The reasons why we travel are as varied and divergent as the places we choose to visit. One day, we’re seeking natural landscapes that leave us breathless and adventures that push our boundaries; the next, we’re craving the slickest hotels and buzziest nightlife. In a region as vast as North America, boasting everything from undulating plains to mossy rainforests and towering peaks, the biggest question is: How does one choose?
Over in Mobile, Alabama, a new Amtrak route will link the port city with its sibling-rival New Orleans, just in time for a year-long spotlight on its African American history and a new Civil Rights and Cultural Heritage District.
Go for: an all-year celebration of the city’s African American history
Not since 2005, when Hurricane Katrina battered the Gulf Coast and damaged much of the railway infrastructure, have passenger trains rolled through Mobile, Alabama. That changes in 2024, when Amtrak officially unveils its Gulf Coast service, connecting the southern port city to New Orleans, Louisiana, with a string of charming Mississippi towns in between.
The long-awaited service is particularly well-timed for the flurry of recently unveiled and soon-to-come cultural moments in Mobile. July 2023 marked the opening of Clotilda: The Exhibition, a landmark show telling the story of the last ship carrying enslaved people (which arrived in to the US in 1860, 52 years after international slave trade was outlawed) through the lens of its survivors, as well as the story of the community they created, called Africatown. It’s one of a host of new sites aimed at honoring and interpreting the city’s African American history. Also among them, the Isom Clemon Civil Rights Memorial Park is planned for early spring 2024, with several public artworks, including one honoring the late labor leader and Civil Rights pioneer for which the pocket park is named. Located along Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, it will be a gateway to the currently in-development Civil Rights and Cultural Heritage District. On the same stretch, in 2023 the new Historic Avenue Cultural Center unveiled Remembering the Avenue, an exhibition in conjunction with the Alabama Contemporary Art Center that chronicles the history of Black Main Street through the lens of its community—and will run through 2024.
First published by Conde Nast Traveler. Read the full article here.