- Things to Do
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- Where to Stay
- Plan Your Trip
Galveston is a historic beach town offering a wealth of incredible history, including several of the best museums around.
Resiliency and a heart for preservation have helped make Galveston one of the most well-known historic towns on the Gulf Coast. The strength, ingenuity and progress of Galvestonians in the aftermath of The Great 1900 Storm are captured within the walls of numerous museums on the Island.
pictured: The 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA
A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots. Marcus Garvey
Tour one of the island’s most popular mansions built of stone and steel, designed by Nicholas Clayton, Galveston’s premier Victorian-era architect. Bishop's Palace (a.k.a. Gresham House) is a contributing building in the East End Historic District, a National Historic Landmark. The house is listed in the National Register of Historic Places at the national level of significance in the area of architecture. Architectural historians list the Bishop’s Palace as one of the most significant of Victorian residences in the country.
Explore locomotive history with one of the largest restored railroad collections in the United States.
The Railroad Museum has 40 pieces of rolling stock, the largest collection of dining car china in the Southwest and two incredible model railroad layouts.
The museum also owns a mile of track and runs weekly caboose rides!
Galveston's storied history includes numerous powerful families who helped build the city in which many of their homes still stand.
Restored to its turn of the century splendor, this 28,000 square-foot, four-story Galveston historic home was completed in 1895.
Today, guests visit 20 rooms on a tour that depicts the home life of a powerful Texas family. The Moodys established one of the great American financial empires. Based on cotton, it grew to include banking, ranching, insurance, newspaper publishing, railroading and hotels.
Galveston was one of the wealthiest cities during the late 1800s, home to The Strand AKA the "Wall Street of the Southwest."
The Galveston Arts Center, a non-profit organization, was incorporated in 1986 as the primary center of contemporary art serving a culturally diverse, eight-county area between Houston, Corpus Christi and Beaumont. This one-of-a-kind art museum is housed in the historic First National Bank building (1878) at the corner of 22nd and Strand.
Experience the epic story of Texas and the American West! The Bryan Museum is located in the 1895 Galveston Orphans Home, and houses one of the world’s largest collections of historical artifacts, documents, and artwork relating to Texas and the American West. The collection spans more than 12,000 years, with pieces ranging from ancient Native American cultural artifacts to twenty-first-century objects. The adventure of history comes alive at The Bryan Museum.
The Texas Seaport Museum is currently undergoing renovation for a summer launch of a new interactive experience. "Ship to Shore" will debut in 2021 and tell Galveston’s rich immigration history through a new, state-of-the-art, experience.
During construction, the museum will be closed, however, tours of the 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA and our Harbor Tours are available daily.
Galveston's Pelican Island was the second-largest immigration station in the late 1800s and early 1900s giving it the nickname, “Ellis Island of the South.”
The Galveston Children’s Museum, housed in the 1895 Moody Mansion, is an Island resource that attracts families and serves the community with fun for children in all areas of education and offers self-directed activities promoting science, literacy, math, and the arts. It showcases dynamic exhibits targeting a primary focus group of children ages 2-10 and conducts special programming for children of all ages.
Take your time exploring historic WWII vessels on a self-guided tour or with one of their tour guides. Capture the experience as a predator patrolling underwater in the Pacific or as the protector of Allied forces in the North Atlantic. Gain a unique memory of being on the USS Cavalla, a World War II submarine that sank a Japanese aircraft carrier involved in the Pearl Harbor attacks, or the USS Stewart, the only Edsall-class destroyer escort preserved in the United States.
Learn the importance of the industries that keep Galveston a thriving coastal city and tourism destination today.
Take a leisurely, self-guided tour through the retired Ocean Star jack-up rig which now serves as a museum and educational facility. From geological exploration to drilling, to oil and gas production, you will see offshore drilling equipment, exhibits and videos on three levels of this refurbished offshore drilling rig.
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.“
Visit the box office of The Grand located on Postoffice Street in Historic Downtown Galveston for a tour.
This curriculum was developed in order to teach students about Galveston’s rich history in a way that is fun and engaging. Teachers and parents can use these lessons to learn before you come, or review what you've learned after you visit these historical sites that can only be found in Galveston, Texas.
The suggested time frame for visiting these sites is over a minimum of a two-day period. Please be mindful of the museum and tour hours for each site as you set up the order in which you plan your visit to Galveston. Use the interactive map that will take you to a Google Map that shows you where the sites are located; they are divided using a two-day guided format.
by Visit Galveston
by Visit Galveston
Where the Texas Coast begins.
by Clayton Kolavo
by Kristen Vale