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Opinion of Huntsville

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I recently had a back and forth with a guy on Tripadvisor concerning downtown Huntsville. A poster asked for centrally located hotel recommendations. Of course, a couple people recommended University Dr and Research Park areas. I mentioned the Embassy Suites (to be open soon) and Holiday Inn Select. The person I had the back and forth with (he's from Toney) recommended staying away from downtown to avoid the seedy element of Huntsville. He said downtown is basically full of housing projects and homeless villages. I was dumbfounded. Is this the impression of downtown Huntsville those outside of town? I haven't live here that long (a couple years), but I think downtown is very charming albeit too small and sleepy. I also find it very safe. I realize there are some projects on the edge of the downtown area, but even they seem pretty tame compared to other cities I've visited. Anyway, is this the prevailing sentiment of people outside the area? A big thing that bothered me is that this guy is about the only person who responds to posts on that site regarding Huntsville, so that is their impression if they've never visited.

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I've never seen Huntsville as being that way. Decatur is inferior to Huntsville, and Decatur isn't even that way. IMO, Huntsville is one of the most technologically advanced cities in America.

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I've never seen Huntsville as being that way. Decatur is inferior to Huntsville, and Decatur isn't even that way. IMO, Huntsville is one of the most technologically advanced cities in America.

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I don't think I would say Decatur is inferior, it is smaller and didn't luck out by getting the arsenal and NASA planted in its city limits. It is a pretty city with a ton of potential. How many cities sit right on a lake in the south? What is your impression of downtown though, not just Huntsville?

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I recently had a back and forth with a guy on Tripadvisor concerning downtown Huntsville. A poster asked for centrally located hotel recommendations. Of course, a couple people recommended University Dr and Research Park areas. I mentioned the Embassy Suites (to be open soon) and Holiday Inn Select. The person I had the back and forth with (he's from Toney) recommended staying away from downtown to avoid the seedy element of Huntsville. He said downtown is basically full of housing projects and homeless villages. I was dumbfounded. Is this the impression of downtown Huntsville those outside of town? I haven't live here that long (a couple years), but I think downtown is very charming albeit too small and sleepy. I also find it very safe. I realize there are some projects on the edge of the downtown area, but even they seem pretty tame compared to other cities I've visited. Anyway, is this the prevailing sentiment of people outside the area? A big thing that bothered me is that this guy is about the only person who responds to posts on that site regarding Huntsville, so that is their impression if they've never visited.

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The person I had the back and forth with (he's from Toney) recommended staying away from downtown to avoid the seedy element of Huntsville. He said downtown is basically full of housing projects and homeless villages. I was dumbfounded. Is this the impression of downtown Huntsville those outside of town?

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I recently had a back and forth with a guy on Tripadvisor concerning downtown Huntsville. A poster asked for centrally located hotel recommendations. Of course, a couple people recommended University Dr and Research Park areas. I mentioned the Embassy Suites (to be open soon) and Holiday Inn Select. The person I had the back and forth with (he's from Toney) recommended staying away from downtown to avoid the seedy element of Huntsville. He said downtown is basically full of housing projects and homeless villages. I was dumbfounded. Is this the impression of downtown Huntsville those outside of town? I haven't live here that long (a couple years), but I think downtown is very charming albeit too small and sleepy. I also find it very safe. I realize there are some projects on the edge of the downtown area, but even they seem pretty tame compared to other cities I've visited. Anyway, is this the prevailing sentiment of people outside the area? A big thing that bothered me is that this guy is about the only person who responds to posts on that site regarding Huntsville, so that is their impression if they've never visited.

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Huntsville has homeless villages and housing projects? Who knew?

With Birmingham, Montgomery, Decatur and Gadsden to compare to, this is really very funny. Toney IS in a field, though, so you have to give mr. anti-Huntsville some slack...

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What can be done to improve Huntsville's reputation of being so boring? Talking to other people you think Huntsville is the most boring city in Alabama which trust me there are a lot worse places in this state than Huntsville, its still one of the better cities in Alabama IMO. Especially among younger females in college or the age right after college, many won't consider living here (if they aren't married)because they think its so boring and a lot of these people are from cities which i consider to be far more boring than Huntsville. As far as entertainment and character yes it sucks somewhat, but we at least have a lot of shopping and dining now with BridgeStreet and other retail that has been constructed lately. There are three minor league teams here (Hockey, Baseball and indoor football) Two major malls, one major lifestyle center (one mini center Providence) with possibly another major lifestyle center under construction. Several power centers and a little bit to do downtown. Maybe it used to be a lot worse than it is now and that reputation is still holding on, because I don't understand. I

