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
Galveston Isle Kicks Off Tourism Season Memorial Day Weekend
Published: Thursday, May 24, 2018
As thousands of visitors flock to Galveston this Memorial Day weekend, the island’s tourism industry will be celebrating the kickoff of what is expected to be a successful summer vacation season. Read more.
Don't Forget Postoffice!
Published: Thursday, May 10, 2018
The quarter-mile strip of Postoffice Street between 23rd & 20th St. has dozens of great shops, top-notch coffee, ice cream and more! Read more.
May 2018 - Fides Senechal's First Communion Memorabilia
Published: Wednesday, May 02, 2018
During the month of May, Rosenberg Library will exhibit a beautiful, hand-carved mother-of-pearl rosary which was presented to Galveston resident Fides Senechal Boening Read more.
3 Great Ways to Celebrate Mom!
Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018
Mother’s Day is all about treating those important ladies in your life right! One of the most memorable ways to do that is by creating new memories with the women who have taught you the most. Read more.
Fourth Week Winners Announced
Published: Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Prior to the annual Galveston FeatherFest, birders and photographers alike are encouraged to submit their photos for cash prizes! Here are the winners of Week 4. Read more.
10 Things You Probably Don't Know About The Grand 1894 Opera House
Published: Tuesday, April 10, 2018
The Grand 1894 Opera House has an amazing history, but how much of it do you actually know? Read more.
Third Week Winners Announcement
Published: Wednesday, April 04, 2018
Prior to the annual Galveston FeatherFest, birders and photographers alike are encouraged to submit their photos for cash prizes! Here are the winners of Week 3. Read more.
April 2018 - Saengerfest and The Salamander Club of Galveston
Published: Friday, March 30, 2018
During the month of April, Rosenberg Library will exhibit several historical items related to Galveston’s 1881 Saengerfest celebration and to the German singing society known as the Salamander Club. Read more.
New Resident Finds His 'Strandly' Downtown
Published: Thursday, February 08, 2018
Get a glimpse into the lives of some fascinating people who have made the journey to Galveston, Texas. Read more.
What to do Before or After My Cruise?
Published: Thursday, February 08, 2018
Check out this video and blog pairing to help you navigate Galveston's frequently asked questions. Read more.