With a rich sense of history and a thriving entertainment scene, Downtown is Austin’s beating heart. Late-19th-century architectural landmarks, including the iconic Texas State Capitol (1888) and the Driskill Hotel (1886), mix with modern museums. Music lovers flock to celebrated venues like Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater and Stubbs BBQ, while revelers hit the high-energy bars along East 6th Street.
1. True downtown living eliminates the need for a car and avoids traffic entirely, as your favorite restaurants and museums are within walking distance. And if you work in a hybrid style as many do these days, there are plenty of remote work friendly cafes and restaurants.
2. Live next door to the best of the city’s arts and culture scenes, such as museums, concert venues, and gallery spaces. And the Capitol Building provides a beautiful backdrop on many streets.
3. Enjoy popular nightlife, from lively clubs to high-end cocktail bars, or stay active in several city parks or trails.
In addition to holding the title of Texas’s state capital, Austin has fully evolved from a hippie university town to a booming, hip metropolis. While much of the action is focused in up-and-coming neighborhoods like South Congress, downtown Austin offers a wealth of amusing possibilities, too. Whether you’re a fan of Texas state history and 19th-century architecture, live music, or traditional Texas barbecue, there’s plenty to do here. And while ATX’s city center is easy to navigate on foot, pedicabs and ride-sharing services are also readily available for short trips.
Incredible restaurants and bars abound throughout the rest of Downtown Austin. Olamaie is a beloved restaurant serving modern takes on Southern favorites—it’s especially famous for its buttery, freshly-baked biscuits. Comedor offers fresh reimaginings of Mexican dishes, while Small Victory is an elegant cocktail bar with a creative menu and a selection of great appetizers.
Of course, those who love Downtown Austin know that one of its best features is the many live music venues that host everything from upcoming acts to the biggest names in the industry. Some of the most popular venues include The Belmont, Elephant Room, and ACL Live.
Downtown Austin is the city’s cultural and commercial center and there are so many things to do whether aiming for active or peaceful lifestyle. There are plenty of options to engage, people watch and explore. Learn about some unique history at the Museum of the Weird, or get inspired by the region’s Mexican roots and influence at the Mexic-Arte Museum.
When you want to experience the great Texas outdoors, Downtown Austin provides a surprising amount of green spaces to enjoy. The Texas Capitol is famous for its classic architecture and sprawling grounds. The pink-granite building is the centerpiece of downtown Austin, perched on a hill at 12th Street and Congress Avenue. Free guided tours are held daily, starting in the South Foyer, and you can also take a self-guided tour.
Downtown residents love to spend the day at local parks and recreation spots like the Waterloo Greenway and Ladybird Lake – Lamar Beach Metro Park. And of course plenty of food, bars and coffee spots.
Downtown Austin is part of the Austin Independent School District, which offers public and private options including: