Downtown Austin, Texas
After the afternoon spent strolling around Lady Bird Lake, we decided to climb a small grassy hill next to the lake. We hoped to get a good view of downtown Dallas before the sun went down.
Austin is the capital, and the 4th most populous city of the state of Texas.
Here are some interesting facts about Austin, Texas:
Austin is known as the live music capital of the world. Home to the famous City Limits music festival which features 130 bands over 3 days. This city has more than 100 live music venues and is therefore known as the live music capital of the world.
Austinites enjoy an average of 300 days of sunshine a year!
This city is rated the 14th safest city in America.
The Austin, Texas state capitol building (pictured below) is the largest state capital building in the US. The dome of the building stands seven feet higher than that of the nation’s Capital in Washington, D.C ~ Perhaps because everything is bigger in Texas 😉 Another interesting fact is that the Austin, Texas capitol building is made from Texas pink granite!
The Colorado River runs through downtown Austin, however it is dammed so it is called Lady Bird Lake. You can see our blog post about that lake here.
Austin is known as a “clean air city” for the city’s stringent ordinances that apply to all public places and buildings, and all restaurants.
The Central Business District (CBD) of the city is home to some of the tallest condo towers in the state, with the Austonian Condos topping out at 56 floors and the 360 Condos at 44 floors. There is a restriction that preserves the view of the Texas State Capital building from various locations around Austin, known as the Capitol View Corridor. However, many new highrise towers have been constructed and the downtown area is looking more modern and dense. Austin is currently undergoing a skyscraper boom.
We had parked our truck on the other side of the lake, and crossed a bridge by foot. From this hill, we could see the sunset to one side, and the downtown area to the other. It was a great spot to sit and relax while taking in the views on both sides of us.
Right where we sat, on the top of the hill, was a huge carved stone map of Texas. We jumped around on it, mapping out our road trip to Austin, and other trips we have made in Texas (like Houston, San Antonio, and Fort Worth).
While we were hanging out here, we saw a photographer and a couple approaching the place where we sat. It was clear that they were there to do an engagement shoot. Obviously we were not the only ones who thought that this was a great place for some pictures of the skyline.
The wind was starting to pick up so the photographer asked Justin if he wanted to make a quick 5 bucks. While Justin held the umbrella, the photographer took a few pictures of the couple.
And no, we didn’t take the five bucks!
We decided to keep walking around, and maybe even cross the lake at another bridge.
The view from First Street Bridge was beautiful.
Ice Cream from Sandy’s.
Congress Avenue, downtown Austin
One of the most wonderful parts of this day was walking up Congress Avenue, towards the State Capitol Building. The trees were lit with fairy lights, and we enjoyed taking in the nightlife as we strolled up this street. There was a number of weirdos out and about, but none of them seemed too harmful.
We entered one of the stores to look at the UT gear, and there was an odd man inside who was chatting about anything and everything that he could think of. I thought it was amusing that the shop attendant tried to show a real interest in what he was saying. Every minute or so, he would stand up and announce things to “everyone” in the store, but there were no more than a handful of people within view! While we were leaving, he came running towards us, showing us a book. I stopped to listen to him, but Justin was out of the door quicker than a flash of lightning. haha, Justin had to come back into to get me because I was nodding along listening to the man. I felt bad for him… Poor guy.
In recent years, some Austinites have adopted the unofficial slogan “Keep Austin Weird”. This interpretation of the classic, “Texas-style” sense of independence refers to: the traditional and proudly eclectic, liberal lifestyles of many Austin residents; a desire to protect small, unique, local businesses from being overrun by large corporations; and, as a reaction to the perceived rise of conservative influences within the community.
“Love-A-Bull” ~ Loveable
There is a lot of street art along Congress Avenue and it’s side streets. I especially loved the huge guitar statues. Justin says that there are many of them around the city, but unfortunately, we did not have time to see most of them.
Texas State Capitol Building
This building is equally as beautiful at night as it is during the day…
Once we reached the State Capitol Building, we turned around and made our way back towards the Whole Foods, where we had earlier parked. We were starving by then so we started to talk about what food we wanted to eat. All I could think about was sushi, but our long walk back to the truck was pleasant. We got some food at Whole Foods and then made our way back to Steve’s house to watch a movie and eat there.
After all the exploring ~ We needed a night in!!