Downtown with Sixth Street and Rainey Street

We’ve compiled the best of the best in Downtown with Sixth Street and Rainey Street - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center

    This stunning architectural site and museum is just off of the Hike and Bike Trail, overlooking Lady Bird Lake. Dedicated to celebrating notable Latino artists...

    This stunning architectural site and museum is just off of the Hike and Bike Trail, overlooking Lady Bird Lake. Dedicated to celebrating notable Latino artists and empowering a new generation of Mexican-Americans, the museum has a phenomenal education department and offers popular youth and family programs. While there is no permanent collection on display, you’ll find traveling exhibits. Various live performances and community events, from flamenco recitals to Día de los Muertos celebrations, are also hosted here.

    600 River St., Austin, Texas, 78701, USA
    512-974–3772

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Closed Sun.
  • 2. Texas State Capitol

    Downtown

    Built in 1888 of Texas pink granite, this impressive structure is even taller than the U.S. Capitol (yes, everything is bigger in Texas). The building...

    Built in 1888 of Texas pink granite, this impressive structure is even taller than the U.S. Capitol (yes, everything is bigger in Texas). The building dominates downtown Austin, and the surrounding grounds are nearly as striking. Stand in the center of the star on the ground floor under the rotunda and look up, up, up into the dome—it's a Texas rite of passage. Catch one of the free historical tours, offered 9:30–4 on weekdays and 12:30–4 on weekends. You can also go on a self-guided tour of the building and its grounds.

    1100 Congress Ave., Austin, Texas, 78701, USA
    512-305–8400
    View Tours and Activities
  • 3. The Contemporary Austin–Jones Center

    Downtown

    Originally known as the Austin Museum of Art, the Contemporary Austin's Jones Center is a striking downtown presence that features a wide array of contemporary...

    Originally known as the Austin Museum of Art, the Contemporary Austin's Jones Center is a striking downtown presence that features a wide array of contemporary art exhibits and hosts various special events that are open to the public, including "rooftop sessions" featuring outdoor film screenings as well as live musical and artistic performances. Advance reservations are recommended. Their sister site Laguna Gloria, in nearby west Austin, is also worth visiting for the outdoor sculpture gardens and overall ambience. 

    700 Congress Ave., Austin, Texas, 78701, USA
    512-453--5312

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $10, Closed Mon.–Wed.
  • 4. Austin City Hall

    The home of municipal government since 2004 and the anchor of the Second Street District, City Hall is a striking modern showcase of the New...

    The home of municipal government since 2004 and the anchor of the Second Street District, City Hall is a striking modern showcase of the New Austin, loaded with energy-saving features like solar panels and decorated with modern art. The People's Gallery, for instance, is a public art exhibit that showcases local artists year-round, free of charge (weekdays). The angular, four-story limestone-and-concrete building is clad in 66,000 square feet of copper. A cascading 40-foot waterfall flows inside and back to Lady Bird Lake just across the street, and bands play on the outdoor amphitheater and plaza during free Friday concerts in the spring and fall. Tours are available by appointment.

    301 W. 2nd St., Austin, Texas, 78701, USA
    512-974–2000

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Closed weekends
  • 5. Austin Fire Museum

    Next door to the O. Henry Museum and the Susanna Dickinson Museum, this hidden gem is housed in Central Fire Station No. 1, Austin’s busiest...

    Next door to the O. Henry Museum and the Susanna Dickinson Museum, this hidden gem is housed in Central Fire Station No. 1, Austin’s busiest firehouse. The small museum has a collection of items from the “horse-drawn era" of 19th-century firefighting—leather fire helmets, brass firefighting nozzles, and bugles—as well as various other pieces of equipment that date through today. Displays cover specific incidents, local firefighting companies, Austin fire stations, and historic photographs, and are available to view on weekend afternoons or weekdays by appointment. 

    401 E. 5th St., Austin, Texas, 78701, USA
    512-974–3835

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Closed weekdays (except by appointment)
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  • 6. Austin History Center

    Part of the Austin Public Library system (and located in the beautiful and historic Central Library building), this is the central repository of all historical...

