When you think of Austin, you might think of hipsters, art, music, breakfast tacos and BBQ, but it's more than just a quirky town, it's our capital, the epicenter of Texas. Sprawling across a couple city blocks in downtown is a whole complex of history ripe for exploring.

Culture

Texas Capitol Building Tour

What started as a log cabin in 1839 has now grown into a pink-granite-covered monument to Texas and all it’s grandeur. You can take various tours of the building: Capital Dome Tour, a guided tour of the building, tours focused on women in history or Texas Revolution heroes, or just a self-guided tour. Either way, be sure you start your visit in The Capital Rotunda where the 6 flags of Texas are below your feet and the Lone Star is above your head, for a Texas-sized “Wow” moment.

Texas Supreme Court

Just north of the Capitol building is the Supreme Court of Texas, where historic decisions have been made and justice for Texans has been served since 1959. It’s not open to daily tours, but if you plan it right, you can take a peek inside.

General Land Office

You may not be as familiar with this branch of government, and they do a whole lot for the state, from taking care of veterans to managing the minerals found in state. However, of their coolest jobs is managing the Texas archives and records. It’s open to the public by appointment and you can see some of the most precious documents in our history including maps that predate the Lone Star State and the first draft of the Constitution of the Republic of Texas. It’s a place to truly connect to our history.

Texas Governor's Mansion

Just across the street from the Capitol building is the Governor’s Mansion. Since 1856, it’s where countless significant figures in Texas history have called home. See Sam Houston’s actual bed, Stephen F. Austin’s traveling desk and the cabinet filled with mementos left by each governor.

Food

Texas Chili Parlor

This legendary spot for Texas grub has been around since 1976 and serving up classic bowls of red, the way they’re meant to be: thick, hearty and beanless (but they also serve with beans for all you crazy folk…) Step up to the fiery challenge with the XXX Chili.

Keep Exploring

Austin, TX – Capital Tour