The Instagram Guide to Downtown Huntsville (on a Sunday)August 24, 2015
Crowdsourcing can be a beautiful thing. This weekend, I tagged along with my friend Kelly for a work trip to Decatur. We ended up spending the night in Huntsville, and as two localists with a few hours to kill, we decided to try to spend those hours hunting down brunch and maybe a coffee shop or two. We’re both pretty good at using the Internet to search out new spots (Google, Yelp and Zomato are our friends here), but we were coming up empty at good Huntsville restaurants open on Sunday.* (We found plenty of open-during-the-week spots that looked great.)
Desperate, we turned to social media. I used my Instagram feed to ask for good things to do on Huntsville on a Sunday, and the response was like a little miracle. We got tons of great responses pretty much instantly, and we headed to downtown Huntsville where we window shopped, walked around in some beautiful neighborhoods, checked out Constitution Hall, and grabbed a really fantastic brunch.
We only had time to visit a few places (Old Towne Coffee Shoppe, The Office — where we got the great brunch — and A Cup of Everything), but I thought the Instagram responses were so good that I put together a little city guide with recommendations. I thought it might help some fellow travelers trying to find things to do in Huntsville, and it’ll act as a cheat sheet for me on my next trip. (Except for Lowe Mill, I haven’t been to these places, so I’m not getting very flowery on the descriptions because I really don’t know. But I’ve linked to their websites so you can easily check them out further.)
Sam & Greg’s in downtown Huntsville got shout outs from both @_kaylapayne and @actuallyjingles. We really wanted to stop in for their highly praised gelato, but crepes from The Office had just put us over our sugar limits, sadly. (Open Sundays 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.)
Huntsville Mexican Food: Bandito Burrito, Little Rosie’s and Taco Bus (El Cazador 2)
Bandito Burrito is a favorite of @featherwildsarah’s, @susangordonpottery likes Little Rosie’s, and Taco Bus (El Cazador 2) was recommended by @localsoutherner. (Because, you know, if you’re going to eat authentic local Mexican food in Huntsville, Alabama, why not eat it from a bus?) (Bandito Burrito’s open on Sundays, and I’m guessing the other two are, but I couldn’t find the info on their websites … so just double check if you’re planning on going.)
Huntsville Brunch Spots: Commerce Kitchen, Cotton Row and The Office
Commerce Kitchen was recommended by @localsoutherner for a good brunch, @susangordonpottery suggested Cotton Row if we were in the mood for something fancy, and one of Kelly’s friends suggested The Office, which is where we ended up eating (I loved it). Below the Radar Brewhouse is open for brunch on Sundays, too. (Cotton Row and The Office are both open Sundays, and Commerce Kitchen is listed as being open for Sunday brunch 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.)
Huntsville Breweries: Yellowhammer, Rocket Republic & Below the Radar Brewhouse
Both Yellowhammer Brewery and Rocket Republic got a shout-out from @localsoutherner (although she mentions that Yellowhammer isn’t open on Sundays), and @cat_casey recommended Below the Radar Brewhouse (and was so passionate about it that she also texted to guilt me into going there, haha). (Rocket Republic is open Sundays from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., and Below the Radar is open all week.)
This hiking spot is pretty popular, judging by the Instagram recommendations. It was mentioned by @localsoutherner, @actuallyjingles & @susangordonpottery. (Too bad Kelly and I were wearing non-sensible shoes. Or at least, non-sensible-if-you’re-going-hiking shoes.) (Monte Santo is open all week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
Thai Garden in Five Points
Recommended by @leafandpetal, Thai Garden is unfortunately not open on Sundays.
I’m adding Lowe Mill, the artist haven located in a huge old mill, because I personally love it, and because it houses some of my favorite places in Alabama: Piper & Leaf and Happy Tummy. It was also recommended by @susangordonpottery, but alas — it’s not open on Sunday. (You can sometimes get Happy Tummy sandwiches on Sundays at A Cup of Everything, though.)
* To be fair, this isn’t just a Huntsville thing — I was at the downtown Revelator a couple Sundays ago when out-of-towners stopped in looking for things to do in Birmingham on a Sunday, and we couldn’t do much to help them, either.
Carrie Rollwagen is author of The Localist: Think Independent, Buy Local and Reclaim the American Dream, creator of 30 Days of Local Praise and co-founder of Church Street Coffee & Books. Find her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @crollwagen.