Blake Walsh

15 Free Things to Do in Mobile, AL

  • Published 2022/11/23

Located on the Mobile River in southern Alabama, the city of Mobile is one of the cultural centers on the Gulf Coast and the seat of Mobile County.

It’s proud to house a professional ballet company, several art museums, a professional opera, a symphony orchestra, and extensive historic architecture.

It was named after the French Mobiletribe, the area’s first settlers in the early 1700s.

In 1819, it was incorporated as a city and became the fourth most populous city in Alabama.

Nicknamed “The Port City,” “Azalea City,””The City of Six Flags,”and “The Gateway to the Gulf,” Mobile is the only city in the state with a saltwater port.

The Port of Mobile plays one of the biggest roles in the city’s booming economy alongside fantastic tourist attractions that are mainly open to the public.

If you’re planning a trip to the city’s famous tourist spots and activities, here are the free things to do in Mobile, Alabama!

Spend the Day at the Historic Bienville Square

Water fountain at the Historic Bienville Square

BJ Ray /

If you want to spend a quiet afternoon with a book, head out to Bienville Square, a historic city park in downtown Mobile.

Experience the old Alabama phrase, “Walkin’ up Dauphin Street_,”_ as you take the path to the park.

Sit on the shaded benches and spend some time reading a book or watching people wander past you.

The grounds of the Historic Bienville Square

Christian Hinkle /

The park was named after the city’s founder and French colonist, Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville.

The historic Bienville Square started in 1824.

Aerial view of the Historic Bienville Square

George Dodd III /

Check Out the Magnificent Murals from the Mobile Arts Council

The Mobile Arts Council hosts a public gallery of murals, art installations, and sculptures throughout the city.

The most notable artwork is at the Lupercalia Art Society, which created visual arts to tell the history of Mobile.

Check out some of the most-visited artwork on Dauphin Street, Jackson Street, Taylor Park Community Center, and many others.

The Mobile Arts Council also hosts a free monthly event called LoDa ArtWalk, showcasing visual, performing, and culinary arts.

Don’t forget to stop by their spot on South Joachim Street to get a map to find all these artworks in the city.

In 1955, the Junior League of Mobile established the Mobile Arts Council.

Stroll around the Oakleigh Garden District

A house at Ashland Place

Altairisfar, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Mobile has hundreds of blocks of historic districts that make up the city’s rich history and culture, which you can’t miss.

Seven of these districts are listed on the National Register of Historic Places; all define the city’s historical past and what has shaped it today.

Whether driving around or on foot, grab the chance to see the grand Greek Revival Oakleigh mansion in Oakleigh Garden District.

The De Tonti Square houses the Italianate-style Richards DAR House, built in the 1860s; the Old Dauphin Way has the Queen Anne-style Shepard House.

Signage of De Tonti Square

Upstateherd, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Meanwhile, the Church Street East, Ashland Place, Leinkauf, and Lower Dauphin districts have beautiful historic homes to admire.

Do this with ice cream or your favorite drink in hand!

The city’s historic districts are adorned with gorgeous giant ferns, magnolia trees, and ancient oak trees.

Who knows?

There might be admission-free shows and events when you visit!

Spend the day with family at the Oakleigh Garden District!

A house at Oakleigh Garden District

Upstateherd, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Check Out the Amazing Art Display at the Historic Magnolia Cemetery

Nestled in the heart of Mobile, the historic Magnolia Cemetery houses unique funerary art.

Ranging from mournful angels, anchors, and urns to crosses, this artwork is worth the time for an outdoor experience.

Walking through the grounds makes you feel like you’re stepping into the past with graceful memories of the prominent people buried here.

You’ll also see Victorian-era monuments of prominent public figures who helped shape Mobile today.

Some notable Mobilians buried here are Confederate General Braxton Bragg, John Gayle, and Apache Indian Chappo Geronimo, among others.

The 100-acre cemetery hosts over 80,000 burials.

It was also listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.

Established in 1836, you can find the historic Magnolia Cemetery off Virginia Street.

Step Back in Time at the History Museum of Mobile

Exterior of the History Museum of Mobile

EQRoy /

Every first Saturday of each month, the History Museum of Mobile gives free access to the public to learn and see what was in the past.

The museum houses more than 117,000 artifacts that tell the story of Mobile and its surrounding areas.

It also hosts rotating exhibits, events, and activities relating to the city’s history and cultural heritage.

The History Museum of Mobile was recognized as a National Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1969.

It’s nestled in the historic Old City Hall, built in 1857 in an Italianate style with magnificent ironwork.

It officially opened as a museum in 1976.

You can find it on South Royal Street.

Admire the Greek Revival Architecture of Government Street Presbyterian Church

Mobile is also home to many historic churches that date back to the 18th and 19th centuries.

One of these historic churches is the Government Street Presbyterian Church off Government Street, one of the least-modified churches in Mobile.

The structure was built along the Greek Revival Architecture style, designed by architects James and Charles Dakin and James Gallier Sr.

It has a brick exterior with a stucco finish, and the structure was built with granite foundations and steps.

The Government Street Presbyterian Church was constructed in 1937 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.

Enjoy the Waterfront Views at Cooper Riverside Park

Water fountain at Cooper Riverside Park

CrackerClips Stock Media /

The city continues to flourish because of its association with the Mobile River, where the French colonists founded it.

Today, Cooper Riverside Park thrives in providing unmatched outdoor activities, tourist attractions, and a relaxing venue for locals and tourists.

See the barges cruising the river and the shipbuilding at the harbor, and get closer to the iconic sculptures and the Gulf Quest National Maritime Museum.

