With stately mansions, pristine parks, and avant-garde dining, this port city promises bloom-filled adventures along its azalea trails.
From restored hotels to revamped gardens, South Alabama’s port city of Mobile continues to delight and amaze visitors with its history. But the state’s third largest city is also known for its legendary master gardeners and that ubiquitous Southern flower: the azalea.
Nearly 90 years ago, Mobile earned its Azalea City moniker when the Junior Chamber of Commerce encouraged residents to plant the perennial and volunteers blanketed streets and public spaces with the bushes. From that campaign came Mobile’s Azalea Trail Maids, Southern belles tasked with greeting guests while the azaleas are blooming.
The thriving shrubbery still lines the streets of Mobile and defines the local landscape with ribbons of pink and magenta blooms each spring. People flock to see them. With more than 1,000 varieties, the Mobile Botanical Gardens are home to some of the largest collections of Satsuki and Aromi azaleas in the Southeast.
The splendor of the Mobile area also extends to Bellingrath Gardens in nearby Theodore. The city’s history includes Spanish, British, and French occupations, all of which have left an eclectic mix of architectural wonders. Delight in the beauty of Mobile with a pleasant stroll amid the tranquil paths of Washington Square, one of a dozen parks spread throughout downtown’s eight historic districts. Eight miles west, you’ll find Mobile Botanical Gardens. Tucked along a meandering road behind Langan Park, the gardens are just a short walk from the Mobile Museum of Art.
Mobile’s entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well within the walls of the Urban Emporium, a retail incubator selling a variety of products, or visit Serda’s Coffee Company for delicious tea and coffee blends, as well as decadent gelato.
Alabama’s green pastures and blue waters provide more than just picturesque backdrops to Gulf Coast adventures. Mobile’s culinary artists tempt palates with fresh seafood and farm-to-table treats. The Noble South has an ever-changing menu that has included everything from chicken hearts to Wagyu beef tartare. Panini Pete’s will whip up an unforgettable muffuletta as you sip an espresso, while Firehouse Wine Bar offers a great place to unwind with its extensive menu of wine and craft beers.
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