One of Galveston‘s most visited attractions is the Strand Historic District. The Strand is made up mostly of old Victorian-style building. The Strand is located in Downtown Galveston between 20th and 25th street near the city’s wharf. This district is made up of historic buildings, museums, restaurants, retail stores, candy stores, and much more. The Strand even has a huge chessboard that takes up half of a block and knee-high chess pieces. The Strand is also home to many of Galveston’s night clubs. Many visitors experience this district on foot but for a fee, it can be enjoyed on an old fashion horse-drawn carriage.
The Strand in Galveston is the location for many annual celebrations and special events. Some of the most popular of these events include Mardi Gras, a festival made famous in Louisiana, and a Christmas festival called Dickens on the Strand.
Much of the Strand was destroyed by Hurricane Ike in 2008. The flooding was around 7 feet deep on many of the streets. Most of the business was reopened by late 2009. This is the second major hurricane to hit Galveston and devastate the Strand. The first was in 1900 and was deemed the Great Storm. There is a museum commemorating the Great Storm on the north end of the Strand.
Galveston Strand Attractions
For a small fee visitors on the Galveston Strand can take a boat tour of the west side of Galveston Island. This tour lasts between 45 minutes and 1 hour. On this narrated boat tour you will see U.S. Coast Guard ships, the offshore energy center museum, and at the end of the tour, you will see a battleship and a submarine at Seawolf Park. These vessels are called DE-238 USS Stewart and SS-244 USS Cavalla. At this point in the tour, you will also get a chance to see dolphins surfacing all around you. Dolphins always congregate at this point just before you reach the Galveston Ferry crossing. You may also take a similar cruise aboard the Colonel Paddlewheel. The Colonel Paddlewheel launches from Moody Gardens, a few blocks from the Strand.
Many tourists visit Galveston just for the shopping on the Strand. The Southside of the Strand has a quaint little candy factory/shop where you can choose from hundreds of different chocolates and candies, or you can get one of their specialty teas or coffees. Other shops at the Strand include clothes, antiques, furniture, gift shops, toys, gourmet foods, art galleries, and much more.
The Great Storm Theater
See a documentary about the great storm of 1900 that devastated Galveston on a giant panoramic screen. This film is twenty minutes long.
Galveston Railroad Museum
The Galveston Railroad Museum is located at 25th and Strand in the former Santa Fe Railroad station. At this museum, guests will see locomotives, railcars, and much more from the golden age of rail travel. You will even have a chance to step inside one of the locomotives.
Texas Seaport Museum
The Galveston Texas Seaport Museum located on the Strand Historic District is dedicated to remembering how maritime commerce played a key role in shaping the history of Galveston, Texas, and all of the United States. You may also trace back immigration records at the Texas Seaport Museum on their interactive computer database. Maybe you can track down some of your ancestors that arrived in Texas to build a new life. Other attractions at the Texas Seaport Museum include a theatre presentation, educational exhibits, a gift shop, and more.
The Texas Seaport Museum’s most popular attraction is the Elissa. The Elissa is a nicknamed “The Tall Ship of Texas”. The Elissa, built-in 1877, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmark.
Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig & Museum
The Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum in the Strand historic district is dedicated to learning about offshore oil production, research, and exploration. The offshore drilling industry is a huge part of the prosperity of this part of Texas. The museum is an actual drilling rig that has been retired and transformed into a museum with interactive displays, educational exhibits, and a Hall of Fame that recognizes the personalities that made the offshore drilling industry what it is today.
Saengerfest Park is the location for many special events in Galveston including Market on the Strand held the third Saturday of every month. At this market, visitors can scan through local crafts, jewelry, and much more. The Mardi Gras Festival and several other special events also take place at this park. Saengerfest Park is located on 23rd and Strand in Galveston.
Post Office District
Many of the Strand’s attractions are located in the Post Office District. This district contains art galleries, the Grand 1894 Opera House, a location that shows documentaries about Galveston history, and much more.