This island city is named after Bernardo de Glvez, the Spanish Colonial governor who ordered the first survey of the Texas Gulf Coast in 1786. The surveyor, Jose de Evia, named Galveston Bay in honor of the governor and the island was later given the same name. Ironically, Bernardo de Glvez never visited the island.
THE STRAND DISTRICT
POSTOFFICE ARTS DISTRICTEnticing galleries that feature assorted types of art from local to national and internationally known artists line the streets of the Post Office District. More than 25 historic buildings have been rejuvenated by the charming blend of galleries, antique shops and elegant eateries found in this district.
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
The Grand 1894 Opera House, "The Official Opera House of the State of Texas," is restored to its original grandeur. The theater’s season includes various Broadway shows, a children’s series, and popular entertainers such as B.B. King, Chubby Checker, Steve Tyrell and many others who grace its stage to packed houses. Etc. Theater, located across the street from The Tremont House in the former location of Strand Theatre produces a variety of shows during the year and is a testament to the lively local theater tradition of Galveston. The varied galleries exhibit and sell a multitude of art. Oil and watercolor paintings, drawings, sculpture and even paper designs can be found in Galveston’s galleries.
At the Lone Star Flight Museum at Scholes International Airport guests can explore an extensive collection of restored aircraft and aviation exhibits. The museum also offers rides in several warbirds for an additional cost. Historic downtown Galveston is home to four museums focusing on the offshore oil industry, harbor history, railroad and county. Currently, two of four museums are open - the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum and 1877 Tall Ship Elissa docked at the Texas Seaport Museum. The Ocean Star at Pier 21 exhibits a working drilling rig and the Texas Seaport Museum, which is under renovation, is home to the 1877 Tall Ship Elissa, the official Tall Ship of Texas. The art deco Railroad Museum – The Center for Transportation and Commerce features one of the largest railroad collections in the Southwest. The Galveston County Historical Museum, housed in the 1921 City National Bank Building, is temporarily closed due to damage from Hurricane Ike but tentatively planning to reopen in 2010. The museum exhibits include Thomas Edison’s early motion picture footage on the 1900 storm.
1605 33rd Street Experience the charm of the Old South during guided tours of this Greek Revival house and its outstanding collection of 19th-century furnishings. Built in 1838 by Michel B. Menard, the home is the oldest remaining house on the island.
2328 Broadway Built in 1858-59, Ashton Villa was the first of Galveston's Broadway "palaces." Highlighted as one of 12 National Trust Save America’s Treasures sites on HGTV’s “RESTORE AMERICA” in 2004-05, the mansion is filled with antiques and heirlooms of a prominent Victorian family. The Galveston Island Visitors Center, operated by the Convention & Visitors Bureau, is also located in the gift shop.
1402 Broadway Bishop’s Palace was built for Galveston attorney Colonel Walter Gresham and designed by Nicholas Clayton. It was later purchased for Bishop Christopher Byrne in 1923 by the Galveston-Houston Diocese. This castle is cited by the American Institute of Architects as one of the 100 most important buildings in America. The tour was recently revamped to focus on the home’s detailed architectural features.
502 20th Street
Built in just 114 days and surviving the 1885 Galveston Fire, the Custom House is a Greek Revival public building, occupied by the Confederate Army during the Civil War, became a Federal Courthouse in 1917 and now serves as headquarters of the Galveston Historical Foundation. 1895 Moody
Moody Mansion was designed by William H. Tyndall and is limestone and brick home featuring rare handcarved wood, stained glass, coffered ceilings and Moody family heirlooms. Mary Moody Northen held a keen interest in historical preservation inspiring her to have the family’s mansion restored to a museum. The museum now includes an automobile exhibit of the family’s car collection in a newly added garage.
One of the top locations for birding in the United States, water and shore birds are observed throughout the year. Rare species are spotted during fall and spring migration. The Galveston Bay Estuary is the largest and most productive on the Texas coast. Galveston is a short drive to High Island’s Audubon preserve Boy Scout Woods, a favorite spring destination for migratory songbirds.
GULF COAST DINING
From authentic Tex-Mex and Cajun creations, to Texas-sized steaks and the freshest selection of seafood on the Gulf, Galveston Island dishes it all out with genuine southern hospitality. Galveston is home to vast number of locally owned and operated restaurants to satisfy any palate.