July 20, 2024
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With a history and culture as rich as Florence Alabama’s, it’s no surprise that there are so many things to do while there! #Florence #Alabama #travel #history #muscleshoals #wilson #lake #

9 Fun Things To Do in Florence Alabama

There are so many things to do and see while in Florence Alabama. And with the city’s rich histories pertaining to music, architecture, the Civil War Movement, and Native Americans this is no surprise. It all began when Florence was bought by the Cypress Land Company in the year 1818.

The decades that followed witnessed some major events and turning points. With the improvement of earlier Indian roads, the city soon became one of the first textile centers in the South. 

It faced hardship during the Civil War, carried out the construction of Wilson Dam, encouraged advancement in the arts (especially music), and so much more! 

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Things to Do in Florence Alabama

With a history and culture as rich as Florence Alabama’s, it’s no surprise that there are so many things to do while there! #Florence #Alabama #travel #history #muscleshoals #wilson #lake #

Most of the attractions on this list are located in and around the central historical downtown area of Florence. It’s best to group these locations together when making your travel plans and daily itineraries.

You don’t have to worry about the other destinations (like Tom’s Wall and Wilson Lake) being too far off. All of the items listed below are located no more than 20 minutes away from downtown Florence. 

Wichahpi Commemorative Stone Wall (Tom’s Stone Wall)

When it comes to things to do in Florence, Alabama, few destinations compare to the spiritual experience Tom’s Wall provides. 

Reached by taking a convenient exit off Natchez Trace Parkway, this landmark is a small detour with big history!

With a history and culture as rich as Florence Alabama’s, it’s no surprise that there are so many things to do while there! #Florence #Alabama #travel #history #muscleshoals #wilson #lake #

Stretching over a mile long, Tom Hendrix built this stone wall by hand and in memory of his late great-great-grandmother Te-La-Nay. Te-La-Nay was a Yuchi Native who was forcibly removed from her home in North Alabama and made to walk the Trail of Tears to Oklahoma.

Built over a thirty-year-long period, this commemorative wall is the largest un-mortared rock wall in the country today. Each stone in the approximately one-mile-long wall represents a step in Te-La-Nay’s journey. 

The sheer length and size of the wall also make it the largest memorial dedicated to a Native American Woman.

Wilson Lake and Dam

Into fishing or architecture, or both? Visiting Wilson Lake is one of those things you must add to your to-do list while in Florence, Alabama. Wilson Lake covers over 15,000 acres and is located a few miles north of the town.

With a history and culture as rich as Florence Alabama’s, it’s no surprise that there are so many things to do while there! #Florence #Alabama #travel #history #muscleshoals #wilson #lake #

Scenic and filled with fish, the trip out to this lake will not disappoint the fishing enthusiasts in your group. With an abundance of waterfowl like pelicans, herons, eagles, and more, birding is another activity to try while there. So, don’t forget your fishing pole, license, and binoculars!

With a history and culture as rich as Florence Alabama’s, it’s no surprise that there are so many things to do while there! #Florence #Alabama #travel #history #muscleshoals #wilson #lake #

The lake also houses the impressive Wilson Dam. Started during World War I and completed in 1924, the dam was the largest hydroelectric power plant in the world at the time. Today, the dam with its neoclassical design elements, is listed as a National Historical Landmark.

Historic Area in Downtown Florence

The historic area in downtown Florence has a lot to do, see and try. With most of its buildings dating back to the late 1800s, this area of Florence is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Stroll through the streets and arrive at the historic Shoals Theatre. First opened in 1948, this is the place you want to be if you’re looking to catch some live music, theatre productions and screen films.

With a history and culture as rich as Florence Alabama’s, it’s no surprise that there are so many things to do while there! #Florence #Alabama #travel #history #muscleshoals #wilson #lake #

When it comes to the arts, The Kennedy Douglas Center for The Arts is another place you will want to visit to witness Florence’s creativity. Visiting the exhibits, housed in three beautiful historic homes located near Wilson Park, is a worthy activity for history buffs to indulge in as well.

If “all things old” sounds like something you would say, don’t miss a drop-in at Billy Reid’s Ye Olde General Store. The aging sign out front says “Wicker, Sewing Notions, Work and Play clothes, Beaver Hats, Novelties, Gifts” but Reid stocks much more and all vintage too – so go see for yourself!

Pop by the Pope’s Tavern Museum for a little lesson on the Civil War and America’s military past. The building originally served as a tavern but was converted into a makeshift hospital during the war. Today, it houses artifacts and memorabilia from that era for visitors to see and learn.

Grab a Bite to Eat

Most of Florence’s finest eateries are located on Court Street, making them easy stops during your downtown stroll. Two of the most popular joints are Trowbridge’s Ice Cream Bar and Odette. Why are they popular you ask? Well, there are lots of reasons!

With a history and culture as rich as Florence Alabama’s, it’s no surprise that there are so many things to do while there! #Florence #Alabama #travel #history #muscleshoals #wilson #lake #

Trowbridge’s is the oldest shop in town and is known for two things: their orange pineapple ice cream and chicken salad sandwiches. 

The famous orange pineapple ice cream is even included in the list of 100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die published by the Alabama Department of Tourism.

