Congress Avenue Architecture Walk (Self Guided), Austin

Congress Avenue is the main street in Austin and historically the first one. Since the city's establishment, the street has grown and developed and now bears the mark of Austin’s historical and cultural evolution from the 19th century to today. From the State Capitol grounds to Lady Bird Lake, modern skyscrapers stand next to old two and three story buildings, making for an interesting walk.
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Congress Avenue Architecture Walk Map

Guide Name: Congress Avenue Architecture Walk
Guide Location: USA » Austin (See other walking tours in Austin)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 12
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.1 Km or 0.7 Miles
Author: christine
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Texas State Capitol
  • Lundberg Bakery
  • Jacob Lamour Block
  • Walter Tips Building
  • Paramount Theatre
  • One American Center
  • Littlefield Building
  • Scarborough Building
  • Robinson-Rosner Building
  • Koppel Building
  • The Austonian
  • One Congress Plaza
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
Lundberg Bakery

2) 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
Jacob Lamour Block

3) Jacob Lamour Block

The Jacob Lamour Block is a row of two-story commercial buildings designed and built by architect Jacob Lamour in 1876, who also designed other personal and administrative buildings in Austin. The facades bear Italian features, each distinctive, yet style-friendly to its neighbors. The buildings are still used as commercial spaces for stores and cafes.
Walter Tips Building

4) Walter Tips Building

The Walter Tips Building is the most beautiful building on Congress Avenue. Built in 1876, it is one of several buildings constructed by J.N. Preston for the Tips Foundry & Machine Company. The second and third floor facades bear prominent Venetian Gothic features, with a row of five richly decorated windows and banded pilasters. Nowadays, the building is still used as a commercial space.
Paramount Theatre

5) Paramount Theatre

The Paramount Theatre is a live theatre venue/movie theatre located in downtown Austin. The classical revival style structure was built in 1915. The building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on June 23, 1976.

In the Paramount's 90-year history, it has played host to a wide variety of acts ranging from vaudeville legends The Marx Brothers, to the premieres of such films as 1966's Batman and 2005's Sin City.

For over 90 years, The Paramount Theatre has been home to vaudeville, silent movies and "talkies," music, dance, and Broadway shows. Through the years, a cast of superstars has graced its stage; from Houdini, the Marx Brothers, Helen Hayes, Orson Welles, Sarah Bernhardt, the Ziegfeld Follies, the Metropolitan Opera, Lillian Russell, and George M. Cohan to such modern-day favorites as Billy Joel, Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker, Sarah Vaughan, and Mandy Patinkin.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
One American Center

6) One American Center

One American Center is a skyscraper in Downtown Austin. Standing 394 feet (120 meters) tall and containing 32 floors, it is currently the 8th tallest building in Austin. It was the tallest building in Austin until the finishing of the Frost Bank Tower in 2003. However with the current building boom in Austin, there are many structures planned and completed which are and will be taller than the One American Center, starting with the 360 Condominiums, The Ashton, The Austonian, The W Austin Hotel and Residences, and the Spring Condominiums.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
Littlefield Building

7) Littlefield Building

The Littlefield Building is one of the most elegant office buildings in downtown Austin. Built in 1910, this nine-story Beaux Arts building was designed for commercial and residential use. Initially conceived as an eight-story building, a ninth floor was added to exceed the height of the nearby Scarborough Building, making it the tallest until 1929. The upper floor used to contain an enclosed garden.
Scarborough Building

8) Scarborough Building

The Scarborough Building highly resembles early Chicago skyscrapers. Built in 1910, it was the first steel and concrete building in Austin. The first two floors were intended for fine shops and the rest for office spaces. The name comes from the popular department store, Scarborough’s, which was located in the building. The interior is decorated in Italian marble, as well as the lobby's main stairway.
Robinson-Rosner Building

