12 Attractions in Mobile, Alabama

Mobile, Alabama is a vibrant port city with a rich history and culture. Nicknamed the Azalea City and the Port City, Mobile has been a strategic location for trade and travel since its founding. From its antebellum architecture to its coastal location on the Mobile Bay and rivers, Mobile invites visitors to experience Southern hospitality and maritime heritage.

Battleship Memorial ParkFeatures the USS Alabama, USS Drum submarine, and military memorials.
Bellingrath Gardens and HomeA 1930s estate with gardens and a mansion, showcasing Southern high society.
USS Alabama Battleship CommissionMaintains the historic USS Alabama and educates the public about its naval history.
GulfQuest National Maritime Museum of the GulfFocuses on the maritime history of the Gulf of Mexico with interactive exhibits.
Richards DAR House MuseumA window into 19th-century Mobile society with preserved merchant family furnishings.
Mobile Carnival MuseumExplores the history and art behind Mobile’s Mardi Gras celebrations.
Mobile Botanical GardensHighlights the biodiversity of Gulf Coast environments with thematic gardens.
History Museum of MobileChronicles over 300 years of Alabama settlement with diverse exhibits.
Five Rivers Delta Resource CenterOffers access to the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta’s unique ecosystems and wildlife.
USS Drum SubmarineShowcases the WWII submarine and its history.
Gulf Islands National SeashoreFeatures beautiful beaches and barrier islands offering outdoor activities.
Mardi GrasCelebrates the historic and vibrant Mardi Gras festivities in Mobile.
Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate ConceptionThe oldest Roman Catholic parish in Alabama, showcasing gothic architecture.

With tourist attractions ranging from historic landmarks to natural landscapes, this guide will highlight 12 top spots to visit in Mobile. Delve into military and maritime history at battleship memorials and forts. Marvel at the biodiversity of coastal ecosystems in wetland parks and gardens.

Immerse yourself in 19th-century high society at restored plantation houses. From the oldest Mardi Gras celebrations in the U.S. to the white sand beaches of coastal islands, Mobile combines quaint small-city vibes with opportunities for adventure.

Battleship Memorial Park

Name and Location: Battleship Memorial Park is located in Mobile, Alabama along the Mobile River.

History and Significance: The park opened in 1965 and serves as the home of the USS Alabama battleship, the USS Drum submarine, and over 20 aircraft and military vehicles. It commemorates Alabama’s contributions to America’s military history.

What to Expect: Visitors can explore the massive battleship, which served during WWII, go inside the submarine, see plans and artifacts, and take tours. There are also picnic areas and a museum on site.

Visitor Information: The park is open daily year-round. There is an admission fee to tour the ships and museum. Guided tours are available for additional fees.

No trip to Mobile is complete without visiting the iconic Battleship Memorial Park along the Mobile Bay and Delta region. Home to the USS Alabama, the park commemorates Mobile’s military history with interactive naval exhibits.

As one of the most decorated battleships in World War II naval history, the USS Alabama saw action across the Pacific campaign. Visitors can take self-guided audio tours to stand on the original teakwood decks, traverse narrow corridors, and glimpse the firing trajectory from gun turrets.

Exhibits also cover the histories of the USS Drum submarine and twenty aircraft stationed onsite. Fighter plane cockpits give a firsthand sense of aerial missions while the Mittelstand U-boat showcases German engineering.

Continuing inland, the park also includes memorials like the Vietnam Wall South and the Korean War Veterans Memorial. Tank driving experiences even allow visitors seventeen and older to manoeuvre a Sherman Tank themselves. From overnight encampments to guided battlefield reenactments, the Memorial Park connects the very ground of Mobile to global spheres of twentieth-century combat.

Bellingrath Gardens and Home

Name and Location: Bellingrath Gardens and Home is located along the Fowl River in Theodore, Alabama just south of Mobile.

