The Best Things To Do In Mobile, Alabama, According To A Local

You might be from Mobile if you can finish this question: “Did you know Mardi Gras…”

Live oaks spanning Government Street in Oakleigh Gardents Historic District, Mobile, Alabama

Barry Winiker/Getty Images

Every year around the carnival season, a familiar and playful argument breaks out between New Orleans, Louisiana, and my hometown of Mobile, Alabama. Amid an online discussion about who does it better and why, I saw one comment that said something like, “At our house, we have to put a dollar in the jar every time someone says that Mardi Gras started in Mobile.” If each Mobilian followed this household rule, we could probably pay for the new Bayway in a year. All jokes aside, we do take our revelry seriously, especially from the night before Thanksgiving through Fat Tuesday. Here, I’ve rounded up some of my personal favorite Mobile spots, plus a few touristy (but only mildly cheesy) things to do on your first visit. Pro tip: If you want to blend in with the locals, it’s a “hugger,” not a “koozie” and a “wharf,” not a “dock.” And for the love of Joe Cain, it’s pronounced Mo-BEEL, not like “mobile phone.” 

Start The Day

Carpe Diem Coffee & Tea Co.

This coffee shop, which lives in a historic home in the heart of the Spring Hill area of Mobile, is extremely special to me. My mom and I have made countless “Carpe runs” in my lifetime, and I can promise you’ll enjoy whatever you order and feel right at home. After you get your fill, head across the street to walk around the historic Spring Hill College campus. Don’t miss a photo opp at the Avenue of the Oaks.  

Serda’s Coffee Company

This cool downtown institution serves so much more than coffee, including Italian gelato and fresh breakfast and lunch options. 

Satori Coffee House

This funky little coffee shop near the University of South Alabama campus also has incredible sandwiches if you stop in around lunchtime. 

Let’s Do Lunch

Spot of Tea

Long before brunch got trendy and Bloody Mary toppings got out of hand, Spot of Tea was gracing downtown Mobile with an incredible menu that includes Deadly Hashbrowns (you may really die…and go straight to heaven) and a strawberry tea so good you’ll need a personal pitcher of it. 

The Dew Drop Inn

On your first visit to The Dew Drop, you may wonder, “Is that hot dog supposed to be bright red? And is it cooked?” Yes, and yes. Even if you’re not from Mobile, stepping into this restaurant will feel like a time machine back to your childhood via the decor, the classic comfort food, and the staff’s Southern hospitality.

Callaghan’s Irish Social Club

Repeat after me: “When I go to Callaghan’s, I will order the burger.” Say it one more time just in case. After that, grab a beer and enjoy this 1946 bar and grill in Mobile’s gorgeous Oakleigh Garden District.

The Cheese Cottage

This precious eatery has plenty of options for lunch and a lovely patio for enjoying a nice day. It’s also the ideal location to grab a pre-dinner cheese board and glass of wine. 

Butch Cassidy’s Cafe

Whether you get the famous Butch Burger, a plate of wings, or a po’boy, we can assure you you’ll be full leaving this Midtown Mobile mainstay. 

Nixon’s Midtown

A newer addition to the Midtown restaurant scene than its across-the-street neighbor The Dew Drop Inn, Nixon’s has established itself as a go-to site for sandwiches and sports-watching. 

Meat Boss

The Meat Boss’s ordering instructions are simple: “Choose your meat, choose your bread, choose your sauce, choose your toppings and choose your side.” Do those things, and you will leave incredibly happy (and satisfied). 

Dinner Date


Noja is the perfect downtown venue for fine dining in a comfortable yet chic atmosphere. Be sure to make a reservation! 

Pour Baby

As the name suggests, Pour Baby is a wonderful wine bar to try a new bottle, but the dinner can’t be overlooked.

Via Emilia

Craving pasta? Call Via Emilia and get a table ASAP. You won’t believe the caliber of Italian food being served at this cozy little cottage. 

Ruth’s Chris Steak House

No offense to Ruth, but I normally wouldn’t include a chain restaurant in a roundup like this. However, Mobilians know that our location of the steak house is special. Not only are several of the walls lined with photos of the past kings of Mardi Gras, but the real treat is a cocktail-milkshake mashup called the Chrissy. 


If you don’t come for the seafood, come to this restaurant for the best view of Mobile Bay and downtown from the top of the Trustmark Building. 

Mardi Gras, Mobile, Alabama

Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge/Getty Images

Around Town

Mobile Carnival Museum

Sure, you know that Mobile is the birthplace of Mardi Gras in America, but there’s so much more to learn, and class is in session at the Mobile Carnival Museum. While you’re in a Mardi mood, check out a newer addition to the city, Mardi Gras Park

USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park

If you have little ones or are a history buff yourself, a trip down to the USS Alabama Battleship is an essential part of a Mobile stay. 

The Battle House Renaissance Mobile Hotel & Spa

Even if you don’t stay at The Battle House, it’s a gorgeous piece of Mobile history to see, especially for those who love architecture. The 1852 building has whisper arches the kids will be tickled with, and the family can enjoy a meal at one of three on-site restaurants. 

Bellingrath Gardens & Home

Gardeners should this historic estate for fantastic azaleas in the spring, and families can’t miss the Magic Christmas in Lights event every holiday season.

Crescent Theater

I know—who wants to spend time in a dark theater while on vacation? I get it. But if you happen to catch a rainy day (which, let’s be honest, is quite likely in Mobile), a showing at this independent theater should be your first move. Before each movie, a staff member will tell the audience a bit about the film, making for a more meaningful viewing experience. Plus, it’s right in the heart of downtown’s entertainment district, so there’s plenty nearby to see, eat, and drink afterward. 

The Causeway

BLUEGILL Restaurant

If it’s pleasant outside, you can’t beat sitting on the BLUEGILL patio, listening to live music, and enjoying a cold beer and hot fried seafood. The Flaming Oysters are a requirement, and I don’t want to hear any ifs, ands, or buts about it. 

R&R Seafood

Mobilians know that if you want crawfish, there is no place better than R&R. Trust me and order them spicy. 

Felix’s Fish Camp

Felix’s is the slightly dressier cousin to the more casual seafood dives on the Causeway, making it an ideal date spot with the prettiest sunset views. 

Brews and Sips

These locales range from a swanky speakeasy to a dive bar with live music and everything in between. Find the vibe you’re looking for, sit back, and enjoy the people watching. 

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