Tourism in full swing on the Island this Holiday Season
Galveston Island tourism is making a comeback just in time for the holiday season.
Hotel accommodations, a variety of attractions and tours, as well as many restaurants are open for business. From special events to Christmas dinners and Santa sightings, there is something fun and exciting for the family to enjoy every weekend.
“We continue to get a number of calls to our offices inquiring about hotel room availability, or if attractions and restaurants are open,” said Lou Muller, Executive Director of the Park Board of Trustees. “The answer in every case is a resounding yes! There is hotel room availability; and the Island is open, so we invite everyone to come enjoy the holidays with us.”
Hurricane Ike struck Galveston Island September 13 and damaged much of the area due to high surge waters. The city has been quickly cleaning the Island to prepare for a busy holiday season and its many expected guests. Many of Galveston’s events continue to take place in spite of Ike and are the first events since the storm.
A number of the Island’s traditional holiday activities are occurring, including Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens which opened November 22 with tours happening every weekend through December, and taking place daily December 18. Moody Gardens is also hosting its first dinner theater show, beginning December 18, called “The Gift of Christmas Live,” an exhilarating musical presentation blending traditional and original holiday songs.
The Galveston Historical Foundation (GHF) committed to hosting the annual Dickens on the Strand just weeks after the storm and this year’s 35th Victorian festival will once again take place on The Strand with hundreds of vendors, costumed guests and street performers.
"We decided that the community needed it, and that GHF needed it," said Clay Wade, the foundation's director of events. "All of us at GHF felt the strong need to continue with the tradition that is the grand holiday event for Galveston."
Parades begin at 2 pm Saturday and Sunday led by the Queen Victoria herself. English Breakfasts, traditional hand bell concerts and the Dickens Holiday Ball will make this years Dickens a festival to be remembered.
Famous Island attractions are also open during this festive season including decorated historic homes, Moody Mansion and Bishop’s Palace. The Lone Star Flight Museum and the Ocean Star Drilling and Oil Rig Museum project to be open in December as well. The Tall Ship Elissa has been open for tours since one month after the hurricane and continues to have discounted tickets for tours through December.
The 1894 Grand Opera House is planning a celebration for its 114th birthday, and officially reopens on January 3 after sustaining minor damages from the storm. The celebration will include birthday cake and free daytime entertainment for all. Jerry Jeff Walker will perform the first show since Hurricane Ike that evening on the stage of the Grand.
“People are still questioning if there is anything to do on the Island,” said RoShelle Gaskins, spokesperson for Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau. “With the most popular attractions welcoming guests and more restaurants opening every day, Galveston hopes tourists will enjoy the holiday season and help support the recovery of the Island by visiting.”
For a complete list of open hotel accommodations, attractions and Galveston events, call the Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau toll-free at 1-888-GAL-ISLE or visit