History and Significance: The estate and gardens were built in the early 1900s by Walter and Bessie Bellingrath as their private residence and gardens. It opened to the public in 1932 and today spans over 900 acres.

What to Expect: Visitors can explore the expansive gardens with blooming flowers, walking trails, ponds, and bridges. The historic home is also open for tours. There are events held year-round.

Visitor Information: The gardens are open daily year-round with an admission fee. Guided home tours are available for an additional cost. The onsite restaurant serves southern cuisine.

Located just fifteen minutes from downtown Mobile, the year-round Bellingrath Gardens and Home immerses visitors in the grounds of a preserved 1930s estate. Known as South Alabama’s most beautiful attraction, the Bellingrath estate sprawls across 900 acres next to the Fowl River.

The Gardens contain a mosaic of specialized landscapes. The bright Chrysanthemum Garden comes alive in November blooms while the fragrant Rose Garden collects over 20,000 rose bushes. The Asian-inspired Garden has water features like bridges, koi ponds, and waterfalls framed by oriental plant varieties. Every season from winter through fall has its own signature garden tailored to the specific climate.

The centerpiece mansion provides a glimpse into the lifestyle of Walter and Bessie Bellingrath, who built the estate in the early twentieth century. Tour guides share stories that transport guests back in time as they walk through the marblegreat hall, shimmering pool room, and dining spaces decorated with Bellingrath’s imported European art and antiques. The Home’s Southern charm, the Gardens’ natural beauty, and adventurous boat tours down the Fowl River all await at this slice of Mobile high society.

USS Alabama Battleship Commission

Name and Location: The USS Alabama Battleship Commission operates and maintains the USS Alabama battleship, which is located at Battleship Memorial Park in Mobile, Alabama.

History and Significance: The commission was established in 1963 by the state legislature to bring the USS Alabama battleship to the state as a memorial. Thanks to their efforts, the ship opened at its permanent berth in 1965.

What to Expect: The Commission offers tours of the massive battleship, which served during WWII. Visitors can explore many areas of the ship and see artifacts from its active service defending freedom.

Visitor Information: The USS Alabama is located within Battleship Memorial Park and has the same operating times, ticket prices, and tour options. Combo tickets with the USS Drum submarine are available.

Established in 1964, the USS Alabama Battleship Commission maintains and operates Battleship Memorial Park. As custodians of a National Historic Landmark, this state agency both safeguards and educates the public about one of the most iconic naval battleships of World War II.

By showcasing the firepower and engineering of the USS Alabama, from its twelve 45-caliber guns down to propeller shafts, the Commission brings alive pivotal Pacific campaigns like the Battles of the Philippine Sea. Restoration efforts even allow visitors to glimpse otherwise restricted areas like enlisted living quarters, officer staterooms, powder magazines, and engine rooms. Through daily operations as an accredited museum, the Commission fulfills its charter to commemorate the instrumentality of sea power for generations to come.

The Commission also manages daily memorial ceremonies and the onsite Medal of Honor Aircraft Pavilion. Future priorities include creating virtual reality applications to expand accessibility and diversifying exhibit content to spotlight the minority sailors who served on the ship. Whether firing an empty powder cartridge off the Alabama’s #2 Turret or touring the mess halls where crewmembers ate shoulder-to-shoulder, the USS Alabama Battleship Commission makes the battleship an engaging testament to the duties of citizenship.

GulfQuest: National Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico

Name and Location: GulfQuest National Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico is located along the Mobile River in downtown Mobile, Alabama.

History and Significance: Opened in 2015, GulfQuest uses interactive exhibits and simulations to showcase the maritime culture of the Gulf of Mexico region and Mobile’s significance as a port city.

What to Expect: Hands-on exhibits let visitors try activities like loading cargo, navigating, boat racing, flying helicopters, and managing disasters at sea. There are indoor and outdoor areas to explore.

Visitor Information: GulfQuest is open daily year-round with an admission fee. Combo tickets with the Exploreum Science Center are available. Family discounts are offered.

