Famous Places in Florence, AL
Known for its beautiful architecture and antique finds, Florence is a small city located in northwest Alabama -- right along the Tennessee River. It is the largest city in “The Shoals,” which is the umbrella term for the cities of Sheffield, Muscle Shoals, Florence, and Tuscumbia. It also includes the counties of Lauderdale and Colbert.
If you’re someone who loves to visit beautiful and quaint cities that have a lot of history behind them -- and amazing scenery -- then Florence, Alabama is definitely a place you should put on your bucket list for your weekend.
To help you understand some of the history and famous places to visit in Florence, AL, we’re going to list our top-five must-see destinations in and around the city!
1. The Rosenbaum House
Any fan of architecture will light up when they get to witness a design by Frank Lloyd Wright. Visitors of Florence, AL will get to experience just that when they travel to the Rosenbaum house. Designed by Wright himself, this single-family home was built specifically for Stanley and Mildred Rosenbaum.
The Rosenbaum House is the only house in the state of Alabama that was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and is a noted example of his Usonian concept for a house. It’s been around since 1940 and is an absolute beauty to see in real life.
2. Helen Keller Birthplace
Helen Keller, known as an inspiring deaf-blind author, lecturer, and political activist, helped change the lives of many visually and hearing-impaired people around the world. Believe it or not, she was born and raised in Tuscumbia, Alabama, a mere 5 miles from Florence, Alabama.
The famous Helen Keller birthplace has since been turned into a museum to commemorate her achievements and inspiring work. It’s called Ivy Green and is considered a National Historic Landmark.
The home features a downstairs and upstairs. There are four rooms in downstairs including the parlor, dining room, Evaline’s bedroom, and Capt. Keller’s bedroom. Upstairs are three more rooms, as well as a hallway, that includes Anne & Helen’s bedroom, a trunk room, and another bedroom.
3. Key Cave National Wildlife Refuge
Another major sighting in Florence is the Key Cave National Wildlife Refuge. It takes up 1,060 acres of National Wildlife Refuge in northwestern Alabama and is currently being negotiated to expand up to 1,800 acres.
The main reason Key Cave National Wildlife Refuge exists is to preserve the endangered Alabama Cavefish. This type of fish can only be found in Key Cave and is also known to be the home of many different species of gray bats.
4. Muscle Shoals Sound Studio
Sheffield, a city located just four miles from Florence, Alabama, is home to the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio. The studio was built in 1969 by four members of The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. They made the decision to open up their own studio after leaving Rick Hall’s FAME Studio.
Since then, the studio has been turned into a museum and is also still producing albums -- one of which by the Black Keys in 2009. In 2013, it was purchased by The Muscle Shoals Music Foundation with the hopes of restoring it to its glory.
5. Wilson Dam
There are nine dams located along the Tennessee River, the Wilson Dam being one of them. Built-in 1924 to impound Wilson Lake, the Wilson Dam is located nearly four miles from Florence, Alabama.
If you’re looking for more fun things to do when visiting Florence, Alabama, there are plenty of other things to do outside of the Wilson Dam, Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, Key Cave National Wildlife Refuge, Helen Keller birthplace, and Rosenbaum House.
They have several restaurants that are worth eating at, including Court Street Market, Odette, Trowbridge’s Creamery, Factory Cafe, and Rivertown Coffee. There are also various parks and places to visit along the Tennessee River, so don’t be afraid to venture out!