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North America > United States of America > Texas > Hill Country > Central Hill Country > Austin > Austin/Downtown

Austin/Downtown

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Downtown Austin is a district of Austin, Texas, west of IH-35, north of Lady Bird Lake, and south of MLK street (19th street).

Get in[edit]

Get around[edit]

Map of Austin/Downtown

Austin has a vibrant pedicab community of bicycle taxis that operate during the evening hours on and around the 6th street entertainment district. A pedicab can be a fun way to get around as well a scenic experience. Over 200 pedicabs operate in Austin; they charge a fare based on tips.

See[edit]

  • 1 The Texas State Capitol. A must-see for new visitors to Austin. A large source of pride for the city and the state, the State Capitol is a beautiful building wrapped in Texas pink granite. Independent-minded Texans take pride in the fact that the State Capitol is actually 14 feet taller than the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Unlike many other state capitols in America, Texas's is as welcoming as the state's people, and is completely open to the public seven days a week. It's interesting to stroll through the halls, look at the paintings and sculptures, and peek into the legislative chambers. And it's free! Texas State Capitol on Wikipedia Texas State Capitol (Q2078042) on Wikidata
  • 2 Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, 1800 N Congress Ave, +1 512 936-8746. M-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM. This is one of the nicest museums in Austin. There is probably more than you want to know about Texas history here. They have free lockers and the IMAX theater is also here. $13/adult, $11/concession, $9/youth. Bullock Texas State History Museum on Wikipedia Bullock Texas State History Museum (Q10858643) on Wikidata
  • Women and Their Work Gallery, 1710 Lavaca St.. A visual and performing art organization that serves as a catalyst for contemporary art created by women living and working in Texas and beyond. For over 30 years, W&TW has brought groundbreaking art to Austin, with exhibitions, performances, literary readings and educational workshops.
  • 3 The Contemporary Austin (Austin Museum of Art), 700 Congress Ave. Reflecting the unconventional spirit of Austin, AMOA-Downtown offers informative and informal art experiences oriented towards the interests of a broad general audience. The galleries serve as the Museum's primary exhibition site and present continually changing exhibitions and education programs that showcase an array of twentieth-century and contemporary art. To complement the art on view, the Museum presents a broad range of accessible, interdisciplinary, and hands-on public education programs for school children, families and adults. AMOA-Downtown also features the Community Room, a place for activities and private functions with gallery access. The Contemporary Austin on Wikipedia The Contemporary Austin (Q2872127) on Wikidata
  • 4 Austin bats (Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge). Yes, that's right, bats. Austin's Congress Avenue bridge is home to about 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats. This is the largest urban bat colony in the world and one of the largest Mexican free-tailed bat colonies in North America. The bats are generally active at dusk every evening between March and November. In years when there has been a drought, the bats leave early (when there is still light), and can be a quite impressive sight. In years when there has been plenty of rain, they leave so late it is difficult to see much. Best place to see them is near the Austin American Statesman's parking lot, or you can pay for boat tours to see them from underneath the bridge. Towards the end of bat season, when the colony's young are flying for the first time, pedestrian crowds can become rather dense. Try to arrive at least an hour before dark if you want to have a good, unobstructed view. Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge on Wikipedia Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge (Q4766731) on Wikidata

Do[edit]

  • milk + honey spa, 204 Colorado St, +1 512 236-1112. Daily 9AM-9PM. milk + honey spa is a modern, elegant, design forward day spa in the heart of the 2nd Street District. It is a good option for travelers looking for a massage, facial, or nail treatment. moderate.
  • 1 HOPE Outdoor Gallery, 1101 Baylor St, e-mail: . 24/7. HOPE Outdoor Gallery is a large concrete walled hill featuring street art. The top of the hill has a unique view of the Austin city skyline. It's a steep hike to the top, so either bring sturdy shoes or plan on driving to W 11th Street. While anonymous spray painting was encouraged in the past, this is no longer the case. Parking on Baylor Street is limited and many side streets have restrictions, so pay attention to signage and driveways. free.
  • 2 Heath Eiland and Morgan Moss BMX Skate Park, (House Park Skatepark), 1213 Shoal Creek Blvd, +1 512-974-6700. A 30,000-square-foot public, concrete skate park next to the ACC Rio Grande Campus.
  • 3 Duncan Park BMX Trails (9th Street BMX Park), 900 W. 9th St. Since the 1990s, the south side of Duncan Park has been used as a BMX bicycle jumping/trail spot. It has been hand built by the local riders with very minimal involvement from the City of Austin and absolutely zero compensation.