As the first maritime museum focused on the Gulf of Mexico region, GulfQuest immerses visitors in the saga of Mobile’s coastlines. Located right on the Mobile River downtown, the museum’s exterior evokes the billowing sails of merchant ships docked at port. Inside, interactive galleries trace shipboard life from the age of discovery to present-day shipping routes.

Exhibits like “The Shipyard” showcase maritime craftsmanship where kids can design model boats. “The Hurricane Experience” simulates Category 5 gales through multimedia sensory effects. Especially resonant for Mobile history are recreations of an 18th century Spanish galleon, pilothouses, charthouse map tables, and a lifeboat simulation. Photography displays even spotlight more recent events like the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill and its environmental impacts.

GulfQuest also offers daily chances to board an authentic Navy patrol boat or 19th century Creole cottages mounted on barges. Public programming ranges from pirate reenactments to marine science day camps. Whether you’re a connoisseur of maritime culture or simply curious about the Gulf Coast, GulfQuest opens up the watery landscapes central to Mobile livelihoods.

Richards DAR House Museum

Name and Location: The Richards DAR House Museum is a historic home museum located in the Oakleigh Garden District of Mobile, Alabama.

History and Significance: The mansion was built in 1860 and is managed by the Daughters of the American Revolution. It served as a private residence until 1933. The museum preserves 19th century family life.

What to Expect: Guests can take a guided tour of the two-story brick mansion to see antique furnishings, costumes, toys, silver, and ceramics from the Victorian-era family that lived there.

Visitor Information: The Richards DAR House Museum is open for guided tours several days a week for a small admission fee. Group tours must be booked in advance.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Richards DAR House Museum provides a window into 19th century Mobile high society. As the second oldest house museum in Alabama, this 1833 downtown estate showcases the furnishings of a prosperous merchant family before the Civil War. Hand-carved Italianate marble mantles, bronze gas light fixtures, and ornate plaster ceiling medallions convey the aspirations of social mobility.

The museum also houses two centuries of Mobile family heirlooms. Portraits, silver services, needlepoint rugs, and antique toys portray southern domestic life alongside regional history. A 1920s speaker system, for instance, connects to the estate’s original functioning kitchen.

Outbuildings like an 1800s laundry shed and cream dairy complete the several-acre complex. Through this heritage site, the Richards DAR House Museum sustains cultural legacies still resonant in 21st-century Mobile.

Mobile Carnival Museum

Name and Location: The Mobile Carnival Museum is located in downtown Mobile, Alabama near the Arthur R. Outlaw Mobile Convention Center.

History and Significance: Opened in 2005, the museum celebrates the colorful history of Mardi Gras and carnival celebrations in Mobile, home to the oldest Mardi Gras celebrations in the country.

What to Expect: The museum displays historic costumes, trains, crowns, masks, doubloons and throws from past Mardi Gras balls and parades. Visitors can see exhibits on the societies, royalty, and traditions.

Visitor Information: The Mobile Carnival Museum is open year-round Tuesday through Saturday for a small admission fee. Group tours are available by appointment.

A fixture of Mobile culture since 1703, Mardi Gras celebrations have deep roots in this port city. As the setting for the first festivities in the Americas, Mobile has been dubbed the United States “birthplace of Mardi Gras.” For year round insights into this legacy, the Mobile Carnival Museum showcases dramatic artefacts behind the parties. Visitors first enter a gallery portraying the glitz of 20th-century carnival royalty. Robes worn by queens like “Polaris” and “Gloria the First” dazzle with pearls, sequins, and lace.

Further exhibits spotlight the practical mechanics behind the magic. Sculptors carve gigantic figurines from pine lumber and cotton batting. Electricians wire parade floats with custom lighting. Set designers draft sketches and blueprints for moving spectacles. Maskmakers, metalsmiths, and seamstresses also have dedicated displays explaining their craft.