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What can be done to improve Huntsville's reputation of being so boring? Talking to other people you think Huntsville is the most boring city in Alabama which trust me there are a lot worse places in this state than Huntsville, its still one of the better cities in Alabama IMO. Especially among younger females in college or the age right after college, many won't consider living here (if they aren't married)because they think its so boring and a lot of these people are from cities which i consider to be far more boring than Huntsville. As far as entertainment and character yes it sucks somewhat, but we at least have a lot of shopping and dining now with BridgeStreet and other retail that has been constructed lately. There are three minor league teams here (Hockey, Baseball and indoor football) Two major malls, one major lifestyle center (one mini center Providence) with possibly another major lifestyle center under construction. Several power centers and a little bit to do downtown. Maybe it used to be a lot worse than it is now and that reputation is still holding on, because I don't understand. I

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Much of any stigma tied to a city being called "boring" is due to the fact that it lacks a very active nightlife entertainment and substantial restaurant sector. Birmingham isn't much better, but does have 2 nightlife entertainment and restaurant districts (Five Points South and Lakeview) and in the process of getting a 3rd (The Forge) with plans on for a 4th (Theater District surrounding the Alabama and Lyric Theatres). Unfortunately, Huntsville hasn't gotten the type of developments and to a certain extent the critical mass of specific demographics to support this types of developments. A developer would have to go out on a limb and make a huge risk with trying at this point because Downtown Huntsville is does not have more an couple hundred to about thousand permanent residents. There could be something of sorts added to Bridge Street, but once again building such things like that in a development like that would be a risk and may see community opposition.

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I think it has more to do with UAH being a "boring" school. Even the kids in school there don't actually spend much time on or around campus. I think if UAH had a better reputation, then Huntsville would have one too. Of course you could reverse that and say that UAH is boring because of Huntsvilles bad reputation...

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Being a boring person myself :) I feel quite at home in Huntsville and at UAH. Huntsville has gotten a lot better in terms of things to do in the past few years. I think the reputation is sticking b/c Huntsville doesn't advertise itself at all. I mean, you see TV commercials here all the time about how "cool" Chattanooga and Nashville are. Huntsville needs to advertise what it has to offer- on TV, in newspapers, on the radio- get the word out about this up and coming city of ours. And no I'm not talking about just the Space Center, though that is a good asset.

Tiger's right- everybody says their city is boring, even in larger, more "vibrant" cities.

Unfortunately, Huntsville hasn't gotten the type of developments and to a certain extent the critical mass of specific demographics to support this types of developments. A developer would have to go out on a limb and make a huge risk with trying at this point because Downtown Huntsville is does not have more an couple hundred to about thousand permanent residents. There could be something of sorts added to Bridge Street, but once again building such things like that in a development like that would be a risk and may see community opposition.

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Being a boring person myself :) I feel quite at home in Huntsville and at UAH. Huntsville has gotten a lot better in terms of things to do in the past few years. I think the reputation is sticking b/c Huntsville doesn't advertise itself at all. I mean, you see TV commercials here all the time about how "cool" Chattanooga and Nashville are. Huntsville needs to advertise what it has to offer- on TV, in newspapers, on the radio- get the word out about this up and coming city of ours. And no I'm not talking about just the Space Center, though that is a good asset.

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I think the lack of vibrancy at UAH is a big problem. It doesn't even feel like a campus, it feels like an extension of the Research Park. Where do the students at UAH even hang out? Imagine how different Huntsville would be today if they had put UAH downtown.

That being said, I think Huntsville has quite a bit to offer for a medium sized city. Not necessarily in terms of nightclubs, but the restaurant scene is improving greatly as well as the retail scene. If you are a nature lover, there are tons of options in the city and within 30 minutes. The thing that kills me is that people always complain that Huntsville is so boring, yet when you ask them "have you been to the Art Museum, Flying Monkey, Botanical Gardens, Havoc or UAH hockey, Twickenham Homes tour, Renaissance Theatre, Burritt on the Mountain, Cathedral Caverns, Green Mountain..." the answers are almost always "No". IMO, don't complain about a place being boring if you haven't made the effort to explore the nice things that a city offers.

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^^^That is very true. Huntsville is far from boring, it does offer an amenity of things for its residents to do for leisure than most cities its size or even much larger have within a 30-mile radius. This reputation is another product of our "commericalized culture" of believing a city has made it when it has certain "chain estiblishments" when in reality there are somethings that are local and organic that are more alluring. I do believe that if UAH was more of a traditional university closer to the urban core of this region it would be a major boost to Huntsville overall leisure and entertainment options.

