If you’re planning a road trip of the South, don’t miss Mobile, Alabama. This little gem on the Mobile Bay is packed full of history and southern charm.
Fun tidbits about Mobile, Alabama:
- The first Mardi Gras celebration in the Americas was celebrated in Mobile in 1703.
- Mobile is called the “City of Six Flags” because it has flown six flags at various times in its history — those of the French, Spanish, British, the Republic of Alabama, the Confederacy, and the United States.
- Residents of Mobile are called Mobilians.
- Mobilians love Moon Pies! They throw them to the crowds from floats at Mardi Gras and drop a giant Moon Pie sculpture from one of the tallest buildings downtown on New Year’s Eve.
- Winter temperatures average between 42 and 70 degrees while summer temperatures range from 73 to 90 degrees. The record low of -1 degrees was set on February 13, 1899 and the record high of 105 degrees was set on August 29, 2000.
- Mobile is the rainiest city in the US. The average annual rainfall is a shocking 69 inches! Thanks World Atlas!
- The USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park has reopened for tours with health and safety procedures in place. The main attraction at the park is the World War II USS Alabama Battleship. Take a leisurely, self-guided tour of the battleship and see first-hand how our veterans lived and fought. The battleship is available to tour thanks to the fundraising efforts of schoolchildren in 1963 who raised the money to move the state’s namesake ship from Seattle. The park also houses the WWII submarine, the USS Drum, an aircraft pavilion, and a tanks and artillery exhibit. We spent at least 2 hours touring the ship with elementary-aged children and had a hard time pulling our youngest away. He was 11 at the time.
- Immerse yourself in the early history of the area with a visit to Fort Conde, a French colonial post built in 1717 which played an important role in the French & Indian War, the Revolutionary War, and the War of 1812. While the fort is a replica of the original, which has been lost to time and weather, it was painstakingly rebuilt to scale and historic accuracy to give visitors a taste of colonial life.
- The Mobile Museum of Art houses over 6,400 works in its 14,000 square foot facility. Though closed to the public now, the museum has set a tentative opening date of June 23, 2020. It’s permanent exhibits include a Native American Collection, an All American Collection, an Asian Art Collection, and a Sculpture Trail. The sculpture trail was the biggest hit with our then 13-year-old budding artist. Current special exhibitions include Southern Masters, For Children 2020, BESA: A Code of Honor, and Dori DeCamillis: Read My Mind, The next visiting exhibition is Gordon Parks: Segregation Story beginning January 15, 2021.
Frugal Travel Tip:
The Museum is a member of the North American Reciprocal Museum Program (NARM), so if you are a member of another museum in the program, you can visit free. I recommend museum memberships to families all the time. This is how we visited this museum on our trip. The local art museum where we lived at the time is a NARM member. The household membership there is currently $65/year which covers 2 adults and all dependent children. Admission for 2 adults and 2 children for one visit to the Mobile Museum of Art is $40. You can see how this membership pays off. We visited Mobile as part of a road trip where we visited art museums in 2 other cities as well.
- To get a feel for the real culture of Mobile, you have to visit Mobile Bay. Chances are you will find some unique event happening as the Bay area is home to art shows, festivals, and the famous Mardi Gras parade. The Bay is the heart of Mobile culture. While you’re there, do some fishing, watch the pelicans, or just enjoy the beautiful ocean views.
- De Tonti Square, located in downtown Mobile, is a vibrant, historic community. Walk the gas lantern-lined brick sidewalks gazing at historic buildings from the mid-1800s. Learn more about the buildings in this area at Andrew Hopkins Art.
Things to do for free (or really, really cheap):
- The MODA trolley system used to run a free trolley to the hotels and attractions downtown. While it is no longer free, you can still skip the taxi and hop a trolley for just 50 cents a trip. That’s pretty darned close to free.
- Dauphin Street has that real Southern feel with its cute shops and cafes decked out in french architecture with beautiful balconies. French Quarter vibes abound.
- Mobile Bay – see above.
- De Tonti Square – see above.