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Huntsville, Alabama: Bridge Street Town Centre

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With free valet parking and free pedicab transportation (at specific times and days - see their website for details), Huntsville's Bridge Street Town Centre's vast array of amenities make it a full weekend destination on its own. Included is the gorgeous Westin Huntsville, the city's only AAA four-diamond hotel, with 210 guest rooms and suites, all featuring the signature Westin Heavenly Bed® and other creature comforts galore. A heated indoor/outdoor pool and an impressive workout gym welcome all guests.

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Rates begin at a surprisingly low $149 per night, prepaid. Right now, you can get 40 percent off your second night when your first night is at regular rate. This offer is only good on stays Thursday through Saturday, with a two-night minimum required. A number of other special offers are valid at this time. See their website or phone (256) 428-2000 for more details.

The Westin's in-house Sage Grille boasts four-star chefs and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with scrumptious dishes such as their Bridge Street omelet, blackened grouper, and grilled rib-eye steak. There's also a breakfast buffet and a lunchtime soup, salad, and sandwich bar. Other restaurants within the complex range from Orange Tree Frozen Yogurt to Connors Steak and Seafood, with dozens of choices in between, including plenty of outdoor seating.

Shop all day and then take in a movie at the fabulous Monaco Pictures, where you can experience a movie theater like nowhere else around. In addition to its own sushi bar and private dining areas, this unusual movie house offers reserved theater seating. The Monaco is the perfect place for an upscale evening, with or without a movie.

Wide pathways and an impressive variety of stores from budget-friendly to super posh leave no doubt that Bridge Street's designers thought of everything, including free wi-fi throughout the promenade. A few of the shops you'll see: Kate Spade New York; Michael Kors; J. Crew; Pandora; Old Navy; and H&M.

A walking path surrounds the Centre's five-acre lake, with ducks, turtles, fish, and birds amid the natural setting. Bridge Street is pet-friendly, too, so your four-footed family members are welcome here. Leashes required.

Landscaping is first class, with stunning flowers, trees, and shrubs, along with two fountains and plenty of comfortable benches for taking a break and enjoying the scenery. Youngsters will appreciate the jet pop fountain, as well as the trackless train ride.

Romantics won't be able to resist gliding along the lake in an authentic Venetian gondola. Or how about a pedal boat or a pedal- or electric-powered pontoon boat? The boat dock is located on the end of the lake near The Westin and can be reached via the walking trail or by complimentary pedicab. Rental rates vary depending on your choice of boat.

Bridge Street is the perfect locale for a couples, family, or girlfriend getaway. If you plan to venture beyond Bridge Street, consider at least a long weekend or even a week. Huntsville is loaded with impressive sights, as well as excellent shopping and dining. Learn more about the whole area at: www.Huntsville.org or by calling (800) 843-0468.

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