Although Huntsville is known for having our eyes toward the future, our innovation, our “cultural propulsion” hurdling us forward into the new, cool and groundbreaking, we’re also down for a little nod to the past.
So, you’re looking for some fun that harkens back to a simpler time?
A time when we weren’t once again on a time clock to put man on in the Moon within 5 years? (That’s a royal “we”, they don’t let me anywhere near the rockets.)
If you need to step out while taking a step back in time, no worries, Huntsville has got you covered with lots of retro fun.
Let’s start with a roaring good time and the 1920s
Want all the glamour of the Prohibition Era without…well…all the actual prohibition? Then all aboard the Blue Bayou at A.M. Booth’s Lumberyard, take a seat on this re-imagined 1924 train car with your totally legal drink and some seriously good eats.
Perfect for date nights, family dinners and special events. Have a little moxie, kiddo! Grab your gal or fella, get spiffy and head to the joint; it’s the bee’s knees!
Speakeasy? Yes, please-y!
If you’ve yet to find The Speakeasy at Straight to Ale, then are you really even trying? It’s Huntsville, ask someone, they will tell you, walk you there and probably hold the “door” open for you. (Wow, I’m just now wondering how southerners kept real speakeasies a secret with all the politeness and all? A discussion for another time perhaps.)
Anyway, The Speakeasy is cozy, serves the delicious menu from Ale’s Kitchen, hosts lots of fun events like Huntsville’s Only Drag Brunch and Taco Tuesdays & Vintage Video Game Night and is an all-around good time!
Next up, the 1950s, Daddy-O
If you’re going to “Rock Around the Clock”, do “The Twist” or “Shake, Rattle and Roll” you might as well do it with a slice of pizza in your hand. Proudly serving Huntsville since 1961, Big Ed’s Pizza plates up a love of Elvis, a shmancy new location on Pratt Avenue, the feel of a real family-owned neighborhood hub and, oh yeah, really good pizza.
More Puccini, less pepperoni? They’ve surely come a long way, but founded in 1955, the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra (HSO) is a jewel in the crown of the local arts community. The longest continually operating professional orchestra in the State of Alabama, HSO packs each season with diverse and ambitious programs, not only embracing the classics but endeavoring to speak to Huntsville’s geeky nature with it’s always fun & innovative Pops Series.
Let’s talk the 1970s. Can you dig it?
Sure, vinyl’s been around since the 40s and it’s still a popular format amongst music lovers today but, I gotta believe the 1970s had to be the heyday (at least that’s what we’re going with for my purposes here).
No matter your musical style or timeframe preference, good news, Huntsville has got some conveniently located and “far out” vinyl shops. Check out Maxwell’s Music at Clinton Row and Vertical House Records at Lowe Mill ARTS and Entertainment.
If you weren’t wearing a satin jumpsuit on a packed Saturday night and “trucking” around the roller rink to the latest disco hits, you were a total drag in the 70s.
These days, you can still have all the fun of wheeling about in the rotating glow of a mirror ball without the Farrah hair or Bowie style. Huntsville and Madison are keeping the roller boogie alive at Insanity Complex, Odyssey Skate Center, Roller Time and more!
Last but not least, the 1980s…TOTALLY!
Adult revelation: the hours of my life spent staring into the warm Galaga glow would have been so much better accompanied by a cold beer and a bowl of spicy chili.
This dream is made reality at our beloved downtown hotspot, Pints & Pixels. With a rotating selection of all your 80s video game and pinball favorites, it’s a great way to spend a Friday night…or, a Tuesday night. Not to worry, if a frosty adult beverage isn’t your thing, Pints & Pixels is family-friendly so you can ba-bing, bing, bring the whole crew. (of yeah, I’m on that level. Gnarly, right?)
Need even more arcade options? We’ve got ‘em! Try Rocket City Arcade on University Drive or Ronnie Raygun’s Arcade at Campus 805.
Let’s face it. Love or hate them, the 80s were a touchstone for some of our greatest pop culture moments in music and film. We experienced We Are the World, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, The Breakfast Club and who could forget Ghostbusters?! In the immortal words of Ray Parker, Jr. (with a little help from Huey Lewis. The old people in the room, like me, will get that one), “I ain’t afraid of no ghosts!”
Particularly, when Huntsville makes them so stinking interesting. September – October of each year Huntsville Ghost Walk hosts walking tours on every Friday and Saturday through Old Town Historic District, Twickenham Historic District and Haunted Downtown. Heck, they’ve even got a Haunted Trolley.
So, that’s it for now; time travel is exhausting!
Whether you’re revisiting days gone by and whetting your nostalgia whistle or discovering for the first time how the old folks used to break it down back in the day, the Rocket City has decades and decades of delights to share with you.
Sixth-generation native Huntsvillian and lover of all things Rocket City, living in constant fear of personal geekery deficits and overall lack of geographical nerd-appropriateness, but valiantly fighting to stay abreast of the latest and perceived coolest assets in North Alabama in order to be allowed to stay at the smart people party. I sometimes travel to cool places, see fancy things and write words about them at Tour Dates Travel.