Tourists often find themselves wandering up and down the streets of Galveston Historic Strand District. Traditionally defined as the 6 blocks between 19th and 25th streets from Galveston Bay to Church St, this business district features everything from antique shops and historic buildings to seaside home décor and boutiques. Two of the buildings still standing date back to the 1880s, and this area is known as one of the best examples of Victorian era architecture.
On Strand St. you can also find souvenir shops, clothing stores, home décor and lots of sweets. LaKing’s Confectionary on Strand is one of few traditional soda fountains left in existence and still makes saltwater taffy the old-fashioned way on antique equipment right in the main customer area for the delight of the crowds. They also feature Purity Ice Cream, the first and oldest ice cream manufacturer in Texas, founded in 1889. You can also walk down Post Office St. and visit the many wonderful art galleries and antique shops on this ‘gallery row’, or attend Galveston ArtWalk held every 6 to 8 weeks.
You can go down to the water and visit Pier 21 to watch a film on the Galveston Storm of 1900, the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history, or a film on Jean Laffite, a famous pirate of the 1800s that made Galveston Island the base of his operations. You can also walk next door to Pier 22 to visit Galveston’s Tall Ship, the Elissa, a three-masted sailing ship built in Scotland in 1877 that is still seaworthy to this day. You can walk the decks of this barque and imagine what life was like as a sailor in the bygone era of vast sailing ships. Or you can hop onboard a Harbor Tour motorboat to see dolphins and learn more about the history and commercial activity along Galveston Harbor, once the commercial hub for the Strand, dubbed the “Wallstreet of the Southwest”.