What to do and see in Galveston, United States: The Best Places and Tips

October 15, 2017 Moriah Teneyck

More than 30 miles of beaches plus a wealth of cultural and historic institutions make this island a Gulf of Mexico vacation hot spot. If you go, don't forget your walking shoes: With 14 museums and 20 art galleries, plus several historic homes and mansions, there's a lot of ground to cover. Armchair pilots will love the Lone Star Flight Museum and those with more of a nautical interest can check out the Texas Seaport Museum. Families will enjoy the many child-friendly attractions, including Moody Gardens, with its replica of a tropical rain forest. It's easy to get caught up in all the activities, but don't forget to spend some downtime in the sun and on the beach.
Restaurants in Galveston

1. Galveston - Port Bolivar Ferry

502 Ferry Rd, Galveston, Galveston Island, TX 77550-3146 +1 361-749-2850
Excellent
70%
Good
23%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 3 reviews

Galveston - Port Bolivar Ferry

Reviewed By texaslizE - Sherman, Texas

I recommend parking your car in free parking next to the ferry and walking up to second floor of the ferry instead of driving on. It is much quicker and the views are great up there. Take the ferry to Boliver Island but stay on when the cars deport. The new cars will drive on and then you ride back to where you started. You will see dolphin, WWII ship and sunken sub, birds, and big ships. Takes about 40 minutes depending on wind/waves.

2. Bishop's Palace

1402 Broadway St, Galveston, Galveston Island, TX 77550-4938 +1 409-762-2475
Excellent
64%
Good
29%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Bishop's Palace

The 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 (Gresham House) as one of the most significant of Victorian residences in the country.

Reviewed By wireless_in_CA - california

My review is only of the outside of the building as we arrived and found out that it was closed on Easter Sunday. The exterior was very beautiful and unique. A marker designates this building as a 1900 storm survivor, a Galveston landmark and another Texas historical medallion. Thus is a lot of history that will require a future visit to see.

Since this mansion is located in the East End it can be combined with a drive through the historic East End neighborhood as well as hunt for the tree sculptures. This was our consolation prize for not being able to visit.

3. Tree Sculptures

Renaissance Historic District, Galveston, Galveston Island, TX 77550-5138
Excellent
59%
Good
33%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 696 reviews

Tree Sculptures

Reviewed By FRED W - Colorado Springs, Colorado

Have enjoyed the sculptures as I take my morning walks in the morning. Wish I could do those at my home in Colorado

4. Moody Mansion

2618 Broadway St, Galveston, Galveston Island, TX 77550-4427 +1 409-762-7668
Excellent
60%
Good
30%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
1%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 571 reviews

Moody Mansion

Restored to its turn of the century splendor, the 28,000 square-foot, four-story structure was completed in 1895. Today, our guests visit 20 rooms on a self-guided 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 and hotels. The mansion is one of the finest places to visit, a trip back in time. Touring the museum should definitely be on the top on the list for things to do on Historic Galveston Island. Tour Information: Self-guided Audio Tours: Children 6 & Under Free Self-guided audio tours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (last tickets sold at 4p.m.; house closes at 5 p.m.) Behind-the-scenes Tours: Exclusive docent-guided tours to areas not normally open to the public 4 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday | limited size tours | reservations highly recommended Group Tours: Moody Mansion tour descriptions: Self-guided audio tours: Two audio tours allow you to set your own pace through the house and grounds. • The Moody Family tour features six members of the Moody family telling stories about their ancestors. This tour is also translated into Spanish. • Mary’s tour, appropriate for children and adults, is narrated by an actress portraying the late Mary Moody Northen as if she were guiding you through her home. Guided 25th Anniversary Tour: Behind-the-scenes tours celebrate the 25th anniversary of Moody Mansion’s restoration. A knowledgeable docent guides guests through areas not normally open to the public, describing Mary Moody Northen’s vision for preserving her home and sharing her collections. These tours are conducted at 4 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Tour size is limited; reservations are highly recommended.

Reviewed By Scott P

The tour is self guided, with a remote microphone. You type in the number on the plaque in each room and it tells you about that room. The family’s and the building’s history are pretty cool. We took our two toddlers and they were interested for about ten minutes so I wouldn’t recommend going on the tour with them if you really want to spend time in the house. Although, the children’s museum, located in the first floor of the house is awesome. Tickets I believe were $12 for adults. There is plenty of parking in front of the house in the street, or behind in a gated parking lot. There is also two employees who know almost everything about the mansion that wander around making sure you don’t touch anything. Enjoy!!

