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
Holiday Fun Continues This Weekend
Published: Tuesday, December 11, 2018
It’s all about Santa Claus and shopping on Galveston Island this weekend. Santa will make several appearances in the historic downtown district where visitors will find myriad ways to finish up their Christmas shopping. Read more.
Free Events on Galveston Island this Holiday Season
Published: Thursday, December 06, 2018
The island transforms into a “Winter Wonder Island,” as the store-fronts of downtown get blanketed in wreaths, lanterns and, of course, lights. Galveston also hosts several free and discounted events including Santa sightings, public art displays and more. 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.
Holiday Fun Continues in Galveston with Expanded Downtown Lanterns & Lights
Published: Sunday, November 25, 2018
An expanded Downtown Lanterns and Lights has been illuminated in downtown Galveston. Read more.
The 6 Best Kid-Friendly Holiday Experiences in Galveston
Published: Thursday, November 15, 2018
The holidays are about spending time with your family, and Galveston has no shortage of family-friendly attractions, events and displays! Read more.
Ice Land: Pole-to-Pole Opens November 17
Published: Friday, November 09, 2018
Ring in the holiday season in an ultra-cool way with a trip down a 30-foot tall Glacier Ice Slide completely carved from ice. This is one of many unique experiences visitors can enjoy inside the chilly ICE LAND: Pole-to-Pole, opening Nov. 17 at Moody Gardens. Read more.
Island Restaurants Celebrate Community & Cuisine with Galveston Restaurant Week
Published: Thursday, November 08, 2018
The eighth annual Galveston Restaurant Week - Saturday, January 26th to Sunday, February 10, 2019 - brings Galveston Island's vibrant food scene to life for two full weeks of delicious dining. Read more.
Power Grids Are a Powerful Thing
Published: Friday, November 02, 2018
Find out about the new power grid downtown that has eliminated the need for noisy generators at the Lone Star Rally. Read more.
November 2018 - The D.A.R. in Galveston
Published: Wednesday, October 31, 2018
During the month of November, Rosenberg Library will exhibit items related to the George Washington Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution from its permanent collection as well as items on loan from the chapter itself. Read more.