Our city is truly one of a kind. It has rich history, amazing food, a strong community and unique culture. It can be hot and rainy one minute and sunny and breezy the next. It's quirky, fun, and the only place we ever want to call home.
In 2015, we challenge you to love Mobile. To support it, embrace it and take advantage of everything it has to offer. This list of 40 bucket-list-worthy activities is a good place to start.
1. Go for a ride on an airboat
Explore the Mobile-Tensaw Delta and get up close and personal with local wildlife with the help of Captain Geoff Woodliff of Delta Airboat Express.
2. Sample every flavor of ice cream at Old Dutch
Not necessarily all in one day, though we won't judge you if you do. We highly recommend you start with our seasonal favorites, King Cake and Banana MoonPie.
3. Take a “staycation”
Treat yourself. The hotels and inns around the Bay area are top notch, and us locals rarely get to enjoy them. The Battle House, Fort Conde Inn, The Kate Shepard House, The Grand Hotel…do I need to keep going?
4. Attend a Frog Pond Sunday Social
These outdoor house concerts on Blue Moon Farm in Silverhill are what local music is all about. Bring a chair, food, drinks and enjoy the show.
5. Participate in the Tweed Ride
Dressed in old-fashioned tweed and argyle, ride your bike through the streets of Mobile, play lawn games in Cathedral Square and finish up with a matinee at the Crescent Theater.
6. Try to break the raw oyster record at Wintzell’s
Just be sure to bring your appetite. The current record is 421 oysters in one hour. Bonus points if you don't throw up.
7. Ride the mechanical bull at Saddle Up Saloon
Thank goodness there are no laws against mechanical bull riding under the influence.
8. Eat a MoonPie with an RC Cola
Because you can't really call yourself a Southerner until you do.
9. See a comedy show at the Blind Mule
Get your laugh on for just $5 on Saturday nights at 10 p.m.
10. Pick your own fruits + veggies
Gather your own blueberries, satsumas, peppers and other produce at Hillcrest Farms in Elberta, Weeks Bay Plantation and Bee Natural Farm in Fairhope and Oak Hill Produce in Grand Bay (just to name a few).
11. Sing karaoke at The Royal Knight
If we have to explain why, then you just don't get it. Trust us.
12. Make a family meal for the Ronald McDonald House
Gather your family, friends or co-workers and prepare a homemade breakfast, lunch or dinner for families staying at the house. It is unbelievably fun and rewarding.
13. Go for a walk at Spring Hill College
The Avenue of the Oaks only gets more beautiful with age. The campus is simply stunning when the azaleas are in bloom. While you're there, visit the Sodality Chapel just off the golf course near the rec center. Built in 1850, the tiny chapel is still used daily for worship.
14. Try the West Indies Salad from Bayley’s
It's the original, and it's amazing. Mobile's claim to fame if you will.
15. Ride every ride at the Greater Gulf State Fair
They were fun as kids, and they're still fun now. Just save that funnel cake for AFTER the rides.
16. Learn how to paddle board
It's the closest you'll get to walking on water. Plus, it's an awesome workout and a great way to take in the scenic views of our local landscape. A one-hour rental on Lake Shelby is just $21.
17. Attend church at the Flora-Bama
Everyone is welcome at Worship on the Water, a non-denominational church service held at 11 a.m. every Sunday. Beach attire is welcome.
18. Run a race
Get in shape and support local charities with events like Turkey Trot for Hope, Jingle Bell Run, Color Me Rad and Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. Even if you aren't a runner per se, almost all local races include a more laid-back fun run.
19. Cheer for the South Alabama Jaguars
No matter where you graduated or the colors you bleed, attend a game at Ladd and root for the home team. The Jags are coming off their first bowl game appearance and looking to make some serious noise in 2015.
20. Vote in a local election
We live in a special place, and we all want to see it succeed. Stay informed, speak up and participate. The future is looking bright.
