Corpus Christi

High-rises west of Broadway in Downtown Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi (called Corpus by the locals) 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".

Understand

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; however, some restored historical buildings survive in downtown.

Climate

 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

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

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 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) which is located within city limits. Served by American Eagle, United 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 from Corpus Christi, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (IATA: AUS), which is about four hours by car, or George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston (IATA: IAH), also about four hours by car. Frequent flights to many destinations make these convenient airports, even given the additional travel time from Corpus Christi.

By bus

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.

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 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. (Technically, from I-37 to Bear Lane (just south of TX-44) is North Padre Island Drive, but you will often hear locals referring to the whole road as South Padre Island Drive.) 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. (just past N.P.I.D.'s southern end) 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 citywide bus service, including a small trolley (actually a bus). It is run by the Corpus Christi Regional Transit Authority.

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; however, it is usually pretty full, so you may want to reserve a spot.

See

Artesian Park
Corpus Christi Bay; the tall buildings in the center and right center constitute the Bayfront
Corpus Christi Cathedral

Miradors

Miradors 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)".

Museums

South Texas Art Museum

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

Do

Beaches

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.

Magee Beach

Spectator sports

Buy

Eat

Corpus Christi is a good place to get gulf seafood -- especially shrimp and oysters. In addition to the local places mentioned (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, P.F. Chang's, Macaroni Grill, Johnny Carino's, Olive Garden, etc. plus all the usual fast-food and pizza delivery chains.

Corpus Christi is the birthplace of Whataburger, a fast-food chain, and Whatabugers can be usually found within five minutes, regardless of where you are in Corpus. They are also renowned for the unusually high (for a fast food chain) quality for their burgers.

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 restaurants 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 11AM at the t-heads downtown on the bayfront.

Drink

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

Sleep

Go next

Routes through Corpus Christi

Waco Schulenburg  N  S  Kingsville Brownsville
END  S  N  Jct SRockport Houston
Jct N S Alice  W  E  END
END  S  N  Mustang Island S.P. Ingleside


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, March 13, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.