Downtown Austin is the energetic core of the electrifying Texas capital. Downtown’s development began with 14 blocks in the 1830s, expanding to eight bustling districts in the present day. Downtown combines historic 19th-century architecture with the gleaming high-rises of the city’s central business district. This walkable area is home to much of the city’s famous art, culture, commerce, and nightlife.
Congress Avenue is Downtown’s historic core, with many Victorian buildings lining a street that runs from the Colorado River to the Texas State Capitol building. Sixth Street and Rainey Street combine Victorian architecture with vibrant modern art and nightlife. The former industrial area of the Seaholm District is a mixed-use zone with businesses and modern high-rise condominiums. Bremond Block and Judges Hill are residential neighborhoods with beautifully preserved upper-class Victorians, with Judges Hills’ real estate mix also incorporating mid-century and newer properties.
What to Love
- Hub of culture and commerce
- Exciting live music scene
- Historic architecture
- SXSW and other festivals
People & Lifestyle
Downtown is the place to be for those who want to be close to everything. From the energy of its artists and musicians to state legislators and urban professionals, Downtown is a diverse area with a vibe unlike anywhere else.
Dining, Entertainment & Shopping
2ND Street District is Downtown’s vibrant hub of commerce and culture, with dozens of boutiques, chic restaurants, laid-back coffee shops, beauty and fitness facilities, and happening live music venues. Grocery shopping within Downtown includes Whole Foods Market on Lamar Boulevard and Trader Joe’s in the Seaholm District. Seaholm’s other businesses include True Food Kitchen, where delicious nutrition-conscious meals are available for those dining in, taking out, or ordering delivery. Austin’s dining scene ranges from trendy new hotspots to institutions like Hut’s Hamburgers, which opened in 1939. Other standouts include modern Southern cuisine and quality cocktails at Olamaie, classic Texan chili bowls at Texas Chili Parlor, contemporary twists on Texas comfort food at Holy Roller, and tasty Chinese dishes at Wu Chow.
Things to Do
Austin is one of the United States’ major modern cultural hubs, and the Downtown area has a diverse selection of live music venues. The Moody Theatre in the 2ND Street District is perhaps the best-known, with Austin City Limits (ACL) at the Moody Theatre staging performances from some of the hottest names in music. Austin is most famous to outsiders for SXSW, the mid-March festival that has expanded since 1987 into a 10-day extravaganza of live music, film screenings, tech conferences, and more. Other events held within the Downtown area include Austin Food & Wine Festival, a three-day celebration of the city’s best chefs and restaurants, and the Sixth Street Historic District’s two-day Pecan Street Festival, combining arts, handicrafts, food, and live music.
Public schools within Downtown Austin are provided by the Austin Independent School District. Highlights include:
- Pease Elementary, Public, K-6
- Cathedral School of St. Mary, Private, Roman Catholic, PK-8