5. Rosenberg Library

2310 Sealy St, Galveston, Galveston Island, TX 77550-2296 +1 409-763-8854
Excellent
60%
Good
35%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 166 reviews

Rosenberg Library

Reviewed By marthag1947 - Houston, Texas

This is an amazing library. Filled with not only books & exhibits for the present, but also brimming with pictorials and exhibits of Galveston's most colorful history, covering everything from Galveston's heyday during the late 1800's, when it was known as the Wall Street of the south, to the devastating storm of 1900. This storm literally wiped out the island & killed thousands, the true number will never be known. And photos of the town members ralllying together & and rebuilding the city and the construction of the 12 mile long sea wall to protect the island from further destruction of future storms. An amazing feat....even by today's standards.

6. The Bryan Museum

1315 21st St, Galveston, Galveston Island, TX 77550-4717 +1 409-632-7685
Excellent
76%
Good
15%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 176 reviews

The Bryan Museum

Reviewed By Gary W - League City, Texas

Spend some time away from the beach to tour this wonderful museum of Texas history. A historic former orphanage building was restored and converted to this museum with surrounding grounds, separate gift shop, an outdoor patio area and onsite parking. Friendly and helpful staff to answer questions. Excellent displays begin with the Spanish explorers and proceed via European immigrants, independence from Mexico, Texas as a republic, statehood, the height of the cowboy era, the Civil War, and on to more recent times. The exhibits of firearms alone are amazing. It's a do not miss in Galveston!

7. East End Historic District

Galveston, Galveston Island, TX +1 409-772-1011
Excellent
56%
Good
39%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 200 reviews

East End Historic District

Reviewed By mini - Fremont, California

We drove and saw the beautiful historic homes in the East End area of Galveston. These homes are historic and show attention to detail. We are happy we took the time to visit this area.

8. Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig & Museum

Harborside Drive & 20th St, 20th Street at Harborside Drive, Galveston, Galveston Island, TX 77550 +1 409-766-7827
Excellent
56%
Good
35%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 792 reviews

Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig & Museum

The Ocean Star is a retired jackup drilling rig that offers a fun, hands on way to learn about the offshore oil and gas industry in a comfortable and accessible facility. The museum features three floors of models, exhibits, equipment and interactive displays illustrating the story of offshore exploration and production. This self guided museum is open seven days a week and offers visitors the unique opportunity to board an actual offshore rig. While ticket sales halt at 4:00 PM, visitors can remain until the site closes at 5:00. Welcome Aboard!

Reviewed By dianel103 - Lake Placid, Florida

We had a coupon for the audio advice for our visit to Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig, and the added information greatly expanded our visit. The museum presents a plethora of information that is challenging for the average visitor to grasp. The audio presentation was a great assist. Not only did the museum cover the whole process of drilling for oil and natural gas, other topics included: evacuation of the platform in an emergency, the importance of the chef on duty, activities available to crew when off duty, sleeping quarters, and other topics on a human interest level. It may not be the place for very young children, but my fourth grade class would have found it fascinating: boys and girls.

9. 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA

Texas Seaport Museum, Pier 21, Galveston, Galveston Island, TX +1 409-763-1877
Excellent
59%
Good
31%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 506 reviews

1877 Tall Ship ELISSA

Reviewed By debbiekkelly - Louisville, Kentucky

We like history. We drove a short drive from Kemah to Galveston. We enjoyed the seaport museum and the tour of the 1877 ELISA. We used the audio tour to walk the ship as it explained the various points of interest.

If you like history, check it out.

10. The Strand

2100 Strand St, Galveston, Galveston Island, TX 77550-1633 +1 409-762-2515
Excellent
49%
Good
34%
Satisfactory
14%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 2 reviews

The Strand

A lively strip in the heart of historic Galveston feautures pubs, delis and specialty shops.

Reviewed By RoseBC23

Horse drawn carriages abound on the weekends. Store people were friendly. Every place we ate or snacked was very good. It's a nice place to meander and shop. Prices were very reasonable -- better than expected for a "tourist" area.

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