A rapidly-growing port town in the later part of the 19th Century, Galveston, Texas, USA was one of the most important harbours on the Gulf of Mexico. Galveston town had a prospering social scene thanks to all the money the port put into the city. Then came the hurricane of 1900. That hurricane, known as 'the great storm' to locals, wiped Galveston clean off the map, killing 6000 people and leaving 8000 homeless. After 1900, modern Galveston was rebuilt in the financial shadow of Houston, Texas.
Modern Galveston's main income comes from the offshore oil industry and tourism, in that order; though most of the tourists come from elsewhere in Texas. Galveston is home to branch campuses of the two biggest Texas public schools: Texas A&M at Galveston, located on Pelican Island and home of the only US Maritime Academy on the Gulf Coast, and University of Texas Medical Branch located on Strand by the ferry. The presence of these schools helps to bring no small amount of prestige and money into Galveston.
Things to do
For the visitor, the otherwise industrial city of Galveston has established the Strand, which is a nice area of overpriced shops and restaurants located along the waterfront. Several very rich people have lived in and left behind very nice mansions over the past century of Galveston's modern existence. Visitors may take guided tours of the neighbourhoods in which these stately homes are situated. There is a sandy beach, but the water is really very clouded and shallow, which is not very pretty; but all this sediment in the water has promoted great fisheries all about the Gulf Coast and Galveston Island. So rather than putting your tender self in the water, why not drop a baited hook in the ocean and relax with a cold beverage. Whether you fish from the shore, the pier, or from a boat you stand a good chance of catching something.
Places to eat - For good seafood that is more reasonably priced than at most of the restaurants in the Strand area, Willi G's is very good. A less prominent spot that is also worth a visit is Yamamotos Japanese Steak House, off 61st street.
Places to avoid - Avoid the docks and industrial areas, unless you have pressing reasons to go there, such as your ship is docked there. Also the Seawolf Parkway after dark is the most dangerous place in the entire city. Otherwise Galveston is no worse than just about any American city, and better than most.
Local brews to try - None... unless you're from out of state, in which case try Shiner Bock, it is not brewed in Galveston, but it is a true Texan beer.Local bars and clubs:
- Club 42 in the Strand.
- Diggie's Bar, also in the Strand.
- Fitzpatrick's Bar, also in the Strand.