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10+ Free Things To Do In Galveston, Texas

Beach may bring you to Galveston. But the island has way more to offer to a budget-savvy traveler than its gulf’s water. Luckily, Galveston has plenty of free land-based activities for the whole family to enjoy.

1. Drive Around Tiki Island

Tiki Island is a small village tucked under the Galveston bridge. It's 15 minutes away from the Galveston beach and The Strand Historic District. A quiet place to detour on your way to Galveston to enjoy the colorful coastal cottages, nautical front yard decor, whimsical mailboxes and oversized boot art.

That's not your average lawn view.

These must be making a mailman day


2. Enjoy Gulf Views on The Deck at Murdochs

Hit the Galveston's oldest gift shop on Seawall, Murdochs. Built in the late 1800’s as a bathhouse, this spot is one of oldest Galveston gems that survived many storms including Ike in 2008. The place is good for souvenir shopping and has a pristine deck over the beach with rocking poly chairs and smoothies/beer bar to enjoy the gulf view and soothing breeze at sunset.

Here are some little treasures from Murdoch's 


3. Take photos of the candy-like houses along the beach


4. Take a Self-guided Tree Sculpture Tour

After Hurricane Ike hit Galveston Island in 2008, there was little left intact plus there was a major impact on woody plants. A year later, the city agreed to turn dead trees into pelicans, dolphins and musical instruments. Sculptures are located along Ball and Sealy. To read more, go here


5. Tour East End District's Victorian-style Houses

The East End Historic District is roughly framed by Broadway, Postoffice, 11th and 19th streets and displays many elegant Victorian homes built in the late 1880s to showcase a wealth of their residents. Towers, rounded porches, pointed windows, ornamental brackets and scrollwork take you back in time. This little lavender gem is amidst Victorian style homes.
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During major holidays, this neighborhood goes all out with festive decorations. Impressive displays adorn every front yard for Halloween, Christmas, Mardi Gras and Easter.

Victorian House on Ball St. in Galveston


6. Visit the Galveston Arts Center

The gallery is located on The Strand, a lively Victorian heart of the island. It's a free admission at all times. Besides the gallery, there are many restaurants, antique stores, and gift shops along The Strand. 


7. Stroll Along The Strand

Stroll back in time and experience the sights and sounds of Downtown Galveston, the National Historic Landmark district.

Nestled in the most happening place on the island, The Strand, filled with local crafts, gifts and a touch of whimsy, these souvenir shops are perfect to pick a trophy or just take a lot of photos.

Pelican Island, Galveston

Beware of the toothy predator bite!

Galveston – The Strand

8. Appreciate Art

For art enthusiasts and the general public, the Galveston Arts Center coordinates the Art Walk every six weeks on Saturdays from 6 to 9 p.m. in Downtown. Postoffice comes alive. You can view art in galleries, art spaces, studios, restaurants, retail stores, downstairs, upstairs, on the streets. It's everywhere. And it gives you a great opportunity to appreciate beautiful artworks produced by the local creative community at no cost. There are complimentary beverages and snack served by galleries and stores. 

Standard Tan by Brad Tucker, Galveston Arts Center


9. Photograph a Picture Perfect Coastal Fireplace

There are many unique coastal backdrops for family photos on The Strand. My favorite is a dreamy fireplace decorated with beach finds and two abstract patterned paintings on top of it. The spot can be found in the Roof Garden building on The Strand.


10. Listen to Live Music at The MOD Coffee House

Postoffice is a place of arts galleries, lofts, boutiques, fine eateries and the MOD coffee house, a friendly place with a locally roasted coffee and a live music on Friday and Saturday evenings. The outdoor patio under the lush green canopy is a great place to spend a breezy evening.

and have some unexpected encounters.


11. Visit Contemporary Art Galleries and Home Decor Boutiques

Around the 22nd and Postoffice, there are some lovely bright colored facades of contemporary art galleries and home decor boutiques to go window shopping.

What I love the most about those tucked-away streets in downtown is that walking along them I almost always come across something new that hasn't been there before. Look at this adorable hand-made turtle. What's not to love about it?

Clay Cup Studios: 2219 Postoffice St, Galveston, TX 77550


12. Make Your Way to The Iconic Mardi Gras Arch

Visit the Mardi Gras arch located next to The Tremont House on Mechanic street that was built in 1985 for the 1986 Mardi Gras celebration and since then has become one of the Galveston's renaissance symbols.


