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Huntsville or Birmingham?

North Carolina
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4 posts
64 reviews
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Huntsville or Birmingham?

We will have about a day and a half and would like to know your thoughts on spending it in Birmingham or Huntsville? Two gals - late 30s. I know the space center is in Huntsville and seems worth a good visit. Trying to pinpoint things to see in Birmingham and would most places be open on a Sunday. Thanks so much!

Helena, Alabama
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259 posts
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1. Re: Huntsville or Birmingham?

Both are interesting cities you could easily spend a day and a half visiting. Is this a "destination trip" or are y'all passing through one or both on the way to somewhere else? Are you interested in museums, shopping, outdoor activities, etc.? Those questions can help us narrow down our suggestions. Thanks!

North Carolina
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4 posts
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2. Re: Huntsville or Birmingham?

Thank you civilengtiger. We are on quest to hit all 50 states and I friend still needs to go to Alabama. We are flying in to Nashville because we got a great deal on airline tickets. We will fly in late Friday night and have Sat and Sunday but will need to drive back to Nashville Sunday night for Monday morning flight. We would take the approach of - if I am only going to this area once, what would I like to see. So, no shopping is needed. Something unique to Alabama and some great restaurants. I hope this helps!

Helena, Alabama
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3. Re: Huntsville or Birmingham?

Great! Welcome to Alabama! If you're just coming to Alabama to visit I would stick with north Alabama. The Birmingham area is a good 90 minutes south of Huntsville on i-65 and after driving from Nashville I doubt you want to be in the car any more. I encourage you to post a specific message on the Huntsville and Decatur forums, but top sights I would look for in north Alabama include the US Space and Rocket Center and Monte Santo State Park. There are also a number of commercial caves you can visit as well as Rickwood Caverns south of Huntsville which would be a unique place to visit. Enjoy your visit to Alabama!

Birmingham, Alabama
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for Birmingham
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4. Re: Huntsville or Birmingham?

You could actually hit both and see the main highlights of each. Come on to Birmingham first - about a 3 hour drive from Nashville. Time it right to get in just in time for lunch and take exit 267 (Fultondale) just north of Birmingham, take a left back over the interstate to the first traffic light, turn right and then an immediate left into Full Moon BBQ for some of the best BBQ anywhere. Try the Half Moon Cookies!! This exit could also be a base for your visit since it is on the northern side of Birmingham. There are several nice motels at that exit. In order from newest to oldest - LaQuinta, Fairfield Inn & Suites, Comfort Suites, Holiday Inn Express and Hampton Inn. After lunch, get back on I-65 south into Birmingham and visit the Civil Rights Institute downtown. Walk around the area to see some of the history of the city. Then head to Red Mountain to see Vulcan Park. The Vulcan statue is the largest cast iron statue in the world. Great views of the city from the observation deck.

For dinner, there are several options for dining like you would expect to find in New York City - Highlands Bar & Grill, Bottega, Hot & Hot Fish Club, Chez Fon Fon and several others. You can check the Restaurants tab for Birmingham here on Tripadvisor to see all of the amazing options. Near most of these places is Five Points South and the Lakeview District if you are interested in stopping in to any clubs or checking out the live music scene. Check B&A Warehouse, Ona's Music Room or Otey's Tavern to name a few to see if they have shows on while you are here.

Then on Sunday, head the 90 minutes north to Huntsville and check out the Space and Rocket Center and Monte Sano State Park. If you want to stop at Rickwood Caverns, it is about 30 minutes north of Birmingham, so you would want to stop there on the way to Huntsville.

If you decide to stay in Birmingham both days, other things to see are Sloss Furnaces, Barber Motorsports Park & Museum and Ruffner Mountain Nature Center. Other places to eat are Saw's BBQ, Salem's in Homewood and Nikki's West.

Hope this helps a little. Let us know if you have further questions.

North Carolina
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4 posts
64 reviews
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5. Re: Huntsville or Birmingham?

These suggestions are wonderful! Thank you so much!

Hopefully we will not face crazy traffic with football games in October. :)

I have heard good things about Highland Bar - so it sounds like that is a keeper.

I like the idea of starting in Birmingham and working our way back North.

Thanks!

Birmingham, AL
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6. Re: Huntsville or Birmingham?

Have you already purchased your airline ticket? Did you check the Huntsville airport? I have saved $$ on several occasions with eastern destinations, and its location is great being closer to I-65 than the Huntsville city center. It is a smaller, thus easier in/out (saving time).

Either way, dbh2's idea is ambitious, but a wise one making good use of your limited hours.

If you are into outdoors and weather permits, you could also consider the Wheeler national wildlife refuge, along the TN river. (between HSV and BHM) This is interesting, scenic, and "uniquely Alabama". Love this place. Or, if you only want to SEE the river, you will cross in going south on I 65 if you go south of Huntsville.

www.wheeler.fws.gov

Don't worry about football traffic, Depending on what weekend in October it is, you may see an increase in traffic on 65, but since neither Tuscaloosa nor Auburn is directly en route from HSV to BHM, it will NOT be unmanageable.

If "late Friday night" is after 10 or 1030, then HS football traffic, IF on you route to your hotel at all wont be a big deal.

Have fun,

Miller

North Carolina
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4 posts
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7. Re: Huntsville or Birmingham?

Well, that is good to hear! Yes, I got $69 each way on airline tickets - such a great deal!

Thank you for the idea of Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge - it sounds beautiful!

Birmingham, Alabama
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8. Re: Huntsville or Birmingham?

Which weekend?

Athens, Alabama
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9. Re: Huntsville or Birmingham?

After many years of restoration work the home of Joe Wheeler, Pond Spring, is once again open to the public. The home is located about 15 miles west of downtown Decatur. http://www.wheelerplantation.org/

In Decatur you could visit the Blue and Gray Civil War Museum which houses one of the largest private collections of Civil War relics in the world.

http://www.alabamacivilwarmuseum.com/

10. Re: Huntsville or Birmingham?

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