12 Things To Do in Mobile, Alabama

Last Updated on February 25, 2024 by Emily Johnson

Mobile, Alabama is a historic port city located along the Gulf Coast. With origins tracing back to 1702 when it was first colonized by the French, Mobile has played an important role in the history of Alabama and the Southeastern United States. Today, Mobile is known for its preservation of history, natural beauty, unique culture and cuisine, and family-friendly charm.

No.ActivityBrief Description
1Explore the History in Mobile’s DistrictsAdmire antebellum architecture in historic districts.
2Relax at Langan Park & Municipal ParkEnjoy green spaces with art and outdoor activities.
3Visit the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial ParkExplore naval history with battleship and submarine tours.
4See Exotic Butterflies at Bellingrath GardensWander through floral gardens and butterfly conservatory.
5Step Back in Time at Historic Fort CondeExperience 18th-century fort life with demonstrations.
6Admire Art at the Mobile Museum of ArtView art spanning 5,000 years in Langan Park.
7Visit Battleship Park & Scale Fort CondeExplore military history and climb the fort’s ramparts.
8Relax at Dauphin Island Public BeachEnjoy white sand beaches and Gulf waters.
9See Rare Animals at the Mobile ZooDiscover over 500 species from around the world.
10Explore Hands-on Science at the Gulf Coast ExploreumEngage with interactive exhibits across science topics.
11Tour Mardi Gras Magic at the Mobile Carnival MuseumDive into the history and pageantry of Mardi Gras.
12Indulge Your Sweet Tooth at Dora’s Frozen YogurtEnjoy frozen yogurt with a variety of toppings.

Mobile offers visitors plenty of ways to experience Southern hospitality, culture, food, and the great outdoors. Music lovers can indulge in the city’s lively music scene while history buffs can explore many museums and historic sites. Families will find plenty of kid-friendly activities like the Exploreum Science Center and the Mobile Carnival Museum. Nature enthusiasts will enjoy the area’s beautiful parks and wetlands. Foodies can sample the city’s famous BBQ joints and seafood restaurants.

If you’re planning a trip to Alabama’s Port City, here are the 12 best things to do in Mobile to help you make the most out of your visit:

1. Explore the History in Mobile’s Districts

Name and Location: Mobile, Alabama contains several historic districts showcasing preserved architecture from over 300 years across downtown and scenic neighborhoods.

History and Significance: Many structures still stand from Mobile’s colonial French, Spanish and British influence seen in Federal, Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, Italianate, Creole and Victorian styles, some pre-dating the Civil War.

What to Expect: Guests can take self-guided walking tours to admire homes, churches, buildings and landmarks spanning styles and eras. Plaques detail architecture and origins tied to the port city’s rich history.

Visitor Information: Historic districts are open for public viewing year-round. Guided tours by foot, bike or trolley are also available through various operators.

With three historic districts filled with perfectly preserved homes, churches, and buildings, Mobile has one of the best collections of antebellum architecture in the country. Take a stroll through these charming districts to admire extravagant mansions, quaint cottages, and towering oak trees draped in Spanish moss.

De Tonti Square Historic District – This district has examples of Italianate, Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, and Victorian architecture. The beautiful Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is also located here.

Lower Dauphin Historic District – Featuring homes built in the Federal, Greek Revival, Italianate, and Queen Anne architectural styles, this district gives you a glimpse into 19th-century Mobile’s wealth and prominence.

Oakleigh Garden Historic District – Regarded as a museum showcase, this district contains some of the finest examples of Greek Revival and Victorian architecture in the Gulf South region.

2. Relax at Langan Park & Municipal Park

Name and Location: Langan Park and Municipal Park are two public parks located along the Mobile River downtown, bordered by Beauregard, Water and Canal Streets.

History and Significance: Established in the 1830s, these adjoining parks are the oldest in Alabama. For nearly 200 years they have offered open green space and river access in Mobile’s bustling downtown.

What to Expect: Visitors enjoy pathways, fountains, statues, flowering gardens, seating areas, views of the bay, outdoor concerts and festivals, and Langan Municipal Auditorium event venue.

Visitor Information: The riverfront parks are open daily year-round from sunrise to sunset for leisurely strolling or passive recreation free of charge.

Mobile is loaded with gorgeous green parks where you can bask in the beauty of the outdoors. Spend an afternoon relaxing under the shade of towering oak trees at either Langan Park or Municipal Park.

Langan Park – Thispark features the Mobile Museum of Art plus a scenic duck pond, perfect for picnicking and snapping photos. Kids will enjoy the imaginative playgrounds and whimsical sculptures dotted around the park.

