If you live in Texas – even if you don’t – I highly recommend taking a trip to Galveston in the Winter. I love this historical seaside town with all that it has to offer. I especially love it when it’s chilly and the seawall stretches on and on virtually tourist free. Galveston has so much to offer even in the winter. Right before Christmas you can be enthralled with all that A Dickens of a Christmas has to offer on the historic Strand. At Moody Gardens families can be thrilled with winter ice sculptures and so much more. We opted to visit the day after Christmas to just enjoy some great seafood and to explore a few places we had not yet visited. We made our home-base Harbor House Hotel and we were not disappointed………………………
Harbor House Hotel
The Harbor House Hotel was a perfect choice for us. We wanted a place with views of the sea channel and within walking distance of restaurants and bars- it was perfect! What I loved the most was the fabulous service from Dee when we checked in. She was warm and welcoming and provided lots of information. She clearly loves her job and she does it well. What I loved even more was the amazing view from our room. The room itself was huge, clean and well appointed. I really loved the industrial-nautical décor. The hotel is literally minutes from the Strand with an abundance of options for bars and restaurants. We were only at the hotel 2 nights but we really enjoyed our stay.
We decided to explore Pier 21 and The Strand, so we left the car parked and headed out. Literally on the doorstep of the hotel is Willie G’s Seafood and Steak. Driving down we had heard an ad on a local radio station which said this place was voted the number one Happy Hour place in Galveston. Of course we had to check it out. The bar menu was varied, and the cocktails were great. We decided to stay a while as it really was a great atmosphere with reasonable prices. I sampled a few cocktails and the 3oz lobster and steak which was perfect for me. Gene enjoyed a tuna option. All in all highly recommend this place for great variety and good happy hour prices.
Next stop The Strand
The Strand Historic District in downtown Galveston, Texas, is a National Historic Landmark District. It is comprised of mainly Victorian era building many of which survived the major hurricane of 1900 which destroyed much of Galveston. This was our next stop. From Pier 21 it’s a very short walk to The Strand area. Here we found lots of shops, restaurants and bars. It’s a great area to meander through and soak up the atmosphere even on a cold winter night.
Happy Hour on The Strand
We found a great hole in the wall bar called Tsunami. With dollar draft beers this place can’t be beat for happy hour. It was full of locals and the bartender was friendly. If you are on the Strand stop by Tsunami Exotic Taquilla Emporium you won’t be disappointed.
Day Two- Brunch
One of the best places fro brunch in Galveston is The Sunflower Café. I love to eat breakfast here. What was even better was the fact that on a cold winter morning two days after Christmas there was no lines. I have been in the past and the line is out the door. The food really is that good. If you are in Galveston be sure and try this place out.
Stroll on the Seawall
The Galveston seawall was constructed after the devastating hurricane in 1900 which killed over 6,000 people. The sidewalk adjacent to Seawall Boulevard on top of the seawall is claimed to be the longest continuous sidewalk in the world at 10.3 miles long. It is approximately 17 feet high, and 16 feet thick at its base. Take a stroll, run or bike you'll enjoy some interesting sights along the way.
Murdochs Since 1910
Whenever I’m in Galveston I must stop at Murdoch’s on the seawall it's just a tradition. The establishment has been around since 1910 and is still family operated. I love sitting on the back deck sipping a drink and rocking as you watch the waves crash by. At night it’s a great place to view the Pleasure Pier in all its lit-up glory. Murdoch’s was originally a bathhouse in the Victorian era and morphed into the gift store of today. Murdoch’s has been hit by many hurricanes over the years and has a interesting history. It is considered a Galveston institution. If you are in Galveston be sure to sit and rock a while.
Visit an Oil Rig
One of the most interesting stops we made during this trip was a visit to The Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig Museum. The museum is located just across the way from our hotel, so it was an easy walk across the parking lot.
The museum has three floors of models and interactive displays illustrating the story of offshore oil and gas from seismic technology to exploration and production. There are scale models of production platforms, actual drill bits and remotely-operated vehicles. This once was an operational rig which makes it more interesting.
The skywalk out onto the drill floor of the rig was worth the trip.
And for The Evening.....................
We opted for the second Galveston institution -Gaidos. This restaurant has been around since 1911. It is well established and has a great reputation for excellent seafood. Gaidos touts itself as The Island Classic. I had visited in the past, but Gene had not, so we decided to have an early dinner before walking on the seawall as the sun went down. This restaurant focuses on fresh food and made from scratch desserts. The service was impeccable, the table beautifully set and the ambiance very nice sadly the food was mediocre at best. We both loved the shrimp bisque which was excellent but after that the food was pretty bland. Gene’s crab tasted frozen and the dessert we shared lacked real chocolate flavor. Overall we enjoyed the experience as the restaurant is beautiful the service excellent but we would not return as the food does not warrant the price.
Seawall at Night.....................
One Last Thing........................
No trip to Galveston would be perfect without a Baywatch Dolphin Tour. We couldn’t resist even on a cold windy morning. We bundled up and took the 10 am tour which left from right outside our hotel. This is a short 45-minute bay tour well worth the $10 fee. We learned more about the bay and saw some dolphins along the way. Highly recommend this short tour if you are in Galveston.
We had a great trip to Galveston. Winter is a excellent time to explore this town without dealing with tourists. There is so much to see and do any season of the year so take a trip to Galveston soon and enjoy all that this great Texas town has to offer.
Exploring our world one trip at a time..........