GALVESTON PRO TIPS From @Galveston_Hotspots
Experiencing Galveston as a local instead of visiting as a tourist changes you.
Or, at least, it did for us. We’ve been friends for several years and both previously lived in Houston for about 10 years after college. While working remotely in Houston during COVID and staring at screens all day long, we realized we needed a change of scenery. Galveston was the answer. It’s hard not to fall in love with the good vibes, deep-rooted history, and awe-inspiring island. This was the place where we wanted to start building a family with our husbands.
We wanted to share the magic of what we had discovered on the island with our friends, family, and fellow Texans. So, @Galveston_HotSpots, was created. Our Instagram account focuses on local shops, food and drink spots, and beach + remote work living. We love supporting local businesses, meeting members of this incredible Galveston community, and highlighting anything from trending places to traditional, historical sites. Although there are endless options of places to showcase, let’s dive in to 10 of our go-to spots.
THE GARDEN THAI CUISINE
AT-A-GLANCE: One of the most difficult adjustments to moving from Houston to Galveston was the lack of Thai food. We had about 5 GREAT Thai options on rotation in Houston so when we heard we were getting a Thai food restaurant we were ecstatic! So much so that when their grand opening was delayed, they got multiple Facebook messages from us. Once it opened (and first in line), we were very impressed with the dishes and fantastic quality of food. The Garden Thai has all the staples as well as unique specials that rotate.
WHEN TO VISIT: amazing lunch specials, cute patio for when the weather is nice, date night, girls night, very family friendly.
OUR FAVORITE DISHES: Thai tea, Som Tum, Pad Se-Eew, and Panang curry.
AT-A-GLANCE: Founded by Sicilians, Trattoria LaVigna offers authentic Italian cuisine that rivals the highestrated Italian cuisine in Houston. They have a flawless blend of Galveston and Sicilian flavor, fresh pasta homemade daily, and their dishes range from Chicken Cacciatore to Osso Buco. Even the harshest critics can’t be haters here!
WHEN TO VISIT: Date night, parents in town visit, friend’s celebration, whythe- hell-not for a weekday lunch, just got a promotion at work, passed a big test, post workout; really… any reason is a good reason to visit this little taste of Italy.
OUR MOST ORDERED ENTREES: Tagliatelle alla Bolognese, Veal Marsala, Beef Tortellini, and Shrimp Scampi.
DARLENE’S SHRIMP SHACK
AT-A-GLANCE: When it comes to food that Galveston does well, shrimp is no exception. It is plentiful and so many restaurants on the island do it perfectly, but Darlene’s is one of the best! They provide a unique experience making it stand out above the rest. First, the shrimp is always fresh since it’s caught daily, and they cook it to order. You can choose from many flavors including coconut and parmesan garlic. There are picnic tables overlooking the bay so you can grab some drinks and turn it into
ACCOMMODATIONS: go when the weather is nice since it is all outdoor seating, BYOB, food truck.
OUR FAVORITES: Garlic Parmesan and coconut shrimp, fries and crab sticks.
GRAND GALVEZ, THE FOUNDER’S BAR
AT-A-GLANCE: The Grand Galvez needs no introduction as a historic beachfront hotel, but if you’ve never been or recently visited, it’s worth a trip! It’s been impeccably renovated recently with beautiful walkways, intricate décor, stunning chandeliers and their Founder’s Bar is ultra-lux. We pre-gamed here (that’s still a thing right?) before hitting the Culture Clash 5th anniversary party since we were all dolled up and felt like we were in the Great Gatsby.
VIBE: Refined, romantic, and classy but you can still be casual.
TOP RECOMMENDATIONS: 1900 storm cocktail, espresso martini, or prosecco. Cheers!
AT-A-GLANCE: With the largest selection of mezcal and tequila on the island, constant happy hour cocktail specials, and a lively atmosphere, this is a guaranteed fun time for all! You can see the passion in their craft cocktail menu with an inspiration from Mexico. Not to mention all the instagrammable photo-op spots throughout the place...of course, this one would make our first list.
SPECIAL EVENTS: Salsa dance lessons, Latin night, and big-game watch parties.
MUST-TRY: Paloma, La Italiana margarita, or agave flight ¡Salud!
WATCH THE SUNRISE OR SUNSET AND ENJOY THE SALTY AIR
One of the main reasons why we moved here was to experience the sea life. Especially since we work from home and are on backto-back Zoom meetings all day, getting outside is a top priority for our wellbeing. So, it’s important that we make visiting the beach a must on a regular basis even if it’s just for a few minutes (and ideally with a cup of coffee from a local shop). Seeing how the water changes drastically day to day and enjoying the sunrise or sunset provides that instant reset, relaxation, and grounding.
PRO TIP: If you’re a remote worker, schedule occasional 1:1 meetings while you’re taking a walk on the beach - it’s a game changer!
GOLF CART RIDE THROUGH THE CHARMING EAST END HISTORIC DISTRICT
One of the most unique things about living on the island is the ability to get around via golf cart. From the months of February-November, this is our main form of transportation! There is nothing like taking a cruise to your favorite restaurant or going for a ride down the seawall after work. However, one of our favorite places to cruise around is in the east end. We absolutely love the architecture and charm the neighborhood brings.
FUNNY STORY: When Mel and her husband came to visit Meg and her husband, a cruise around the island helped seal the deal for them to move to Galveston. And, they got introduced to a local realtor mid-cruise.
CONNECT AND SHOP AT GALVESTON’S OWN FARMERS MARKET.
Galveston Farmers Market is a cherished Sunday tradition. Open from 9a-1p (Oct-May) and 9a-12p (June-Sept), it’s a great way to start off your Sunday morning! Not only do they have a wide variety of vendors, but they’re a non-profit that gives back to the community. Plus, they have awesome events for the entire family with live music. Can’t get any better than that!
VENDOR SPOTLIGHT: BZ Honey, Smash and Squeeze, Grow4Health, and Food of Life.
MEL'S CHOICE: LUPITA'S TEXMEX RESTURANT
A good indicator of a top notch TexMex restaurant is when it feels like home (as someone who grew up in Laredo) and there’s damn good salsa to start. Going to Lupita’s brings a sense of calm and it’s as though their restaurant gives you a big giant hug. They’re open for breakfast and lunch, located on 45th St. While you’re there, don’t forget to try their fresh tortillas and enchiladas verdes!
MEG'S CHOICE: CAFE CANELA
If you are looking for authentic Mexican food, look no further! Café Canela was closed for a while because they recently moved from their location on the seawall to a spot right off 61st and man did we miss it! You won’t find your typical tex-mex dishes here but don’t let that deter you from coming. They have a killer birria special Thursday-Saturday and their homemade chips and salsas are some of the best I’ve ever had (I’m originally from San Antonio so I am a tough critic). They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and they have specials every weekend. If you do make it in for breakfast – try the Café De Olla, you won’t regret it!
Thanks for making us feel like we were always meant to be here in Galveston, TX. We’d love to meet you. Follow us on Instagram at @galveston_hotspots and share your photos/videos by using the hashtag #galvestonhotspots.