Corpus Christi

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Corpus Christi

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Downtown Corpus Christi as seen from the Art Center of Corpus Christi. The yellow building to the right is the Water Street Oyster Bar.

Corpus Christi [11] is Texas's largest coastal city and the gateway to Padre Island. While Corpus Christi isn't on the way to much of anything except itself (and the islands off its coast), it offers enough to fill a visit in its own right, or a multi-day trip from San Antonio, Austin, or Houston. The name is Latin for "Body of Christ".


Before there was a Corpus Christi, there was settlement in the area by the local Karankawa tribe, and was a trading site for native people throughout the area. Early French and Spanish explorers came to the area in the 17th century, and by the early 19th century smugglers used the future site of Corpus Christi as a staging point for moving contraband into Mexico.

Corpus Christi is located south of the Nueces River, and so it was in disputed territory during the Mexican-American War. General Zachary Taylor camped in Corpus Christi for nine months as they established the Rio Grande as the southern border of the United States. During the American Civil War, the city was bombarded by Federal gunboats.

Visitors hoping to see remnants of Old Corpus Christi in their original locations might be a little disappointed, as much of the city was destroyed by the 1919 hurricane.


Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°F) 67 70 76 82 86 91 93 94 90 84 76 69
Nightly lows (°F) 47 51 57 63 70 74 75 75 72 64 56 49
Precipitation (in) 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.8 3.2 3.0 2.5 3.5 4.4 3.3 1.9 1.7

Check Corpus Christi's 7 day forecast at NOAA

While weather is an attraction in Corpus Christi, it can be very hot. Storms and cold fronts frequently miss the city entirely, leaving Corpus Christi hot, humid, and occasionally oppressive. Winters are very mild, with freezing temperatures exceedingly rare.

During the summer, it is usually possible to cool down a few degrees by heading closer to the water - but it will still be hot and humid.

Wind coming off the Gulf of Mexico is nearly always present, and is sometimes quite strong. This helps to cool visitors, especially at the beach.

All in all, visitors to Corpus Christi will almost never need a winter coat, and will frequently not even need a light sweater.


Smoking is prohibited by city ordinance in any enclosed workspace, which includes restaurants and bars. Smoking in outdoor patios and seating areas at restaurants and bars may be allowed, depending on their distance from doors. Permitted areas will be designated by signs.

Visitor Information

Corpus Christi Convention and Visitors Bureau [12] 101 N. Shoreline Blvd., Ste. 430, 1-800-678-6232.

Get in

By air

Corpus Christi is primarily served by Corpus Christi International Airport (IATA: CRP) [13], which is located within city limits. Served by American Eagle, Continental Express, and Southwest Airlines, with nonstop flights to Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston George Bush Intercontinental, and Houston Hobby respectively. Flying into the local airport may be slightly more expensive than flying into cities with larger airports.

Some visitors (and many locals) choose to use San Antonio International Airport (IATA: SAT), which is about two and a half hours by car from Corpus Christi. Frequent flights to many destinations may make this a more convenient airport, even given the travel time from Corpus Christi.

By bus

  • Greyhound, 702 N Chaparral St, +1 361 882-2516, [1]. 9:00 AM - 11:30 PM. America's ever-present Greyhound bus service offers transportation to Corpus Christi. Travelers should be aware that there are two bus stations in Corpus Christi. With few exceptions, tourists will want the main Corpus Christi station, and not the Corpus Christi West station, which serves western suburbs containing few attractions for visitors. Service from San Antonio takes roughly three hours and costs around $35.

By train

There is no passenger train service into Corpus Christi. A train can be taken to San Antonio or San Marcos, and bus or rental car service will get you from those cities to Corpus Christi.

By car

By far, most visitors to Corpus Christi drive. The city is at the southern end of Interstate 37, about two hours south of San Antonio. It is also about two hours north of Brownsville and the Mexican border.

From Houston, US-77 will take you south through several small towns. US-77 connects with Interstate 37 just west of Corpus Christi.

Get around

While Corpus Christi is ostensibly laid out in a classic city-block style, the adaptation of that system to the local geography can make navigation a little confusing. Nevertheless, there are several main roads that traverse nearly the entire city, and these can be used to orient yourself if you find yourself lost.