    Part of the Austin Public Library system (and located in the beautiful and historic Central Library building), this is the central repository of all historical documents relating to Austin and Travis County. It contains a host of items, including over a million photographic images, from a priceless collection of all things relating to Austin, with regular exhibitions showcasing aspects of local history. Reservations for research are strongly recommended. 

    810 Guadalupe St., Austin, Texas, 78701, USA
    512-974--7480

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Closed weekends
  • 7. Bremond Block Historic District

    A number of high-style Victorian homes built between the 1850s and 1910 fill this area just a few blocks from the State Capitol. They were...

    A number of high-style Victorian homes built between the 1850s and 1910 fill this area just a few blocks from the State Capitol. They were once owned by wealthy Austinites, including several members of the Bremond family of merchants and bankers. The homes are not open to the public but inquire at the Austin Visitor Center about self-guided walking tours.

    Austin, Texas, USA
  • 8. Governor's Mansion

    Abner Cook, a leading architect of his day, designed this mansion, one of Austin's most elegant dwellings. Since 1865, this building has been the home...

    Abner Cook, a leading architect of his day, designed this mansion, one of Austin's most elegant dwellings. Since 1865, this building has been the home of every Texas governor since the state's fifth, Elisha Marshall Pease. Constructed of bricks made in Austin and wood from nearby forests, the two-story National Historic Landmark bears the marks of those who have lived here, including James Hogg, the governor who, to keep his children from sliding down the banister on their rears, hammered tacks into the railing (the tack holes are still visible). Many fine furnishings, paintings, and antiques are on display, including Sam Houston's bed and Stephen F. Austin's desk. Free 20-minute tours are available if you reserve in advance.

    1010 Colorado St., Austin, Texas, 78701, USA
    512-463–5518
  • 9. Lora Reynolds Gallery

    Owned by art enthusiast and collector Lora Reynolds, this gallery encompasses a wide range of artistic media. Having worked in London and New York galleries,...

    Owned by art enthusiast and collector Lora Reynolds, this gallery encompasses a wide range of artistic media. Having worked in London and New York galleries, Reynolds was inspired to bring a vast diversity of contemporary art to Austin in the downtown area. The small, linear art space is a one-of-a-kind in the Austin art community, attracting international artists with a modern aesthetic who show original drawings, sculptures, photography, and painting exhibits in the main exhibition space and the "Project Room," where more than a dozen artists are featured throughout the year.

    360 Nueces St., Austin, Texas, 78701, USA
    512-215–4965

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Sun.–Tues.
  • 10. Mexic-Arte Museum

    Downtown

    Founded in 1984, this museum is a beguiling, moderate-size showcase devoted to traditional and contemporary Mexican and Latin American art. The permanent collection includes lithographs,...

    Founded in 1984, this museum is a beguiling, moderate-size showcase devoted to traditional and contemporary Mexican and Latin American art. The permanent collection includes lithographs, prints, silkscreens, etchings, and traditional ritual masks. If you're in town for their popular annual Day of the Dead celebration, the Viva la Vida Fest (late October or early November), you're in for a treat. Admission is free on Sunday. 

    419 Congress Ave., Austin, Texas, 78701, USA
    512-480–9373

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $7
  • 11. O. Henry Museum

    Downtown

    Writer William Sydney Porter, better known as O. Henry, rented this modest cottage from 1893 to 1895. Moved a few blocks from its original location,...

    Writer William Sydney Porter, better known as O. Henry, rented this modest cottage from 1893 to 1895. Moved a few blocks from its original location, the home today contains O. Henry memorabilia, including original drawings, artifacts, and period furniture. It also hosts the extraordinarily popular O. Henry Pun-Off World Championships, held in its backyard every May since 1977. 

    409 E. 5th St., Austin, Texas, 78701, USA
    512-974–1398

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free; donations accepted, Closed Mon. and Tues.
  • 12. Old Bakery and Emporium

    Downtown

    In 1876, Swedish baker Charles Lundberg built this charming building near the Capitol and operated it as a bakery for the next 60 years. Rescued...

