WELCOME TO ROCKET CITY
Known as Rocket City, Huntsville is home to the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Missile and Space Intelligence Center and NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, where spacecraft that launched astronauts to the moon were developed. (That illustrious history will be celebrated with events throughout 2019, the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.)
But you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to appreciate the livability of this up-and-coming Southern city that is home to a fast-growing, diverse population of almost 200,000 — with a metro area population of 444,908.
Location. Huntsville is in North Central Alabama, just 15 miles south of the Tennessee border. It’s a two-hour drive to Nashville and a 3½-hour drive to Atlanta.
Affordability. One of the city’s most attractive features is its low cost of living — 4.7% lower than the national average.
Housing. That cost-of-living factor means Huntsville also has some of the best housing values in the nation. The median cost of homes is $164,100 in Huntsville, compared to $545,000 in Washington, DC.
Best Cities: U.S. News & World Report in 2019 again ranked Huntsville as one of its Best Cities to Live In. The ranking notes that Huntsville is the most-affordable place to live out of the 125 most-populous metro areas in the United States, and it offers a flourishing job market, with many companies focused on science, technology and engineering fields. (And by the way, commuting time in Huntsville is also lower than the national average.)
Family friendly. Many families and young professionals live in Huntsville where the public schools are ranked above average. Huntsville City Schools places a heightened emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)-based projects and curriculum. The school system also is a pioneer in digital learning and has put laptops in the hands of each student in grades 3–12, and provided iPads and tablets for grades K-2.
Outdoor activities. Thanks to its temperate climate, outdoor activities and events are plentiful all year round. From the Chinese Lantern Festival and Aquatic Gardens at the Huntsville Botanical Garden to historic tours, concerts and food festivals, there's something for everyone.