Municipal Park – Right along the Mobile River, this park contains walking paths, baseball fields, tennis courts, and more. Visit the Azalea Trail Maids monument and snap photos of the historic USS Alabama battleship visible across the river.

3. Visit the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park

Name and Location: USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park sits along the shore of Mobile Bay near downtown off I-10 at 2703 Battleship Parkway in Mobile.

History and Significance: Established 1965, the park serves as the permanent home to the retired WWII battleship USS Alabama, submarine USS Drum, and 22 aircraft/tanks to honor military veterans.

What to Expect: Visitors can take self-guided or audio tours to climb aboard and explore the 6 decks of the battleship, fed by 8 boilers and 130,000hp engines as it appeared in service. Museum on site.

Visitor Information: Open daily year-round except Thanksgiving and Christmas. Tickets start at $15 for battleship tours plus more for submarine access. Tram rides available.

History buffs, especially those interested in naval history, can’t miss the chance to explore the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park. This military park contains the historic USS Alabama as well as submarine and aircraft exhibits on the shores of Mobile Bay.

Tour the battleship to see how sailors lived and take in the awesome firepower this 16-inch gunned warship possessed. Check out the submarine USS Drum and get a firsthand glimpse into cramped undersea conditions. Aviation junkies will love seeing classic aircraft like the A-12 Blackbird spy plane in the onsite museum. From naval battles to Cold War espionage, this park covers intriguing military history.

4. See Exotic Butterflies at Bellingrath Gardens

Name and Location: The Bellingrath Gardens Butterfly House is located inside the Garden Grounds at 12401 Bellingrath Gardens Road in Theodore, AL, 15 miles from downtown Mobile.

History and Significance: Opened in 2003, the insects housed in the conservatory showcase some of the rare species of butterflies found within the Garden’s 65 acre site or around the world in a beautiful year-round tropical setting.

What to Expect: Visitors enter the climate-controlled glass house filled with flowering tropical plants to observe over 1,500 exotic butterflies from around the globe flying freely all around the pathways and banana trees.

Visitor Information: Included with Garden admission ticket ($15 ages 13-61). Open year round 9-4 except Thanksgiving and Christmas. Guided tours offered seasonally.

Home to dazzling floral gardens and the scenic Formal Garden Historic District, the Bellingrath Gardens estate spans 900 acres along the Fowl River. One highlight is the conservatory that houses hundreds of exotic butterflies from around the globe. Kids and adults alike will be enthralled seeing vibrant Morpho peleides, striking Zebra longwings, and other tropical species up close.

Outside, stroll through stunning rose gardens and admire Chrysanthemum Island, an exhibit with over 20,000 colorful blooms. Visit in spring to experience the breathtaking Magic of March when the azaleas burst into magnificent bloom. The estate also holds an impressive collection of Oriental porcelains and art.

5. Step Back in Time at Historic Fort Conde

Name and Location: Historic Fort Conde is located downtown Mobile along the riverwalk at 150 South Royal Street.

History and Significance: The fort preserves an 1820s French colonial fortification Mobile founder Bienville once stood. Exhibits and re-enactors showcase 300 years of Mobile history under French, British and Spanish rule.

What to Expect: Costumed guides lead tours of the fort’s buildings, battlements, towers and courtyard. Cannon firings, drill demonstrations,artifacts, dioramas and temporary exhibits depict 18th century military life on the Gulf Coast frontier.

Visitor Information: Open daily for self-guided or guided tours. Nominal admission fee charged. Group rates and gift shop on site.

For much of the 18th century, Fort Conde protected Mobile as a strategic French and later British outpost. Today, this fort turned museum transports visitors back in time to the 1720s. Tour the fort’s bunkhouses, blacksmith shops, bakery, officers’ quarters and artillery posts.

Make sure to catch a musket firing demonstration to experience a battle reenactment complete with smoke and cannon blasts. Kids will love trying on French marine uniforms or getting pretend-drafted at the fort. After exploring the fort, take a relaxing stroll along the Spanish Plaza boardwalk overlooking the Mobile River.

6. Admire Art at the Mobile Museum of Art

Name and Location: The Mobile Museum of Art is centrally located downtown at 4850 Museum Drive in Langan Municipal Park close to the Convention Center.

History and Significance: Founded in 1963 in Langan Park, the museum houses an impressive permanent collection of over 9,000 works spanning various artists, eras and genres along with rotating exhibits.

