Winter Getaway: Mardi Gras in Mobile

Winter Getaway: Celebrate Mardi Gras in Mobile

The classic Professor Longhair song says “If you’re going to New Orleans you’ve got to go see the Mardi Gras,” but many people don’t realize that Mobile, Alabama has one of the largest and most vibrant Mardi Gras celebrations in the US. Mobile has all of the colorful traditions of Mardi Gras but with a much more family friendly vibe than New Orleans. It is also much closer to Northeast Florida and more affordable than New Orleans. Don’t get me wrong- I love NOLA, in fact I lived there for a short period of time, but when I visited Mobile I fell in love with the city which features many similar elements.

Mobile is only a 5 hour drive from Jacksonville and it is the perfect destination for a winter vacation during carnival season. The official carnival season has already started in Mobile with and this year Mardi Gras day is on March 1st. Here are some of the best spots in the city and a little bit of information so you can plan your trip.

Where to Stay:

The Battle House: A Renaissance Hotel

The Battle House is a historic hotel in downtown mobile that makes a grand impression with a magnificent lobby that has a gilded dome skylight. It also has a 4-Diamond restaurant, The Trellis Room, that has a ceiling that is barrel vaulted with a Tiffany glass skylight. The rooms are luxurious and the prices are incredibly reasonable for a luxury hotel. The Battle House also has the Crystal Ballroom which is one of the premie places for Mardi Gras balls. The first Mardi Gras ball to be held at the Battle House was in 1852.

Although it features historic elements it is also a completely refinished and restored modern luxury hotel with a grand rooftop pool and full-service spa.  If you come to Mobile for carnival season a stay at this hotel will ensure that it becomes a full on winter vacation.

Where to Visit:

Bienville square

Classic Southern gothic architecture is featured in several focal points of this beautiful area in downtown Mobile. I used to live right near Audubon park in New Orleans and Bienville Square reminded me of a mini Audubon park.

Cathedral Square

Another area that highlights the gorgeous architecture of the city. If you make a stop here you have to check out the
Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, which was built in 1711. The church is adorned with gorgeous architecture and stained glass.


Fairhope is an eclectic artsy little town right outside of Mobile. It has an array of unique shops and restaurants. It is a short 10 minute drive from downtown Mobile.

Where to Eat:

Joe Cain Cafe

This cafe, located inside the Battle House, is named for one of the original legends of Mardi Gras, Joe Cain. It features gourmet pizza, salads, craft beer and cocktails.

Panini Pete’s

This restaurant was featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and is THE place to get a classic New Orleans style dessert, a beignet, which is basically a French doughnut. Their beignets are delicious, sweet and melt in your mouth. If you come to Mobile to celebrate Mardi Gras there is no way you can leave without trying them.


Dauphin’s is the perfect place to go to sample some French creole fare. It also features local art and a piano bar.

Wintzell’s Oyster House

The best place to sample a delicious po’ boy and other dishes made with Gulf coast seafood. It also has a popular happy hour.

Mardi Gras Festivities:

Hit up the festivities and experience the glittering colors of the whimsical parade floats and catch a few strands of beads as they cascade through the air. As you make your way through downtown you will hear the lively beat of jazz music pulse through the streets and mix with the laughter and cheering of the crowd. Here is a detailed parade schedule with maps parade schedule.

Although official Mardi Gras festivities are only on that weekend, the whole city has already begun celebrating the season and Mobile is really worth visiting during any time of year.  Check out the 2022 Mardi Gras Event in Mobile here. 

Featured Spots:

The Battle House Hotel
26 N Royal St, Mobile, AL 36602
(251) 338-2000 Website

Joe Cain Cafe
26 N Royal St, Mobile, AL 36602
(251) 338-4334 Website

Panini Pete’s
102 Dauphin St, Mobile, AL 36602
(251) 405-0031 Website

Wintzell’s Oyster House
605 Dauphin St, Mobile, AL 36602
(251) 432-4605 Website

RSA Bank Trust Building, 107 St Francis St #3400, Mobile, AL 36602
(251) 444-0200 Website


  1. Steve Joynt

    The web site you linked to for parade schedule, etc. is awful. The parade schedule leaves off the first week and a half of parades. I don’t know if you have a connection to that site, but it’s not what you want to be recommending. I suggest you check out my site,

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