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.
From the Blogs
Massive Cajun Festival Coming to Galveston Island April 26-27
Published: Monday, April 08, 2019
Join us at Tin Cup's Caddy Shack, April 26th and 27th, for the first-ever 'Bon Temps Rouler Cajun Throwdown'! Featuring all you can eat shrimp (Friday) and crawfish (Saturday) + a star-studded musical line up, you won't want to miss this event! Read more.
April 2019 - Horace P. Nettleton's Marine Museum
Published: Tuesday, April 02, 2019
Ninety years ago this month, Frank Patten, the director of Rosenberg Library, received an unusual invitation from a local resident. Rather than being printed on paper, the invitation was extended in the form of an engraved tiger cowry seashell. Read more.
Galveston Island Events April thru May 2019
Published: Monday, March 11, 2019
With all of the festivals and events that take place in Galveston, it can sometimes be difficult to keep up! Here's a list of events taking place in the next few months: Read more.
Head to Galveston This Spring Break for Beaches, Historical Attractions
Published: Tuesday, March 05, 2019
Spring break is right around the corner which means flocks of Texans will be saying goodbye to winter as they head to the beach. Galveston’s beach parks will open March 9, and that’s just the beginning of what visitors can experience on the island this season. Read more.
Country Stars Pat Green & Jason Cassidy to Headline Mardi Gras! Galveston
Published: Thursday, January 24, 2019
Country music stars Pat Green and Jason Cassidy will give headline performances at Texas’ largest Mardi Gras celebration, taking place Feb. 22 – March 5, 2019 in Galveston. Read more.
2019 Mardi Gras! Galveston Parade Schedule
Published: Thursday, January 24, 2019
Visitors to the island can gather in Galveston’s downtown entertainment district and along the beachfront on Seawall Boulevard to see flashy floats, high-stepping marching bands and dazzling dancers at these 2019 parade events. Read more.
The Early Causeways
Published: Wednesday, January 23, 2019
I meet George Osborn on the causeway built in 1912. Eleanor Barton shows the bronze plaques that were from the 1938 causeway. Read more.
January 2019 - W.K. Hebert & Co.
Published: Friday, January 04, 2019
Established in 1919 by William Kendal Hebert, the firm provided funeral and burial services for the island’s African-American community for more than six decades. Read more.
Galveston Island Holiday Gift Guide 2018
Published: Monday, December 03, 2018
In addition to being a great holiday vacation destination, Galveston Island is home to some of the most unique boutiques, shops, restaurants and attractions in the country, making it a perfect place to do some of your holiday shopping! Read more.
Do You Sea Turtles?
Published: Monday, November 26, 2018
Have you noticed pieces of authentic artwork popping up? More specifically, grand sea turtle statues! We can attribute that to a project called “Turtles About Town”. Read more.