Hello and welcome to the second installment of exploring Mobile’s Historic Districts, mini-series covering all the beauty and wonder of Mobile’s historic districts. Last week, we took a look at the Church Street East historic districts. This week, we’re covering LoDa, or the LOwer DAuphin District.
A quick review on the historic districts
In the City of Mobile, we have registered 7 different districts on the National Register of Historic Places, and a few more locally recognized and maintained as historic districts even if not on a registry. Here’s a list of the historic districts in Mobile:
- Church Street East
- Lower Dauphin (LoDa)
- Oakleigh Garden District
- Old Dauphin Way
- Ashland Place
- De Tonti Square
- Midtown Mobile
- Africatown and the African American Heritage Trail
The easiest way to tell if a building is historic, especially in Mobile, is to look for a certain plaque issued by the Mobile Historic Development Commission. They look a bit like this:
So, if you scroll up just a little to check out that first map we’ve got in here, you’ll notice that the LoDa district and the Church Street East historic districts kind of blend into one another, with the only gaps being a couple blocks to the North of government street. This makes for a very fun and easy way to explore multiple historical districts in one day or one trip to Mobile. Let’s take a closer look at some cool stuff in LoDa.
The LoDa Historic District’s main brag is being central to the arts. On top of hosting the Saenger Theatre, the LoDa district is also home to art galleries, like the Sophiella Art Gallery. Furthermore, the Alabama contemporary Arts Center and the Mobile Arts Council lie within the LoDa district boundaries as well. Most distinctly, however, is the LoDa Artwalk, a monthly celebration of and exhibition of local artists.
On the second Friday of the month, from 6-9 p.m., the city shuts down Dauphin Street and the local businesses and artists come out to play. It’s seriously just a ton of family-friendly fun, right in the heart of downtown Mobile. Local artists set up booths to sell their wares, restaurants run ArtWalk specials, sometimes you can even go rollerskating in the streets with Roll Mobile!
The absolutely fantastic time you can have downtown at ArtWalk cannot be understated. It’s always a little different each month, for example, July was “National Culinary Arts Month,” and ArtWalk worked to highlight local chefs in the area. In June, ArtWalk was Pride themed, etc. For all the info on August’s ArtWalk, you can check out the LoDa Artwalk Facebook!
LoDa fun all month long!
Now, the LoDa district is known for ArtWalk, but that’s not all it has to offer!
Food & Drink
Hayley’s Bar, the oldest in Mobile, is located in the LoDa District, Check it out for the perfect dive-bar experience with an old-school Mobile flair.
The Merry Widow is a fantastic bar that features live performances, which sometimes are burlesque shows.
Shopping & More!
Citrus & Cane is an excellent store full of homemade soaps and candles. Being in the LoDa district, they sometimes work with local artists, who help design the packaging and sometimes even the scents!
Urban Emporium is an absolutely expansive shop featuring everything from antique mall style wares to the newest releases by local artists.
Bienville Souvenir & Gifts has all the Mobile Mardi Gras flair you could ever want, and then some!
If you love the LoDa district as much as we do, check out their page on the Mobile Arts council website, where you can learn so much more about this awesome area of downtown.
Thanks for stopping by this week’s issue on Mobile’s Historic Districts. Check in Next Wednesday when we cover the Oakleigh Garden District.