By documenting not just Mardi Gras end products but year-round production processes, the Mobile Carnival Museum pays tribute to a living folk art energizing Alabama creativity. Guests can even dress up with feathered boas and sequined masks to feel part of the revelry!

Mobile Botanical Gardens

Name and Location: Mobile Botanical Gardens is located just north of downtown Mobile, Alabama spanning over 100 acres.

History and Significance: Established in the 1960s, the gardens showcase a variety of themed gardens with diverse plants from around the world. It offers education programs and conservation efforts.

What to Expect: Visitors can explore gardens like the Rose Garden, Camellia Garden, Azalea Garden, Fern Glade, and more. There are also nature trails, a butterfly arbor, and cottage house.

Visitor Information: The gardens are open daily year-round with an admission fee. Additional guided tours, tram tours, and special events are also available seasonally.

Covering 100 acres near Mobile’s downtown, the Mobile Botanical Gardens cultivate the biodiversity of Gulf Coast environments. The Longleaf Pine Habitat Loop trails through an iconic ecosystem dominated by tall longleaf pines, wiregrass understories, and carnivorous pitcher plants. Coastal wetlands around Eslava Creek feature aquatic flowers like spider lilies as well as fish, turtles, snakes and nutria. The Mediterranean Garden mimics European horticulture with classical fountains, terra cotta urns, espalieredfruit trees, and criss-crossing gravel paths.

Kitty corner from an Events Lawn stands Wisteria Arbor, a focal point grafted from ten intertwining Asian wisteria vines that bloom in purple pendulous petals. Horticultural collections continue through butterfly gardens, orchid greenhouses, lacecap hydrangea beds that peak in June, and over 400 varieties of azaleas. Interpretive signage spotlights botany basics like photosynthesis, seed dispersal, and ecological symbiosis that sustains the gardens.

Beyond floral landscapes, the grounds also incorporate environmental education centers, an outdoor classroom pavilion, and children’s vegetable teaching beds. A relaxing trip any season of the year, the Mobile Botanical Gardens flourish through community partnerships as a true urban escape.

History Museum of Mobile

Name and Location: The History Museum of Mobile is located in downtown Mobile, Alabama close to the Mobile River.

History and Significance: Founded in 1966, the museum preserves over 300 years of Mobile history through exhibits and artifacts. The museum is housed in the historic Southern Market building from 1855.

What to Expect: Guests can see permanent and rotating exhibits on local culture and history. Topics cover Mardi Gras, architecture, commerce, events, people, and more. There is also a hands-on area for kids.

Visitor Information: The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday year-round with discounted admission on Tuesdays. Group rates and guided tours area available upon request.

From prehistoric dugout canoes carved by indigenous Mobilians to artifacts of French colonization, the History Museum of Mobile charts over 300 years of Alabama settlement. Downtown inside the historic Southern Market buildings, the museum complex contains permanent galleries as well as rotating exhibits. “Wild Mobile” showcases fossil mastodon tusks while “Spirited” chronicles Prohibition bootleggers.

More somber displays memorialize the slave trade through first person accounts and relics like shackles and ball and chain. “Growing Up” lets kids write with quill pens and operate manual typewriters as interactive glimpses into past classroom experiences.

Costumed reenactors portray figures like Alexander Cochrane, the British admiral who attacked Mobile during the War of 1812. Through ongoing archaeology and conservation, the History Museum expands perspectives on the cultural diversity underpinning Mobile resilience.

Five Rivers Delta Resource Center

Name and Location: The Five Rivers Delta Resource Center is an educational facility located within the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta near Spanish Fort, Alabama.

History and Significance: Opened by the Mobile Bay NEP in 2009, the center teaches visitors about the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta which encompasses over 250,000 acres of wetlands, swamps, and waterways.

What to Expect: Interactive exhibits detail the distinct landscapes, ecosystems, animals, plants, water quality, and environmental issues of one of the largest river deltas in the country. The grounds also feature walking trails.

Visitor Information: The center is free and open to the public Saturdays year round. Private guided tours for groups are available by appointment on weekdays.

