Taking Off to The Rocket City? Here’s What You Need To Know About Moving to Huntsville, AL

Alabama Huntsville

by Matt Lyons Posted on January 23, 2024
Located in northern Alabama, the city of Huntsville is primarily known for its U.S. Space & Rocket Center. But there’s much more to the area than simulators and space camps. Is moving to Huntsville, AL, a good idea, though? Absolutely! The city has a cost of living below the nation’s average, plenty of job opportunities, and an abundance of fun things to do — among many other perks. 

About Huntsville

Situated in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Huntsville is located near the Tennessee River, about 100 miles north of Birmingham. The name came from a desire to honor John Hunt — an American pioneer and Revolutionary War veteran who settled in the area — and out of disdain for the British influence of the town’s previous name, “Twickenham” (also the name of a suburb of London where Alexander Pope resided for many years). Approximately 221,900 people reside in the city, and Huntsville’s median age is right around 37 years old

Huntsville prides itself on its strong sense of community, as evident in its variety of cultural events, such as the Christmas Parade, the Von Brewski Beer Festival, and the Panoply Arts Festival (hosted by the non-profit organization Arts Huntsville).

Q: Why are so many people moving to Huntsville?
A:
Many people choose to move to Huntsville because of its job opportunities and affordable cost of living.

Rows of homes and shops in downtown Huntsville with overlaid text, reading “Moving to Huntsville: Pros and Cons”

Huntsville Moving: Pros and Cons

Sure, it’s exciting to learn about the perks of a new location before moving there. But you must take into consideration the downsides, as well, before officially making the leap. Here are a few of the pros and cons you may encounter when living in Huntsville.

Pro: Proximity to Other Popular Cities

Huntsville is only about an hour and a half from Birmingham and Chattanooga, and it’s less than three hours from Tuscaloosa and Montgomery.

Pro: Job Opportunities

Some of the largest organizations in the state of Alabama — and even the nation — have operations in the city of Huntsville, including Boeing, NASA, and the U.S. Army. The area also has a thriving tech sector.

Pro: Plenty of Cuisine Options for All Tastes

It’s probably a given that those who love southern cuisine will surely find plenty of places to eat in Huntsville. But there are plenty of other cuisines to try from different cultures all around the world, as well. Some of the best options can be found in the suburb of Hartselle, including Fuqua’s Southern Soul Food and Old Havana Café

Con: Uncomfortable Weather

The subtropical climate of Huntsville results in hot and humid summers with heat indices above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. That makes some portions of the summertime feel pretty unbearable. 

Con: Limited Nightlife Scene

Although there are plenty of restaurants and entertainment options in Huntsville, the nightlife scene is not as prominent as in other larger cities. Huntsville is more geared toward a laid-back lifestyle with more family-friendly activities.

Con: Lacking Diversity 

Residents in Huntsville have expressed their concerns about the city's limited ethnic and cultural diversity over the years; however, there have been efforts to promote diversity and inclusivity by the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (ODEI).

Huntsville Cost of Living

According to BestPlaces, Huntsville has a cost of living index of 94.2 out of 100. The cost of basic necessities like food, housing, transportation, child care, taxes, and health care are 5.8 percent lower than the U.S. average and 12 percent higher than the state average. 

Q: Is it expensive to live in Huntsville, Alabama?
A:
Although the cost of living is slightly higher in Huntsville than the state of Alabama, the national average is still higher. It’s also much cheaper to live in Huntsville than other popular parts of the country.

One of the main factors why Huntsville has a reasonable cost of living is the housing market. With an average home price of approximately $271,600, finding an affordable home in Huntsville is easier than in other parts of the country. Likewise, the average rent is around $1,200 for a one-bedroom apartment. 

As for taxes, the combined sales tax rate for Huntsville is 9 percent. The sales tax rate in Alabama is at 4 percent, and the county's tax rate is at 0.5 percent. Huntsville's sales tax rate adds an additional 4.5 percent. 

Q: Is it cheaper to live in Huntsville or Nashville?
A:
With a cost of living index of 104.7, it’s considerably more expensive to live in Nashville than Huntsville. To put it in perspective, the average home value in Nashville is $423,700, compared to the Huntsville average of $271,600.

A mother and her son canoeing on Fairy Lake in Huntsville on a muggy summer’s day

Huntsville Climate and Weather 

In Huntsville, the summer season is best characterized as hot and muggy, while the winters are typically cold and damp, yet short. The temperature fluctuates from 33 degrees Fahrenheit to 89 degrees Fahrenheit during the course of the whole year, and it rarely gets below 19 degrees Fahrenheit at any point.

The summer season in Huntsville usually lasts from the end of May until the end of September, and the hottest month in the city is in July, as the average temperature is around 88 degrees Fahrenheit. November to February brings the coldest weather in Huntsville, with an average low of around 30 degrees Fahrenheit and a high of 50 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Getting Around Huntsville 

Huntsville isn’t exactly known for being a walkable city, so having a reliable mode of transportation is key to getting you to where you need to go. Fortunately, there are plenty of options when it comes to getting around Rocket City. 