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I think the lack of vibrancy at UAH is a big problem. It doesn't even feel like a campus, it feels like an extension of the Research Park. Where do the students at UAH even hang out? Imagine how different Huntsville would be today if they had put UAH downtown.

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I can answer that question, kind-of. You might find me at Starbucks or Barnes and Noble on weekdays if I have time. On Fridays, I like to go out to eat; most of the time I pick up something at Sonic or Checkers, but sometimes I'll go to a sit-down (Oh!Bryans out on 72 East has been my most recent favorite). And if there's a good movie out, I'll go see it at the Rave with some of my friends if they're in town, and then we just hang out at someone's house/apartment. But since I live a simple semi-boring life, my nightlife probably isn't the norm with most college students.

UAH is trying to become a more traditional campus. They're currently in the process of taking out an old neighborhood in the middle of campus and replacing it with green space and pathways, to "connect" the two sides of campus. I have no idea when that'll be finished. I would like for the school to be closer to downtown, but since we can't just pick up the campus and drop it there, I think downtown should come to us. Redevelop the neighborhoods along Holmes Avenue between UAH and downtown and make them more student-friendly. Someone on here has repeatedly mentioned building student apartments downtown- that's a good idea too. Extend the Shuttle bus hours between UAH and downtown to evenings. I've said this before- redevelop University Drive immediately surrounding UAH and make it more pedestrian-friendly. There are lots of things that can happen that can make UAH a better school and Huntsville a better city in terms of entertainment options.

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Huntsville prides itself on being "family-friendly". Well "family-friendly" usually doesn't mesh well with "nickel beer night" or "keg parties". Maybe the city could decide to be less "family-friendly" around the two schools and give the student a little more lee-way to get into trouble without "getting into TROUBLE."

I also think the lack of any good radio stations here is a problem. A station that actually built excitement for acts that were going to be playing here would go make all of North Alabama think that Huntsville is the place to be. Instead we get "the at-work network" or "classic rock". Of course it could be that there is no demand for that here because everbody that would like that station is down in Tuscaloosa or Auburn.

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Huntsville prides itself on being "family-friendly". Well "family-friendly" usually doesn't mesh well with "nickel beer night" or "keg parties". Maybe the city could decide to be less "family-friendly" around the two schools and give the student a little more lee-way to get into trouble without "getting into TROUBLE."

I also think the lack of any good radio stations here is a problem. A station that actually built excitement for acts that were going to be playing here would go make all of North Alabama think that Huntsville is the place to be. Instead we get "the at-work network" or "classic rock". Of course it could be that there is no demand for that here because everbody that would like that station is down in Tuscaloosa or Auburn.

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If you think getting drunk and partying all the time counts as interesting and exciting you are wrong. People in towns with 100 people do that so its nothing special about that. Thats not what Huntsville is lacking, its somewhat lacking places for classy people to hang out. Tuscaloosa and Auburn are college towns if people there want to get drunk all the time and count that as fun than fine thats their problem but thats not what Huntsville needs we are not a college town, we have colleges but we have so much more to offer than to limit ourself to being just a college party town.

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I don't think in todays society that most college/post-college kids are looking for classy, polite things to do. Most of them want to do all the things they couldn't do in high school becuase of their parents or in college becuase they didn't have any money.

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I disagree that most(college educated kids) are looking for unclassy things. Alot of young Huntsvillians are tired of that. For my group of friends, the bar and club scene got old quick and we were looking for something outside of that. Turns out that we just never knew where to look.

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Dave and Busters would be very welcome here. I know of many people who made a request for one while Bridge Street had the public feedback form on their website.

I worked at Adtran for a bit and one of the most scenic places in Huntsville is in a conference room on the connector between the North and South towers. We had a meeting their early one morning. It was beautiful to look across research park, across UAH, across downtown Huntsville, and see the sun crest Monte Sano. A restaurant at the top of a hotel, or business complex in research park would provide a wonderful scenic view of all of Huntsville.

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Dave and Busters would be very welcome here. I know of many people who made a request for one while Bridge Street had the public feedback form on their website.

I worked at Adtran for a bit and one of the most scenic places in Huntsville is in a conference room on the connector between the North and South towers. We had a meeting their early one morning. It was beautiful to look across research park, across UAH, across downtown Huntsville, and see the sun crest Monte Sano. A restaurant at the top of a hotel, or business complex in research park would provide a wonderful scenic view of all of Huntsville.

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