What to Expect: Guests can explore European, American and Asian art ranging from paintings to photography to sculpture to pottery. Interactive kid spaces, event rentals and art classes offered on site.

Visitor Information: Open Tues-Sat 9-5, Sun 11-5. Admission $10 for adults, less for seniors, students military. Free on Thursdays. Tours available.

Art aficionados will be impressed by the extensive collection on display at the Mobile Museum of Art in Langan Park. Spanning over 5,000 years of world history, the exhibits feature Asian ceramics and jades, Classical Greek amphorae, contemporary American works, and tribal art from Africa and the Americas.

Don’t miss the huge 130-foot-long map of Mobile Bay by artist Weeks Benyon. Fans of Claude Monet will love the gallery’s rare paintings by the French Impressionist master. Beyond the galleries, LANGAN Park offers lovely walking paths surrounded by gardens and fountains—the perfect artistic setting.

7. Visit Battleship Park & Scale Fort Conde

Name and Location: USS Battleship Memorial Park and Historic Fort Conde offer naval and battlefield history along Mobile’s downtown riverfront off I-10 at exits 26A or 27.

History and Significance: Opened in the 1960s, these landmarks preserve Mobile’s role in all major US wars since WWII via the iconic dreadnought ship USS Alabama battleship and 1820s-era Fort Conde fortress replica.

What to Expect: Adventure across naval decks, bridges, turrets and sleeping quarters or explore artillery ground warfare along defensive French parapets through elaborate exhibits and restoration displaying military prowess.

Visitor Information: Each site offers daily self-guided or audio tours year-round for admission fees. Discounts for seniors, military families and AAA. Tram rides available.

At Battleship Memorial Park along Mobile Bay, not one but two former US Navy vessels await. Explore the USS Alabama, a retired World War II-era battleship packed with naval artifacts and fighter planes. Then tour the USS Drum, a Balao-class submarine launched in 1941. At nearby Fort Conde, an 18th century fort turned museum, kids can dress up as French marine soldiers and climb a 30-foot replica siege ladder scaling the ramparts—fun for the whole family!

8. Relax at Dauphin Island Public Beach

Name and Location: Dauphin Island Public Beach sits off Bienville Boulevard on the Gulf of Mexico side along Alabama’s Barrier Island of Dauphin Island, 30 miles south of Mobile.

History and Significance: This pristine public park provides unspoiled access to enjoy the tranquil emerald waters, fresh sea air and soft white sand along the Gulf shoreline stretching over 3 miles minus high rise resorts marring the scenery.

What to Expect: Beachgoers soak in panoramic views of ocean and sky while swimming, sunbathing, sandcastle building, strolling the sugar shoreline or watching birds and sea life in a relaxing setting.

Visitor Information: Open daily year-round with free admission. Lifeguards on duty seasonally. Parking permits sold. Golf carts, chair and umbrella rentals available.

Just a short drive southwest of Mobile over a scenic three-mile bridge lies Dauphin Island, a 14-mile-long barrier island known for its sugar-white sand beaches. Dauphin Island Public Beach offers convenient public beach access with parking, picnic tables, restrooms and beachcombing opportunities. Wade out into the calm blue-green waters of the Gulf of Mexico before laying out your towel on powdery white sand. Keep an eye out for seashells and bird species that frequent the island. Entry to the beach is free for all to enjoy.

9. See Rare animals at the Mobile Zoo

Name and Location: The Mobile Zoo is located at 2300 Springhill Avenue in midtown Mobile, Alabama spanning over 40 picturesque acres.

History and Significance: Founded in 1972, it has educated generations on wildlife conservation with unique animal encounters showcasing endangered species at one of Alabama’s top family attractions.

What to Expect: Visitors meet lemurs, monkeys, alligators, tropical birds and other rare species along winding paths and enclosed exhibits replicating natural habitats – many offering hands-on interactions with friendly residents.

Visitor Information: Open daily except Thanksgiving and Christmas. Admission $12 adults, $10 kids 2-12, under 2 free. Annual memberships offered with reciprocity to other zoos.

Lions and tigers and bears (oh my)! The Mobile Zoo has an impressive collection of over 500 animals representing species from around the world. Visitors can check out endangered lemurs from Madagascar, red pandas from Asia, chimpanzees from Africa, and alligators from nearby Gulf Coast wetlands. You’ll also find zebras, monkeys, tropical birds, and even a Galápagos tortoise named Godzilla weighing over 600 pounds! Kids will love feeding rainbow lorikeets in the walk-in aviary. Don’t miss out on special events like ZooBoo or ZooGala.

