Beat the heat & keep cool in charming, historic downtown Galveston

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The Strand Historic District | Photo courtesy of Galveston CVB

Explore downtown Galveston through the dog days of summer and escape into the cool, air-conditioned comfort of the city’s compelling attractions and charming shops, boutiques, restaurants, and bars. 

There’s more to Galveston Island than the beach and outdoor fun.

Downtown Galveston traces its origins back some 200 years, and now boasts a bevy of attractions both new and historic, locally-owned and unique boutiques, as well as enticing entrees and intoxicating cocktails from exceptional eateries.

When the heat gets broiling and you need a place to escape the sun, downtown Galveston has plenty of places sprinkled around where you can feel the cool salvation of air-conditioning.

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Mod Coffee House at Postoffice and Kempner streets | Photo courtesy of Galveston CVB

Attractions

Downtown is chock full of historic attractions, modern diversions, and timeless entertainments. We’ve picked out a few of our favorites, but you can also click here for a complete list and details.

  • The Strand Historic District Serving as the hub of Galveston’s downtown, the historic Strand Street is flanked by a variety of shops, restaurants, galleries, and museums — many of which are located in buildings that have survived for over a century, including during the catastrophic 1900 Storm.
  • Haunted Mayfield Manor – A researcher into mental illness, Dr. Horace Mayfield found himself driven over the brink when the 1900 Storm took the lives of his bride, parents, and the entirety of his extensive research documentation. Take a tour through his former home and get an up-close and very personal look at his life’s work.
  • Postoffice Street Arts & Entertainment District – Not far from Strand Street, another downtown district offers a stroll through the island’s prominent art galleries, antique shops, and restaurants, as well as The Grand 1894 Opera House that you can explore with a self-guided tour.
  • Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig & Museum – Moored at Pier 19, just a block from The Strand, the Ocean Star is a retired offshore jack-up rig that serves as a unique museum and learning center that covers the many facets of geological exploration, drilling, and petroleum production.
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Nautical Antiques & Decor | Photo courtesy of the Galveston Convention & Visitors Bureau

Shopping

In addition to these shops and stops highlighted below, you can find more than 50 shopping destinations clustered in downtown Galveston. Click here to see the full list and details.

  • Nautical Antiques & Decor – Located on Mechanic Street, this shop serves as a purveyor of nautical salvage from many of the world’s ships that have passed through Galveston ports. From compasses to flags, oars, and brass, you can find your next unique item for your decor.
  • Beef Jerky Outlet – You never knew this many varieties of beef jerky existed, did you? The Outlet on the Strand offers an eye-popping amount of fresh, small-batch beef jerky with plenty of free samples on offer.
  • Cariloha – From apparel to bedding, handbags, and more, this retailer invites you to peruse their store of products made of bamboo. The renewable resource ensures that Cariloha can offer environmentally friendly goods at a unique location off The Strand.
  • The Witchery – Cleanse your self and spirit at this mystical storefront on Postoffice Street. With over a thousand books and inspirational gifts, the focus here is on self-discovery and spiritual enlightenment. Check out their vast selection of herbs, essential oils, and medicinal accessories.
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The Rooftop Bar | Photo courtesy of the Galveston Convention & Visitors Bureau

Restaurants & Bars

We’ve highlighted a mix of favorite stops for food and drink, but downtown Galveston boasts nearly 40 eateries and bars offering everything from breakfast to brunch, dinner, desserts, and evening cocktails. Click here to view the full list of dining and drinking options in downtown Galveston.

  • Mod Coffee – Whether you’re stopping by for an Americano or one of the fresh daily-baked pastries, Mod Coffee & Tea House on Postoffice Street provides an enthralling local vibe and a quiet place to let some time tick away.
  • The Rooftop Bar – From four stories above Ships Mechanic Row, The Rooftop Bar atop  the historic Tremont House hotel offers spectacular views of downtown and the nearby harbor amid a modern lounge atmosphere.
  • Black Pearl – Lovers of Gulf Coast delicacies can rejoice inside the Black Pearl Oyster Bar & Grille. More than just oysters, the restaurant is a popular spot to taste fresh seafood, po-boys, and other Gulf specialities.
  • La King’s Confectionary – Since 1976, sweet tooth satisfaction has come in the form of one of the more than 40 varieties of candies made by La King’s master candy maker using traditional equipment and recipes from the 19th century. Beat the heat with ice cream sundaes and shakes, or recharge with a fresh brewed coffee so you can get back to pounding the pavement.

See More & Save with Galveston Island Pass

While you’re on the island, consider taking advantage of Galveston Island Pass to explore Galveston’s charm, history, character, and fun, while saving 40% off admission to local attractions.

When you buy a Galveston Island Pass, you get to pick four or more participating attractions and save 40% off retail price. Passes are valid 30 days after purchase.

Participating attractions include the 61st Street Fishing Pier, the American Undersea Warfare Center at SeaWolf Park, Bryan Museum, Moody Gardens Rainforest Pyramid, and more. Click here to see all participating attractions.

Click here to order a Galveston Island Pass or for more information. One pass per person.

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La King’s Confectionary | Photo courtesy of the Galveston Convention & Visitors Bureau

This story was sponsored by Galveston Convention & Visitors Bureau. Per our advertising policy, we only accept sponsored content from businesses that meet our editorial standards and truly present a valuable activity, resource, or destination for Houstonians and Houston visitors. Click here to learn about promoting your event, product or business.

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