MOBILE, Ala. -- This Gulf Coast city will be in the spotlight early
next year when it plays host to hundreds of delegates attending the
annual Travel South Marketplace at the Mobile Convention Center
from Feb. 28 to March 2.
Situated at the mouth of the Mobile River, Mobile has played a
key role in the growth and development of tourism to Alabama and
the entire Gulf Coast region from Florida to Texas.
The city is looking better than ever these days following a
revitalization of its historical downtown area, and new driving and
walking tours will be available to Travel South delegates.
They'll find that the Mobile Museum of Art has moved into a new
home, and the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center has been
renovated and expanded.
There also are new restaurants along Mobile's waterfront, and
the city is expanding its infrastructure with new hotels under
Founded in 1702, Mobile was originally the capital of the vast
Louisiana Territory and ranks among the oldest cities in the
Beyond the city's rich historical and cultural legacy, it also
boasts a full calendar of festivals and special events, including
the Arts and Crafts Festival and Festival of Flowers in March, the
Blessing of the Fleet in May and the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo
There is no more exciting festival here than Mardi Gras.
Although most people associate Mardi Gras with New Orleans, the
rowdy carnival actually originated in Mobile.
The city puts on a spectacular show starting two weeks before
Fat Tuesday, when parades fill the downtown streets. Another of
Mobile's claims to fame is its local cuisine and many fine
restaurants, such as Wintzell's Oyster House, Roussos and Nan
Agents with clients heading to Mobile can arrange tours and
packages offered by local tour operators (see listing below).
Homes and gardens
By the time Alabama was admitted as the 22nd state in 1819,
Mobile had emerged as a shipbuilding power and one of the south's
leading commercial hubs.
Cotton was the main cash crop fueling the city's economic
growth, and the prosperity of that era is reflected in several 19th
century historical house museums open to the public.
The stately home that is often referred to as Mobile's official
antebellum mansion is Oakleigh, a classic example of Greek Revival
architecture built between 1833 and 1838.
The interior is furnished with antiques from the Victorian,
Empire and Regency periods. Oakleigh also has a sunken garden, and
30-minute tours of the mansion are conducted by guides dressed in
Visitors are also welcome at the 1855 Bragg-Mitchell Mansion,
which ranks among the most photographed antebellum mansions along
Among the attractions included on many city tours is the USS
Alabama, the battleship that played a key role in the Pacific
during World War II. Visitors are welcome to go aboard and check
out most of the ship, including the bridge and berth
famed Mobile attraction, which is on the city tours itinerary for
delegates, is Bellingrath Gardens, a 900-acre estate with 65 acres
of cultivated and landscaped gardens.
Also offered here is a 45-minute cruise on the Fowl River aboard
the "Southern Belle."
Mobile, then and now
Visitors can get a glimpse of what Mobile was like in the 1800s
by strolling past the restored antebellum buildings along Church,
Government and Dauphin streets in the city center.
Another interesting section of downtown to explore is along the
stretch of Church Street East between Water Street and Broad
Street, which is lined with buildings spanning a wide architectural
range, including Federal, Greek Revival, Italianate, Queen Anne and
Tourists began flocking to Mobile in the 19th century, lured
here by Mobile's mild year-round climate combined with its miles of
white sand beaches.
Water recreation is still a major draw today. One of the most
fascinating outdoor activities is a guided airboat tour into the
heart of the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, the largest inland delta in the
To contact the reporter who wrote this story, send e-mail to
[email protected] .
Book it: Tour operators
Bay City Convention & Tours
Phone: (800) 338-5597
Tour packaging, sightseeing, lodging, restaurants
Phone: (800) 233-1981
Mobile's largest motorcoach operator
Convention Services by Debra Garlo
Phone: (800) 842-8687
Group tours, theme parties, historical sightseeing tours
Memorable Mobile Tours
Phone: (251) 344-8687
Sightseeing and group tours
Travel House Corp.
Phone: (800) 756-7426
Packaged and customized tours for groups.
For more details on this article, see Operators can sign up online.