Welcome to Downtown
In Austin's ever-changing hub, you're never far from a bit of history. The pink-granite State Capitol looming over Congress Avenue has been a constant since Edwin Waller, the city's first mayor, drew up the original 1839 blueprints. While the impressive Capitol continues to form the city's nucleus, Austin has radiated energetically from the center. The historic Driskill Hotel rubs shoulders with glass high rises, co-working spaces, and world-class music venues. Austin's frontier spirit lives on in the creative energy of entrepreneurs, tech companies, and start-ups, both homegrown and relocation from elsewhere.
Downtown's ballooning population has traded yard work and rush-hour headaches for horizon-scanning views, walkability, and access to Lady Bird Lake. A building boom over the last decade has created a wide range of residential options from luxury high-rise buildings to lofts to mid-rise apartment homes.
What to Expect
- Historic theaters, music venues, and The Capitol
- Shopping, world-class dining, and entertainment
- Diversity and creative energy
- No yard work and tons of amenities
- Walkability and connection to nature
- Walk or bike to work
People & Lifestyle
Downtown is abuzz with "the latest". The local joke is that the official bird of Austin is the construction crane. Amidst the glittering new skyscrapers and shops and restaurants, downtown's wide sidewalks hum with office workers and scooter-riding visitors. Every March, you'll feel like you are in the center of the music and culture universe when South by Southwest comes to town.
Despite the concrete and glass, downtown Austin is not just about moving and shaking. Lady Bird Lake is an urban dweller's oasis where people (and their pups) enjoy the hike and bike trail and kayak or paddleboard on the calm water.
Dining, Entertainment, & Shopping
Residents, tourists, and business professionals enjoy the full array of restaurants, food trucks, beer gardens, cafes, and bars. Downtown lives up to the self-proclaimed title of Live Music Capital of the World, where you can enjoy live music any night of the week. Peruse swanky stores and local shops in the 2nd Street District. Hop between food trucks, trendy restaurants, and patioed bars on Rainey Street. See a classic film at The Paramount theater or lose yourself in a book at the stunning Austin Central Library. Austin's downtown is anything but staid. The vibe here is mellow and down to earth, and there's something for everyone.
Things to Do in Downtown
You will never be bored in Downtown Austin:
- . The beating heart of Austin, Lady Bird Lake Provides a much-needed break from the concrete. Happy dogs, walkers, and runners enjoy four seasons of fresh air on the Anne and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail. Take your pick of a 3, 4, 5, or 10-mile loop. The trail offers some of the best city vies and access to The Long Center, Auditorium Shores, and the new boardwark.
- . Your key to soaking up the long days of summer on Lady Bird Lake is on the northwestern edge of the Hike-and-Bike Trail. At the Texas Rowing Center, you can rent canoes, paddleboards, and kayaks for fun on the water. They also host events, kids camps, and rowing classes for all ages.
- . This noteworthy addition to the skyline is a hub for the broader Austin community. The only LEED Platinum library in the U.S., the striking architecture blends with outdoor space for relazing, a cage and bookstore, and four floors of mind-stimulating books and activities for the entire family.
- . Austin’s iconic Seaholm Power Plant has been reborn as a hub for business and play. Easily connected to the 2nd Street District, the Central Library, and Lady Bird Lake, the Art Deco power plant complex has a variety of restaurants, art installations, a coffee shop, and residential buildings.
- . Atop Austin’s music hierarchy, the Moody Theater reigns supreme. An intimate, yet state-of-the-art venue, the Moody Theater is so good it has its own television show. World-famous acts and hometown heroes share the stage playing blues, rock, country, folk, and everything in between. Make sure to salute the statue of Willie out front.
- . Landmarks curates free public art on the University of Texas campus. Art lovers flock to see Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin on the Blanton Museum grounds. Get some much-needed peace and quiet, choreographed to a rainbow of colored light, at a sunset viewing of James Turrell’s Skyspace. There’s always something thought-provoking to enjoy.
- . This music, innovation, film, and culture festival welcomes the world’s creative class for two weeks every March. At SXSW, you can see a screening of award-winning indie films, be there for a once-in-a-lifetime keynote, or catch emerging bands in a variety of venues. The best part about living downtown is that you get an insider’s view of the festivities without the traffic.