City Orientation Walk (Self Guided), Austin

Being the fourth largest city in the U.S. state of Texas and also its capital, Austin surprises its visitors with a unique artsy community. It is considered to be the Live Music Capital of the World. Its inhabitants are very laid-back and proud of being different, by promoting the attitude "Keep Austin Weird". Here is a list of the top tourist attractions in Austin.
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City Orientation Walk Map

Guide Name: City Orientation Walk
Guide Location: USA » Austin (See other walking tours in Austin)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 15
Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.9 Km or 3 Miles
Author: Caroline
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Texas State Capitol
  • The Capitol Visitors Center
  • Cathedral of Saint Mary in Austin
  • Lundberg Bakery
  • Texas Governor's Mansion
  • Bremond Block Historic District
  • O. Henry Hall
  • Norwood Tower
  • Driskill Hotel
  • Saint David's Episcopal Church
  • Museum of the Weird
  • O. Henry Museum
  • Congress Avenue
  • Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge
  • Butler Park and Stevie Ray Vaughan Memorial
1
Texas State Capitol

1) Texas State Capitol (must see)

The Texas State Capitol is located in Austin and is the fourth building to be the house of Texas state government in Austin. It houses the chambers of the Texas Legislature and the office of the governor of Texas. It was originally designed in 1881 by architect Elijah E. Myers, and was constructed from 1882 to 1888 under the direction of civil engineer Reuben Lindsay Walker. A $75 million underground extension was completed in 1993. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970 and recognized as a National Historic Landmark in 1986. The Texas State Capitol building is 308 ft (94 m) tall.

The capitol rotunda features portraits of every person who has served as president of the Republic of Texas or governor of the State of Texas. The south foyer features sculptures of Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin made by Elisabeth Ney. The rotunda is also a whispering gallery. The capitol has 360,000 square feet (33,000 square meters) of floor space, more than any other state capitol building, and is on 2.25 acres of land. The building has nearly four hundred rooms and more than nine hundred windows.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
2
The Capitol Visitors Center

2) The Capitol Visitors Center (must see)

The Capitol Visitors Center is located in the southeast corner of the State Capitol grounds. Built in 1856, it is the oldest office building in Austin, serving as the General Land Office until 1918. In 1994, the building became the visitor center, providing information about Texas history and the everyday activities of the capitol.
3
Cathedral of Saint Mary in Austin

3) Cathedral of Saint Mary in Austin (must see)

Saint Mary's Cathedral is the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Austin, located in Austin.

The origins of this church date back to the 1850s, when the Catholic community in Austin built a small stone church named St. Patrick's on the corner of 9th and Brazos streets. In 1866 the church was renamed Saint Mary's, and the parish decided they needed a new church and could afford masonry construction. In 1872, after Austin was made the permanent capital of the state, the parish laid the cornerstone for a new church, choosing a location one block north of the original building.

The parish had laid out a basilica-shaped foundation and begun raising the walls, which were 5 feet (1.5 m) high when the architect Nicholas J. Clayton began to design their new church.

When the new Diocese of Austin was formed in 1948, this became the cathedral of the newly formed diocese. At that time, the church was remodeled, many of its neo-Gothic decorations were removed, the neo-Gothic altars and altar rail were replaced with 20th century marble and the baldachino with its cactus and bluebonnets, evocative of central Texas.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
4
Lundberg Bakery

4) Lundberg Bakery

The Lundberg Bakery, also known as the Old Bakery and Emporium, is a historic bakery building currently serving as a gift shop in downtown Austin, Texas. The building was completed in 1876 and is located at 1006 Congress Avenue. At the time the bakery began operations, bread was not sold wrapped or packaged. People would wait in line with cloth lined baskets to place the bread in after buying it.

The building served as a bakery until its owner, Swedish immigrant Charles Lundberg, died in 1895. It changed hands frequently until being bought and refurbished by the Austin Heritage Society in 1962. It was threatened with demolition in 1970, when a new building was planned for the Texas Department of Transportation, but saved when excavations next door uncovered the foundations of the previous state capitol building. Following the discovery, the foundations were converted to a historical plaza, and the bakery was saved.

The building is constructed of limestone with a brick facade, and features a large cast-iron eagle at the peak of the gabled roof overlooking Congress Avenue. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 17, 1969.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
5
Texas Governor's Mansion

5) Texas Governor's Mansion (must see)

The Texas Governor's Mansion, also known simply as Governor's Mansion is a historic home for the Governor of Texas in downtown Austin, Texas. It was built during 1854 and has been the home of every governor since 1856.

On June 8, 2008, while midway through a major renovation, the mansion was damaged badly by an arson fire started with a Molotov cocktail.

Built by Abner Cook in a Greek Revival style and completed during 1856, the building occupies the center of a block and is surrounded by trees and gardens. The original mansion was 6,000 square feet (560 m2). Remodeling during 1914 increased the size of the mansion to 8,920 square feet (829 m2). The original mansion had 11 rooms but no bathrooms. The remodeling brought the room count to 25 rooms and 7 bathrooms. In 1931, at the recommendation of former Texas First Lady Mildred Paxton Moody, the Forty-second Texas Legislature established the Board of Mansion Supervisors to oversee all interior and exterior upkeep and enhancements to the mansion.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
6
Bremond Block Historic District

6) Bremond Block Historic District (must see)

The Bremond Block Historic District is a collection of eleven historic homes in downtown Austin, constructed from the 1850s to 1910.

