brought into a perspective I wouldn’t have otherwise had, the show conveys the magnitude of just how vast our universe truly is.
Before you leave, don’t forget to check out Miss Baker’s grave. Miss Baker is a squirrel monkey famous for being one of the first two animals to successfully complete and return from a mission in space with the United States.
Typically, you will find a banana or two (or a bunch) on top of her grave. However, on my rainy visit in December, I didn’t find any.
Miss Baker’s grave is right next to that of her first husband, Big George. Yes, she was married…twice actually in real ceremonies (one presided over by a judge). However, Big George was her one true love as evidenced by the fact that she refused to wear her white wedding train in her second marriage ceremony!
If you’re doubting Miss Baker’s personality, let me help you out. She was born in Iquitos, Perú. Monkeys are spunky anyway but Peruvian monkeys are downright sassy.
The two photos above are from my time in Iquitos on the Amazon. Although not a squirrel monkey, he was a smaller (wild) monkey.
Well…wild man was on top of my head before I knew it, had his tail wrapped around my neck and was trying to grab my water bottle with one hand and my phone with the other. Spoiler alert: He wasn’t successful.
So, y’all don’t doubt…mmm-kay? 😉
Secret Art Trail
Among my favorite murals are Celestial Symphony by Jessie Andrews (#14 on the map)…
and the Catalyst, a fun “interactive” mural by Robert Beem (#18 on the map).
Huntsville Museum of Art
Don’t forget the Huntsville Museum of Art for beautiful art and interesting exhibits.
It’s beautifully decorated for Christmas…
And gorgeously illuminated at night!
While we were there, they featured the Gloria Vanderbilt exhibit including a video on her life. I found it very fascinating.
Since no photos were allowed for the Vanderbilt exhibit, I will leave you instead with a fashion favorite of mine I found in the Jonathan Becker exhibit. I loved seeing so many fantastic fashion icons showcasing their creativity!
Where to Stay for Christmas in Huntsville
Where you stay is so very important and plays a crucial role in your accessibility of a destination. This absolutely turned out to be the case in Huntsville because we could walk to most everything on our itinerary. The places to which we needed to drive were very short distances. I’m not sure we drove over 15 minutes total (traffic lights and all)!
AC Hotel Huntsville Downtown
I highly recommend the city view because it’s beautiful looking out over downtown especially if you are celebrating Christmas in Huntsville. Tinsel Trail is right across the street and you can see the start of the beautiful trees!
Christmas in Huntsville is pretty cool, isn’t it? If you weren’t aware of all of these holiday events before, consider yourself aware now. Get out there and enjoy the holidays in The Rocket City!
Merry Christmas from Huntsville!
If you’ve done any of these activities which was your favorite? Let me know below and as always, I welcome suggestions to explore in the future!