    In 1876, Swedish baker Charles Lundberg built this charming building near the Capitol and operated it as a bakery for the next 60 years. Rescued from demolition after years of neglect, the bakery is now a registered National Historic Landmark, owned by the city, and remains a beautiful mainstay of Congress Avenue. The Old Bakery is a welcoming space that houses historical collections that display Austin's transformation since the pioneer days, plus an art gallery featuring handmade artisanal crafts made by citizens aged 50 and over. It makes for a nice stop before or after touring the Capitol.

    1006 Congress Ave., Austin, Texas, 78701, USA
    512-974–1300

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Sun.–Tues.
  • 13. Susanna Dickinson Museum

    Downtown

    As war stories go, the most defining for Texas is, of course, the Alamo, and although Davy Crockett and James Bowie are often names you’ll...

    As war stories go, the most defining for Texas is, of course, the Alamo, and although Davy Crockett and James Bowie are often names you’ll hear in association with that infamous 1836 battle, Susanna Dickinson, who lost her husband there, was the person who carried the news of its demise to Sam Houston. She became a renowned Texas figure and was dubbed the “Messenger of the Alamo.” Today, her home is open to the public, showcasing belongings and artifacts from her life and that of her second husband, Joseph Hannig, in the permanent exhibit, with occasional traveling exhibits. The museum is one of three Brushy Square museums, including the O. Henry Museum and the Austin Fire Museum, all located on the same block. Advance reservations are required to visit.

    411 E. 5th St., Austin, Texas, 78701, USA
    512-974–3830

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Closed Mon. and Tues.
  • 14. Texas Capitol Visitors Center

    Located on the southeast corner of the Capitol grounds in the only surviving government building from Austin's first 30 years, the Texas Capitol Visitors Center...

    Located on the southeast corner of the Capitol grounds in the only surviving government building from Austin's first 30 years, the Texas Capitol Visitors Center owes its Gothic style to its German-born architect, Conrad Stremme. This 2½-story structure of stuccoed stone and brick was opened for business in 1858 as the first home of the Texas General Land Office. Writer O. Henry worked as a draftsman here and used the building as the setting for two of his short stories. In 1989, the legislature approved a $4.5-million renovation project to restore the building to its original 1890s appearance. It now houses permanent and traveling exhibits, the visitor center, and a gift shop.

    112 E. 11th St., Austin, Texas, 78701, USA
    800-305–8400

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 15. The Driskill

    Sixth Street District

    If you make time to stroll through one Austin hotel even though you're not staying there, make it The Driskill. A monument to Romanesque style...

    If you make time to stroll through one Austin hotel even though you're not staying there, make it The Driskill. A monument to Romanesque style right in the middle of Sixth Street, this delightful—and many say haunted—grande dame is embellished with limestone busts of its original owner, cattle baron Jesse Driskill, and his sons. Check out its gorgeous two-story porches with Romanesque Revival columns surrounding the arched entrances and the Texas-size lobby and mezzanine, where a café, bakery, and bar are open to the public. Over the years, countless legislators, lobbyists, and social leaders have held court behind the hotel's limestone walls, and it seems a few of them never left: according to guests, lights turn on by themselves, pipes bang eerily, and elevators without passengers go up and down. But management is quick to point out that the ghosts seem friendly, so don't let them stop you from paying a visit. 

    604 Brazos St., Austin, Texas, 78701, USA
    512-439–1234
  • 16. Willie Nelson Statue

    Downtown

    Back in the 1970s, when the mainstream country music scene was based in Nashville, Willie Nelson kept his feet firmly planted in Texas. Playing around...

    Back in the 1970s, when the mainstream country music scene was based in Nashville, Willie Nelson kept his feet firmly planted in Texas. Playing around Austin at old haunts like the Armadillo World Headquarters, Nelson developed a name for himself strumming his beloved tunes, like the classic "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" and his own "On the Road Again." Today, he's a living legend here in town, and in 2012 on, when else, 4/20, he was immortalized with his very own 8-foot-tall bronze statue, complete with his signature braids and his famed guitar Trigger, standing proudly right in front of ACL Live at the Moody Theater.

    310 W. 2nd St., Austin, Texas, 78701, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free

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