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The Insider’s Guide to Exploring Marshall County’s Four Fabulous Downtowns

When it comes to visiting Lake Guntersville, you’re sure to spend plenty of time on, and possibly in, the water. But when you need a break from summer sun and outdoor action, there’s plenty more to explore by way of Marshall County’s four unique downtowns. From the treasure trove of antique stores in downtown Guntersville to the historic murals of downtown Boaz, we have your ultimate guide to dining, shopping, and discovering Marshall County’s downtowns.

1. Guntersville

Antiquers, pickers, and lovers of all things vintage will have an absolute ball in downtown Guntersville. The walkable city center is jam-packed with antique stores selling one-of-a-kind treasures ranging from furniture and fine china to clothing and knick-knacks. Try Antiques and Sweets, Downtown Vintage Market, and Main Street Marketplace to get you started. Outside of vintage shopping, downtown Guntersville is also known for its clothing boutiques, gift shops, and home stores. Spend a few hours getting lost in Baker’s on Main, a historic building housing more than 25 unique retail shops, booths, and boutiques. Then, stop for a lunch break or coffee pick-me-up in its adjoining restaurant, Café 336. Other great shops to check out include The Monkey’s Uncle and The Red Elephant Marketplace for everything from Christmas ornaments to tea towels. For a more relaxing day in downtown Guntersville, the winning combo of a spa appointment at The Soak House and wine tasting at Harbor View Winery should do the trick.

Café 336 inside Baker’s on Main, Main Street Marketplace, Harbor View Winery, Downtown Guntersville by John Sharp, Photo by The Soak House & Soapery

2. Albertville

Nearby Albertville is also a haven for shopaholics, as well as foodies. Start your shopping excursion at Adis L. Mercantile. The curated home store is filled with artisan gifts and handmade items including candles, fragrances, baby goods, and cleaning products. Find adorable children’s clothes at The Plaid Giraffe, then grab something for the adults at a top-secret speakeasy called the Busted Oak Bourbon Society. Foodies should check out Local Joe’s, a favorite for Southern-style barbecue. Ribs, pulled pork, chicken, turkey, sausage—they have it all. Take your pick and add a few downhome sides (turnip greens, baked beans, housemade chips, two types of slaw) to make it a meal. For dessert, head to La Michoacan for a cold sweet treat. The traditional Mexican ice cream parlor has all kinds of mouthwatering goodies from specialty sundaes to crepes and fruit popsicles. Don’t leave Albertville without getting a picture with local history. Albertville is home to Mueller Co. and often called the Fire Hydrant Capitol of the World. The 4 millionth fire hydrant ever made is located in downtown. Continue your history lesson at the Albertville Museum, where you can learn about the educational, commercial, agricultural, industrial, and social history of the city through a collection and display of artifacts and memorabilia.

Downtown Albertville, Local Joe’s, Fire Hydrant in Downtown Albertville, Photo by Busted Oak Bourbon Society, Photo by Adis L. Mercantile, La Michoacan Ice Cream

3. Arab

Located atop Brindlee Mountain, historic downtown Arab is a quaint Southern community that seems to be celebrating something year-round. Look out for Main Street decorating contests throughout the year for things like Valentine’s Day and the start of fall. No matter when you visit, the Southern General and The Flower Exchange are both worth a visit. Offering “Provisions for Men,” the Southern General is the ideal spot to shop for Father’s Day gifts or the birthday of any special man in your life. Create a custom “care pack” filled with everything a man could need, from trendy socks and ties to a utility knife, beard oil, and craft beer. A great counterpart to the Southern General, The Flower Exchange is a plant nursery that also sells garden essentials, home décor, gifts, and seasonal items. The Flower Exchange pays homage Arab’s history, as the building its housed in was once the Farmer’s Exchange, a focal point of commerce during Arab’s founding where farmers exchanged their corn, eggs, butter, hides, and other agricultural products for grocery goods like flour and lard. Buy a little something for everyone at Deep South Mercantile, where you’ll find a heavily curated collection of all things for the home. From skincare, accessories, and clothing to home décor, books, and specialty food products, there’s plenty to explore. After your spree, visit Four Knights Coffee Company for a caffeine or sugar kick via a cup of cold brew, signature milkshake, or specialty drink. If you’ve worked up an appetite, order a baked good, sandwich, or soup to pair.

Downtown Arab, The Flower Exchange, Southern General, Deep South Mercantile, Coffee at Four Knights Coffee Company

4. Boaz

The number one thing to do in downtown Boaz is check out their up-and-coming street art scene. With six murals, take a walking tour to get a glimpse into the local talent. Don’t forget to grab an Insta-worthy photo at each stop! Start your Boaz shopping spree at the Grove Gift Shop, a quirky, eclectic spot for gifts that your friends and family will be talking about for years to come. Need a notepad with Post Malone’s face on it? They’ve got it. How about a graphic tee celebrating everyone’s favorite country gal, Dolly Parton? They have that, too. They’ve also got a huge selection of bath and beauty products, plus candles, totes, and more. For a final dip into classic Southern style, head to South Design Co. where you can get everything you need to outfit your home in the newest and chicest looks. Turkish runners, colorful throw pillows, bold lighting, and boho planters all find a home in this oasis for designers and homebodies. If you can, plan your trip to Boaz for the second Friday of each month, when the town comes alive with live music, food trucks, and a car and truck cruise that’s fun for the whole family.

Courtyard on Main Mural, Downtown Boaz, Inside of The Grove Gift Shop, South Design Co., The newest mural in Downtown Boaz Celebrating Transportation in Boaz

Explore the four fabulous downtowns in Marshall County and be prepared to find the little something you never knew you always needed! For more trip planning ideas, check out today.

downtown, family fun, shopping