Each month at On The Town, we bring you Metro Hotspots—a spotlight on several places to visit in one of the neighborhoods within the Houston Metro area. This month we visited Galveston, located about an hour from greater North Houston, just in time for the tail end of summer. The island offers an array of activities, from shopping on The Strand to eating fresh seafood to spending a day on the beach.
Benno’s on the Beach
Everything at Benno’s—even the hush puppies—has a distinctive flavor with some extra zest. Our favorite dish is the shrimp and seafood platter, which comes with two filets, fried shrimp, fries, hush puppies and coleslaw. You can also find crawfish, crab, oysters and catfish at Benno’s, which has been serving up seafood since the 1980s. 1200 Seawall Blvd., Galveston. 409-762-4621, www.bennosofgalveston.com
It’s possible to spend an entire day at Moody Gardens, whether it is inside a rainforest, on the shores of a sandy beach or out on the waters of Galveston Bay on a colonial paddleboat. The facility also has a golf course, educational films and rides, but the rainforest and aquarium attractions offer the best chance to get closer to nature. One Hope Blvd., Galveston. 1-800-582-4673, www.moodygardens.com
Galveston’s newest attraction, the Pleasure Pier lights up Seawall Boulevard at night with its glowing rides and games. The pier, which hangs out over the water, was built on the site of the former Flagship Hotel, which sustained too much damage during Hurricane Ike to reopen. There are numerous games and rides on the pier, ranging from the galaxy wheel to roller coasters to a carousel. The attraction also houses the state’s first Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. restaurant. 2501 Seawall Blvd., Galveston. 1-855-789-7437, www.pleasurepier.com
Visiting this restaurant is the perfect way to start off your trip to the beach, as it has the look and feel of being in a tiki hut, which is apparent from the moment you pull into the driveway. While we think the burgers are The Spot’s claim to fame, you can also find seafood, salads and sandwiches at the restaurant. After eating, check out one of the four bars on the property—called Squeeze, Tiki Bar, Rum Shack and Drip—while enjoying a view of the ocean, which can be seen from nearly every seat in the house. 3204 Seawall Blvd., Galveston. 409-621-5237, www.islandfamous.com
Dozens of restaurants, bars and boutiques line Galveston’s historic downtown area, more commonly known as The Strand. You can find candy apples, fudge or ice cream shakes in one of the many dessert shops like LA Kings Confectionary or Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, while Mexican food, seafood, steak and even Mediterranean food can be found in the area. The historic architecture from the early 20th and late 19th centuries is also nice to look at while popping in and out of The Strand’s locally owned shops. www.thestrand.com