Downtown Walking Tour



Description:

Make the most of your short business trip or drive through the capital city with this leisurely walking tour of the downtown area. See some of the city's historical and cultural gems as well as a couple convenient yet authentically Austin restaurants.

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Author: Tara


Day 1 - Austin


Start the day with authentic Mexican migas at Las Manitas, an affordable low-key Congress Avenue joint that's popular with strategizing politicians, musing artists and visiting celebrities. With only a handful of cozy, bare bones tables and booths, a wait is probable but not an issue thanks to their lightning speed service. Walk off those extra calories from your hearty Mexican breakfast by perusing the hip shops and local boutiques of the nearby Second Street District. Whether home decor, Western wear or jewelry is your thing, this shopping mecca comprised of five square blocks (and growing) has it all. Design Within Reach, Estilo, Cowboy Cool, Eliza Page and Finch are just a few of the worthwhile storefronts here. You'd never guess it but the Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant was once the extravagant Joel Mozersky-designed house for the 16th season of MTV's the Real World back in 2005. Take a load off and chow down on chile con queso, tasty fajitas and, if you're able, some of the city's most potent margaritas. Congress Avenue, created back in 1839, once welcomed mule-driven streetcars but now sees more vehicular and pedestrian traffic than ever before. Along this stately street, visitors can find museums, local shops and eateries and plenty of hard-working businessmen and women. Congress Avenue's northernmost point is the city's crown jewel, the Texas State Capitol. Architecture and history buffs, take a peak inside this the established Paramount Theatre, which first opened its doors in 1915. Once home to vaudeville acts and silent film, this beautifully preserved landmark now hosts national touring performers, comedians and several film premieres each year. Take a casual tour of this surprisingly small but primary exhibition space of Austin's Museum of Art. Touring exhibitions (Annie Leibovitz's photography, Roy Lichtenstein's prints, etc) change regularly, usually on a seasonal basis. Don't forget to stop in the AMOA Museum Store for creative gifts and memorable tchotchkes. As you make your way to the more obvious Texas State Capitol, stroll by the Old State Capitol Building ruins. The once-standing state building not only held the first University of Texas classes back in 1894 but also served as the temporary Texas State Capitol building when the original was devastated by fire. It's hard to ignore this massive limestone and sunset red granite building that stands taller than the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. If you're in the mood for a catnap, the lush surrounding park-like grounds are perfect. For first-hand visual insight into Texas history, take a guided tour (when available) of the nearby Governor's Mansion, the oldest continuously occupied executive residence west of the Mississippi River. The Gothic architecture and beautiful French- and German-stained glass of Saint Mary's Cathedral, Austin's oldest Catholic church, is worthy of a moment's notice. Housed among downtown's bustling high-rise buildings, this meager church still hosts Catholic services several times a day. For a true taste of Southern comfort food, make your way to this Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill, a historic landmark turned noteworthy restaurant. Sip on iced tea served in Mason jars while you decide between the juicy pork chop, buffalo meatloaf or another tasty entree option. Just don't forget a side of gooey macaroni and cheese topped with bacon gratin. Yum! A quick tour of the Music Capital of the World isn't complete without a stop at the legendary Antone's. This home of blues, once a regular hang-out for guitar virtuoso Stevie Ray Vaughan, attracts notable touring acts and up and coming local bands on a nightly basis. Get inspired by music over a cold beer for your last stop in this capital city. Another development of the 1880s, Driskill Hotel remains of the country's most recognized boutique hotels for its historical preservation, unique design and exquisite service. Crafted of brick and limestone, this Romanesque-inspired building is also known nationally as one of the most haunted hotels in the country, boasting more than a half dozen ghosts roaming the halls.


1

1886 Cafe and Bakery (The)

Location:

116 Sixth Street
Austin, TX 78701

Contact:

tel: +1 512 391 7121
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2

Second Street District

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Location:

200 W. Second Street
Austin, TX 78701

Contact:

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3

Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant (The)

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Location:

301 San Jacinto Boulevard
Austin, TX 78701

Contact:

tel: +1 512 476 8300
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4

Congress Avenue

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Location:

Congress Avenue
(from 1st to 11th Streets)
Austin, TX 78701

Contact:

tel: +1 800 926 2282
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5

Paramount Theatre

Location:

713 Congress Avenue
Austin, TX 78701

Contact:

tel: +1 512 472 5470
fax: +1 512 472 5824
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6

Austin Museum of Art

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Location:

823 Congress Ave
At Ninth St
Austin, TX 78701

Contact:

tel: +1 512 495 9224
fax: +1 512 495 9029
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7

Old State Capitol Building Ruins

Location:

Congress Ave at 11th St
Austin, TX 78701

Contact:

tel: +1 512 475 3366
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8

Texas State Capitol

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Location:

1100 Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78701

Contact:

tel: 512-463-0063
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9

St. Mary's Cathedral

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Location:

203 East 10th St
Austin, TX 78701

Contact:

tel: +1 512 476 6182
fax: +1 512 476 8799
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10

Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill

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Location:

303 Red River Street
Austin, TX 78701

Contact:

tel: +1 512 236 9599
fax: +1 512 236 8816
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11

Antone's

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Location:

213 West Fifth Street
Austin, TX 78701

Contact:

tel: +512 320 8424
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12

Driskill (The)

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Location:

604 Brazos Street
At E Sixth St
Austin, TX 78701

Contact:

tel: +1 512 474 5911 / +1 800 252 9367 (Toll Free)
fax: +1 512 474 2214
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