There are plenty of hot spots to explore in the Downtown/Bay area of Corpus Christi, and this top 10 list has a little bit of everything for anybody finding themselves on the Coastal Bend. Some destinations will artistically inspire or educate, while others are fantastic specialty restaurants and live music venues.
Art Center Of Corpus Christi
It doesn’t get much closer to the Bay when you’re visiting Corpus Christi’s Art Center, which sits at the shoreline of the Coastal Bend. For the past 40 years, the art center has served downtown Corpus Christi as a venue for South Texas artists’ creativity to be exhibited and put up for sale. At the low price of zero dollars, admission is always available for all ages to visit the art on display in any of the center’s seven galleries, add some color to their home with items being sold at the gift shop or local artists’ exhibits, and take a lunch break at the center’s own Citrus Bayfront Bistro, located inside the establishment.
Broaden your interest for the arts by visiting another one of Corpus Christi’s centerpieces, The Art Museum of South Texas. As a part of the American Alliance of Museums, this particular building is an architectural work of art in itself. The museum stands by the Bay, with a pristine view of the water and USS Lexington visible from the inside or outer walkways. Take a tour of the building to unravel the intentions behind the paintings, pottery and sculptures along the halls, walls and even the roof of the museum.
Local cafes are usually a reflection of its community, and Hester’s Café and Bakery does just that. If your sweet tooth is aching for some quality baked goods, your days are fueled by coffee, or lunch in a clean well-lit restaurant with a top notch view of the Bay sounds like a pleasant afternoon, then this might be the next place to take your work break. Hester’s paninis, particularly “the Cubano,” is a sandwich that’ll keep you coming back.
Live rock music, specialty pizza, a bar open seven days a week, and a stage that has seen groups and musicians like Slightly Stoopid, We Came as Romans and Shooter Jennings, need we say more? Since 2005, the House of Rock has shaped the live music scene of downtown Corpus Christi into an experience that is nothing short of a rockin’ great time, with live music hitting the stage every Thursday through Saturday and open mics on Tuesday nights. Whether it’s by the pie or by the slice, do yourself a solid and indulge in the best pizza by the Bay while you’re there.
As if the Art Museum and Art Center of Corpus Christi weren’t enough for art appreciators to explore, downtown Corpus offers yet another opportunity to see what Texan artists are capable of. K Space Contemporary, the oldest spot for contemporary art in the Coastal Bend, is an organization exhibiting alternative, non-commercial pieces crafted by artists who dare to explore new and innovative ways of creation. The staff warmly welcomes all who enter and share their keen knowledge of the creative integrity invested into the inspriring art along the studio walls of K Space.
As “The Queen of Tejano Music,” Selena Quintanilla-Perez engraved her memory into her hometown of Corpus Christi through the musical career she led and the fans she touched around the globe. After her untimely death in 1995, the city commissioned a life sized bronze statue of Selena to be built by local artist, H.W. ‘Buddy’ Tatus. The memorial overlooks the Bay area under a pavilion accompanied by a plaque that tells the life story of the musical icon. As far as Corpus Christi’s history is concerned, this monument is a modern testament to South Texas, Tejano music, and Selena.
There are more than these 10 things to do in the downtown/Bay area, so who knows what else may catch the eye as you’re strolling down Shoreline Boulevard, Water Street, or in this case, Chaparral Street. If you find yourself on this specific street, the building walls and scattered electrical boxes along the sidewalks might just take the place of a trip to one of the listed art studios. The Downtown Management District has been in cahoots with its residential artists to promote street art in dazzling ways, displaying the culture and fun lifestyle that comes along with life on the Bay area.
The Coastal Bend is littered with historical significance on almost every block, and Water Street holds yet another bodacious educational landmark, The Texas Surf Museum. Whether catching waves is your favorite weekend activity or even if you think waxing a surf board means getting all the excess hair off of it, this place will definitely teach you a thing or two about surfing in South Texas and the greats who paved the way for the community today. Get stoked and check out the dozens of on display surf boards and other classic storytelling memorabilia.
Once you’ve brushed up on your surfing knowledge at the museum and hunger crashes down, walk over next door to keep the good times rolling and grab a bite. The Executive Surf Club has been serving and surfing in Corpus Christi since 1990 with its live music, savory nachos, mouthwatering sandwiches and exclusive items like the Executive Surf Burger. Complete with refried beans, onions, cheese, salsa and Fritos, this burger is bound to stop hunger in its tracks. Bring the family and even the pooch, because the Surf Club welcomes all hungry stomachs to its pet friendly patio.
When in Texas, any native or visitor in the state is going to cross paths with the burger behemoth at some point or another, so make it the original Whataburger. Day or night, indoors or outdoors, this two story burger joint will always deliver a wicked meal with a sight of the Bay you just can’t pass up. Enjoy a #5 Whataburger and swing by the second story patio when the Texas sky has a blanket of stars overhead that’ll leave you marveling at the view.