East of Orlando and south of Cocoa Beach lies a historic, riverside neighborhood you might never have heard of. The Eau Gallie Arts District, or EGAD, as it’s known locally, is situated along the shores of the Indian River Lagoon, stretching only about seven blocks from end to end. This teeny-tiny, up-and-coming downtown district is one of Central Florida’s best kept secrets … for now.
Until half century ago, EGAD – now part of the City of Melbourne – was a stand-alone municipality. The City of Eau Gallie maintained its’ own post office, library and even a small speedway until 1969, when the city officially merged with Melbourne. These days, EGAD is a bustling arts district and gathering point for some of the Space Coast’s most creative residents and visitors.
There’s a lot to love about this little arts district. Expansive river views, green space, culture, culinary variety, craft beer AND community – all packed comfortably into about a square mile. What’s better, the best of EGAD is just a five-minute walk from Harbor Stay’s front door!
Here are our top three reasons we love EGAD …
1. Art is everywhere.
A gargantuan Great White shark “attacks” the side of one of the district’s most prominent buildings. A larger-than-life mural depicting LEGO People versions of historical pop culture icons. Sculptures, murals, displays and street art can be found around almost every corner – and the collection continues to grow. The district is a hotbed for local artists, performance art and other creative enterprise. Within EGAD’s parameters you’ll find The Foosner Art Museum and Education Center, the Fifth Avenue Art Gallery, the Eau Gallie Civic Center , Art & Antique Studio, Art Abilities (offering open-to-all classes), Standard Collective (an eclectic shop featuring all kinds of local creations), Blue Moon Tattoo, the Brevard Ballet Academy, Horn Section (a musical instrument shop and instruction space), the Not Quite Right Improv studio, and the Yoga Garden – a yoga studio with a copious collection of locally made jewelry, bath and home goods and handcrafted textiles. So what we’re saying is, if the arts are your thing – you’ve got plenty of options.
2. Outdoor adventures, all year round.
With all of EGAD fitting nice and neat into about one square mile, this is a super walkable space. There are several small parks, app-based, audio-guided historical tours, a weekly brewery-hosted run club, garden yoga, outdoor brewery yoga, and a causeway offering a semi-challenging two-mile course for runners and walker with stunning views of the Indian River Lagoon and coastline. A few blocks from downtown proper is the intersection of the Indian and Eau Gallie Rivers, providing endless water sports options, including kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and sailing. Brevard County seriously is a waterman’s (or waterwoman’s) paradise. Even during winter, you can enjoy time on and near the water almost every day. Summertime temperatures and humidity can be intense, but twilight brings both relief from the heat AND the dreamlike glow of bioluminescence in the waterways.
3. EGAD has small business soul.
Whether you have an hour or a weekend to stroll the streets of the Eau Gallie Arts District, do it. The popularity of this place has exploded in the last half decade, and the best is yet to come. If you want to be one of a lucky handful of people who can tell stories of personal adventure about EGAD’s early days, now is the time.The Eau Gallie Arts District is located about a quarter-mile from Harbor Stay, Melbourne’s premier retreat venue, vacation rental and small conference destination.