The fact that its simple decor and culinary offerings haven’t changed much at all over the century is testament to how loved it is – exactly the way it is! It’s where you need to go for that relaxed dining experience that only old-timey diners manage to offer.

For a more new-meets-old feel, visit Odette right down the street. With rustic-chic interiors and a creative menu featuring a farm-to-table concept, it’s where one might go for a casual fine dining experience. 

All in all, trying the food when in Florence, Alabama is simply one of those things you HAVE to do!

The Children’s Museum

With a history and culture as rich as Florence Alabama’s, it’s no surprise that there are so many things to do while there! #Florence #Alabama #travel #history #muscleshoals #wilson #lake #

Everyone needs things to do and look forward to on a trip, even the kids, which is why The Children’s Museum in Florence is such a favorite. Get the little ones excited about the wonders of learning through play by taking them to this special museum. The possibilities for pretend play are truly endless at CMS.

Children get to help animals at the Pet Vet, uncover the mysteries of nature at the Science Center, navigate the currents of the flowing Tennessee River, be a musical sensation at the Shoals Sound Stage, and dig up fossils and precious stones at the Dino Dig and Gem Mine. “The Piggy Market” and “Wee Explore” are two exhibits that are reserved for toddlers.

Attend St. Florian Oktoberfest

Did you know that Florence has German heritage going back nearly two centuries? The city recognizes this history and celebrates it in October each year. St. Florian Oktoberfest features food, live music, children’s activities, and much more!

Florence Indian Mound and Museum

If you’re looking to learn more about Alabama’s Native American History, Florence Indian Mound and Museum is one stop you need to make. Put on your most comfortable pair of running shoes and climb the mound, listening for the Singin’ River Yuchi.

With a history and culture as rich as Florence Alabama’s, it’s no surprise that there are so many things to do while there! #Florence #Alabama #travel #history #muscleshoals #wilson #lake #

See the spearheads that killed mammoths, fish hooks that were made from deer hooves, woven textiles, and soapstone carvings that are all 500 generations old. Small, but extensive, this museum gives you a glimpse into a very important part of America’s past.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Rosenbaum House

With a history and culture as rich as Florence Alabama’s, it’s no surprise that there are so many things to do while there! #Florence #Alabama #travel #history #muscleshoals #wilson #lake #

Credit: Tim Daugherty | Shutterstock.com

Architecture enthusiasts will know that the Rosenbaum House is cherished for being the only Frank Lloyd Wright house in all of Alabama. 

The modern, yet perfectly harmonious building stands flawlessly preserved with almost all of its original furnishings as an ode to Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural genius.

In fact, the house is one of the 26 remaining pre-World War II “Usonian Houses.” These were stylish but affordably priced housing units for the middle class. Originally priced at just $12,000 in 1939, the house-turned-museum is simply invaluable today.

Nearby Attractions

Rattlesnake Saloon

side view into a dark cave in florence alabama with restaurant tables set up with greenery and blue sky is above

Named after a rattlesnake den found nearby during the restaurant’s construction, the Rattlesnake Saloon is a unique place to drop by while in Tuscumbia. 

Its location under a beautiful bluff makes it a scenic place to eat some good old fashioned American food with quirky names. 

Good food, great views, and even some extra fun like tent camping and horseback riding in the vicinity make this place the complete package!

Hellen Keller’s Birthplace "Ivy Green"

With a history and culture as rich as Florence Alabama’s, it’s no surprise that there are so many things to do while there! #Florence #Alabama #travel #history #muscleshoals #wilson #lake #

Credit: Wayne James | Shutterstock.com

Make the 15-minute drive across the Tennessee River to visit Hellen Keller’s Birthplace in Tuscumbia. Take the guided tour and see the famous well pump, next to which she learned her first word: water.

Today, her very first home and birthplace “Ivy Green” serves as a museum and highlights her inspiring journey. With original furnishings and her real-life personal mementos, it’s a house worth visiting.

Places To Stay in Florence

Planning out a trip and choosing the right hotel is half the fun of travel! Here are two unique and luxurious options that should definitely make it on your list.

Marriott Shoals Hotel and Spa: Stay here for a luxurious time after all your adventures in the wonderful city of Florence. Touted as the best Marriott property in the state, it prioritizes making guests feel comfortable and taken care of. This is definitely where you stay if you want to leave feeling pampered! 

The GunRunner Boutique Hotel: Book a suite at this property for a unique experience that comes with a mini history lesson. The history of what you ask? Well, Florence of course! The 10 suites feature uniquely eclectic decor, each designed differently to celebrate a different aspect of the lovely city. 

Pinterest graphic with bridge over water against the shoreline and a purple twilight background in Florence Alabama
Pinterest graphic with bridge over water against the shoreline and a purple twilight background in Florence Alabama
Pinterest graphic with bridge over water against the shoreline and a purple twilight background in Florence Alabama

I hope this list of things to do in Florence has you excited! As you can see, the city truly has something for everyone. All that’s left to do is plan that trip and get going!

Have you visited any of these attractions in Florence? Let me know below along with any suggestions of your own that I have not already included! 

Heather

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