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
Mardi Gras! Galveston Announces Entertainment Headliners
Published: Tuesday, January 28, 2020
Texas’ largest Mardi Gras celebration announces entertainment lineup. La Leyenda and Bidi Bidi Banda to headline Fiesta Gras; Bun B to serve as Grand Marshal for new Bumpin’ Bus Parade Read more.
3 Reasons Why Galveston.com & Company is Bracing for the Coolest Winter Ever
Published: Tuesday, January 21, 2020
The team of programmers, designers, and editors at Galveston.com & Company is gearing up for what it believes will be the coolest winter it’s ever experienced. And we’re not talking temperatures. Read more.
Mitchell Historic Properties Announce Sale of Hotel Galvez & Spa and The Tremont House
Published: Friday, January 10, 2020
Mitchell Historic Properties (MHP), owners of the Hotel Galvez & Spa and The Tremont House, have agreed to sell these iconic Galveston Island properties to a well-established Texas-based hospitality management and investment group. Read more.
Celebrate NYE 2020 in Galveston
Published: Monday, December 30, 2019
Ring in 2020 with one of these several NYE celebrations! Read more.
Galveston Museum Day Returns January 25-26, 2020
Published: Thursday, December 5, 2019
Museum Day brings together several local museums for two days of free and discounted admission on Jan. 25 – 26, 2020. Read more.
Miracle Christmas-themed pop-up bar returns to Galveston in 2019
Published: Thursday, November 14, 2019
From November 25th to December 31st, DTO will celebrate the season with a menu of signature cocktails, décor of lights, garlands and tchotchkes inspired by nostalgic Christmas decorations and a soundtrack of holiday songs. Read more.
9 Reasons To Visit Galveston During The Holidays
Published: Wednesday, October 9, 2019
When planning your holiday adventures, you will not want to miss out on what Galveston Island has in store this season. Read more.
It's Time to OPA! Galveston Island Greek Festival
Published: Thursday, September 12, 2019
The Island goes Greek for the 37th Annual Galveston Greek Festival, October 12 and 13 Read more.
Building History: Galveston's iconic structures bring the past to life
Published: Tuesday, September 3, 2019
Take a dive into the architectural gems that bring Galveston's storied past alive to this day Read more.
Sandcastle Competition, Free Lessons on East Beach August 24-25
Published: Tuesday, August 13, 2019
Join us Saturday, August 24 for the AIA Sandcastle Competition or come Sunday to view the completed sculptures and learn the tricks of the trade from a sandcastle building professional. Read more.