The Corpus Christi Convention and Visitors Bureau has some up-to-date visitor information on the area such as maps, bus routes and accommodations as well as activities ranging from attractions, museums and performing arts to nature and outdoors. Visit the website by following this link. [14]

Follow this link to the City of Corpus Christi webpage of maps of Corpus Christi and the surrounding area [15].

By car

Most visitors and locals travel around Corpus Christi in cars. Most likely, a rental or personal car is the best way for you to see the city.

The main routes one needs to know to get around efficiently in Corpus Christi are I-37, South Padre Island Drive (TX-358), the Crosstown Expressway (TX-286), and Ocean Drive/Shoreline Boulevard (Ocean Drive is an extension of Shoreline Blvd. for about seven miles along Corpus Christi Bay).

I-37 brings you into town from the west and ends on Shoreline Drive downtown on the Bayfront.

Shoreline Blvd. is a section of about four miles in downtown Corpus Christi along the bay. It begins in the area of the Art Museum of South Texas and leads south, becoming Ocean Drive. Following Ocean Drive takes one through the most scenic part of the city and to its end at the Naval Air Station and Texas A&M.

South Padre Island Drive does not go to South Padre Island (a frequent mistake made by visitors), but is better thought of as the southern section of Padre Island Drive. It is a section of 358 running from I-37 down the southern side of the city from northwest to southeast and ending on Padre Island at Padre Island National Seashore. Along it is the main shopping and dining area for the city. Locals will invariably refer to South Padre Island Drive as S.P.I.D., with the letters always pronounced separately. Visitors should remember that there will not be signs reading SPID. Instead, many read NAS-CCAD (for Naval Air Station and Corpus Christi Army Depot) or TX-358.

Connecting the northern end of S.P.I.D. to the downtown area near where I-37 ends is the Crosstown Expressway.

The Harbor Bridge takes drivers over the ship channel from downtown to Corpus Christi Beach, a popular destination for tourists.

By public transit

Corpus Christi has a small trolley service (actually buses poorly disguised as trolleys) and a citywide bus service. Both are run by the Corpus Christi Regional Transit Authority, and schedules can be found at their website [16].

There is no Metro, subway, or any other form of a city rail service.

Car rental services can be found at the airport or along S.P.I.D.

Corpus Christi has a marina, for those few lucky enough to travel by water.



Corpus Christi has a selection of museums that frequently surprises visitors.

  • Texas State Aquarium, 2710 N. Shoreline Blvd., Corpus Christi, 361-881-1200 (fax: 361-881-1257), [2]. 9AM-6PM daily, closed Thanksgiving and Christmas. See water-related exhibits and creatures. You can even work with a dolphin trainer if you contact them ahead of time (and spend a lot of money). 10.50 Children, $15.50 Adults, $4.00 parking.
  • USS Lexington, 2914 N. Shoreline, Corpus Christi (The huge ship in the bay!), 800-523-9539 (, fax: 361-883-8361), [3]. 9AM-5PM Winter, 9AM-6PM Summer, daily except Thanksgiving and Christmas. WWII aircraft carrier become museum. See naval life, the ship, and aircraft complement. Adults $11.95, Children $6.95, Parking $3.
  • Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History [17]


Miradors (see photo) are small, gazebo-like structures found along the Corpus Christi bayfront. Inside each is found a small plaque commemorating some aspect of the city's or of the area's history. They are delightful places to relax in the shade while looking out over the city's downtown waterfront and Corpus Christi Bay. The name is from Spanish verb "mirar" (meaning to look) and means "one who looks (or watches)".

    • Mirador de la Flor A memorial to Selena Quintanilla Perez - better known simply as "Selena" - who was murdered in 1995 by her deranged fan club president and boutique manager. Includes a life-size bronze statue of the singer.