9) Robinson-Rosner Building

The Robinson-Rosner Building is Congress Avenue’s oldest standing building. Built in 1856 out of limestone and brick, bearing Gothic Revival features, it was a commercial building containing a bakery and a dry goods store. “Robinson-Rosner” is engraved on its facade. The original iron columns have been restored in recent years.
Koppel Building

10) Koppel Building

The two-story Koppel Building, built in 1888, was designed by B. McDonald for Prussian immigrant, William Radam. It has survived without substantial renovations since its construction. The building has served as a hotel, a store and even a brothel.
The Austonian

11) The Austonian

The Austonian is a residential skyscraper in Downtown Austin. At 683 feet (208 m) tall with 56 floors, the building is the tallest in Austin, overtaking the 360 Condominiums. The tower is also the tallest all-residential building in the state of Texas and Texas' tallest building outside of Houston or Dallas. The 53rd floor was taller than the previous tallest, 360 Condominiums.The building opened in June 2010.

The Austonian opened to host the 2010 Women's Symphony League Designer Showhouse the weekend of May 15–16, 2010. The Showhouse was the last opportunity for the public to see the property before residents began moving in the building in June 2010. The Austonian received a Four Star rating from Austin Energy Green Building in November 2010, making it the only residential high rise building in downtown Austin to receive such a rating.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
One Congress Plaza

12) One Congress Plaza

One Congress Plaza is a skyscraper in Downtown Austin. Standing 390 feet (119 meters) tall and containing 30 floors, standing as the eighth tallest building in Austin. One famous feature of the building has been its sunken plaza, which includes trees and park benches, as well as the location for the AMOA Art Show.

Built in 1987, the building was one of the skyscrapers built during the 70s and 80s boom Austin had at the time, and still is one of Austin's most famous buildings. Norwest Plaza, and Franklin Federal Plaza have been other names for One Congress Plaza.

One Congress Plaza stair-steps back from Congress Avenue as part of a 1931 height restriction. One Congress Plaza has 548,823 square feet (50,987.3 m2) of space and is one of Austin's waterfront skyscrapers.

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

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.
Austin Northwest Downtown Architecture Walk

Austin Northwest Downtown Architecture Walk

Northwest downtown Austin has an impressive collection of historic residences of notable architecture. Carefully preserved and restored, the buildings are a major part of Austin's cultural heritage, with a wide range of houses and mansions, from classic Victorian and Georgian designs to Greek Revival. This quiet stroll is peaceful compared to one on the crowded Congress Avenue.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.2 Km or 3.2 Miles
Austin Introduction Walk

Austin Introduction Walk

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.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.9 Km or 3 Miles
Famous Downtown Churches in Austin

Famous Downtown Churches in Austin

Downtown Austin contains many places of worship. Numerous communities from all over the world are responsible for the variety of Austin’s beautiful churches and cathedrals. These magnificent edifices are notable for their wonderful architecture and rich history.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.4 Km or 3.4 Miles
Shopping Tour in Austin

Shopping Tour in Austin

Austin has several shopping areas. While the main drag near the University of Texas is known for great affordable shops and vintage finds, downtown Austin is famous for its exquisite apparel shops and amazing one-of-a-kind stores, offering unique Texan boots, hats, music-themed gift shops, high quality wine and great record stores. The main shopping areas are located on Congress Avenue and 6th...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.6 Km or 1 Miles
Austin Southeast Downtown Architecture Walk

Austin Southeast Downtown Architecture Walk

A pleasant walk from the heart of downtown Austin to its Southeast corner makes for an interesting and entertaining observation of its history and architecture. From the most beautiful and remarkable buildings to the State Cemetery where historic city figures have been laid to rest, every block is full of surprises.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 Km or 1.5 Miles
Austin Art Gallery Tour

Austin Art Gallery Tour

Austin is the cultural center of Texas, containing some of the most respected art galleries in Texas. Rich in interesting downtown locations, this gallery tour will provide an insightful look into the city’s collection of notable artwork and the deep roots of Texas art.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 Km or 2.4 Miles