Buy[edit]

  • 1 Toy Joy, 403 W 2nd St, +1 512-320-0090. Awesome selection of novelty, themed, and era-reminiscent toys, candy, and stationary.
  • 2 Bookpeople (Sixth & Lamar), +1 512-472-5050. Across the street from Waterloo Records, this locally owned bookstore has two stories of books with lots of quiet corners to sit down for a read. Largest independent bookstore in Texas. Great selection of books on Texas history and architecture.
  • 3 Waterloo Records, 600 N Lamar Blvd, (Sixth & Lamar), +1 512-474-2500. Known around town for having local artists play in-store. Wide selection of music, everything from Blues to Electronica to Country. Has a wall dedicated to local musicians, great if you need a real country fix, not that sugary syrup they play on the radio.

Eat[edit]

  • 1 Austin Land and Cattle (ALC), 1205 North Lamar Blvd., +1 512-472-1813, e-mail: . Delicious steaks in a relaxed atmosphere (for a steakhouse). Great bar, appetizers, and sides too. Not especially cheap, but some of the best steaks in town.
  • Best Wurst, 6th and San Jacinto; 6th and Red River. W-Su 7PM-3AM (San Jacinto); F-Sa 8PM-3AM (Red River). Downtown Austin's original bratwurst food stand serving hot bratwurst, Italian sausage and beef sausage on a hot grilled bun with plenty of sauerkraut to go around "all night long!" Tell everyone you ate at the original Best Wurst!
  • 2 Burger Bar, 110 E. 2nd St, +1 512-608-4822. M-F 7:30AM-8PM, Sa Su 11AM-8PM. Feast on ground flat-top burgers, inventive handspun shakes and addictive fry creations in a stylish sidewalk setting. Be sure to try their signature Big Mouth Burger, topped with blistered peppers, jalapeno jam, bacon and zesty cheddar.
  • Casino El Camino, 517 E 6th St. (between Red River and Neches), +1 512 469-9330. Su-M 24 hours, Tu-Sa 11:30AM-7PM. Over 21 only. Bar that serves juicy 3/4 pound patties of certified Angus Beef. Also available: chicken sandwiches, hotdogs, veggie sandwiches, etc. Everything is slooooow-cooked so expect 45 min. to an hour waits for food at peak times, but it's worth it. Dark decor, eccentric jukebox, and nice back garden.
  • 3 Corner, 110 E. Second St. (JW Marriot), +1 512-608-4488. Combining regional ingredients and recipes from every corner of Texas with crafted tequila cocktails and locally-sourced beers, Corner brings a modern, uptempo spirit to a laid-back space overlooking the South Congress neighborhood. Don't miss the Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder Sandwich, accompanied by quince jelly and manchego cheese or the festive Taco Bar.
  • Cuba Libre, 409 Colorado St, +1 512 472-2822, e-mail: . M-F 4PM-2AM, Sa 6PM-2AM, closed Sunday. Kitchen: M-Th 4PM-10:30PM, F 4PM-11PM, Sa 6PM-11PM. Happy Hour: M 24 hours, Tu-F 4PM-7PM. Caribbean cuisine with some Pan-Asian overtones but also some Southwestern touches such as mesquite grilling and a bit of Mediterranean thrown in the mix. If you like seafood there is something you will like here. Nice fusion restaurant. Moderately expensive. Dinners $12-18.
  • Frank and Angie's Pizzeria, 508 West Ave (next to Hut's Hamburgers), +1 512 472-3534. M-F 11AM-10PM, Sa noon-10PM, Su 5PM-10PM. Pizza and Italian food. Supposedly Quentin Tarantino's favorite restaurant in Austin.
  • 4 Gus’s World Famous Hot & Spicy Fried Chicken (Gus's fried Chicken), 117 San Jacinto Blvd (on corner of San Jacinto Blvd & W 2nd St), +1 512 474-4877. M–Th 11AM–9PM; F–Sa 11AM–10PM; Su 11AM–9PM. Fried chicken.
  • Hoek's Death Metal Pizza, 511 E 6th St., +1 512 802-5298. Rock out and eat some of Austin's most delicious "metal" pizza.
  • Hut's Hamburgers, 807 W 6th St, +1 512 472-0693. Daily 11AM-10PM. A great, inexpensive 1950s diner style hamburger joint on 6th St. near downtown. Every burger available with regular beef, bison (buffalo), chicken, vegetarian, or Hawaiian. Usually packed after a football game. Once you have completed your sinning here, the Whole Foods flagship store is right down the street.
  • Iron Works BBQ, 100 Red River St, +1 512 478-4855, fax: +1 512-478-2272, e-mail: . M-Sa 11AM-9PM. Decent BBQ very close to the Austin Convention Center downtown. BBQ plates, sandwiches, and side dishes. Dinners $6-12.
  • Koriente, 621 E. 7th St., +1 512 275-0852. Su-F 11AM-9:30PM, Sa 1PM-9:30PM. Asian fusion restaurant with many vegetarian and vegan options, including summer rolls, vegetarian curries, and sweet potato noodles. Tofu is available on most entrees.
  • Leaf, 419 W. 2nd St., +1 512 474-5323. Daily 11AM-4PM. This eatery is focused on serving fresh, tasty salads. Choose from the menu or make your own! A few of their soups are vegetarian and/or vegan.
  • Opal Divine's Austin Grill, 700 W 6th St, +1 512 477-3308. M-Tu 11AM-11PM, W-Th 11AM-12AM, F 11AM-2AM, Sa 10AM-2AM, Su 10AM-11PM (kitchen closes 1 hour before closing) (Sa-Su brunch 10AM-3PM). Serving up American food menu at three Austin locations, all of which have large outdoor decks for those who prefer to dine or enjoy an adult beverage with nature.
  • 5 Osteria Pronto, 110 E. Second St., +1 512-608-4490. Indulge in authentic, quality Italian food hand crafted with passion and served with class. Don't miss the signature Pollo Al Mattone, the inventive pizza selections and the impeccable wine list.
  • Scholz Garten, 1607 San Jacinto Blvd, +1 512 474-1958. The oldest continuously operating restaurant and also the oldest business in Texas, started just after the Civil War. Good German and other hearty fare. As the name implies, Scholz Garten also has a biergarten and serves many different types of beer. A traditional Democratic party hangout where Ann Richards is supposed to have plotted her successful run for governor. In the middle of it all, the Capitol is a few blocks away and the University of Texas is just north.
  • Stubb's BBQ, 801 Red River St, +1 512 482-8422, e-mail: . Tu-Th 11AM-10PM, F-Sa 11AM-11PM, Su 11AM-9PM. Quintessential BBQ joint located near downtown. In addition to the great BBQ, the kitchen turns out some great side dishes, which are often overshadowed by the smoked meats. This unique venue has two concert venues, one indoor and one outdoor that can accommodate over a thousand people. Dinners $10-15.
  • 6 Texas Chili Parlor, 1409 Lavaca St. (near the Capitol and south of UT), +1 512 472-2828. Daily 11AM-2AM. Get your red on. Serves the national dish of Texas, chili, in all heat ranges as well as other great Texan-American fare. This downtown neighborhood chili parlor is reportedly the local Republican hangout when "The Lege" is in session. Featured in Quentin Tarantino's movie "Death Proof."
  • Whole Foods Market Cafe, 525 N Lamar Blvd, +1 512 476-1206. Daily 8AM-10PM.

