Galveston’s 70-block historic downtown is a veritable treasure chest of culture, from the 19th-century architecture that made The Strand a National Historic Landmark to its museums, galleries and theaters.
One of its many events is ArtWalk, a citywide open house that happens every six to eight weeks and draws between 1,000 and 3,000 visitors. There’s truly something for every aesthetic sense here, from avant-garde works by nationally renowned artists, to handmade crafts, to whimsical paintings perfect for a beach house. Visitors stroll from gallery to gallery and the fun spills out into the streets, with food and drink vendors lining the sidewalk. ArtWalk’s newest feature is the Art Market on Market, an evening of live music, painting, photography, jewelry, performance art and temporary social art.
Another downtown gem is Island ETC, the city’s only professional repertory theater company. Formed in 2002 with members of the Strand Street Theatre (which was established in the ’70s), the company stages five or six productions each season.
In the late 19th century, German-born theater impresario Henry Greenwall managed to raise the then-impressive sum of $100,000, mostly from local businessmen, to build Galveston a luxurious new opera house with attached hotel and shops. Designed by architect and scenic designer Frank Cox, the stately, red brick, Romanesque Revival building with stone trim and terra-cotta ornaments survived its greatest test just six years after completion - the hurricane of 1900. Extensive repairs were required, but the opera house lived on.
After decades of presenting opera, theater, vaudeville and movies, the main auditorium began to show its age, so in 1974 the Galveston County Cultural Arts Council kicked off an ambitious 12-year restoration that lovingly returned the theater to its fin-de-siècle glory. In 1993, the Texas Legislature designated The Grand as the “Official Opera House of the State of Texas,” and it is considered one of the finest surviving 19th-century theaters in the country. Meanwhile, it still hosts dozens of performances a year, ranging from theater to musicals, stand-up comedy to live bands.
Summer Fun: Saturdays on the Island
While beaches, attractions, museums and more are open most days, Saturdays are often the big day for those coming to enjoy the island. Read more.
Date Night on the Island
Not that there’s anything wrong with the staid date night tradition of dinner and a movie, but let’s be honest, it’s not the most creative use of your time with that special someone. Read more.
CATCH ME at ETC is Festive, Musical Fun
Island ETC opened its new season with a rollicking, musical look at a real life scoundrel. Read more.
Historic Sites, Beaches Make Galveston a Pokemon Go Hotspot
As a city known for its historical landmarks and buildings, there is no questioning as to why Galveston has become the perfect place to capture and battle all of the Pokémon of your childhood dreams. Read more.
The Magic of Live Performance Spells Great Entertainment at The Grand
The Grand 1894 Opera House continues to produce an annual performing arts season that delivers “living in the moment” entertainment experiences that capture the imagination of its audiences. Read more.
Rosenberg Library Remembers Harry Bennett With July 2016 Treasure of the Month
During the month of July the Rosenberg Library will be displaying two items donated by Bennett: a Portuguese signal gun and an excerpt from a typescript of Charles W. Hayes’ Galveston: History of the Island and the City. Read more.
Galveston's Best-Kept Secrets
Think you know Galveston? You may be surprised! Galveston.com blogger Bobby Stanton opens the door to some of the best features of the Island, that may just also open your eyes! Read more.
East Beach: Galveston's Party Central for Fun and Surf
With live music concerts, sparkling surf, volleyball courts, concession stands and the imaginative sand sculptures created during the annual AIA Sandcastle Competition, East Beach is one of the most popular beaches on the island. Read more.
GET ME, LLC Expands Into Galveston
Groceries, rides, errand services, and much more are now available at the fingertips of thousands of more consumers, as the enterprising start-up GET ME, LLC ("get me") expands into Galveston and other markets. Read more.
Ten Things to Do in Downtown Galveston
As a local, it is not at all uncommon to be asked “What is there to do in Galveston?” To me, it seems like such an odd question. The question really should be more like “What ISN’T there to do in Galveston?” Read more.