Steeped in local history, the Mobile port was settled in 1702 and became a city in 1711. A checkered history made up of French, Spanish, British and American influences offers the region a rich and varied past. Situated on the banks of the Mobile River and Bay Area, the port has a lush and tropical feel, with mature stately oaks providing dappled shade over many of the suburban streets.
Stay at the stately Battle House Hotel, where General Andrew Jackson’s headquarters stood during the war of 1812. With gigantic rooms featuring lots of history, you can choose between the historic section or the newer contemporary version. For the more budget conscious, try the Best Western Battleship Inn, located on Battleship Parkway. Clean quiet rooms offer a splendid view and access to the battleship.
While taking a break from visiting the sights and sounds of the Mobile cruise port, visit the Bel Air mall. Over 130 local and national stores provide the mall with outstanding quality and selection. JCPenney, Sears and Target are great outlets to choose something or simply the general traveler’s necessity. A 23-foot Venetian carousel graces the front entrance, and at $1 per ride it’s a great distraction for the tired shopper with children.
You’ll also find some antique shops in the area’s downtown district, which cater to locals and tourists alike.
Things to Do
Open daily, Fort Conde offers a unique opportunity to study the history of Mobile. Tour guides dressed in period costumes weave the tales of Mobile’s history through the various influences as they show off an 18th Century replica fort.
Take a stroll through historic Dauphin Street. It’s often referred to as Mobile’s Bourbon Street and named for the exquisite architecture on display. Other notable buildings worth the visit are Guesnard House, which was built in 1859 for the notorious Mobile jeweler and The Mardi Gras Museum. Like no other, this building is host to an eclectic array of collections celebrating the Mardi Gras that began in 1711 and continues to present day.
Take a break in Bienville Square Park. Located near the corner of Dauphin and Conception streets, the massive century old oaks will provide you with shade as you can enjoy one of the many jazz or blues festivals which take place in the park.
Restaurants and Bars
While looking for a meal near the Mobile cruise terminal, try some traditional fair at Felix’s Fish Camp Grill. Located on Battleship Parkway, it will fit into any traveler’s itinerary and budget. Don’t be fooled by the homegrown rustic exterior, as the fresh, local seafood is reported to be well known along the Gulf Coast. Take a window seat to enjoy the fantastic sunset on Mobile Bay while enjoying a local catch or a USDA certified steak.
For some “down home” cooking, try Southern Heritage Restaurant. Open Monday through Friday for lunch and Friday and Saturday for evening meals, you can get stuffed for under $10. Gumbo and fried whitefish, pork chops with all the trimmings and vegetable soup are all served up buffet style so you can pick what you want. They also serve domestic and international beers.