Drink[edit]

Gay and lesbian[edit]

Sleep[edit]

Budget[edit]

  • 1 Firehouse Hostel, 605 Brazos St, +1 512 201-2522, e-mail: . A hostel in Austin's oldest standing firehouse. Dorm rooms, "euro-style" private rooms (shared bath), and suites (private bath) available. The hostel also has free wifi, free computer terminal, free breakfast, laundry facilities, and locker storage. $29-35 dorm beds, $79-99 euro privates, $119-159 suites.

Mid-range[edit]

Splurge[edit]

  • 3 Driskill Hotel, 604 Brazos St, +1 512 474-5911. The oldest hotel in the city, built in 1886 by a cattle baron. Beautiful architecture, marble floors, high ceilings, and the best upscale bar in the city. Gorgeous and historic hotel - regarded as a centerpiece for Austin's high society. The Driskill has been lauded as one of the most haunted hotels in America, so you might catch a few ghostbusters around. If you'd like to not go entirely bankrupt but still check out this truly beautiful Austin landmark, try out the 5-star Driskill Grill at lunch time or visit the bakery. Driskill Hotel on Wikipedia Driskill Hotel (Q5307819) on Wikidata
  • Four Seasons Hotel Austin, 98 San Jacinto Blvd., +1 512 478-4500, fax: +1 512 478-3117. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Try to score a room on the lake side, and shoot for floors 7-9, above the heinous electric wires that mar the view (and add extra "atmosphere" to the pool area). These rooms are also a prime viewing spot for the bats that live under the bridge to the right, who make their mass exodus at dusk. Construction is beginning on the city side of the hotel for the new Four Seasons condos. Standard rates from $385/night.
  • 4 Hilton Austin, 500 E 4th St., +1 512 482-8000. Luxurious, 4-Diamond hotel adjacent to the Convention Center. Austin's convention center hotel. The city owns this beautiful, enormous new hotel in the heart of downtown, just off I-35 and 6th st. This hotel has Austin at its doorstep. It's eminently possible to stay here and enjoy yourself and never have to travel beyond walking distance. 6th St, the Capitol, and the university are all within 1-1.5 miles. Hilton Austin Hotel on Wikipedia Hilton Austin Hotel (Q2872115) on Wikidata
  • Omni Austin Hotel Downtown & Suites, 700 San Jacinto Blvd, +1 512 476-3700. Luxury downtown hotel with shops and offices on the ground floor. Close to the Capitol and 6th St.

Connect[edit]

Go next[edit]

This district travel guide to Downtown 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 feel free to improve it by editing the page.