10. Explore Hands-on Science at the Gulf Coast Exploreum

Name and Location: The Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center sits in downtown Mobile at 65 Government Street alongside Cooper Riverside Park and the Alabama Cruise Terminal.

History and Significance: Open since 1998, this nonprofit science museum offers 130+ hands-on exhibits to spark wonder and engagement for kids of all ages focused around physics, biology, space, energy, light and local ecosystems.

What to Expect: Climb a rock wall, create objects on a 3D printer, explore healthcare careers, design robots, weather forecast, pilot a plane, view fish tanks or journey through the human body via interactive displays and demos.

Visitor Information: Open Tues-Sat 10am-4pm year-round. Admission fees $12 adults, $10 kids 3-18, $2 extra for dome show. Discounts for seniors, military families and members.

With over 150 interactive exhibits spread across three floors, the Gulf Coast Exploreum science center is a huge hit for kids and kids-at-heart. Budding astronauts can climb a replica Apollo rocket while future paleontologists can dig up “fossils” at a giant Jurassic sandpit. Kids can also milk a artificial cow, explore marine habitats in a tank of live stingrays, or produce music in an animated beat lab. Parents will love the Center’s fun learning environment. Exciting traveling exhibits rotate through as well.

11. Tour Mardi Gras Magic at the Mobile Carnival Museum

Name and Location: The Mobile Carnival Museum resides near the Arthur R. Outlaw Mobile Convention Center at 355 Government Street in downtown Mobile.

History and Significance: Opened in 2005, this museum chronicles the colorful history of Mardi Gras celebrations and society balls in Mobile, home to the oldest festivities and parades in the United States dating back to 1703.

What to Expect: View spectacular historic trains, crowns, scepters, gowns, masks and throws from past royal courts and parades. Exhibits detail the extravagant balls, figures, families and traditions behind the multi-week citywide celebrations leading up to Lent.

Visitor Information: Open Tues-Sat 10am-4pm year-round. Guided group tours available. Admission $10 adults, $8 seniors/military, $6 ages 6-18, under 6 free.

No one celebrates Mardi Gras with as much pageantry as Mobile, where carnival celebrations date back to 1703. The city’s family-friendly, whimsical parades have become iconic. At the Mobile Carnival Museum, view dazzling historic ball gowns donned by Mobile’s queens plus artifacts detailing centuries of Mardi Gras tradition.

Don’t miss the wing containing historic royal crowns and scepters. Kids can try on regal kids-sized robes and hats from past years. Outside, take a selfie with the 14-foot-tall King Felix III statue. Time your visit to catch one of the 40 parades that roll through Mobile during carnival season.

12. Indulge Your Sweet Tooth at Dora’s Frozen Yogurt

Name and Location: Dora’s Frozen Yogurt shop is located at 3662 Airport Boulevard inside University Mall in west Mobile.

History and Significance: Serving the community for over a decade, this local dessert favorite allows guests to customize sweet or tangy frozen yogurt and top it with over 50 fruits, candies or nuts on a pay-by-weight basis.

What to Expect: Choose a dish or waffle cone bowl before filling with swirled soft serve flavors like cake batter, coconut, cookies & cream or strawberry. Then finish with toppings from fresh berries to sprinkles at over 100 feet of counters.

Visitor Information: Part of the food court, it’s open during Mall hours. Prices depend on cup size and toppings selected but average under $6. Cash/cards accepted.

After a long day exploring Mobile’s sites, recharge by indulging your sweet tooth with a frozen yogurt treat from Dora’s Frozen Yogurt. This locally owned shop offers a self-serve buffet of premium yogurt flavors and over 50 toppings to choose from. Fluffy French donuts, fresh fruit, candies, and decadent treats like fudge and cheesecake bites are all fair game for your fro-yo creation. Enjoy your tasty treat in the comfy lounge area or take it to go for a sweet stroll along Dauphin Street. Prices are affordable too with creative combinations that make kids smile. Delicious!

Conclusion

From rich history and architecture to sugar sand beaches and decadent desserts, Mobile, Alabama really does have a variety for visitors to experience. Families will love exploring hands-on museums like the Gulf Coast Exploreum and the Mobile Carnival Museum. Outdoorsy types should check out the glorious gardens of Bellingrath Estate or the untamed wetlands throughout the Mobile-Tensaw Delta region just north of the city. No matter your travel style, the Port City makes for an unforgettable Gulf Coast getaway.

So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip to lovely Mobile. With so many activities, festivals, restaurants, parks and attractions, you may find it hard tearing yourself away form Alabama’s crown jewel coastal city!

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