21. Hold a gator at Alligator Alley
Meet Pickles the alligator and walk down the elevated viewing platform to see the alligators eat, sunbathe and relax in their natural habitat.
22. Visit the grave of Joe Cain
The Church Street Graveyard is spooky and cool and so incredibly fascinating.
23. Zipline over Lake Shelby
The 2-hour Hummingbird Zipline Tour at Gulf Adventure Center includes six ziplines across seven towers…90 feet up in the air. Do it. It's awesome.
24. See a play
Add a little culture to your life, and support our talented performing arts scene. Playhouse in the Park, Joe Jefferson Players, Mobile Theatre Guild, Theatre 98, Sunny Side Theater and the Chickasaw Civic Theatre offer a variety of shows for all interests.
25. Listen to live music at Callaghan’s
The atmosphere is incredible, and the bands are always top notch. Oh, and while you're there, get the burger. Always get the burger.
26. Watch the sunset over Mobile Bay from Traders
Rumor has it a Long Island Iced Tea makes the view even more beautiful.
27. Bend & Brew at Fairhope Brewing Co.
Enjoy a one-hour yoga session in the taproom for just $5, then stick around for drink specials as you cool down.
28. Tour Bamahenge in Elberta
It's an Alabama version of Stonehenge of course, why do you ask?
29. Watch the fireworks over the Battleship
There's no better way to celebrate the Fourth of July.
30. Go on a float trip on Styx River
The rules are simple: Grab a tube, bring some friends and the day is yours. Sunscreen and drinks are encouraged too. A 4-mile trip is $15 per tube.
31. Eat free crawfish
Spring in Mobile is for beer drinkin' and crawfish eatin' in LODA. Check out bars like Hayley's, LoDa Bier Garten, the Garage, The Bar and Boo Radley's. They usually have some mudbugs cooking.
32. Read five local novels
A few recommendations: Roy Hoffman's “Come Landfall, ” Watt Key's “Alabama Moon, ” Fannie Flagg's “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, ” Sonny Brewer's “The Poet of Tolstoy Park” and of course, Winston Groom's “Forrest Gump.”
33. Watch a Christmas movie at the Crescent
A family trip to see “It's a Wonderful Life” is one holiday tradition that never gets old.
34. Attend a Mobile Mystery Dinner
Dinner, drinks and murder? Sounds like a normal Saturday night to me. Tickets are $59.
35. Volunteer to clean up our coastline
Always leave a place better than you found it. Show your support for our beautiful beaches, rivers and lakes by participating in the annual Alabama Coastal Cleanup.
36. Experience the water
Frog gigging, floundering and soft-shelling are a rite of passage in this town.
37. Watch a movie on the lawn at Lavretta Park
The Village of Spring Hill's “Screen on the Green” shows free movies during Halloween and Christmas. Food trucks hang out on site so you can grab a bite before the show starts.
36. Go camping
Put those electronics away and enjoy the great outdoors at Blakely State Park, Meaher State Park or Gulf State Park.
37. Go to a Mobile Pops Concert
All concerts are free to the public. See the band at Dauphin Island on April 11 or at Medal of Honor Park on April 18. Or, catch a Christmas-themed show in December.
38. Festival hop
What do shrimp, gumbo, chili, oysters, barbecue, beer, wine, chocolate, watermelons and strawberries all have in common? They each have their own local festival or cook-off devoted to them. OK, so we like to eat around here….
39. Spend time downtown
Grab a bite to eat. Attend Artwalk. Shop local. Check out a museum. Listen to music. See a movie. Bar crawl. Play Quidditch even. Most of all, support the local businesses that make our town unique.
40. Watch it rain
I mean really watch it. It's powerful, restorative, and in some weird way, kind of beautiful. Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy.
What local activities are on your bucket list this year? Share them below or on our Facebook page, and tell us how many of these you've already crossed off your list.
Text by Abby Parrott