The past, present and future of the USA’s music is alive and well in Montgomery, Mobile and Gulf Shores in southern Alabama.
Start in Montgomery, the riverfront city that gave birth to the country’s civil rights movement, where live music spills out of many doorways. Head south to Mobile, home to the USA’s first Mardi Gras celebration. Wrap up your musical adventure in picturesque Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, where beachfront bars playing all sorts of tunes will have you tapping your toes in the sugary white sand.
Montgomery’s Rich History
Montgomery offers live music set against a historical backdrop. Begin on the scenic Riverwalk, in the heart of the riverfront entertainment district, where a life-size bronze statue of country music legend Hank Williams greets visitors a block from the museum celebrating his life and career. Outdoor entertainment, restaurants and bars are plentiful along the Alabama River. Snap a picture in the commemorative crosswalk near the Capitol, with its painted footsteps honoring the peaceful protesters of the Selma-to-Montgomery March. Experience civil rights history at the Rosa Parks Bus Stop, which marks the spot where the determined activist boarded a bus and refused to sit in the back. Unwind at the award-winning Capitol Oyster Bar, which overlooks the river. The laid-back, off-the-beaten-path spot is known to locals as one of the area’s top blues venues.
The Hank Williams statue, a downtown Montgomery landmark
Party in Mobile
Mobile is a port city that was born to celebrate. In fact, the USA’s first Mardi Gras celebration was held here in 1703. Today, nearly a million people come to party each year during Mardi Gras festivities. Ornate and colorful statues line Mobile’s Mardi Gras Park to honor the event’s central figures. Soak in the city’s playful spirit at Callaghan’s Irish Social Club, a bustling pub that frequently hosts local musicians. It was named one of the best Southern bars in a Southern Living magazine feature. While in the area, take some time to eat at South Alabama’s variety of local restaurants, known for serving fresh seafood caught right off Alabama’s shores.
Members of the Excelsior Band, a staple of Mardi Gras, performing in Mobile
White-Sand Paradise in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach
This area along Alabama’s Gulf of Mexico coast is a relaxed escape, known for 51 kilometers of white-sand beaches and beachfront bars celebrating the local music scene. Stroll more than 3 kilometers of pristine shoreline at Gulf State Park to be treated to breathtaking beach views. Look closely and you might catch a glimpse of dolphins at play. Cool off with a trip to Lulu’s Gulf Shores along the Intracoastal Waterway. The vibrant destination boasts an outdoor music stage as well as fresh seafood, waterfront views and beach-themed drinks such as the Big Blue Shark Margarita and the spiced rum-based Marina Mama. Down here, everybody gathers at The Hangout, a surf-themed bar and restaurant that’s also a sprawling entertainment complex. There’s live music, courtyard games and a firepit. Each spring, it’s home to the Hangout Music Festival, which draws national touring acts to the area.
The Hangout, a popular music venue perched on the white-sand beaches of Gulf Shores
Montgomery (MGM) and Mobile (MOB) regional airports offer easy access to these cities. Southern Alabama is also only about two hours by car from the international gateway airports in Atlanta and New Orleans.