Overview: You would be hard pressed to find a state prouder of its heritage, flag and stubborn independence than the state of Texas. The Lone... more »
You would be hard pressed to find a state prouder of its heritage, flag and stubborn independence than the state of Texas. The Lone... more » Star State, named after the single star on its red, white and blue state flag, has flown under six flags, Spain, France, Mexico, its own Republic, the Confederacy during the Civil War and the United States.
The only state to be a self-governing Republic, Texas is the birthplace of the American cowboy. The famous Texas Rangers were the first to use Sam Colt's revolutionary six-shooters, Longhorn cattle roamed the state and rough and tumble politics mark its history to this day.
As a true Texan would say, "All ya'all enjoy the tour!" less «
Tips: Austin's weather is unpredictable-except for summer when it is HOT. Austin has an average of 111 days when temperatures are... more » above 90F (32C), so bring sunscreen, a hat and plenty of water.
STATUES/SCULPTURES: If you are visiting during the hot summer months, be careful. Many of the sites have bronze sculptures that get (literally) scorching hot
SHADE: Shade is your best friend during the summer in Texas. When given a choice, stay in the shady areas to help prevent dehydration and sunburn. less «
A 35-foot tall Lone Star bronze sculpture marks the spot of the state history museum. Three floors of interactive exhibits help tell the story of the history of Texas. See the signature large-format film, "Texas: The Big Picture" in the city's only IMAX theatre housed inside the museum. Children will especially enjoy the special effects ... Moreshow, "The Star of Destiny," in the Texas Spirit Theater. Don't forget to check out the gift shop filled to the brim with Texas souvenirs.
A tip: The Lone Star sculpture gets mighty hot in the Texas sun. Be especially careful when taking photos with it. You don't want to take home a self-inflicted brand for a souvenir!
Separate prices for admission and each of the movies available. Check the website for current pricing.
1800 N. Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78711
Tel: (866) 369-7108
Monday-Saturday 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Sunday Noon-6 p.m.
Closed on New Years Day, Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve Day and Christmas Day
Underground parking garage is $8 for the entire day.Less
Before visiting the Capitol, be sure to stop by The Capitol Visitors Center. Built in 1856-57, the three-story building is the oldest state office building in Texas. It resembles a castle, reflecting the mid-19th century mock-medieval revival style.
It's staffed by friendly gallery assistants who can answer any questions you may have about the... More building, the Capitol and Capitol grounds. They also will have up-to-date information on tours and have self-guided tour pamphlets available in Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Italian, Russian, Korean and Spanish. Travel Consultants also are on hand to answer questions about visiting other places in Texas. Souvenirs available in the gift shop.
112 E. Eleventh Street
Austin, Texas 78701
Monday-Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Sunday Noon-5 p.m.
The Visitors Center, Visitors Center Giftshop and the Capitol are closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Day and Easter.
Public parking is available at the Visitor Parking Garage at 1201 San Jacinto. The first two hours of parking are free. Vehicles can enter from either 12th or 13th Street. The garage is bordered by San Jacinto and Trinity. The Capitol Visitors Center, Capitol and Capitol Extension are a short walk away.Less
Texans are proud to boast that "Everything's bigger in Texas"-perhaps not everything, but the State Capitol certainly is, measuring 15 feet higher than the US Capitol in Washington.
Architect Elijah E. Myers, who also designed the Michigan and Colorado state Capitols, won an 1881 competition with his Neo-Renaissance design. The... More structural exterior walls are "sunset red" granite, quarried in Marble Falls, Texas, 50 miles from the site.
The state paid for its construction with three million acres of land in the Texas Panhandle that would later become the XIT Ranch. Material problems and labor issues delayed completion until 1888.
The Goddess of Liberty graces the copper dome and enjoys a view of the Colorado River and downtown from one of the cities highest points.
1100 S. Congress
Austin, Texas 78701
Texas Capitol & Extension
Weekdays 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Hours are extended during legislative sessions.
Free 45-minute Capitol tours begin in the Capitol South Foyer daily and feature Texas history, the Capitol and Texas legislature. Go to the restored Treasurer's Business Office on the first floor of the Capitol for the Capitol Information and Guide Services.
Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Sunday, Noon to 3:30 p.m.Less
In 1854, Austin master builder Abner Cook won the $14,500 contract to build a "suitable residence" for the governor of Texas.
Fashioned in the popular Greek Revival style, Cook included many features he also used in homes built for other prominent Austinites. Look for Cook's "X-and-Stick" trademark balustrades. Floor-length... More windows and a wide central hall helped breezes to cool the house during Austin's scalding summers. Twenty-nine foot Ionic columns decorate the front of the home.
Currently being renovated after falling victim to an arson in 2008, tours are expected to begin again in late 2012. Until then, The Capitol Visitors Center has an exhibit that includes restoration updates.
Austin, Texas 78701Less
When Texas Rangers came in the middle of the night to abscond with the government archives to take them to Houston, innkeeper Angelina Eberly took action. Armed with the town cannon she towed down to the corner of 6th and Congress, Angelina fired it, waking the townspeople and blowing a hole in the General Land Office Building. The crowd chased... More down the Rangers and recovered the records in Brushy Creek.
Texas President Sam Houston's plans to move the Capitol to Houston were thwarted, Austin remained the Capitol and Angelina's Inn continued to thrive. This statue stands at the spot where Angelina's civil disobedience saved the day, and the Capitol, for Austin.
6th Street and Congress Avenue
Austin, Texas 78701Less
Built in 1886 by a cattle baron aiming to impress, more than 100 years later the Driskill's columned lobby, marble floors and stained glass dome still do.
Saved from a wrecking ball in 1969 by the Heritage Society of Austin, the Driskill is the perfect place to unwind after your history tour. Sip a cool beverage in the Bar while listening to soul... More and blues on the Driskill Bar piano or grab a bite to eat at one of the two restaurants in the hotel, The Driskill Grill and the 1886 Cafe & Bakery. Not to be missed: the 1886 Cafe & Bakery Chocolate Cake and the velvety cheese soup.
604 Brazos Street
Austin, Texas 78701
Sunset means it's time to take flight...if you're a bat living in Austin under the Congress Avenue Bridge. From March til November, 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats call the bridge home, nesting in the groves that were created in a 1980 restoration of the bridge.
Best viewing months are July and August, when the new-born pups began their... More first flights to forage for food with their mothers.
Austin's daily newspaper, The Austin American Statesman, has been a champion of the bats and created a bat observation center on the southeast corner of the bridge. No seating is available, so bring a blanket or folding chair if you desire. For updates and approximate emergence times, call Bat Conservation International at (512) 327-9721.
Before sundown, walk south one block to the corner of South Congress and Barton Springs Road. There you will find "Night Wing," a sculpture honoring Austin's furry tourists. Created by artist Dale Whistler, the purple metal sculpture of a bat rotates and makes a great photo opp.
PARKING: Free parking is available at the Texas Department of Transportation parking lot, 200 E. Riverside Dr., after 6 p.m. and on weekends.Less