Located on the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta, the second largest inland delta in the United States, the Five Rivers Delta Resource Center provides access to one of the most ecologically unique regions of Alabama

. Best known as the venue for the annual Alabama Bass Trail championship, the Center contains brackish and freshwater wetlands teeming with wildlife. Along the wetland boardwalks and nature paths, visitors may spot alligators, river otters, white ibis, osprey, paddlefish, and even carnivorous pitcher plants.

Inside the Center itself, multi-media exhibits spotlight the geology and biology behind the Mobile-Tensaw delta, including vintage specimens collected by naturalist author Eugene Allen Smith in the early 20th century. Interactive Eco-ArtPieces by local schools encourage visitors to reconnect regional culture with environmental wisdom.

Canoe and kayak launches allow people to paddle the Spanish River and Chickasabogue water trails under the guidance of trained naturalists. Through outdoor adventures and indoor exhibits, the Five Rivers Delta Center provides essential education about one of Alabama’s most valuable and vulnerable ecosystems.

USS Drum Submarine

Name and Location: The USS Drum submarine is located at Battleship Memorial Park along the Mobile River in Mobile, Alabama.

History and Significance: The USS Drum is America’s oldest submarine on display. It was launched in 1941, served in battles during WWII, and was decommissioned in 1946 before opening as a memorial in 1969.

What to Expect: Visitors can take self-guided or recorded tours of the sub to see the control room, crew quarters, engine rooms, and conning tower. Many areas are accessible including the deck gun.

Visitor Information: The Drum is open year-round on the same schedule as Battleship Memorial Park. Combo tickets with the USS Alabama tour are available. Guided tours require advance reservations.

Alongside the battleship USS Alabama stands the USS Drum submarine, added to Battleship Memorial Park in 1969. The Drum represents the most successful submarine fighting ship in World War II naval history, credited with sinking fifteen enemy vessels across the Pacific Ocean war zone.

Visitors can walk through the entire 312 foot submarine to understand day to day realities for submariners, often enduing over eighty days underwater deployment.

The interior offers a glimpse into the tight living quarters where around eighty sailors hot bunked in shifts. Atmospherics like red emergency lighting convey the stress of depth charge attacks just a hull away from flooding. Guests also visit the torpedo rooms, maneuvering spaces, and engine rooms that powered naval stealth missions.

Tours even detail the “battle surface” command allowing submarines like the Drum to briefly emerge and strike enemy ships by surprise. Both technology and strategy come alive when standing in the literal nerve center that once held the crew’s lives in balance beneath the waves.

Gulf Islands National Seashore

Name and Location: Gulf Islands National Seashore has multiple districts spanning over 160 miles of the northern Gulf Coast including areas near Mobile Bay and Mobile, Alabama.

History and Significance: Authorized by Congress in 1971, it preserves unique coastal habitat, marine life, islands, wildlife, and primitive camping areas in the region while offering recreation.

What to Expect: Activities include swimming, fishing, hiking, camping, paddling, birdwatching and exploring historic forts. The seashore has nature trails, visitor centers, a lighthouse, ferry service and more to experience.

Visitor Information: The various areas of the national seashore are open year-round. There are fees for some areas, camping permits, and ferry service. Ranger-led programs are also offered seasonally.

Though Mobile lies dozens of miles inland, the white sand beaches and sparkling Gulf waters attract tourists and locals alike. The protected Gulf Islands National Seashore stretches from Cat Island in Mississippi to the Navarre region of Florida.

Unspoiled barrier islands like Petit Bois, Horn, and Dauphin Island offer camping, swimming, hiking trails, and pristine coastal habitats brimming with birds, fish, coral reefs, and sea turtles. Ferries shuttle visitors across the pass to Fort Gaines, an 1821 brick fortress whose imposing cannons and vaulted tunnels hint at its role defending Mobile Bay during the Civil War.

