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Cruise In and Celebrate Downtown Galveston

Updated 667 days ago

The good just keeps on getting better for cruise passengers who arrive in Galveston for a long-awaited vacation to the crystal blue waters of the Caribbean and beyond.

After a day of packing the bags and driving to the island, cruise passengers can let their hair down and plunge into some big fun. Cristina Galego, public relations manager at the Port of Galveston, explains:

“Passengers can park at the Port of Galveston parking lot at 33rd and Harborside Drive, and we’ll shuttle you and your luggage to the cruise terminal where you can drop off your luggage with one of our porters, beginning at 9 a.m. Then you have the rest of the afternoon to explore historic downtown Galveston.”

Making things even easier, visitors can pre-pay for the parking online. “You select your cruise ship, the length of the cruise and departure date, and it tells you how much it’ll be,” Galego said.

Free from their luggage and with time on their hands before the afternoon departure, cruise passengers have some of the coolest shops, art venues and restaurants at their fingertips – and all within walking distance to the cruise ship.

Julie Pippert, who handles social media for downtown Galveston websites, explains:

“There’s everything from museums to clothing boutiques and souvenir shops, not to mention an amazing and diverse offering of fantastic restaurants. You can find any kind of entertainment or diversion within a few blocks of the cruise terminal on Harborside Drive. And downtown is completely walkable.”

Here’s a line-up of some the fun and exciting offerings that historic downtown Galveston has to offer:

Tall Ship ELISSA
Share the adventure of the high seas at the Texas Seaport Museum, home of the celebrated 1877 tall ship ELISSA. Explore the decks of this floating National Historic Landmark which has also been designated one of America's Treasures by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Walk ELISSA's decks and imagine the days when daring sailors challenged the world's oceans. In the adjacent museum and theater, witness the story of ELISSA's dramatic rescue from the scrap yard and her meticulous restoration.

ELISSA is located at 2200 Harborside Dr. For more info, call 409-763-1877

The Pier 21 Theater
Check out a presentation of “The Great Storm,” the story of the 1900 hurricane that hit Galveston Island on Sept. 8. It has been digitally restored from its 35mm slide presentation to an advanced wide-screen, high definition format. The documentary shares the personal stories of survivors and the recovery of Galveston following the deadliest natural disaster in United States history. This new HD version shows incredible detail and clarity in the black and white photos taken after the disaster and used in the documentary.

The theater is located at 2100 Harborside Dr. For showtimes or more information, call 409-763-8808.

La King’s Confectionery
La King's Confectionery is your connection to a bygone era, dating back to the 1920s when James H King began learning the candymaking art as an apprentice at the St. Regis Confectionery in Houston. La King's features a 1920s soda fountain, serving malts, shakes, ice cream sodas, sundaes, splits and floats.

Let La King's master candymaker will delight you with his old time specialties – peanut brittle, divinity, pecan pralines, hand-dipped chocolates, fudges, and famous salt water taffy made right before your eyes on antique equipment. They make more than 40 candies from traditional recipes, just waiting for you!

La King’s is located at 2323 Strand. For more information, call 409-762-6100.

Yaga’s Café and Bar
If you’re ready for some fun, Yaga’s Cafe and Bar wrote the book on mo' bettah food and vibes on Galveston Island. From sandwiches to hot-from-the-oven pizzas to weekend live entertainment, to the jammin' outdoor patio, Yaga's is the place to go when looking for Jamaican-style good times.

Yaga's Cafe is located at 2314 Strand, just steps from Saengerfest Park. For more information, call 409-762-6676.

Saltwater Grill
Few restaurants deliver the quality, atmosphere and personal attention that Saltwater Grill serves up daily. Featuring incredible gourmet cuisine in a quaint, elegant-yet-exciting atmosphere, Saltwater Grill is conveniently located in the heart of bustling downtown Galveston Island directly across the street from the Opera House.

Saltwater Grill has been open for over 15 years and serves fresh seafood from the Gulf, Atlantic, and Pacific. Saltwater prides itself in providing healthier preparations of seafood choosing to grill, steam, or broil your seafood selection. Saltwater has an open kitchen, so no matter where you sit in the restaurant you will have a view of your seafood being prepared.

The restaurant, winner of the 2015 Restaurant of the Year Award, is located at 2017 Postoffice St. For reservations and more information, call 409-762-3474.

Sky Bar Steak & Sushi Bar
Bouncing back from Hurricane Ike, Sky Bar has completed their renovations with an edgy warm colorful feel that perfectly complements their exceptional food and service. The comprehensive menu has stayed intact with choices ranging from the freshest sushi rolls that constantly push the limits of creativity, two choices of prime steaks, and an abundance of options for non-sushi eaters and vegetarians. Watch the chefs prepare sushi and sashimi at the newly extended granite sushi bar.

“It would be hard to find a trendier restaurant in Galveston than Sky Bar,” The New York Times wrote. “It serves creative sushi combinations made from sea bass, tuna and salmon in an ambience that seems to have more in common with Santa Monica than the nearby Strand district of Victorian splendor."

Sky Bar is located at 2107 Postoffice St. For reservations or more information, call 409-621-4759.

Rudy & Paco
When visiting Galveston Island, you simply can't miss one of the Island's most unique dining experience, Rudy & Paco. Rudy & Paco features grilled seafood and steak with a South and Central American cuisine.

Relax and unwind with your favorite cocktail while enjoying delicious Antojitos. Rudy & Paco is located next door to The Grand 1894 Opera House, and is a great choice for pre-show dinner specials. Note: Shorts are not allowed in main dining room at dinner, but are accepted at the bar. Lunch is casual and shorts are acceptable. Reservations are recommended.

Rudy & Paco is located at 2028 Postoffice St. For more information, call 409-762-3696.

Modern Vintage
Modern Vintage, “A Style is Born,” features furniture, home decor, clothing, accessories and gift items created with a passion for vintage mixed with modern elements giving its selections an old world flair with a zing, a little bohemian chic, or an antique style with a modern twist. Owner Shawna Doskocil scours markets far and wide to find unique, one-of-a-kind treasures.

Owner Shawna Doskocil scours markets far and wide to find unique, one-of-a-kind treasures. Her passion for vintage, mixed with modern elements, has created an eclectic style all of its own – which is where the slogan “A Style Is Born” originated.

Clothing selections include designer Cindy Lowrie's tie dyed scarves and vintage slips, with a unique style of her own. Also included are design items with artistic value and historical meaning from KL Collection, “Home Decor with Yesterday's and Today's Artists in Mind.”

Modern Vintage is located at 2005 Postoffice St. For more information, call 409-762-0202.

The Grand 1895 Opera House
The Grand has a very special place in the history of our community and in the lives of many of our residents. It survived the storms of 1900 and 1915, and Hurricanes Carla, Alicia, and Ike – as well as years of neglect at various times throughout its history.

The Grand is one of the few remaining theatres of its era in Texas and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. As further recognition of its importance to the citizens of Texas, in 1993 the 73rd Texas Legislature proclaimed The Grand “The Official Opera House of Texas.”

Galvestonians exhibited great vision in 1894 when they undertook to support the arts in Galveston by construction of The Grand. A later generation of Galvestonians renewed that commitment with equal vision when they undertook to save and restore The Grand in 1974.

The Grand was restored in 1974. Artists who have performed there include Tony Bennett, Sarah Vaughan, William Jennings Bryan, Al Jolson, Tex Ritter, Gladys Knight, Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, Hal Holbrook and the B-52's, among others.

The Grand is located at 2020 Postoffice St. For showtimes or more information, call 409-763-7173.

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Article written by Robert Stanton - Isle Guy

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