The Best of Huntsville

Huntsville, better known as “Prison City,” has more perks than you would think.

Having lived here for about a year and half, I have come to appreciate the small-town charm that this city has to offer. Being from Houston, a much bigger city, the small environment that Huntsville offers is quite appealing. The entire atmosphere is completely different. In Houston, there is always that need to go, go, go. While I love the rush my city has to offer, it does become a bit tiresome after a while. Huntsville does not have that rushed feeling, rather there is a more laid back, ‘I go at my own pace’ feeling.

One of the best things about moving from a big city to a small one is that there are hardly any loud, cranky commuters around rush hour. If I want to hop in my car around five in the afternoon and go out for a drive because it happens to be a nice day out, it is not a problem. If I were in Houston, there is no way I would even consider leaving my house around that time for a fear of the traffic headache I would encounter. Not to mention the fact that I do not have to deal with a bunch of people who are less than capable of driving.

Another quality that Huntsville has I find charming is its diverse population. While majority of the city is occupied by students, there are a few people out there that have chosen to permanently call this city home. And although I know that there are more than just students here, I am always pleasantly surprised when I see other citizens around. It is kind of like having my parents, grandparents and other family members around without them actually being here.

Maybe this might be a bit more than obvious, but part of the charm of Huntsville is Sam Houston State University. I like that the school is named after a Texas hero – this shows some real Texas pride. Let’s be honest, there is no place like Texas; it is, in fact, the best state in the nation. If that is not persuading enough, then I am sure the beauty of the campus will entice you to slow down and smell the roses.

While you are at it, you should also take the time to feed the chickens in the park across from campus on Sam Houston Avenue. Why? Because, why not?

How often do you come across random chickens? These birds roam free all over what use to be Sam Houston’s home. Not only is Huntsville a hidden treasure in the middle of nowhere, but it also holds historical significance. What is now a museum, his home is a signature attraction of the city.

Some other things that are unique to the city is the local cuisine. Being from Houston, you would think I would know about every restaurant known to mankind. However, when I moved here, I found a few hidden gems:

I am absolutely in love with Five Loaves Deli. I am sad that I only recently discovered it thanks to a good friend of mine. If you ask any Huntsvillian what restaurant is a hit, they will more than likely mention Farmhouse Cafe. Established in 2004, this small yet quaint restaurant has much to offer! Last but not least, I have to pay homage to the thing that got me through four long years of college – Starbucks! No, this is not a restaurant unique to Huntsville, but it is vital to get through life. If not for Starbucks, who knows what I might be doing…

They do not call this place “Prison City” for no reason. While you cannot actually go in to any of prisons here in the city, you can however visit the Texas Prison Museum. The museum has many different exhibits that express the lifestyle of inmates that inhabit the prison. It gives a thorough history of what life was life those who spent the rest of their days behind bars, as well as express what it was like for those who worked there.

Be it the restaurants, the university or one of the many attractions here in town, Huntsville has a lot to offer. Yes, it is a small city and yes things may get boring from time to time, but there is more here than you realize. You just have to take the time to find what is right there in front of you.

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