The Locals’ Guide to Florence, Alabama

March 25, 2014 | By | Comments (5)

We stopped four hip locals in Alabama’s Renaissance City to tell us about the best places to eat, drink, and shop in their hometown.

2243001 style 01w The Locals Guide to Florence, Alabama

Photo: Robbie Caponetto

Olivia Sherif
Director of Design and Special Services, Alabama Chanin 

“Every local has the obligatory stint working at Rivertown Coffee. It’s not frilly, just great coffee and foods like chicken salad and pizza. I love antiquing in Florence. Two great shops are Gingerbread Antique Mall and Antiques Unlimited in Sheffield. A new music venue, 116 Mobile Street, was opened by Billy Reid and Single Lock Records. It’s a great outlet for homegrown acts like While the Ship Sinks.”

2243001 style 20w The Locals Guide to Florence, Alabama

Photo: Robbie Caponetto

Austin Shirey
Barber, Bob & Bill’s Barber Shop; Southern Living men’s style contributor 

“Start with a fresh scone and a cup of the FactoryBlend from Muletown Coffee at Alabama Chanin’s new Factory Café. My brothers and I own Shirey Ice Cream. Our favorite place to set up shop is at Court Street Market, opening in April with a local food purveyor, a bakery and restaurant, and much more. For dinner, I love Odette. The food—like the five-spice duck—is phenomenal.”

2243001 style 64w The Locals Guide to Florence, Alabama

Photo: Robbie Caponetto

Louisa Amber Murray
Musician, The Bear

“Deibert Park is wonderful for families. The Children’s Museum of the Shoals has a giant catfish at the entrance crashing through the roof, so you can’t miss it. Record store Pegasus Records is a great place for live shows in a wide variety of genres, anything from gritty rock to acoustic folk. You can also pick up albums from Muscle Shoals’ famous history and get a sampling of current local musicians.”

2243001 style 71w The Locals Guide to Florence, Alabama

Photo: Robbie Caponetto

Sandi Mcgee
Artist and Owner, Geronimo Gymnastics

“We are lucky to have the Rosenbaum House close to downtown. It’s the only Frank Lloyd Wright-designed structure in the state. For lunch I go to Trowbridge’s Creamery, an institution in town since the early 1900s. Anybody coming through has to check out the restored Muscle Shoals Sound Studios. It’s where artists like The Rolling Stones recorded some of the most influential songs of all time.”

Did we miss your favorite spot? Tell us in the comments! 


  1. Everette

    Hi there to all, the contents present at
    this website are truly amazing for people knowledge, well,
    keep up the good work fellows.

    September 21, 2014 at 7:40 am
  2. Alytha Lees

    Florence is a southern gem. Perfect for a spring road trip!!! Check out the local restaurants on Court St. You might be dining next to a creative wiz such as Billy Reid! Listen to some music at Flobama There are always some award winning musicians and writers checking out the bands and sometimes joining them onstage. My personal favorite – the historic homes on Wood Ave. WHAT a lifestyle!!!

    April 2, 2014 at 12:09 pm
  3. Barbara

    Yes, the old Shoals Theatre is now home to 2 groups: Gingerbread Playhouse and Zodiac Theatre.

    March 30, 2014 at 10:10 am
  4. Scott Ruffrage

    Great suggestions, but don’t forget Tom Hendrix’s “The Wall”, a tribute to his Great, Great Grandmother. Seriously an unforgettable experience! And if you’re staying the weekend, you gotta stay @ Otterbend Bnb, a cool getaway on Cypress Creek just minutes from Downtown.

    March 30, 2014 at 7:07 am
  5. Betty Burgess

    Robbie Caponetto did a wonderful job in photographing the “locals” for this article! Florence is a great little city to visit for a getaway week-end. We loved our dinner at Sweet Magnolia’s and I was sorry to see that it had closed in the fall since they couldn’t get their liquor license renewed. It was a gem! We also have enjoyed dining at Rigatonis’ downtown and in the revolving restaurant, 360, next to the Renaissance Hotel. There are lots of very cute shops downtown and another favorite is Side Lines, which has fabulous jewelry and other gift items. We had fun walking around on the University of North Alabama campus and visiting the lions.

    March 25, 2014 at 10:55 am

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