The block was added to National Register of Historic Places in 1970, and is considered one of the few remaining upper-class Victorian neighborhoods of the middle to late nineteenth century in Texas. Six of these houses were built or expanded for members of the families of brothers Eugene and John Bremond, who were prominent in late-nineteenth-century Austin social, merchandising, and banking circles. They are located within the square block bordered by West Seventh, West Eighth, Guadalupe, and San Antonio streets. The district also includes several houses on the west side of San Antonio and the south side of West Seventh, at least three of which were built or altered by the North family.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
7
O. Henry Hall

7) O. Henry Hall

O. Henry Hall, also or formerly known as the U.S. Post Office and Federal Building, is an historic building located at 601 Colorado Street in Austin.

Completed in 1881 under the supervision of architect Abner Cook, the District Court met there from then until 1936. One of its most noted trials occurred in February 1898, when William Sidney Porter - the man who later became known under the pen name of O. Henry - was tried and convicted of embezzlement there. After its acquisition by the University of Texas, it was renamed for the author, who had previously resided nearby in what is now officially called the William Sidney Porter House, but is better known as the O. Henry House.

It is currently owned by the University of Texas, and serves as the administrative headquarters for the University of Texas System.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
8
Norwood Tower

8) Norwood Tower

Norwood Tower, built in 1929, was one of the most dazzling projects in Austin’s history. With fifteen floors, it was the highest building in the city until 1971. It is richly decorated with Gothic features such as gargoyles, flamboyant arches and sophisticated elongated roof details. The lobby's ceiling is ornamented with golden leaves. Norwood Tower is owned by the family of former President Lyndon Johnson.
9
Driskill Hotel

9) Driskill Hotel (must see)

The Driskill Hotel, a Romanesque style building completed in 1886, is the oldest operating hotel in Austin, and one of the best-known hotels in Texas generally.

The Driskill was conceived and built by Col. Jesse Driskill, a cattleman who spent his fortune constructing "the finest hotel south of St. Louis". The hotel was completed at a cost of $400,000. Its four stories occupied almost half a block, with three arched entryways on the south, east, and north sides. Carved limestone busts of Driskill and his two sons, Bud and Tobe, crowned the hotel on each of these sides. Six million bricks went into the structure, along with limestone features. The hotel's 60 rooms included 12 corner rooms with attached baths, an almost unheard-of feature in any hotel of the region at that time.

The hotel included an open design to encourage airflow throughout the building and keep it cool; its primary feature was an open rotunda at the center that extended from the first to the fourth floors and culminated in a domed skylight.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
10
Saint David's Episcopal Church

10) Saint David's Episcopal Church

St. David's Episcopal Church is a historic church in downtown Austin, Texas. Its main church building was constructed in 1854-1855, making it one of the oldest standing buildings in the city.

The first Episcopal church in Austin was briefly organized in 1848, nine years after Austin was founded. In 1851 the parish was reorganized, and work on the church building began two years later.

The church is located at 304 E. 7th Street. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
11
Museum of the Weird

11) Museum of the Weird

The Museum of the Weird is indeed weird. Oddities of all kind are displayed in this small 6th Street location. The museum was created by Steve Busti and is full of such things as the Fiji mermaid, the cyclops pig, the Hand of Glory, mummies, Frankenstein and other monsters. For those who enjoy spiders, the museum exhibits live Texas tarantulas.

Opening hours: Monday - Sunday: 10:00 am - 12:00 am
12
O. Henry Museum

12) O. Henry Museum (must see)

This little Victorian cottage was the house of famous American writer William Sydney Porter, known as O. Henry, from 1893 to 1895. The house was built in 1886, located at 308 East 4th Street. When the neighborhood became a warehouse district, to avoid its demolition, the cottage was relocated to its present address. It preserves some of O. Henry's belongings, such as books and manuscripts. It also contains the original period furniture and photographs of O. Henry's life in Austin. The house became his museum in 1934.

Operation hours: Wednesday - Sunday: 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm
13
Congress Avenue

13) Congress Avenue

Congress Avenue is a major thoroughfare in Austin, Texas. The street is a six-lane, tree lined avenue that cuts through the middle of the city from far south Austin and goes over Lady Bird Lake leading to the Texas State Capitol in the heart of Downtown. Congress Avenue south of Lady Bird Lake is known as South Congress, often abbreviated to SoCo,[2] and is an increasingly popular shopping and rental district. It passes the historic Travis Heights neighborhood, the Texas School for the Deaf, and St. Edward's University as it passes south out of town.
Sight description based on wikipedia
14
Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge

14) Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge

The Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge (formerly known simply as the Congress Avenue Bridge) crosses over Lady Bird Lake in Austin, Texas. Before construction of the Longhorn Dam was completed in 1960, the bridge crossed the Colorado River from which Lady Bird Lake is impounded. The bridge was known as the Congress Avenue Bridge from the construction of the first span across the Colorado River at that location in the late 19th century until November 16, 2006, when the Austin City Council renamed the current bridge in honor of Ann W. Richards, the 45th Governor of Texas and a long-term resident of Austin. The bridge is a concrete arch bridge with three southbound and three northbound vehicle lanes and sidewalks on both sides of the bridge.
Sight description based on wikipedia
15
Butler Park and Stevie Ray Vaughan Memorial

15) Butler Park and Stevie Ray Vaughan Memorial

The land for Butler Park was donated to the city by the heirs of 19th century businessman Michael Butler in 1941. Over the years it has been used for various recreational services, the park being completed in 2007. It is located on the south bank of Lady Bird Lake and has a beautiful view of downtown Austin and its skyscrapers. Located in the park is a realistic statue of legendary guitarist, and native Texan, Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Walking Tours in Austin, Texas

Create Your Own Walk in Austin

Create Your Own Walk in Austin

Creating your own self-guided walk in Austin is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Congress Avenue Architecture Walk

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Shopping Tour in Austin

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Children Entertainment Tour in Austin

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