Huntsville : Alabama

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What Huntsville is like for active adults

Huntsville is a prosperous mid-sized city of 186,000 in north-central Alabama.  "Rocket City" has achieved some fame for its NASA Marshall Space Flight Center , the Redstone Arsenal, and as a high-tech center.  It is also become a popular destination for retirees from all over the country, based on availability of desirable housing, beautiful parks, and a vibrant commercial and cultural infrastructure. The population grew almost 18% from 2000 to 2013. The University of Alabama at Huntsville is the largest of several colleges in town. Picture of rockets in Rocket Park courtesy of Wikipedia and Daderot.

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Where to Live & Real Estate Values

Huntsville is situated in the Tennessee Valley of Madison County known for its beautiful mountains and karst landscapes. There are several historic neighborhoods to live in, including the Twickenham Historic District, which features homes in the Federal and Greek revival styles. Two others are the Old Town and Five Points Historic Districts.  There are also many nice active adult and 50+ communities in the Huntsville area (see link at top right).
According to the average home selling price in early 2014 was $160,000.   The NAR reported $174,200 in the 1st quarter of 2015.

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What is special about this retirement community
NASA Space Center, Redstone Arsenal, the huge (2000 acre) Mante Sano State Park, symphony, museums, 10 public golf courses, the Von Braun Center (10,000 seat), and numerous cultural festivals like the Spring Jam. Plus many new 55+ communities to choose from. University of Alabama at Huntsville and other colleges. Highly educated population. Huntsville was ranked #8 on CNN/Money's list of the Top 25 Places to Retire.
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What is not special about this retirement community
Summers are very warm and humid. Growth is rapid and traffic can be thick.
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What kinds of people like retiring here
People who are interested in a vital mid-sized city with many cultural and recreational facilities will like Huntsville. It tends to attract scientists and highly educated retirees.
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Local economy is driven by
NASA, the U.S. Army, University of Alabama, construction, healthcare, and retail are the main drivers of Huntsville's economy.
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Climate and Physical Environment
Huntsville is on the northern border of Alabama in the middle of that border. It is in the Tennessee River Valley. Summers are hot and humid, average January temperature is about 40 degrees (F.).
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Restaurants & Cultural Scene

Culturally, Huntsville is the leading city for many miles;  It has the Fantasy Playhouses,  the Huntsville Theatre and Merrimack Hall Performing Arts Center; festivals include the Big Spring Jam, Panoply Arts Festival, ConS+ellation sci-fi convention;  U. of Alabama - Huntsville; Its Symphony Orchestra is the oldest in the state; The extensive Huntsville Public Library has 12 branches througout the city.

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According to, the 2013 crime index in Huntsville is 473.5 which is much higher than the national average of 295. Violent and property crimes are also well above average. As in many cities, crime rates have a lot to do with neighborhoods - some have very high rates and others do not.

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Medical facilities
Huntsville Hospital System and Crestwood Medical Center are highly rated.
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Huntsville International Airport; Huntsville is below average in walkability when compared to other communities.

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Valuable Links
Huntsville Wikipedia page
Facts about retiring in Alabama
Convention and Visitors Center
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What people are saying about Huntsville

What is the crime rate in Huntsville? The description talks about Fairhope. It seems the crime in Huntsville is very low--probably one of the safest cities retirees could find.
Posted by Denofhc on September 30, 2015

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Facts about HUNTSVILLE
  • State: AL
  • Environment: Urban,Suburban,College Town,Cultural Center,Golf Community,
  • City Population: 100,001+
  • Median age of Population: 25-44
  • Avg Jan Temperature: 41-60
  • Avg July Temperature: 81+
  • Median HH Income: 41,001-60,000
  • Average Home Price (MLS): $100,000-$200,000
  • Annual Property Tax on a $200,000 house: Less than 2000
  • Total Crime Index: 111-120 (high)
  • Cost of Living Index: 91-100 (slightly below average)
  • Culture Index: 111-120 (high)
  • State Sales Tax: Yes
  • State Income Tax: Yes
  • Name of the Guide: boomer1

Can you add to or correct these Facts? Or do you have a photo of this community we could use? If so, please click on Edit these facts

Huntsville retirement communities
Vote on the Ratings for Huntsville
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1. Overall Retirement Ratings Discuss

1. Rating: 3.6/5 ( 8 votes cast)

2. Expense:
Inexpensive to Luxury Discuss

2. Rating: 3.7/5 ( 6 votes cast)

3. Taxes:
Inexpensive to Expensive Discuss

3. Rating: 2.1/5 ( 11 votes cast)

4. Culture:
None to Cosmopolitan Discuss

4. Rating: 3.1/5 ( 7 votes cast)

None to Summer camp Discuss

5. Rating: 3.2/5 ( 6 votes cast)

6. Transportation:
Boondocks to World Hub Discuss

6. Rating: 2.3/5 ( 6 votes cast)

7. Security:
Dangerous to Ft. Knox Discuss

7. Rating: 3.3/5 ( 7 votes cast)

8. Medical Facilities:
None to Excellent Discuss

8. Rating: 4.0/5 ( 7 votes cast)

9. Political Situation:
Conservative to Liberal Discuss

9. Rating: 1.8/5 ( 6 votes cast)

10. Environmental:
Oblivious to Ultra-Green Discuss

10. Rating: 2.8/5 ( 5 votes cast)