Benches along Cooper Riverside Park

Stephanie A Sellers /

Otherwise, sit on one of the benches and feel the air kiss your cheeks!

There are many fun activities at the three-acre park, perfect for solo and group travelers.

Cooper Riverside Park was established in 1996 on South Water Street.

View of the water from Cooper Riverside Park

Tim D Williamson, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Commune with Nature at Glenn Sebastian Nature Trail

Visiting Mobile also means enjoying the company of nature.

One of the many favorite spots in town is Glenn Sebastian Nature Trail, which has an easy route with lots of lush greeneries to please your eyes.

The three-mile trails are marked and colored on the trees, which helps you to take easier routes on foot or a bike.

You’ll also see some wildlife and many birds while taking scenic walks through the gorgeous native pine and oak woodlands.

The Glenn Sebastian Nature Trail was dedicated in 2012 and named after professor Dr. Glenn Sebastian for his contributions to geography.

The trail is on Aubrey Green Drive.

Hike up the Eastern Shore Trail

Boardwalk at Eastern Shore Trail

BJ Ray /

If you’re up for an outdoor excursion in Mobile, go hiking on the Eastern Shore Trail, which passes through the city’s neighboring areas.

The trail stretches from Mobile Bay, Spanish Fort, Daphne, Montrose, Fairhope, Battles Wharf, and Point Clear to Weeks Bay.

The 23-mile trail is mainly paved, although there are wood and metal boardwalks and bridges that you’ll have to deal with, especially when cycling.

Nonetheless, it would be fun to take scenic walks starting on the east side of Mobile Bay and see nature’s fantastic gifts.

The Eastern Shore Trail was designated as a National Recreation Trail in 2010.

Let the Kids Cool Off at Medal of Honor Park

Featuring a neatly made splash pad, Medal of Honor Park is one of the many Mobile parks that has drawn the attention of locals and tourists.

The little kids can have the time of their lives at the park’s spacious playground with slides and a splash pad to cool off.

Bring food and have a picnic at the park while you’re also enjoying the relaxing vibe with large oak trees giving shade around.

It also has sports fields where locals play a game and a mile of walking trails to explore.

The Medal of Honor Park was established in 1997 on Hillcrest Road.

Enjoy a Picnic at Langan Park

Aerial view of Langan Park

George Dodd III /

Named after former Mobile mayor Joseph Langan, the 720-acre Langan Park hosts lively playgrounds, lakes, sports fields, picnic areas, and lush greenery.

Pack a lunch, do a barbecue, and take your picnic essentials to the park to enjoy its scenery.

Also known as Municipal Park, it also has walking trails that give you gorgeous views of the park’s natural spaces.

The waters of Langan Park

Wirestock Creators /

You can also feed the ducks and geese at the lake or simply sit and relax while taking advantage of the park’s natural ambiance.

Langan Park also houses a golf course, botanical gardens, a playhouse, and a museum.

The park was established in 1957 on Zeigler Boulevard.

Boardwalk at Langan Park

Mikhalis Makarov /

Visit the Market in the Park

During summer and spring, Mobile hosts the Market in the Park every Saturday, which brings all local farmers, artisans, ranchers, and other small business owners together.

You can visit Cathedral Square off Conti Street to experience this local event for the community and visitors.

There will be fresh produce like fruits and vegetables, baked goods, seafood, artwork, handcrafted items, and many more.

Besides these goodies, the park has relaxing features like scenic walks.

The City of Mobile Parks and Recreation Department and the Mobile Arts Council undertake the Market in the Park to support local businesses.

Join the Fun at Mobile Mardi Gras

Parade float at Mobile Mardi Gras

Andrea Wright, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Mobile hosts the oldest official Carnival celebration in the U.S., called Mardi Gras and has maintained a reputation since its inception in 1703.

Activities include “toss gifts,” also known as “throws,” where participants would throw stuffies, snacks, beaded jewelry, small toys, and many more.

Parades, masked balls with elegant costumes, floats, and horseback also happen during the celebration.

Purple and gold are this festival’s traditional colors in Mobile, associated with Europe’s royal monarchies.

The annual celebration also hosts the Mobile Carnival Museum in the historic Bernstein-Bush mansion, highlighting the festival’s history in 14 different galleries.

French colonists led by Nicholas Langlois started Mardi Graswhen the city was still the capital of Louisiana.

Mobile Mardi Graslasts for almost three weeks in the lively streets downtown.

Launch Your Kayak at McNally Park

Another jewel in Mobile is McNally Park, where you can launch your kayak or canoe to enjoy paddling in the water.

There are two available boat ramps to use within the park.

You can drop your fishing line at the designated fishing areas, see the wildlife, or simply sit and relax and enjoy the views.

There’s also a playground for the little children to enjoy.

McNally Park is on Park Road.

Walk around the Shoppes at Bel Air

Exterior of the Shoppes at Bel Air

NitekMobilian, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Window shopping is always fun for everyone, and Mobile doesn’t disappoint!

If you’re up to wandering around the malls, head out to Shoppes at Bel Air to see different shops and what they’re selling.

You’ll also appreciate the beautiful native landscape at the main entrance with its water features.

Formerly Bel Air Mall, Shoppes Bel Air features more than 130 restaurants and shops.

The shopping center officially opened in 1967 on Joe Treadwell Drive.

Final Thoughts

The historic city of Mobile prides itself in having unmatched tourist attractions that have spawned many people to visit the city.

Historic churches, districts, nature trails, and Mardi Grasare among the things that you can’t miss.

Enjoy your budget-friendly vacation by trying the free things to do in Mobile, Alabama!

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