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
Canceled Cruise? We've Got You Covered!
Published: Friday, June 21, 2019
Don’t let this cancellation rain on your vacation parade, plan your trip to Galveston Island today! Read more.
Remembering Bill Wittliff - A Conversation at The Bryan Museum
Published: Tuesday, June 11, 2019
Bill Witliff died on Sunday at age 79. Witliff joined J.P. Bryan for a conversation at The Bryan Museum in Galveston on August 4, 2018. Read more.
June 2019 - Jessie McGuire Dent
Published: Monday, June 03, 2019
During the month of June, Rosenberg Library will exhibit items related to Jessie McGuire Dent, a Galveston educator and civil rights activist. Read more.
Enjoy Island History on a Budget This Summer
Published: Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Wanna learn how to get the best bang for your buck this summer when touring Galveston's historic attractions? Here's how... Read more.
Galveston Island Beach Revue Returns May 17 & 18
Published: Wednesday, May 08, 2019
Galveston’s vintage past meets present-day fun for the 11th Annual Galveston Island Beach Revue. Read more.
May 2019 - The Galveston Municipal Flag
Published: Friday, May 03, 2019
During the month of May, Rosenberg Library will exhibit items related to a city-wide flag design competition held in the spring of 1916. 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.
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.
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.