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7 Best Things to Do in Florence, Alabama

Music fans the world over come to Florence, Alabama to see two of the most influential recording studios in the world. But that’s not all this charming Southern town has to offer. Find the best things to do in Florence, Alabama and The Shoals area here.

Florence is located in an area of North Alabama known as The Shoals. The Shoals area is actually made up of four different cities: Florence, Sheffield, Tuscumbia and Muscle Shoals. A visit to Florence means seamlessly moving in and out of each of these four cities.

As you’re looking for things to do in Florence, AL don’t be surprised when you find yourself drifting into the neighboring towns; that’s just part of the charm of the Shoals!

My trip to Florence, Alabama was hosted by The Shoals through my work with Travel The South. Check out my post on Travel The South to see An Amazing Weekend in Florence, Alabama!

Florence, Alabama

Top Things to Do in Florence, Alabama

1. FAME Recording Studios

FAME Recording Studios is one of the longest continually-operating recording studios in the world. It has been open since 1961 and is  where legendary artists such as Aretha Franklin, the Allman Brothers, Alabama, and Alicia Keys recorded hit records.

A tour of the studio lets you see inside Studios A and B where all the magic happens, and where famous artists still record today.

This studio is where the “Muscle Shoals sound” was born. FAME’s session musicians (the Swampers) left the studio in 1969 to create Muscle Shoals Sound Studios, the other famous studio here. I suggest visiting FAME and then the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio so you’re seeing everything in chronological order. You should also check out the Muscle Shoals documentary before you go to have a better understanding of the history of the two studios.

Get discounted tickets to FAME Recording Studios using the Florence/Muscle Shoals Multi-Attraction Pass here.

2. Muscle Shoals Sound Studios

You wouldn’t know it from the outside, but this little concrete building that houses Muscle Shoals Sound Studios is where Cher, The Rolling Stones, Bob Seger, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and more recorded hit albums.

A tour of the studios takes you first to the basement and speakeasy (because this was a dry county back in the day) and then into the one studio that spans the building.

I took a particular picture when I last visited the studio in 2015, so I had to recreate it this time.

Are me and Mick Jagger two peas in a pod or what?

Get your tickets to the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio tour here.

Or get discounted tickets to the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio using the Florence/Muscle Shoals Multi-Attraction Pass here.

3. Helen Keller Birthplace

Helen Keller Birthplace, Tuscumbia, Alabama

Ivy Green, Helen Keller’s childhood home is located in Tuscumbia. This is where Anne Sullivan taught the seven-year-old Helen Keller, totally blind and deaf, to sign “water” at the small black well pump in the backyard.

The guides here give a short tour of the downstairs of the home, recounting the story of Helen and Anne, and then let you explore the upstairs and the rest of the property on your own. The property contains the well, the kitchens, the cottage Anne and Helen lived in, and the theater where the Helen Keller Birthplace Foundation puts on The Miracle Worker play every summer.

My mom found an old picture of me and my brother at Ivy Green, so I absolutely recreated that picture as well!

Get discounted tickets to Ivy Green using the Florence/Muscle Shoals Multi-Attraction Pass here.

4. Frank Lloyd Wright-Rosenbaum Home

Frank Lloyd Wright-Rosenbaum Home, Florence, Alabama

Frank Lloyd Wright built this home in Florence for the Rosenbaum family in 1939. It’s the only Wright home in the state of Alabama.

The home is considered one of the best examples of Wright’s Usonian design, and the home remains in its original state with much of the original furniture that Wright designed.

You aren’t allowed to take pictures of the inside of the home, so you’ll just have to go for yourself if you want to see the interior design!

Get discounted tickets to the Frank Lloyd Wright-Rosenbaum House using the Florence/Muscle Shoals Multi-Attraction Pass here.

5. UNA Lion Habitat

UNA Lion Habitat, Florence, Alabama

The University of North Alabama (UNA) is the only school in the country to have a live lion mascot on campus. In fact, they have two live lions, Leo and Una.

They live in the state-of-the-art 12,764 square-foot George H. Carroll Lion Habitat. If you’re lucky, you can see them lounging by the fence or splashing around in their pool.

You can visit UNA’s live lion habitat for free.

6. Village One

Village One, Muscle Shoals, Alabama

The U.S. government designed the historic Village One neighborhood in Sheffield in 1918 with a layout in the shape of the Liberty Bell.

The neighborhood housed the workers of the nearby Nitrate Plant, which soon closed down after WWI. But the neighborhood still remains with its beautiful white buildings topped with red roofs situated around the curve of the Liberty Bell.

You can drive around and look at the Village One neighborhood for free.

7. Lawn Man and His Bear Statues

Lawn Man and His Bear Statues, Florence, Alabama

Okay, this one is just me being silly!

So this guy’s business is doing lawns, obviously. But he apparently has a lot of time on his hands to re-position his bear statues and change his sign to attention-grabbing phrases frequently. I, of course, had to stop for a photo op with the bears!

Things to Do in Florence, AL Map

Ready to explore these fun things to do in Florence, Alabama? Use the map below to plan out your trip!

I hope you enjoy discovering all the Florence, AL has to offer!

Where to Stay in Florence, Alabama

Residence Inn Florence

We stayed at the Residence Inn Florence.

This was a nice hotel with breakfast, a pool, and even a basketball court! We had a nice roomy suite with a king bed, a kitchenette, and a sofa. The location was great, with everything on our itinerary just a short drive from the hotel.

Read next: Where to Eat in Florence, Alabama

More Alabama Itineraries

After your visit to Florence, plan a trip to Alabama’s other great cities! Check out these itineraries below:

Ready to visit Florence, Alabama? Plan your trip with these tips.



The Best Things to Do in Florence, Alabama

What are your favorite things to do in Florence, Alabama and The Shoals? Let me know in the comments!

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  1. Paige–I am very disappointed that your tour did not include or mention the WC Handy Home and Museum in Florence. Handy is known as the Father of the Blues. This is in line with the musical heritage of FAME Studios and Muscle Shoals Sound Studios. His legacy, along with the WC Handy Music Festival brings THOUSANDS of people and dollars to our area each year. Was this an oversite?

    1. Sounds like a great museum, Dihanne. The Visit Florence tourism board put together my itinerary, and there’s only so much a person can see in a couple days. Maybe next time.

  2. Great article Paige. I love the picture of you and your brother when you’re both are younger.

    If we happen to visit there. We will surely include this to our itinerary.

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