Travels

Texas Capitol: Where I’ll Take You When You Visit Austin

October 20, 2017

The Texas State Capitol is one place you need to visit when you travel to Austin!

I once had ‘visit every state capitol building’ on my life list.

My first visits to the Texas State Capitol were in college, from day tours with visiting friends to a late-night visit to see the holiday decorations and even a “Cupcakes at the Capitol” picnic I hosted. I even had senior photos taken here. I loved the height of the building, the immaculate lawn, and the history that surrounded it.

When you see the Texas State Capitol, it’s easy to assume that every capitol building is this grand and beautiful, which is why I added the aspiration to my life list. After visiting a few capitol buildings for my new goal, I realized capitol buildings were not made equal and the cities they presided in may be lackluster as well. It seemed like a lot of work to travel to a building that wasn’t very pretty. I appreciate the fact that the Texas Capitol building is in Austin and I can visit whenever I want.

If you like history and architecture, I recommend stopping by the Texas Capitol during a trip to Austin. You can easily spend an hour here walking through and up the building and walking around the grounds. I love the details and intricate designs everywhere.

Photos of past governors and officials line the walls of the building. You’ll see the House of Representatives and Senate rooms. In both of these rooms you’ll see some huge canvases depicting significant battles.

The place you need to stop and admire is the rotunda. You can’t miss it because it’s the main gathering spot for visitors. Look up from the bottom. You can also go up two levels for different views. It’s high so you might get woozy when you look down. The highest level has the most light flooding in, so it’s great for photos!

Texas is a Republican state with pockets of Democrats, usually in the bigger cities. While many important policies were made in the building, many protests have happened also. It was a ‘wow’ moment to see the grounds covered with supporters during the women’s march. It’s a symbol of democracy and gathering place to fight for our rights, especially this year when more citizens are engaged in politics. Born and raised in Texas, I love my state but it can be a complicated one.

There are many statues and canons on the grounds of the capitol. Stephen F. Austin, Sam Houston. The gang’s all here.

It’s easy to take this beautiful building for granted, especially when it’s in the middle of the city and you drive by it often. If you’re curious, I went to six capitol buildings before the goal fell off. None of them compare to Texas. 😉

TIPS FOR VISITING THE TEXAS STATE CAPITOL

  • Open Monday through Friday 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday – 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Closed on Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.
  • Visitors Center is located in the white building on the southeast corner of the grounds.
  • Free 30-minute guided tours are available every 30 to 45 minutes. Meet in the South Foyer.
  • Free two-hour parking is available in the Capitol Visitors Parking Garage one block away. There is also metered street parking around the building.
  • There are gift shops located in the Visitors Center and Capitol Building Extension.

P.S. Looking for more about Austin? See my recommended activities and recommended Austin restaurants.

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  • Glad to hear that the Texas Capitol building is the prettiest one. 😉 Which 6 did you visit?

    • I might be slightly biased. 😉 I went to the ones in Colorado, Maine, Louisiana, Georgia, Maryland, and Tennessee.

  • Totally agree that it’s worth a trip. I visited the first time I was in Austin and I loved it. It’s beautiful and I found myself taking pictures of the doorknobs and all the little details all covered in stars. Definitely one of the best, but I like Virginia’s too. It was designed by Thomas Jefferson and houses a statue of George Washington that’s said to be one of the most invaluable pieces of American art.

    • Exactly! And I would love to visit Virginia’s capitol and Virginia in general for the history of it. I hear y’all also have a happening beer scene!

      • We sure do! If you make it up this way, I would be delighted to take you on a tour of our delicious beer scene. It is delightful!