Despite the city’s thriving music culture today, Florence remembers the musicians who put it on the industry map with distinctive sites such as the W.C. Handy Birthplace, Museum & Library. William Christopher Handy, whose legacy earned him the title Father of the Blues, had humble beginnings—born in a simple cabin in Florence in 1873. Visitors can tour the cabin and peruse a large collection of his personal papers, memorabilia, and artifacts, from handwritten sheets of original tunes to the piano where he composed successes like “St. Louis Blues,” “Beale Street Blues,” and “Memphis Blues.”
Beyond music, Florence offers a burgeoning city scene that shares the spotlight with the charm of tradition. There are storied structures like Pope’s Tavern and Museum, brimming with relics that tell tales of the Civil War, and Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1939 Rosenbaum House, which displays Wright’s iconic style of American residential architecture. Such historic sites mingle with eclectic, contemporary boutiques and eateries. Find apparel, accessories, and odds and ends with local flair at My Favorite Things. While scouring the Alabama Chanin flagship store, drop by its in-house restaurant, The Factory, for fresh seasonal fare showcasing the “new Southern kitchen.” Or try Court Street Market for a similarly local mentality with an assemblage of products ranging from olive oil to gourmet popsicles.