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Things You Should Know Before Moving to Huntsville, AL

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A historic city with beautifully-preserved architecture, an exciting workforce fueled by the aerospace and engineering industries, and a perfect mixture of Southern charm and trendy, metropolitan city-living, Huntsville has been named one of the best cities in the nation to work and live by various publications. In 2009, it was even named "America's Best City" by Kiplinger's Personal Finance.

If you are considering a move to Rocket City, this guide will provide you with information on the educational opportunities, major industries, expected living and housing costs, and leisure activities and attractions in the city. Read on to find out if Huntsville is the place for you!

Huntsville Climate

The city has a humid subtropical climate, with very hot, sticky summers and mild winters. There are a considerably large amount of thunderstorms--occurring on an average of 60 days a year. They are most frequent in the summer but most severe in the spring-- with large hail, high winds, and even tornadoes.

Though the city is 300 miles inland and is rarely affected by intense hurricanes, weaker versions of the storms can sometimes hit the region.

Huntsville Neighborhoods

One of the city's trendiest and hippest neighborhoods is the historic Five Points District, with Bungalow, Cape Cod and Victorian-style architecture, funky shops, art galleries, and chic restaurants. The tree-lined streets are quite walkable--there are plenty of stores, eateries and other amenities nearby to reach on foot.

Surrounded by the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Hampton Cove is one of the city's most beautiful neighborhoods. It features upscale homes, gorgeous golf courses, tennis courts, and the 538-acre Hays Nature Preserve--complete with winding hiking trails and picnic areas. The region, while just over the mountains from the downtown area, is also equipped with numerous retail stores, restaurants, fitness facilities, pharmacies, banks, and other necessities.

Registering Your Car

Once you arrive in the city, you will have 3 days to register your vehicle in the state of Alabama. You will need your car's title, proof of insurance in the state, and proof of identity. You will also need to have your vehicle inspected before you can register it--they can do this for you right at the DMV. You will also have to pay a fee of $23--however, additional fees may apply depending on your situation.

To transfer your driver's license, you will need your previous out of state license, another form of approved identification, and your Social Security card. You will have to pay a $5 transferring fee and a $23 fee for your new license. If your out of state license is valid or has been expired less than one year, you will not have to take a driving test.

You can find more information on these processes as well as DMV locations near you at Alabama's DMV website.

Huntsville Schools

Public education in the city is served by Huntsville City Schools. The district consists of 53 facilities with about 23,000 students enrolled. The system also operates three special education centers and four magnet schools specializing in performing arts, engineering, law and science.

There are about 21 private and parochial schools in the city as well, such as Pope John Paul II Catholic High School and Oakwood Adventist Academy. For higher learning, notable universities include the University of Alabama at Huntsville, Alabama A&M University, and Oakwood University.

Huntsville Employment

Aerospace and military technologies are the two main industries driving the city's economy, particularly Redstone Arsenal, Cummings Research Park, and NASA'S Marshall Space Flight Center. The University of Alabama at Huntsville is also a major center for technology and engineering research. Other companies based in the city include network access company ADTRAN, computer graphics company Intergraph, IT infrastructure manufacturer Avocent, telecommunications provider Deltacom, Inc., DVD and Blu-Ray producer and distributor Cinram, and 57 other Fortune 500 companies.

In 2005, the Huntsvile-Decatur area was named the sixth best place for doing business in America by Forbes, and the number one location for the most engineers per total employment. If you have a background in engineering or related industries, Huntsville may be the perfect place for you to relocate!

Living Costs in the City

If you are planning a move to Huntsville, you want to ensure that you will be able to live within your means before you make the move. Fortunately, living expenses in the city are somewhat low--seven percent below the national average. Housing is the most budget-friendly cost you will incur--typical housing rates are 21 percent less than most American cities. If you plan to rent, you can find a one-bedroom apartment for the reasonable price of a $560 month, or a two-bedroom for $578 a month. If you plan to acquire a mortgage instead, the median home price in the city is listed at $179,900.

Healthcare costs are also quite affordable, at four percent below the national average, as are groceries at six percent below. Transportation expenses are low as well--four percent less than average. However, utilities are three percent greater than the typical American city.

Huntsville Moving Resources

There are many moving and storage companies located in Huntsville that are waiting to help you relocate to your new home. Be sure to do your research and obtain estimates from several different services before choosing one for hire. You can compare online quotes from many different moving companies and other services to aid you in your move, whether you are coming from the next city or overseas. Visit the following pages here at to get fast quotes for the following services:

Huntsville Transportation

If you won't be owning a car in your new city, you will need to find out more about the public transportation system. Mass transit in Huntsville is operated by the city's Department of Parking and Public Transit. The bus system is called the Huntsville Shuttle, which runs along 11 fixed routes--mostly through the Downtown area and to major shopping centers. There is also a trolley that transports passengers to major points of interest and tourist attractions.

Additionally, the city offers HandiRide, an on-demand transportation system for the elderly and disabled, and RideShare, a county-wide carpooling program for commuters.

Culture and Contemporary Life

The city has a rich heritage and diverse culture, that combines the Southern hospitality of a small town with the edginess of a cosmopolitan big city. With an exciting nightlife, fascinating museums, and an array of festivals celebrated, there is always something to do in Huntsville.

Learn about the city's major contributions to the field of aerospace and engineering at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center museum; enjoy traveling exhibits of various mediums and cultures at the Huntsville Museum of Art; attend the Panoply Art Festival for presentations, performances and workshops to celebrate the arts; and enjoy delicious Eastern European fare at Maslenitsa, or "Russian Pancake Week."

There are many outdoors activities to enjoy in the city as well-golfing at one of several breathtaking courses, or fishing, hiking, bicycling, and camping at one of many beautiful parks.

Huntsville Relocation Tips

  • Make a moving checklist of everything you will need to accomplish before you make the trek to Huntsville to stay better organized and be prepared! Things to include are: researching movers and comparing quotes, packing, making airline arrangements, changing your address, and hooking up utilities.


  • The city can fall victim to severe weather such as tornadoes. Be sure to have emergency kits prepared, a designated safe haven in your home, and a plan of action in case of any dangerous storms.


  • Before any move, it's a great idea to downsize your belongings. The less you haul with you, the less you will pay for your move! Before beginning the packing process, sift through your possessions and designate things to donate to charity, give to friends and family, or sell at a yard sale--or online!

Nicole La Capria  Posted by Nicole La Capria on June 7, 2013

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