Huntsville is a wonderful place to raise a family! Although I still call it a “town”, it really is a metropolitan area that offers so much for families to do. Let’s dive into the Downtown/5 Points area where there is so much to do! Whether you are completely new to Huntsville or just the neighborhood, you’ll find your family guide to downtown and the 5 Points and Blossomwood area below.
Parks & Playgrounds
The top of every downtowner’s outdoor play list is Big Spring Park. This is a beloved place for many generations of Huntsvillians. I remember going there with my grandmother to feed the ducks as a child. We continued that tradition with our children by spending many sunny days walking, eating and feeding ducks at Big Spring Park.
The park is a central hub for many activities throughout the year. The Arts Council hosts weekly concerts at Big Spring Park from June – August of each year. The concerts are on Monday nights and are free to the public. The fun of the park doesn’t stop when the weather gets cold because the Huntsville Museum of Art hosts “Skating in the Park” (ice skating) during the months of November – January. There is also a Tinsel Trail of community-sponsored and decorated Christmas trees that is a fun holiday activity for families to enjoy. Most of these things are free for the family, with the exception of the ice skating in the winter. For a young family on a budget, Big Spring Park is a big lifesaver!
Each year from Spring through Fall the downtown community comes alive every Thursday evening. The Green Street Market is a highlight for many families! The market is held on the corner of Eustis Avenue and Green Street across from one of the city’s oldest churches, Church of the Nativity. It offers families a place to grab some fresh veggies, meat, flowers and artisan goods every week. But, this is not your average farmers’ market. The market has scheduled entertainment, yummy popsicles & tea and lots of community fellowship each week. To make the market night even better, the Arts Council hosts an art stroll on Thursday evenings each month as well. You are sure to meet some of your neighbors if you head downtown on a Thursday evening this spring.
There are so many things to do near downtown, the list seems endless. Here a few other outdoor options that you can check out as well:
- Hermitage Park – Located at the top of Hermitage Avenue
- California Park – Located in front of Huntsville Junior High School on California Street
- Landtrust Hiking Trails – Located at the end of Owens Drive and at the end of Cleermont Avenue
- Three Caves – Entrance located on the corner of Kennamer and Hermitage -check schedule for availability
- Mayfair Park– Located off of Thornton Avenue. Mayfair is the local ballpark for the children of Downtown and 5 points. All of your ball players will spend time in this park at some point. There are playgrounds available to the public as well.
Pools & Waterplay
One of our free summertime highlights is the Jane K. Lowe Children’s Fountain behind Early Works Museum. This fountain is open to the public and a great place to cool off on those hot summer days.
One final outdoor activity that I want to expand upon is our neighborhood pools. This is a very unique thing about the Huntsville community. There are neighborhood pools all throughout Huntsville that serve as a hub of summertime activities. Neighborhood families enjoy many summer days and nights at their neighborhood pools. All of the pools offer summer swim leagues as well. This is a wonderful community activity that children of all ages and abilities can enjoy. Each of the pools is available by membership only, so check out their websites for membership information.
The downtown Huntsville area offers young families a multitude of indoor activities, so I will just name my family favorites.
Earlyworks Family of Museums
First and foremost, every family should have a membership to the Early Works Family Museum. This is a place that never gets old to children. I spent many hours there providing not only entertainment for my children, but a place for me to get out and meet other moms. Outside of their everyday fun of a children’s museum, Early Works offers many different activities for children throughout the year including camps, classes and the all-time favorite – Santa’s Village at Alabama Constitution Village. There’s also the Historic Huntsville Train Depot if you’ve got a train enthusiast at your house!
A Little Culture in Your Backyard
The Huntsville Museum of Art offers families opportunities for ALL ages. You might choose to take your children to classes that meet weekly or special camps that are offered different times throughout the year. Each year, the museum hosts Youth Art Month which is a fun way for kids to experience art through the eyes of other children. There is always an exciting exhibit going at the Museum. Check out their website for more details!
Von Braun Civic Center
Next, there is endless indoor entertainment offered at the Von Braun Center. The VBC hosts everything from hockey to concerts to Disney on Ice. There is an activity for the family every single week at the VBC. The VBC is also home to the Fantasy Playhouse Children’s Theater. This theater is perfect for the family. Check out the website for the schedule for the year. They offer season tickets to those hoping to catch all of the shows this year. Lastly, the Mark C. Smith Concert Hall is host to many musical performances and plays throughout the year. Many are appropriate for the whole family while some are a perfect setting for a date night for the weary parents needing a night out.
Escape From Huntsville
A new addition to the downtown area this year is Huntsville Escape Rooms. This is a big highlight for older children; however, younger children enjoy it as well.
Fort Book, aka The Downtown Library
Don’t forget that our public library is a very important part of our downtown. There are daily activities that you and your family can participate in for free! Check out their website for more details. There are many more things to do on the indoors downtown, but these are just a few of my favorites.
Favorite Downtown Eateries
There are many delicious restaurants that are popping up every day downtown. There are locally owned and operated as well as great franchises. Here’s a list of my family’s favorites:
Family Friendly Restaurants
- Taco Mama – Twickenham Square | Mexican
- Sam & Greg’s – Downtown on the North Side of the square | Pizza & Gelato
- Ted’s BBQ – 5 Points
- Tender’s – Five Points | Chicken Fingers & Wings
- Pane e Vino – Big Spring Park | Italian
- Dallas Mill Deli – Pratt Avenue | Deli Foods – Breakfast & Lunch only
- Blue Plate Café – Governors Drive | Meat & Three with great breakfast!
- Bandito Burrito | Mexican Street Food
- Campus 805 – Corner Governors Drive & Clinton Avenue | Several restaurants & craft beer brewers
- Poboy Factory – Andrew Jackson | Cajun *Go for lunch, if you plan to take the family
- Pints & Pixels – Clinton Avenue | Bar Food & Classic Video Arcades – appropriate for families before 8pm
Date Night Restaurants
- The Bottle – Washington Street | Upscale Dining
- Commerce Kitchen – South Side of the Square | Upscale Dining
- Cotton Row Restaurant – South Side of the Square | Upscale Dining
- 1892 East Restaurant & Tavern – 5 Points | Locally Sourced Dining
- Pane e Vino – Big Spring Park | Italian *Family friendly, but also great for date night
- Below the Radar – Holmes Avenue | Upscale Bar Food & Craft Beer
- Humphrey’s Bar & Grill – Washington Street | Sports Bar & Live Music
Schools in the Blossomwood Neighborhood
This is a small sampling of all of the fun that downtown offers. There are so many things that I can’t cover in a short article. My final recommendation is to just get out there and try out what downtown has to offer. You will not be disappointed!
Explore Other Local Neighborhoods
Rocket City Mom is a website about raising children in and around Huntsville, Alabama. Started in late 2010 by a local mom and newcomer to Huntsville, Rocket City Mom has grown into a thriving community of local parents and now boasts a staff of four, thirteen regular contributors, and tens of thousands of Tennessee Valley readers making it the #1 Parenting Resource in North Alabama.