Seafood, shops, and so much more.
In the late 1800s, Galveston was called the Wall Street of the Southwest. Just beyond Pier 19, you can see the impressive stone buildings on the downtown avenue called The Strand, where wealthy cotton brokers, bankers, and shipping tycoons maintained offices. The hurricane of 1900, which killed some 6,000 citizens, ended that era. Now those old stone buildings house restaurants, gift shops, bars, and other tourist-driven businesses. And that’s the Galveston mystique-it’s an antique jewel of a Southern city mounted in an improbably kitschy setting of tiki bars, seaside amusement parks, and sandy beaches. Its unusual blend of the upscale and the offbeat has attracted some 48,000 residents, as well as more than 6 million tourists annually. Galveston is home to one of the largest motorcycle rallies in North America, the third-largest Mardi Gras celebration in the U.S., and one of the country’s best old opera houses.