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More people moved to Huntsville, Alabama in 2018 than to any other city in the state. In fact, last year, 3.4 million people visited Madison County — where Huntsville is located. The influx of tech companies and other businesses moving to Huntsville continues to feed this vibrant economy with new cultural and culinary experiences that attract residents and visitors alike. While places like the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Campus No. 308 and Huntsville Botanical Gardens are still at the top of everyone’s Huntsville lists, there are some new reasons that make Huntsville worth another visit.

1. Explore MidCity.

MidCity — cited at the country’s 12th largest real estate development — will soon add a brand new six-story 130-room Marriott Aloft Hotel. The hotel will be the perfect home base for a Huntsville 2020 getaway, and there’s much excitement just outside its doors. For outdoor lovers, not only is the new REI Co-Op a one-stop gear shop for all things camping, hiking, climbing, cycling, paddling and running, but the shop also offers workshops, day tours and special events to help you experience the Alabama outdoors. There’s also a full-service bike shop, and their staff will fit any gear you buy for free.

REI Co Op Huntsville

REI’s first Alabama shop is right in HSV’s MidCity development. Image: Huntsville.org

Across from TopGolf, the new Highpoint Climbing and Fitness boasts 25,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor climbing surface, a climbing zone for kiddos, a bouldering room, weight room and group fitness classes. After you’ve worked up an appetite hitting some balls or climbing, try one of MidCity’s new dining options: Wahlburgers, Pies & Pints, and Dave & Busters.

RELATED: 48 Hours in Huntsville, Alabama

2. Check out the new Stovehouse.

Another development getting a lot of buzz and that’s typically packed every weekend is Stovehouse — a century-old factory transformed into a village of eclectic restaurants, live music and event venues, gourmet cocktail and coffee bars, local vendors, offices and more. This is a place you’ll want to spend a few hours exploring … cocktail in hand. The food garden is home to Kamado Ramen, Oh Crepe, Pourhouse, Fresko’s, Mazzara’s Italian Kitchen and more … plus many new food, fitness and retail options are opening soon. For a full list of everything Stovehouse is bringing to Huntsville, check out stovehouse.com.

3. See CityCentre at Big Spring.

HSV visitors can behold a stellar view of Big Spring International Park — one of the city’s treasures — at the new AC Hotel. The new 120-room hotel is a stone’s throw from the Von Braun Center (read on for more on that insanely cool expansion), downtown restaurants and shops. Another exciting addition slated to open 2021 is an adjoining artisanal food hall.

The view from the new AC Hotel is quickly becoming the best in the city. Image: Facebook

ac hotel huntsville

Pluto’s Moon: a vodka concoction you can try at the new AC Hotel‘s bar. Cheers! Image: Facebook

4. Attend a Trash Panda ballgame at Town Madison.

Just west of Hunstville along I-565, a $46 million ballpark constructed in Town Madison will be the home of the inaugural season for the Rocket City Trash Pandas, Huntsville’s very own AA baseball team. They also recently unveiled an appetizing plan for a giant food hall — featuring 18 kitchens as well as breweries and food trucks — that will connect the Town Madison retail and restaurant district to the development-anchoring baseball stadium. The new season kicks off April 2020 and you can get more info here. The food hall joins the growing and impressive roster of tenants at Town Madison including the $46 million baseball stadium, multiple hotels including a Margaritaville hotel, Duluth Trading Co. and luxury residential options.

town madison

Come for the baseball, stay for dozens of other things Town Madison will connect to the ballpark! Image: al.com

5. Anticipate the Von Braun Center expansion, Mars Music Hall.

Huntsville already attracts packed lineups of musical talent — and it’s about to get even more. The Von Braun Center’s new venue, named Mars Music Hall, is set kick off on January 3 with a performance by Grammy-winning Americana artist Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit. Wider than it is deep (that means great views for all patrons) and flexing a million-dollar light and sound system, this venue can hold 1,575 people and hopes to book 70 to 80 shows a year. Lineup and tickets are available at the box office or online here.

VBC mars hall

What better way to kick off the New Year than at the grand opening of the Rocket City’s out-of-this-world Mars Music Hall? Image: vonbrauncenter.com

Rhythm on Monroe is the name of the full-service restaurant and rooftop bar connected to Mars that will open Spring 2020. Perfect for pre-show dinner or after-show cocktails, Rhythm will serve locally sourced, fresh fare, craft brews, handmade libations and more. Plop down outside near one of the fire pits on the rooftop bar and take in sweeping views of Big Spring Park.

Aside from the new music hall and restaurant, the center will open a new ballroom/multi-purpose space of 35,000 square feet that will include an outdoor terrace, 14,000 square feet of breakout meeting space, a beautiful community lobby and a new concourse that will seamlessly connect the existing South Hall concourse and the Embassy Suites Hotel. Pick a show and plan a Hunstville weekend around it.

RELATED: 13 Beautiful Botanical Gardens Around the South

Okay, one more reason we can’t leave out …

The Singing River Trail in North Alabama will connect communities in Madison, Morgan, and Limestone Counties and serve as an approximately 70-mile trail spine linking to other trail systems throughout the region. This laudable vision will not fully materialize until 2035, but sections of trails will open as they’re complete, and each phase will add a lot of value to each pocket of the community its in. Click here to scroll through an interactive map of the project.

singing river trail

Once complete, the trail system will connect 70 miles of North Alabama communities. Image: Singing River Trail

These new thrills — plus the already beloved HSV spots — call for a Huntsville trip in 2020. With this stratospheric development that doesn’t seem to be slowing anytime soon, it’s looking like 2020 will be a huge year for Alabama’s fastest-growing city. For more news, openings and events in Huntsville, head on over to huntsville.org.

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