Texas Capitol Building
Austin TX 78701
- Mon: 7am-10pm
- Tue: 7am-10pm
- Wed: 7am-10pm
- Thu: 7am-10pm
- Fri: 7am-10pm
- Sat: 9am-8pm
- Sun: 9am-8pm
Located in the heart of Austin, the Texas Capitol Building houses all state legislative proceedings and provides a central focal point for tourists and locals alike. In addition to being the center of political activity, the capitol building is the largest state capital in the country — second in size only to the National Capital in Washington, D.C. according to the State Preservation Board — making it an ideal destination for lovers of architecture and political junkies alike.
How to get to the Texas Capitol Building
The convenient location of the Texas Capitol Building makes it easily accessible by highway, street or public transportation. If traveling by car, the building is located about three blocks West on 11th street from Interstate-35 or visible from South Congress Avenue as far South as the Congress bridge. If traveling by bus, there are several Capital Metro routes that stop at 11th and Congress directly in front of the capitol: routes 10, 111, 127, 142, 20, 37, 7, 935 and 171 all going North-South and routes 2 and 6 going East-West. The most important thing to remember is getting off at the 11th and Congress bus stop.
Best and worst time to go to the Texas Capitol Building
Generally speaking, traffic around the capitol follows the same rules as traffic throughout Austin: awful during rush hour, easy in the middle of the day and unpredictable on I-35. For ease of access, it's recommended to visit sometime between 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. during the week or anytime on Saturday.
Admission to the Texas Capitol Building
Admission is free to the Texas Capitol Building, with self-guided tour brochures available in multiple languages on site and guided and special group tours available by phone or at the Capitol Visitors Center. In addition, there are specialty tours every weekday on Women in Texas History and Heroes of the Texas Revolution for visitors wishing for more specific information about the history of Texas.
Must see/do at the Texas Capitol Building
In addition to any and all of the tours provided through the enormous building itself, visitors would be well-advised to take advantage of the capitol grounds on a sunny afternoon. These large expanses of lawn provide gorgeous picnic space within walking distance of downtown as well as a number of impressive statues and monuments.
Other places to visit near the Texas Capitol Building
After visiting the Texas Capitol Building, there are plenty of nearby options for a next stop for any traveler. For the hungry, there's the famous Franklin's BBQ just a few blocks East on 11th Street or a number of local food trucks a few blocks South on 7th and 6th street. For the thirsty, there's always the Iron Bear on 8th Street or the downtown music and bar scene on 6th Street where you can always find live music and a dance floor. And for those looking for a little more culture, the Contemporary Austin Art Museum on 9th and Congress offers a lively rotation of exhibits that are sure to engage the intellect.
Insider tips for visitors to the Texas Capitol Building
Parking downtown is always a hassle-however, parking on many of the side streets just East of I-35 is often free. It may be advisable for those traveling by car to park a little further away and cross the highway by bus or on foot. If you plan on exploring downtown after seeing the capitol, it could save you a few dollars.
Rob C. is a freelance writer, filmmaker, and breakfast taco enthusiast in Austin, Texas.