Galveston Island offers small town charm with big city amenities such as first-rate restaurants, an impressive variety of art galleries and museums as well as nationally acclaimed entertainment at the famed Grand 1894 Opera House. Galveston's vibrant historic downtown offers visitors and residents the opportunity to stroll amidst beautifully restored Victorian buildings now home to shops, restaurants, art galleries, coffee shops and more. Residents can choose to live in contemporary lofts downtown; elegant Victorian homes on shady, oak-lined streets; high-rise condominiums on the beachfront; or in homes overlooking the Gulf of Mexico on the west end of the Island.
Many Galvestonians who were not born on the Island refer to themselves as " Islanders by Choice (IBC's)" as a reflection of the same island pride shared by those " Born on the Island", known as BOI's. Native Galvestonians exhibit the quirky and sometimes eccentric characteristics of many Island residents worldwide, making their own rules and setting their own pace--- marching to a different drum than those "unfortunate mainlanders". The relaxed lifestyle of the Island is evident by the "island casual" attire that is preferred by Galveston residents. Suits and ties are definitely not a requirement during the sultry, humid days of summer, but this two tux town pulls out its finery for the many galas and balls held throughout the year.
Along with visitors, Galvestonians can enjoy charming festivals, such as Oktoberfest, ARToberfest, Dickens on the Strand, Grand Kids Festival, and FeatherFest, as well as the more adult oriented events like Lone Star Biker Rally and Mardi Gras! Galveston throughout the year. Artwalk, held every six weeks, provides an opportunity for people to enjoy quality art exhibits and refreshments at various galleries while casually strolling through Galveston's downtown district.
While the island doesn't offer bike or running lanes, Galveston is generally a bicycle- and runner-friendly town. Its 10.4 mile seawall offers one of the longest continuous sidewalks in the country. Galveston can also boast that it takes no more than 15 to 20 minutes to get anywhere on the island. The major thoroughfares, including Broadway and Seawall Boulevard, are rarely heavily congested with traffic.
Many residents consider themselves lucky to live in such a tranquil tropical oasis.