Historic Austin

The Texas Capitol is an extraordinary example of late 19th century public architecture and is widely recognized as one of the nation's most distinguished state capitols. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986 for its "significant contribution to American history." Sited on one of Austin's highest points, the Capitol anchors the northern periphery of the downtown commercial district and commands a sweeping view towards the Colorado River from its southern façade. The main campus of The University of Texas at Austin is situated four blocks to the north. Wonderful views of the Capitol's dome from many vantage points throughout the Austin area are protected from obscuration by state law. Texas Capitol Hours: Weekdays 7:00 am – 10:00 pm; Saturday & Sunday 9:00 am – 8:00 pm; Hours are extended during legislative sessions.

The old General Land Office Building, Texas’ oldest existing state building, now serves as the Capitol Visitor Center with historical exhibits, interactive computer stations, and a room dedicated to William Sidney Porter, better known as short story writer O. Henry. Capitol Visitor Center: 112 E. 11th St, Austin TX 78701 -- 305-8400

Step inside the stunning Texas Governor’s Mansion, official residence for the First Family of Texas since 1856. Tours are available every 20 minutes, Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-11:40 a.m. Admission is free. Texas Governor’s Mansion: 1010 Colorado St, Austin, TX 78701 463-5516

Satisfy your sweet tooth at the Old Bakery and Emporium, site of a 19th-century German bakery where local senior citizens still sell home-baked goods and handcrafted items. Old Bakery and Emporium: 1006 Congress Ave, Austin TX 78701 -- 477-5961

Enjoy a stein full of brew and a Texas barbecue at Scholz Garten, Texas’ oldest German biergarten and the oldest restaurant in Austin. Scholz Garten: 1607 San Jacinto Blvd, Austin TX 78701 -- 474-1958

Stroll quietly through the Texas State Cemetery, final resting place of Stephen F. Austin, John Connally, Barbara Jordan and other distinguished Texans. Texas State Cemetery: 909 Navasota St, Austin TX 78702 -- 463-0605

Examine the remains of Texas’ first statehouse at the site of the Capitol Building Ruins (Congress and 11th). The foundation and cistern are the only visible remnants of the building that served as a temporary venue from 1882-83. Capitol Building Ruins: Congress and 11th, Austin, TX 78701 -- 478-0098

The grandeur of the Victorian era lingers at the Daniel H. Caswell House, operated by Austin Junior Forum for special events, and the adjacent William T. Caswell House. Daniel H. Caswell House: 1404 West Ave. at 15th St, Austin TX 78701 -- 472-0779

Reflect on a remnant of Texas pioneer life at the Henry Madison Cabin. Originally built in the early 1860s, the owner enclosed the cabin with a frame house in 1886. Henry Madison Cabin: 478-0098

Stare in awe at the architectural features of St. Mary’s Cathedral. The famous Gothic arched doorway and Rose Window make it one of Austin’s most recognizable landmarks. St. Mary’s Cathedral: 203 E. 10th St, Austin TX 78701 -- 476-6182

Admire the beauty of Gethsemane Lutheran Church, a Swedish Lutheran church constructed of bricks from the original capitol building that burned in 1881. Gethsemane Lutheran Church: 200 W. Anderson Lane, Austin TX 78752 -- 836-8560

Experience Austin’s colorful religious history at St. David’s Episcopal Church. St. David’s Episcopal Church: 304 E. 7th St. Austin TX 78701

The Gothic Revival structure was locally known as “the gamblers’ church” because gamblers helped fund its construction in the mid-1800s. Gothic Revival: 472-1196

Many historic figures from Texas history, including Susanna Dickinson, George Littlefield and Gov.A.J. Hamilton, rest in peace at Oakwood Cemetery, the city’s oldest cemetery. Oakwood Cemetery: 1601 Navasota St, Austin TX 78702 -- 478-0098

Cruise the campus of Huston-Tillotson College, Texas’ first institute of higher learning for African-Americans and the first west of the Mississippi. Huston-Tillotson College: 900 Chicon St, Austin TX 78702 -- 505-3000

Glimpse Austin’s German heritage at the German Free School, a stone structure built by settlers who donated their labor on Saturday afternoons. German Free School: 482-0927

Stop by the Old Main Building at St. Edward’s University.The limestone masterpiece, designed by Nicolas J. Clayton,was built in 1889 and reconstructed in 1903 after a fire. St. Edward’s University: 3001 S. Congress Ave, Austin TX 78704 -- 448-8400

Ghost stories and family histories fill the beautiful Neill-Cochran Museum House, designed by architect Abner Cook, who also designed the Governor’s Mansion. Neill-Cochran Museum House: 2310 San Gabriel St, Austin TX 78705 -- 478-2335

Austin’s Moonlight Towers were installed in 1895 to illuminate the city with a moon-like glow. Only 17 of the original 31 towers remain, but they still light the skies with the only intact tower lighting system in the world. Austin’s Moonlight Towers: Various locations in Austin -- 478-0098

Learn about literature as you view the home and personal belongings of short-story writer William Sidney Porter at the O. Henry Museum. O. Henry Museum: 409 E. Fifth St., Austin TX 78701 -- 472-1903

Enter the lobby of the grand Driskill Hotel to be completely overwhelmed by the elegance of yester-year. Built in 1886 by cattle baron Jesse Driskill, the hotel has accommodated Texas’ elite and politically powerful for more than a century. Driskill Hotel: 604 Brazos St., Austin TX 78701 -- 474-5911

Enjoy melodious music as well as a foray into Austin history at Symphony Square. The centerpiece of Symphony Square is the historic Jeremiah Hamilton House, a unique wedgeshaped building. Symphony Square: Red River & 11th St. -- 476-6064

Explore Austin’s oldest building, the French Legation, constructed in 1841 for the French charge d’affaires to the Republic of Texas. French Legation: 802 San Marcos St., Austin TX 78702 -- 472-8180