South Texas Art Museum
  • Art Museum of South Texas, 1902 N. Shoreline Blvd, (361) 825-3500, [18]. Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 1-5PM, Closed Monday.
  • Art Center of Corpus Christi, 101 North Shoreline Drive, Downtown.
Third Coast National Exhibition, K Space Contemporary
  • K Space Contemporary Gallery, in the historic Kress Building on 415 Starr Street between Chaparral and Mesquite Streets in the downtown area. Phone: 361-887-6834, e-mail: [email protected], [19]. W-Sa 11AM-5PM. Non-profit art organization that showcases local, regional and national contemporary art. Free.
  • Visit, [20] for information on local happenings in the world of art.
The Bayfront
  • The Bayfront is the downtown area along Shoreline drive, which is formed of concrete steps leading down to the water's edge. It is essentially the heart of Corpus Christi and is a terrific area for family evening strolls or running alone in the early morning. It extends over two miles from Magee Beach along the Marina and T-heads, past the American Bank Center (stadium/coliseum) to the Art Museum of South Texas and the port area. Vendors may occasionally be found here selling cotton candy or renting pedicabs or pediboats. Festivals such as Buccaneer Days and the Fourth of July celebrations are held here with fireworks being fired out over the water. Some of Corpus Christi's best known restaurants are located only a block away on Water Street.
Artesian Park
  • Corpus Christi has many small parks, such as Artesian Park, scattered throughout the city. For those into the paranormal, Artesian Park is another reportedly haunted Corpus Christi locale.
Corpus Christi Cathedral
  • Corpus Christi also has numerous churches, perhaps the best known of which is the Corpus Christi Cathedral. Located on the bluff overlooking the downtown area, the current building has existed since the 1940s, but the "church" as a congregation, has existed since soon after the founding of the city in the 1840s.



Most visitors to Corpus Christi come for the water. The Corpus Christi area has miles of warm sandy beaches, which are easily accessible, if crowded. Water ranges in temperature from the mid 50s during the winter to the mid 80s during the summer. Beach access is usually free.

Corpus Christi Beach, also referred to as North Beach is across the Harbor Bridge from downtown. While small, it is usually not terrifically crowded, and is convenient to other tourist attractions like the Texas State Aquarium and the USS Lexington.

Cole Park is on Ocean Drive, just south of downtown.

Most popular of all are the barrier islands located just off the coast. Mustang Island and Padre Island are less than 30 minutes from town, and provide plenty of recreation for visitors and locals alike.

  • Sailboat races. Every Wednesday.
  • Corpus Christi Hooks AA-level minor league baseball from March through September. The Hooks are affiliated with the Houston Astros and play in the beautiful new Whataburger Field, near downtown, with local flavor galore and outstanding views of the bridge and ship channel. [21]
  • Corpus Christi Rayz, Central League ice hockey is played in the new American Bank Center during the winter and spring months. [22]
  • Windsurfing at Bird Island Basin in Padre Island National Seashore - one of the top spots in the nation for windsurfing!
  • Birdwatching - located on the central flyway, a major bird migration route, Corpus Christi is a terrfic spot for birdwatching. Almost 45% of all North American species have been spotted on Padre Island National Seashore alone.
Magee Beach
  • Magee Beach is located downtown on Shoreline Drive near the Marina.
  • texas state museum of asian cultures and education center, 1809 North Chaparral (across street from Harbor Play House), 361 882 2641, [4]. 10:00am to 4:00 pm. $5.00 adult, $3.00 students, $2.00 children over 5.


  • Padre Staples Mall
  • Sunrise Mall
  • Phil Slattery Art [23] for abstract acrylic paintings on canvas and affordable, colorful digital paintings of Corpus Christi. The site also includes digital paintings of local birds and a collection of Mr. Slattery's published short fiction and both published and unpublished poetry.


Corpus Christi is a good place to get gulf seafood -- especially shrimp and oysters.