The Orbit Public Transit System is the city’s bus system. It covers nine routes and nearly 200 miles of Huntsville streets, and it has a convenient app to keep you up-to-date on the bus schedules. The UAH Campus Route buses near the University of Alabama in Huntsville also make stops at both retail and grocery stores.

There’s a ride-sharing service called “CommuteSmart,” as well, and the city also provides specialized, door-to-door, demand-response paratransit services to disabled individuals and senior citizens with the Access program. 

Best Places To Live in Huntsville 

Meridianville, AL

Situated north of Huntsville, the charming town of Meridianville is best known for its top-notch schools and plethora of jobs, making it ideal for families. In fact, Niche ranks Meridianville as the second best place to raise a family in the Huntsville area!

It’s no secret that Huntsville is known for its aerospace, defense, IT, and bioscience industry jobs. And many of these jobs can be found at Redstone Arsenal and the Cummings Research Park, just a short drive away from Meridianville. 

The area also has popular local cultural attractions, like the North Alabama Railroad Museum.

Hartselle, AL

Popular with young professionals, the suburb of Hartselle is best for those who like to stay active, as it’s home to many parks and recreational facilities, including the popular Point Mallard Park. You can also find some of the best eateries local to Huntsville here, such as Fuqua’s Southern Soulfood, OH! Bryan’s Family Steakhouse, and Old Havana Café.

Harvest, AL

Known for its tranquil setting, the suburb of Harvest offers its residents a sense of peace and comfort, along with plenty of amenities, such as libraries and parks — like the Harvest Square Preserve — making it perfect for retirees. 
 
The people of Harvest are known for their friendliness and take pride in their quaint town. During the warm summer season, this area is a particularly great place to spend time with family and friends, as it offers fun activities such as farmers markets and festivals, like the Old School and Blues Festival.

The U.S. Space & Rocket Center seen from I-565

Things To Do in Huntsville 

Aside from the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, what is there to do in Huntsville? Plenty! Here are a few of our favorites.

For Arts and Culture

For Exploring the Outdoors

  • Ditto Landing: The gateway to the Tennessee River.
  • Monte Sano State Park: Numerous hiking and biking trails to explore.
  • Huntsville Country Club: Situated in a picturesque part of Huntsville, those who play on the golf courses at the Huntsville Country Club can stay active while also enjoying some beautiful scenery.

For Shopping

Moving to Huntsville, AL

There are many factors to consider before you officially pack up and go. The biggest decision you’ll make? Deciding how you’ll get to Huntsville. Automatically going with a full-service company isn’t always necessary, just as renting a truck and doing it yourself may not be the best choice either. To help you get started with your decision, here’s a brief rundown of the top ways to make your move. 

DIY With a Rental Truck

Deciding to use a moving truck rental in Huntsville, AL, is much more affordable than using a professional moving company, though the actual moving process will probably take a lot more time — not to mention, a toll on your body. If you're willing to give up some of your time for a lower price and sore muscles, DIY with a rental truck is the option for you! 

Full-Service Movers

Hiring a professional moving company in Huntsville, AL, can be a convenient option for your move if you have the budget to accommodate it. Although it can cost a lot, a full-service move may be worth it, if you want to reduce your stress level during the moving process.

You should contact several moving companies in Huntsville, AL, well in advance of your move, though, especially if you plan on moving during the popular months of May to October. While full-service moves seem to be perfect, things do happen, and there’s a chance your items might get lost or confused with another household. And, of course, you don’t want to end up overspending or, worse, getting scammed.

A family unlocking their PODS container as they move into their new Huntsville home

 

PODS Portable Moving Containers

Using a portable moving container from PODS to complete your move is a more affordable alternative to full-service movers and much less stressful than the DIY rental truck option. With a moving container, you are able to pack and load your things on your own time with one month of built-in storage included in every move. You simply take care of the packing and loading while PODS takes care of the driving.

The Cost of Moving to Huntsville 

The moving process is different for every individual person or family, and there’s not a certain way to go about it that’s either “right” or “wrong.” To save some money, you can use a rental truck, or if your budget allows for it, you could also decide to hire full-service movers. The total cost of moving to Huntsville will ultimately depend on factors like how much you’re moving and how far you’re moving. Get a free local moving quote at PODS.com today, or call 877-350-7637 if you need a long-distance quote instead. 

Choose PODS To Make Your Huntsville Move an Easy One

Your move to Huntsville can be made easier with the help of PODS, as they can deliver a moving container right to your doorstep, which allows you to get packing and loading on your own schedule. Once you're finished, PODS will pick up the container and deliver it to your new home. Need more time to get settled? No problem! A month's worth of storage is included in every move!

Editor’s note: For ease of reading, monthly rental prices were rounded to the nearest $25 and home values were rounded to the nearest $100.
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