Did you know? The RSA Tower in Mobile is the tallest building in Alabama.
If you’re a consistent reader of this blog you’ve heard me talk about Mobile before. It’s about a 45 minute drive from my house and is just far enough away to feel like a fun quick getaway. Here, I want to give an overview of my favorite things in Mobile.
- LoDa stands for Lower Dauphin and is the main downtown area of Mobile. Every town has a main drag or strip and this is Mobile’s. The street has many bars and restaurants from expensive to not. I like to start on the west end and head east. OK Bicycle Shop is a trendy sort of bar. It strikes me as a hipster kind of place but it’s a good starting point. Cafe 615 is a little more upscale. If it’s a weekend, start here for brunch. Next down the line is Wintzell’s Oyster House. I like raw oysters and if you sit at the oyster bar the shuckers will put the freshly shucked oysters right on your plate. $2 drafts and half price dozen raw 3-7 everyday. Many more bars line the street but I haven’t been to them all. The other ones I have been to didn’t stand out until you get to the LoDa Bier Garten. Basically, a really cool beer joint with great hamburgers and German food. One last stop is the Soul Kitchen. It’s a hole in the wall concert venue who gets surprisingly good bands. Check it out.
- “Whoa, a boat!!” That’s what my two year old said when he noticed the huge container ship that makes up GulfQuest. GulfQuest is a brand new maritime museum downtown. If you’re from the Gulf Coast or a history fan you’ll really like it. They have a lot of historical displays and movies which are really nicely done. If you’re not from these parts you’ll still have fun with all of the interactive exhibits about all things nautical. Even my two year old had fun playing. Despite being very “hands on” Gulf Quest felt very clean and hand sanitizer stations are abundant. Go in the afternoon after school field trips are gone. In addition to entry tickets parking is $5 and appeared limited.
- My favorite museum around. Tour the old battleship along three tour routes. Some parts are nicely restored and some are in need of maintenance. The higher you go the more dilapidated the boat appears. Wear shoes good for climbing. If you tire easily plan time to rest in between tour routes. We didn’t have time for all three. Plus, I carried our youngest son on my shoulders almost the whole time. Even still, I thinks it’s really neat to tour the old boat. They also have a few planes, a submarine and an on site restaurant. Remember to dress appropriately. If it’s really hot or cold outside expect that in much of the boat too.
- A science museum downtown. It is very interactive and has a planetarium style theater with the screen completely surrounding the audience. I thought it was cool to see. The movie we saw, about lemurs, was good. The picture and sound quality could be better. When it was built I’m sure it was highly impressive but if you’re an IMAX 3D movie goer you may not be impressed. Kids will like the Exploreum more than adults. Parking is free and across the street. The Exploreum and GulfQuest are very close to each other so you could do both but if you only have time for one I’d pick GulfQuest then hit LoDa which is just a few blocks away.
- Okay, technically Bellingrath isn’t in Mobile but if you’re in the Mobile area I’d visit the botanical gardens if you can. It’s very beautiful and meticulously maintained. We spent three hours running around and exploring. If you’re here during the holidays see the Christmas light display. You’ll have to fight massive crowds but Bellingrath truly has an impressive display of lights. For this kind of place pictures speak louder than words to check it out below!
As a whole life Pensacolian I really like Mobile. Some folks look down on the Port City for various reasons but I’m a fan. Like all cities, be aware of your surroundings and don’t venture too far off the beaten path. Do you locals have anything to add?