  • Water Street Oyster Bar, 309 N Water St, 361-881-9448. Gulf seafood fresh daily. Nice place to eat in the marina area of CC. Kind of loud. Excellent happy hour from 4-7 with 1/4 pound peel and eat shrimp for $3 and a dozen raw oysters for $3. One of the top places locally for seafood. $20-30.
  • Cafe Maya, 2319 Morgan Ave., +1 361 884-8374. Excellent Mexican food in an unexpected (strip-mall) location. Try the stuffed avocado and the fried ice cream. Live music on weekends. $10-20.
  • Doc's Seafood on Padre Island under the JFK Causeway. Good seafood and usually a singer. Expect to pay $20-$30 per person including a drink.
  • City Diner on Water Street. Good, classic American food such as burgers, steaks, chicken-fried steak, seafood, etc. in a classic 50's-style diner atmosphere and building. Expect to pay $10-15 per person.
  • Executive Surf Club on William and Chapparal next to the Water Street Oyster Bar (see above). Good burgers, poor-boys, stuffed jalapenos, nachos, etc. in a sport-bar with a surfing theme. Large selection of beers on tap. The TV is usually on sports. Outdoor patio with local and well-known south Texas bands playing anything from blues to rock to country. Expect to pay $10-$15 per person for a meal, including a soft drink. Sometimes a cover charge to see the band, often not though.
  • La Playa [the Beach], excellent Mexican seafood at three locations in town. All started from the original location near the intersection of South Padre Island Drive (S.P.I.D) and Rodd Field Road and have grown within the last five years. Expect to pay $15-$25 per person.
  • Taqueria Jalisco, good Mexican food in a clean, family atmosphere at reasonable prices ($10-$15 per person). This is a local chain so there are several locations throughout town.
  • Blackbeard's, in North Beach near the U.S.S. Lexington, well-known locally for its burgers. Local legends say the restaurant is haunted. Family atmosphere. Good food.
  • Hu Dat, excellent Vietnamese cuisine at reasonable prices at two locations: on Ayers and next to the D'Lounge near the corner of Staples and Saratoga.
  • Golden Kitchen, on Staples, good Chinese buffet and Mongolian barbecue (stir-fry). Some American food available. Reasonable prices around $11 per person including drink. No alchohol.
  • Island Italian, good Italian food on Park Road 22 on (north) Padre Island. Reasonable prices, good amounts. Wine and beer available.
  • Portabella, good Italian food at reasonable prices on North Padre Island Drive. Good, very clean atmosphere and family friendly.
  • Aka Sushi, on Water Street downtown and on Everhart near SPID. Good sushi. Good atmoshpere.
  • In addition to the local places mentioned above (and the hundreds of others not mentioned) , there is a large variety of the usual nationally-known chains, usually to be found on S.P.I.D. or on Saratoga: Outback, Cracker Barrel, T.G.I. Friday's. Golden Corral, Western Sizzler, Macaroni Grill, Johnny Carino's, Olive Garden, etc. plus all the usual fast-food and pizza delivery chains.
  • Thai Spice, good Thai food.
  • Thailand, Thai food at Staples and Saratoga, very good Phad Thai and unique Thai Iced Tea.
  • Crawdaddy's, cajun food on Starr Street across the street from K Space Contemporary Art Gallery. Crawfish, shrimp, red potatoes, sausage, boudain, beer, Karaoke frequently (though most singers here are not very skilled. Loud, obnoxious outdoor speaker blaring the bad Karaoke up and down the street lets you know when you are within one-two blocks. Don't let that put you off though. The food is still good, though a little steeply priced for the amount you get.
  • B&J's Pizza, at two locations: the original on SPID and the new one on Staples. Great pizza and sandwiches with an enormous beer selection.
  • Padre Pizzaria, gourmet pizza on Park Road 22 on (north) Padre Island.
  • Though there are some excellent seafood restaurants locally, don't forget other options, like buying your own seafood from one of the many small, local seafood markets which buy their seafood from local fishermen, oystermen, and crabbers, and prepare it yourself. Not all the restuarants buy their supplies locally. You can also buy shrimp directly off the back of the shrimp boats as they come in with the morning's catch around 11:00 a.m. at the t-heads downtown on the bayfront.


Many of the following clubs have websites or are listed in the phone book.

