MOBILE, AL: Carnival season which ends with Mardi Gras makes for great time of the year to visit Mobile. One of the oldest cities in the U.S., Mobile claims to be the first to observe Mardi Gras. The smaller town offering a more gentle celebration than their New Orleans neighbor.
Arrive a few days early to enjoy the unique and fun attractions, sweet temptations such as Moon Pies and other lively diversions.
The top 10 things to see and do in Mobile.
1. Malaga Inn
The Malaga Inn is a historic hotel located within easy walking distance of many of Mobile’s top attractions. @Ron Stern All rights reservedMalaga InnThe Malaga Inn is a boutique hotel conveniently located in the historic district of downtown Mobile. The twin townhouses were constructed around 1862 at the request of two sisters.
Now, the privately owned and operated hotel has 39 rooms; each decorated with period pieces that add to the French ambiance. The Malaga Inn is definitely a unique and lovely venue from which to explore the main attractions, many of which are within walking distance
2. Trolley Tour
It’s always a good idea to get the lay of the land when visiting a city for the first time. Gulf Coast Trolley Tours is a comfortable way to see the sights. The tour guides are locals familiar with their beloved city. There are plenty of interesting historical facts and tidbits on the 90-minute air-conditioned tours.
The route passes through some of the more interesting neighborhoods and includes a stop at the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park.
3. Spot of Tea
Located In the central downtown area, Spot of Tea is a favorite among the locals and returning visitors. This family-run restaurant is known as the place to go for affordable meals and afternoon tea. A must is the Moon Pie Banana Pudding that contains layers of fresh bananas, banana pudding, chunks of Moon Pie cookies, and a mound of whipped cream.
You can also sign up for one of their Segway tours to explore some of the most interesting streets and attractions. A well-informed guide will point out historical architecture and regale you with local folklore
You will probably smell the A & M Peanut Shop, a fixture since 1947 before you see it. Using an old-fashioned roaster, they create a variety of nutty offerings, peanut clusters, and old-fashioned candies. You can also choose from an abundance of homemade pralines, dried fruits, and traditionally boiled peanuts. After their purchase, many will walk across the street to Bienville Square where they will feed some cute little squirrels.
Originally created in 1917 for coal miners who wanted a snack as big as the moon but one that would fit in a lunch pail, Moon Pies have become the most iconic snack in the South.
In fact, Mobilians seem to have adopted these treats as their unofficial confection.
At the Moon Pie General Store, you can indulge your sweet tooth with every flavor under the rainbow. Large and mini-size Moon Pies come in flavors of chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, coconut, and salted caramel. Also offered are retro candies, hats, T-shirts, novelty gifts, toys, and Mardi Gras accessories.
6. Mardi Gras
Claiming to be the original home of Mardi Gras, Mobile gears up all year long for this celebration. Mystic societies work on their colorful floats and costumes, preparing for a raucous 2 ½ weeks of celebrations leading up to Fat Tuesday.
Locals and visitors line the streets as float riders toss prized items like toys, stuffed animals, beaded necklaces, ramen soup, wrapping paper, doubloons, and yes, even Moon Pies.
7. Dew Drop Inn
The oldest and one of the more well-known eateries in Mobile, the Dew Drop Inn (1924), is known for their famous pink hot dogs made from a mixture of pork and beef and topped with slightly sweet chili. Even their buns are sheer perfection and have a bit of crunch to each bite.
You can also order some down-home favorites like chicken n’ dumplings, fried catfish, and homemade gumbo.
After you have had your Dew Drop Inn hot dog, head over to Cammie’s Old Dutch Ice Cream Shoppe. Converted from a Texaco Gas Station, this Mobile tradition has been around for over 48 years. Cammie Wayne makes her own thick, rich, and delicious ice cream in dozens of uniquely created flavors. Whole cakes such as red velvet cake and birthday cake are baked from scratch, cut up in bite-size pieces, and hand mixed into the ice cream. For a nostalgic experience, take a seat at the counter and enjoy a hot fudge sundae, a milkshake, or a banana split
Before attending a Mardi Gras parade, get a good glimpse of Carnival history at the Mobile Carnival Museum. The 2 1/2 story historical mansion houses some real treasures from the history of this celebration. Elegantly displayed rooms are adorned with elaborate, jeweled gowns with flowing trains; tuxedos; crowns; and scepters. Numerous photos and videos from the coronations and balls can be viewed as well. The well-stocked gift shop offers Mardi Gras gift items, favors, souvenirs, and parade throws. Guided tours are available for groups.
10. Perdido Queen River Cruise Dinner
The newly opened Perdido Queen River Cruise Dinner is a lovely way to celebrate a special occasion. After boarding the custom made paddle-wheel boat, a whistle blows and the boat begins to chug its way up the Mobile River. A buffet dinner is served and may include selections of pulled pork, shrimp mac, and cheese, black beans and rice, vegetables and dessert. Beverages are sweet tea and a complimentary drink. Enjoy the beautifully lit skyline and the live music upstairs to dance the night away.
Whether it’s relaxing on a trolley ride, strolling through an interesting museum, or enjoying a big serving of oysters, there’s plenty to do, see, and eat in Mobile, Alabama!
This was a sponsored visit; however, all opinions herein are the authors.