Beachside food stalls supply fresh Gulf seafood while patients can try their luck fishing directly off mile long public fishing piers. Whether you seek family relaxation, water sports adventures, or an ecologically rich landscape, the Gulf Islands deliver quintessential Alabama coastal experiences.

Mardi Gras

Name and Location: Mardi Gras refers to the annual Carnival celebrations held in Mobile, Alabama as well as neighboring communities. The parades and events occur downtown as well as other venues.

History and Significance: First celebrated in 1703, Mobile has the oldest Mardi Gras traditions and celebrations in the country. Leading up to Lent, it showcases elaborate parades, balls, floats and more.

What to Expect: Locals and visitors celebrate with vibrant parades, floats, marching bands, arts events, costume parties, and more for weeks. Family events also occur during the Carnival season across the city.

Visitor Information: Mardi Gras occurs in February or early March, culminating on Fat Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. Event calendars list daily happenings. Some events require tickets.

What trip to Mobile is complete without partaking in its world famous Mardi Gras celebration? For over three centuries, Mobile has upheld North America’s first Carnival festivities originating in 1703. Today, the season kicks off November 11 at 11:11 am with a Downtown MoonPie Drop counting down to midnight New Year’s revelries.

Elaborately themed parades, costume balls, and city-wide feasting continue over two months till Fat Tuesday itself. Spoofs and satires reign during Conde Cavaliers, Comic Cowboys, Mystic Stripers, Order of Inca, or Mobile Mystics events.

Fantastical giant figurines known locally as “Floralas” tower over dancers, stilt walkers, and marching bands. Bells and whistles resound amid flying MoonPies and beads that turn downtown into an open air festival. Costumed Organized Krewes date back over a century while still inducting new members each year.

From sipping Hurricanes at Joe Cain Processions to catching signature emblems tossed from floats, experiencing Mobile Mardi Gras offers both nostalgic charm and modern excitement. So laissez les bon temps rouler or “let the good times roll” at authentic Gulf Coast Carnival!

Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception

Name and Location: The Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception is a Catholic cathedral located in downtown Mobile, Alabama.

History and Significance: Established in 1715, it is the oldest Roman Catholic cathedral in the United States. After damage from fires and storms, the current structure dates from 1850 with ornate decor added in 1905.

What to Expect: Visitors come to attend mass, events and see the historic architecture and embellished interior. There are marble altars, commemorative plaques, pipe organs and 34 stained glass windows to admire.

Visitor Information: The Cathedral is open to visitors daily and hosts regular worship services and events. There is no admission fee but donations are accepted and audio guides are available.

As home to the oldest Roman Catholic parish in Alabama as well as the state’s largest gothic style cathedral, the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception stands as an architectural and spiritual Marian shrine since 1850.

Its distinctive double steeples, arched stained glass windows, and soaring 130 foot blue ceilings pay tribute to heavens above across over a block long city expanse. Marble altars, golden organ pipes, and hand carved Stations of the Cross portray extravagance despite originating as a modest church rebuilt five times.

A focal point hangs above the sanctuary altar highlighting a nineteen foot tall Murillo style painting of the Virgin Mary dating back to 1873 now valued near $10 million. Intricate needlepoint kneelers stitched by over 200 parishioner volunteers further personalize the space.

Daily Mass and weekend concerts share this acoustic and visual grandeur that awes from intimate candlelit moments to high holidays. While less famous than European counterparts, the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception still immerses visitors in a transcendent, imaginative Catholic heritage right downtown.


From antebellum house museums to Mardi Gras magic, Mobile offers many windows into Alabama heritage spanning architecture, religion, cuisine, agriculture, and diverse cultures. Coastline ecosystems sustain wildlife encounters and seafood culinary traditions. War memorials evoke military valor while showcasing engineering feats. Whether you take a bayfront stroll, battleship tour, garden jaunt, restaurant crawl, or parade hop over Fat Tuesday flamboyance, Mobile delivers authentic Southern exposure.

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