  • Havana Club is one of the classier night clubs in time with a beautiful new interior in the Bank of American building downtown on Schatzell Street.
  • 21 is a large club with terrific bands usually playing light or classic rock, Latin music, blues or jazz. Classy. Upscale.
  • Cassidy's Irish Pub
  • Farah's
  • The Pelican Bar - On Park Road 22 on Padre Island. Good food and bands. Texas hold'em tournaments every week. Good local bands. Pool tables and shuffle board available.
  • The Lighthouse
  • D'Lounge - Classy. Upscale. Wonderful place to relax. Olaf, one of the bartenders, won the local 2007 competition for the best martini in town.
  • Utopia - The place to be on Fridays. Classy. Upscale. Sushi until late. Outdoor tables available. On Saratoga near Staples.
  • The Office - Classy. Upscale. Relaxing, cozy place on Padre Island for a quiet drink.
  • The Office 2 - Classy. Upscale. On Staples past Saratoga.
  • The Back Room: adjacent to B&J's pizza, the Back Room has over 300 types of beer in bottles and over a dozen on tap. You can get your pizza or sandwiches in B&J's and bring it into the back room to watch sports on the big screen TV. The establishment is kid-friendly and many families have birthday parties there.
  • Dewey's serves beer, has a pool table, the TVs are usually on ultimate fighting and a rugby field is being built out back next to their patio for the local rugby team.
  • Murdock's - a sports bar with a few dozen TV screens and several pool tables.
  • The Martini Bar - Good selection of beer and alcohol, huge room, terrific Karaoke competition on Tuesdays sometimes drawing crowds of 100-200 or more.
  • Macaw's*The Keg Room - a nice, neighborhood bar that has been around forever on the corner of Alameda and Airline
  • The Executive Surf Club - A Corpus Christi classic with well-known south Texas bands playing on an enclosed patio. Excellent food such as burgers and shrimp poor-boys and a great selection of beers on tap in a relaxing atmosphere. At the corner of William and Chaparral.
  • Doctor Rockit's Blues Bar - Great blues and rock bands in a bluesy atmosphere. Good bar. Downtown on Chaparral near Starr.
  • Fire on Water Bar and Grill, 227 North Water Street (turn right on Water street from Hwy 37 South and go 10 blocks to the corner of Water and William), 361-883-6600, [5]. 11 am - 2 am. Great Food and Live Music, 3 X 88" Tv Screens, backroom stage hosting great rock and roll and country bands from all over Texas. Pool Table and other games. Open for lunch daily and Texas style Barbeque on Sundays.
  • Fire on Water Bar and Grill, 227 Water Street (Turn right on Water Street from Hwy 37 and go ten blocks to William), 361-883-6600, [6]. 11 am to 2 am. Great Food and entertainment, Plenty of 8 seat tables and best of all, great lunch specials and a full menu ranging from Hamburgers to Seafood Kbobs and Ahi Tuna.


  • Best Western Marina Grand Hotel, 300 North Shoreline Blvd., 361-883-5111 (fax: 361-883-7702), [7]. This 12-story tower on the marina is out-of-the-ordinary for the Best Western chain. Nice views up and down the coast from most rooms, easy access to CC downtown. Free breakfast in roof restaurant. $80-150, seasonal.
  • Bahia Mar Suites, 15201 Windward Drive, +1 361-949-2400, [24] Stay at the Bahia Mar Hotel - a brand new, beachside hotel offering moderately priced accommodations, extended stay amenities and beach vacation discounts.

  • Christy Estates Suites, [8]. Featuring long term lodging and spa rooms.
  • Omni Corpus Christi Hotel, 900 North Shoreline Blvd., 888-444-6664, [9]. Downtown Marina District. The AAA Four-Diamond hotel offers sweeping views of the bay, award-winning dining at the Republic of Texas Bar and Grill and complimentary high speed wireless Internet access.
  • Hawthorn Suites Corpus Christi, 1442 South Padre Island Dr., 361-854-3400, [10].
  • Las Brisas Condominiums, 4000 Surfside Blvd, 361-883-4371. Right on the beach, with a breath-taking view of the bay and the city. Tennis courts, a swimming pool. Close to downtown and the marina, next to the South Texas Aquarium and the Lexington Aircraft Carrier. One-, two-, and three-bedroom condos for a lease of at least three months.


Get out

  • The northern tip of Padre Island National Seashore is about 45 minutes away from downtown Corpus Christi. The photo below is of a sunset as seen from the park headquarters area in September, 2007.

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!