13. Discover Beachtown Village

Beachtown is a charming village on the eastern shore past the Stewart beach. Its architectural design blends the styles of the Victorian East End Historic District and the charm of traditional Colonial mansions. Large porches, elaborate columns, ornate trims, multi-faceted roofs and pastel colors make the village perfect for engagement and family photo shoots. The village has multiple beach access points.  


14. Try Free Candy at The La King's Confectionery

The La King's Confectionery is a sweets shop on The Strand and a must-go place to satisfy your sweet tooth. They carry ice cream, shakes, floats, chocolates and a great candy bar. The icing on the cake is the live candy making with free samples. Enjoy the entertainment of a taffy master making candy on the 100-year-old machine and tossing them to the customers at no cost.


15. Strike a Pose With Murals

Galveston is getting light up with creativity and color. Look for a nice collection of newly-painted murals on the historic Strand and right across the MOD coffee house. You'll find more than 15 different murals on one building located on the 22nd & Postoffice – "The Kindness Project."
"Greetings from Galveston" in Saengerfest Park

The Kindness Project

Away from main streets and beaten paths, there are a few gems of hidden street art.

The Proletariat Gallery, @Market St & Post St. 
You can spot these public bottle openers on door frames in the downtown.


16. Laze In a Hammock at the Beach

For those who are wary of the gulf's water, since it mostly stays muddy looking, there is a great alternative – lasing in a hammock under the Murdoch's gift store while kids building castles in the sand or playing tag with waves. 


17. Visit The Annual AIA Sandcastle Building Competition


18. Go On a Quest For Turtles About Town

Turtles About Town is an art project aiming to bring more attention to the protection of sea turtles as a keystone species for healthy oceans and beaches. Turtle Island Restoration Network has worked with Clay Cup Studios, a local art studio, to make and install 19 colorful Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle statues around the island earlier in 2019. 

No two statues are exactly the same! Each one is made to look like the surrounding neighborhood's scene. And needless to say, Galveston has many vibrant and distinctive locations. Even though I walked by some of those turtles multiply times, they still create that wow moment each time I see them.

Location: Hey Mikey’s Ice Cream: 2120 Postoffice St., Galveston, TX 77550

Location: Clay Cups Studio: 2219 Postoffice St., Galveston, TX 77550


Turtles About Town Adventure Locations (as of June 2019):

1. UTMB: 712 Texas Ave., Galveston, TX 77555
2. Strand Brass & Surf Styles: 2115 Strand St, Galveston, TX 77550
3. Galveston Art League: 2117a Postoffice St., Galveston, TX 77550
4. Hey Mikey’s Ice Cream: 2120 Postoffice St., Galveston, TX 77550
5. Clay Cups Studio: 2219 Postoffice St., Galveston, TX 77550
6. Asset Recovery Management Services: 2201 Market St., Suite 821, Galveston, TX 77550
7. Therapeutic HealthWorks Day Spa: 2114 Sealy St., Galveston, TX 77550
8. Galveston City Hall: 823 25th St., Galveston, TX 77550
9. The Bryan Museum: 1315 21st St., Galveston, TX 77550
10. Kempner Park: 2704 Avenue O, Galveston, TX 77550
11. Crockett Park Baseball Complex: 2601 53rd St., Galveston TX 77551
12. Sugar Bean: 11 Evia Main, Galveston, TX 77554
13. Campeche Cove Animal Clinic: 10015 Stewart Rd., Galveston, TX 77554
14. Sand ‘N Sea Properties: 13706 FM3005, Galveston, TX 77554
15. Texas A&M University Galveston: 200 Seawolf Pkwy, Galveston, TX 77554
16. Seawolf Park: 100 Seawolf Park Blvd, Galveston, TX 77550 

17. Oppe Elementary: 2915 81st St., Galveston, TX 77550 
18. Moody Gardens: 1 Hope Blvd., Galveston, TX 77550  
19. Harbor House Pier 21: Pier 21


19. Stroll Along Pier 21 

Fisherman's Wharf


1877 Tall Ship ELISSA, Pier 21


20. Welcome to Galveston Sign, The Causeway Bridge


21. Take in The Beauty of The Historic Beachfront Hotel

Hotel Galvez and Spa

Galveston, The Ultimate Summer Bucket List


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